There are a lot of mistakes in your argumentation! For example, you complain about Rafale coming only in 2017 (because the contract might be signed only next year), but prefered a fighter that is only fully developed by 2018?
On the contrary, what I was
pointing out was that an aircraft delivered in 2017, would presumably be priced differently than one delivered in 2010.
And I brought up the F-35's 2018 schedule to illustrate the fact that its not some 'future' fighter being compared to 'here-and-now' Rafale. Thanks to the delay in the MMRCA's schedule, they're both available in almost the same time frame. Difference is that in 2017, the Rafale will be a mature but still aging fighter, while the F-35 (like the IN's P-8s) will be at forefront in terms of technology.
Not to mention that Gripen would come mostly with similar costly European weapons that you criticised for the Rafale too (IRIS-T / METEOR, Taurus, RBS15), so the only cost advantage of the weapon pack could be SDB compared to AASM, if it's integrated.
My criticism was that the Rafale's weapons complement far from being an advantage (as some were claiming) is a liability. Even assuming the Rafale purchase goes through, my (fading) hope is that the munitions will be sourced from Raytheon/Boeing instead of Sagem/MBDA.
In the event of a Gripen purchase too I'd have hoped for an US weapons package; the AIM-120, AIM-9, SDB, JDAM are already operational on it, as is the Litening III pod. As for the cruise missile, its already being acquired
by the IAF independently for the entire fleet. The KEPD 350 is
the running, but the JASSM and JSOW probably have the edge.
Also keep in mind that the value of the price is not only calculated by the performance of the fighter, but also by the industrial, or political advantages, both areas where the Gripen falls short.
Political concerns are (or at least should be) secondary, since there's no way to accurate measure their value. The benefits accrued via the commonality with the Tejas on the other hand can
be ascertained in monetary terms.
Your figures of Rafale and F35 costs are also flawed, the offer for MMRCA was submitted long ago and can't have a relation to the possible reduction of the French budget.
First off, the figures I quoted were for 2010. Hardly irrelevant to the MMRCA.
Secondly, the commercial bid placed by Dassault expired on 31st March 2013
. Unless the company's decided to pass on the cost of inflation to its shareholders, fact is those figures are no longer valid.
And as said by other members, you only took the cost for an F35 airframe, without engine or electronics..., the latest defence budget on the other side shows a price of $164 million each F35A, while the B and C versions are much higher and still rising:http://comptroller.defense.gov/defbudge ... 014_p1.pdf
(Page 149, 150)
Those aren't production costs.
Not unless the F-22A is still in production. You may have attached the wrong document, suggest you check it again (page 149-150 had nothing to do with the F-35).
And the part about F35 doing unescorted strikes is just funny, when you take to account that it's requirements gets constantly reduced, because it doesn't meet them, or that it carries only 2 missiles in strike configs. It has the stealth advantage compared to Rafale, but lacks behind in many areas to FGFA and would fall short in performance, industrial and cost requirements of the MMRCA competition, which once again shows that it's a useless discussion.
The Rafale cannot enter airspace as well as defended as the PLAAF's, without featuring prominently on its AEW&C and ADGE network, while its still a long long way off. This isn't Libya with an abundance of holes in its tattered air defences, to be exploited.
The F-35 can carry upto 8 SDBs internally for tactical strikes in a stealth configuration. And in a relatively low threat environment like Libya, it can match the Rafale, with a payload of two fuel tanks, 16 SDBs, 4 AIM-120Ds and 2 AIM-9Xs.