Sion airshow: warbirds, aerobatic display teams and the usual MMRCA contenders

The Eurofighter Typhoon and the Dassault Rafale combat planes haven’t missed a chance to display their capabilities during the last year. Aero India 2011, Le Bourget, Royal International Air Tattoo, Operation Odyssey Dawn/Unified Protector are only some of the public events or operations that saw the two fighter planes virtually dogfighting in a marketing campaign marked by a series of breathtaking air displays and many interesting press releases and war stories.

In fact, as almost everybody know by now, the French Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon were shortlisted for the big MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) tender worth about $10 billion USD (“the biggest fighter aircraft deal since the early 1990s” for +126 planes) whose winner should be announced next month. However, they hope to get orders also in Brazil, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bulgaria and Greece, countries where they face the fierce competition of other advanced “hardware” as the Boeing F-18E Super Hornet, the JAS-39 Gripen, and F-16 Block 60.

There are also export chances in Libya, where a deal for 14 Rafales was almost closed in 2008 with Gaddafi and there will be the need to re-equip the Free Libya Air Force in the future; and in Switzerland, whose Schweizer Luftwaffe is in the need to replace its old-fashioned F-5 Tiger planes.

Therefore, the Breitling Sion airshow 2011 (Sept. 15-17), this year’s largest Swiss airshow, provided another chance for a “show of force” of the two European fighter planes in front of potential customers.

Anyway, along with the Rafale Solo display team and the GAF Typhoon, the Sion airshow was attended by many other interesting warbirds as the following pictures, taken by Alessandro Fucito, show.

BTW if you want to know something more about the condensation clouds surrounding some aircraft during some hi-speed maneuvers, read Sonic booms and condensation clouds (explained).

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.