Rafale Out for Norway
In our May 11, 2006 article “Norway’s Future Fighter Competition: A Norwegian View,” Endre Lunde described how the replacement for the country’s F-16 fighters had evolved into a 4-way contest between the Lockheed/BAE/International F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, Dassault’s Rafale, the EADS/BAE EF-2000 Eurofighter Typhoon, and the upgraded Saab/BAE JAS-39N Gripen.
Now Endre Lunde informs DID that the Rafale is no longer in contention, a development reportedly confirmed by Norway’s Deputy Minister of Defense to a leading Norwegian newspaper. The announcement was apparently made during a two-day visit to Saab’s facilities in Linkoping, Sweden. Lunde notes that “…the Gripen so far has been the true outsider compared to the Eurofighter and the F-35 Lightning, but the recent announcements by Gripen on the prospects of a dedicated “N” version, and a long and patient process of building trust and support in Norway seems to be paying off.”
If true, this report means that Dassault’s Rafale is continuing its unbroken string of losses on the export front, a fact which is beginning to have development and budget ramifications for the platform.