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France's procurement chief does not consider the idea that the UK may eventually opt for the Rafale for its new aircraft carriers completely ridiculous.The naval version of the Rafale is "the only naval aircraft [on the market], together with the F-18 which is today is at the end of its life,” remarked Laurent Collet-Billon to the National Assembly's Defense and Armed Forces Commission on Oct. 5.Photo credit: French Navy/Benjamin VinotPrefontaine“Were the JSF naval version to be scrapped, it might even be possible that our British partners be obliged to knit closer ties with our industrialists,” he added. What he meant, of course, was that the Royal Navy could buy the naval version of the Rafale as the second-in-class of Britain's new aircraft carriers, the HMS Prince of Wales will be fitted with an Electro-magnetic Aircraft Launch System which is compatible with the Rafale.But whether this surprising scenario takes place or not, Collet-Billon said “no export path should be left unexplored, even if it's in the long term.”And he added that he was “persuaded that India and Brazil will develop naval aviation. We will then be the only ones, together with the Americans, to be able to offer a naval aircraft" because, as he pointed out, there is no naval version of the Eurofighter.
ar99, tacair, UK
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