Rafale also with a chance because it will come with meteor bvraam and a 2nd generation aesa and has good weapon load, fuel capacity. But the problem will be pricing. Rafale will may loose out because of its high price. If they offer all the goodies for less than 60mil then the Rafale moves to top of the list for me. ( Big problem is it seems they didn't show up at the show for assessment
After reading up on the Mig35 the F16blk70 is out of my list.
Another problem with Rafale could be how much ToT they can offer - esp bcoz their components are pricey.. ofcourse - reg supplies there will never be a problem.. French have been extremely reliable..
My inclination towards Mig35 is bcoz
- performance wise it is top draw.
- most of the drawbacks - cockpit ergo, avoionics, reliability which were the bane of Mig29A have been addressed (ofcourse, they didnt have a choice bcoz they had to compete)
- they are deep ToTing the engines..
- commonality with exisitng Mig fleet for a lot of components & also with IN Mig29K
- most importantly willing to sell "AESA tech" rather than "AESA radar" (if u go by Pit's article).. which will allow us to tinker with it a lot and do our own thing..
I am not sure american stuff will allow us to customize or part with source codes which is required for the operational independance..
But deep inside I am skeptical/afraid there are un-announced deals/riders attched to the Nuke deal and may be GoI will compromise with US for F18.
It is a good plane (its avoinics, situational awareness, AESA radar & armament outweigh the aerodynamic deficiencies), but, i am afraid of the arm-twisting that will take place in future.. you can fire AMRAAM without condi's permission, you cant fire JDAM's without Rummy's approval, you can fire AIM-9x only if Barabara agrees.. if u want to use it against China, the Chelsea should okay.. if u want to use it against Pukis then senate has to vote and sign a 3-4-5 agreement..
But then everybody has his own opinion.. I have mine, CAS has his, PM/RM has his own and most importantly Aroor & Shukla have theirs which has to be the final word by any means.