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Rafale fighter: Pilot Interview
Posted On: Feb 12, 2011
Rafale fighter aircraft
French pilot P.Pluvinage "Fino” was one of the pilots, who have flown the Rafale fighter aircraft from France to India for the Aero India show at Bangalore. This was the first showing of a Dassault Rafale in India.
The French fighter is a contender in the Indian Air Force's competition for 126 Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), vying against the Boeing F/A-18, Lockheed Martin F-16, Eurofighter Typhoon, MiG-35 and Saab Gripen.
Below are the excerpts from the conversation with the pilot.
Q. Welcome to India, How was your journey from France to India?
Thank you, we have flown two Rafale fighter aircraft from France to India, covering a distance of 5,000 miles in 9 hours, around a speed of 550 km/hour. We had stopped at UAE before reaching Bangalore, the aircraft got air-to-air refueling in between before reaching the final destination, and overall it was a wonderful experience for us.
Q. What Rafale is going to showcase at Aero India?
We will totally display 11 flights of the aircraft at the show altogether, Rafale is wonderful aircraft and I am sure people will love its manoeuvre at the show.
Q. What are the key technologies and systems of the aircraft?
Rafale is a best fighter aircraft as it has a fully integrated system, electronic warfare system, hardware etc, the pilot can easily switch from one sensor to another sensor. The aircraft is a fourth-generation aircraft with two engines as if one fails, it can fly with the other. The aircraft has the capability to plunge in and out rapidly for short distances and hit the enemy aircraft swiftly.
Q. Can you suggest any other powerful aircraft over Rafale?
Rafale is my favourite, and if I will have a choice then too I will go for Rafale as I have my best experience with this machine.
Q. What is your opinion about Su-30 MKI?
Recently, India and France participated in a joint air force exercise called ‘Garuda’, and I have experienced the SU-30 MKI flight as a wing man. Su-30 MKI is a huge aircraft to fly; it needs lots of power and fuel and it was a nice experience to fly in such a powerful machine.
Q. How do you see F-16, F/A-18, Typhoon and Rafale?
A. The F-16, F/A-18, Typhoon have good avionics situation, but Rafale strength lies in the dogfight, it is a great aircraft to fly and according to me there is no comparison of French Rafale.
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