JayS wrote:IIRC it was HAL who quoted that figure from their side, wasn't Dassaults estimation. I wrote a post in this thread some time back on why I think that figure I feel is reasonable and even if it was Boeing or LM taking up Rafale manufacturing they would have quoted similar number.
But more importantly, how exactly you deduced that the process is "ridiculously complex"..? I mean to say, every fighter or civilian jet, bar none, have ridiculously complex manufacturing process. How does one for Rafale stand vis-à-vis other fighter manufacturing..? In fact if its significantly more complex than other Fighters' then it can be considered as a "bad" design - something which has no good manufacturability. Anyway Europeans have a habit of doing things in a complicated manner. So its expected to some extent, but certainly not something which is not in the ballpark for typical fighter.
Saar, major caveat. I am a mango abdul who got over excited at watching a great Rafale documentary. Recently, the former MD of HAL said that they can match Dassault's delivery time of 100 Rafale jets. But I doubt that will be delivered at the same cost as they do at the Dassault plant in Merignac. Just like how HAL-built Su-30MKIs are more expensive than Russian built ones, I doubt HAL can deliver a Rafale at the same cost as a French built one. In the same vein, I don't know even if DRAL can pull this off.
But you are in the industry and you are obviously more knowledgeable than me on this issue. So I will defer to you. My knowledge on aircraft assembly is watching youtube videos
I am transcribing the commentary as I hear it from the video (which I am watching again). I will leave it to you to determine whether this is ridiculously complex
to build or not. Everything you see below in quotes is what I am hearing the narrator (or the interviewees) say. Follow the video in kit's post (which will help, when you read below). And the build part actually starts only at 28:48 in the video.From 9:45 onwards in the video it says
, "To design the Rafale in 1981, Dassault developed a revolutionary software suite called CATIA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CATIA
). This digital mockup is the central database, the specifications reference shared by everyone inside the company. This mock-up allows the plane to be virtually designed to the nearest 10th of a millimetre. With it the engineers of Dassault and their 500 industrial partners can work together simultaneously at distance. CATIA also anticipates each stage of manufacturing. We can add into this digital mock-up virtual human mechanics who allow us to virtually grasp electronic modules and wiring we see on screen. Then we can perform maintenance simulations during the design phases."From 10:52 onwards in the video it says
, "The tool they developed is out of this world. Its now used to manufacture civil aircraft worldwide and automobiles everywhere. The best tool in the world is called CATIA. (Too Much Hubris!
) It was developed by Dassault for its planes and now its sold across the world by Dassault Systems, the subsidiary of the Dassault Group, which continues to develop the tool. CATIA does not stop there. The software not only allows engineers to design a plane down to the minutest detail, its also used for upstream planning of manufacturing plants, assembly chains, robotics and onsite configuration. Everything is designed and simulated by CATIA. The Rafale's secret lies in its 100% virtual design, combined with amazingly meticulous work carried by those known as its companions (look like assembly personnel, but are much more than that
). One example - for the flight controls - the companions must assemble over 1,200 parts to the nearest micron. The companions need to have a lot of know how because the small size of the parts makes their work very technical and this can only be done by a human hand which can position and adjust parts to the nearest millimetre. You need incredibly precise know how to able to assemble parts easily in the correct order."From 12:12 onwards in the video it says
, "Everything is assembled in the Dassault plant in Merignac near Bordeaux. The computer designed parts made in a dozen other factories in France fit together perfectly. Each plane represents two years of labour. A total of 7,000 people work in France on the Rafale. Today (this documentary was made in 2016
), an average of 11 a year (which is correct
) leave the Merignac plant. And by 2018 (did not happen
), production should have tripled."From 28:48 onwards in the video it says
, "The Rafale's DNA is a mixture of the synergy between the ultra-disciplined design process and the extreme skills of the companions at the Dassault plant. The best example of this is in the manufacturing of the wings. The Martignas factory manufactures the air foils, a process which is both mechanical and composite. The parts are then sent to the neighbouring Merignac factory where they are assembled onto the fuselages. Some manufacturing steps are, of course, carried out by robots. Others done completely by human hand. The finishing touches are worthy of a Rolls-Royce. The external panels are given a special coating. These are then placed onto the main structure. The companions of Dassault Aviation fix them screw by screw. A quality control expert will then check air tightness and water tightness by injecting a gas. The last step, a technical uses this small electronic eye to check that everything conforms to the blueprint produced by the computer. This laser inspects down to the nearest hundredth of a millimetre. Now all the elements of the wings have been assembled."
That's interesting. I think it hints at LO skin of Rafale.
Nothing else can demand such check or grinding.
Yes, it looked like maintenance for the LO skin. You can see that process from 31:50 onwards in the video.
I have seen one other airbase using similar tactics. Can't remember which. That famous hotel in Dubai also uses hawks from scaring the bird so they don't take a dump on the hotel glass walls.
Some other tactics include using loud speakers emitting certain frequencies or sound of predators who typically hunt the birds which you are trying to scare. I wonder what IAF does
I do not know what the IAF does, but slaughter houses (which attracts birds) are a major problem at air force stations in India. I have read a number of articles - over the years - about the air force consistently trying to shut down slaughter houses, but to no avail.