Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Thales (formerly Thomson CSF) manufactures all the electronics in french fabs, in military-grade fabrication processes. But the CPU design of the flight computer was licensed from a commodity Motorola chip (now Freescale) and ported to the mil-spec process. For the geeks, the design in question was the MC 68020 in the prototypes and first of the series, and it will probably be the PowerPC 603 (Thales has licensed it several years ago) from the first upgrade on, which is already budgeted.

So there is not actually US hardware, but US intellectual property in the Rafale. Using a commodity CPU makes sense economically (it saves a very costly design, plus leveraging a huge base of compiler & debugger software). Of course, Lybia can get faster CPUs without export controls in any Taiwan supermarket, but that would be civilian grade fabrication.

User feedback: in 1994, the Macintosh LC was proven to have superior reliability onboard submarines, than the Thomson-Sintra sonar console (which needed a new hard drive every week...)


by Pierre on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 04:26:48 AM EST
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