05 Oktober 2012

Dassault Aims to Sell the Rafale to the Government

05  Oktober 2012

Dassault Aviation Rafale multi-role combat aircraft (photo : Marcel Bos)

PETALING JAYA: Military aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation is upping the ante in Malaysia with the hopes of supplying its combat aircraft Rafale to the Government, which considering to retire the ageing fleet of Russian made MIG-29N under the Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) programme.

Dassault international executive vice president Eric Trappier said the company was already meeting with companies that were a potential for their offset programme, assuming if the Malaysian Royal Air Force opt for the Rafale.

“We have met a list of companies that have capabilities in mechanical, electronics and engines, among these are like Global Turbine Asia Sdn Bhd which is in collaboration with Safran Turbomeca, and Sapura which has ties with Thales,” he said at a media briefing on Wednesday.

He said the company was also talking with Composites Technology Research Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Airod Sdn Bhd, and Zetro Aerospace Corporation.

The Rafale aircraft with its crew at LIMA 2011 in Langkawi.

“We fully support the Government's offset programme, and we have initiated talks with companies in the country.

“There is a strong reach from our side to support the industry here. We feel that the country is capable with the right political wish to develop the country's aviation industry further,” he said.

Headquartered in Paris, Dassault was chosen by India in January to supply at least 126 Rafale jets valued at RM30bil, after winning against rivals Typhoon built by a consortium led by European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co (EADS) and BAE Systems Plc.

Touted as the largest military aviation deals in the world, the India deal was done after a reportedly exhaustive technical and commercial evaluation which spread over five years.

It was also revealed that officials from the Defence Ministry, in a closed door meeting with Dassault, had expressed that it would take into consideration the Indian government's stamp of approval for Dassault to supply aircraft for its own decision on the MRCA programme. Potentially worth RM10bil to RM15bil, the MRCA programme had attracted the attention of other major companies which are offering their wares like Eurofighter Typhoon from BAE Systems UK, F/A-18F Super Hornet from Boeing USA and Gripen New Generation from Saab of Sweden.

“It is difficult to say when the deal would materialise as there will be the general election in the coming months.

“I don't expect it to be before (the general election). How much time after the general election is the question,” he said.

Following its Indian win, there have been bouts of merger and acquisition exercises, one being the planned merger of BAE Systems and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, in a bid to create a global aerospace and defence leader that would better rival US giant Boeing.

To that end, Eric said: “We are not impressed by the giants, it can be strong, but it also can be very weak when it gets too big to manage.

“For Dassault, we are trying to completely do the opposite, we are a smaller company and we will focus on technology and expertise.” According to him, with partners like Thales and Snecma, the company is not small at all. “We are not a giant, but we are number one in our expertise. And we are not chasing to be number one in terms of size,” he said, adding that the company was not trying to be bigger but trying to be better.

discounting the possibility of chasing for mergers to upscale its operations.

He said Dassault could have partnerships with the new entity in the future, but it depended on what the countries related to the merger wanted to do and collaborate.

(The Star)

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