France’s 10-Year “Rafale Care” Contract
In December 2008, the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault announced that France’s Structure integree de maintien en condition operationnelle des materiels aeronautiques du ministere de la Defense (SIMMAD) had signed a 10-year contract to maintain the 120 Rafale fighters France has ordered to date for its Air Force and Navy.
This contract follows the nascent global trend toward pay for performance in military maintenance. The 10-year “Rafale Care” global contract does use maintenance payments based on operational availability and flying hours, rather than materials and labor. The contract also includes a commitment to reduce those costs per hour over time, in a similar manner to many corporate outsourcing agreements. Unlike Britain’s fully comprehensive “future contracting for availability” model, however, “Rafale Care” covers the aircraft but not the engine (Snecma), radar (Thales), countermeasures and weapon systems.
Costs were not disclosed, but Defense News quotes a Dassault spokesman as saying that the larger twin-engine Rafale costs about 15% more per flight hour than the Mirage 2000 lightweight fighter. The French Armee de l’Air also refused to provide figures, saying that they were heavily dependent on key variables like flight and mission profiles. Dassault Aviation | Defense News.