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Rafale:Production To End In 2030?  
User currently offlineChamonix From France, joined Mar 2011, 316 posts, RR: 1
Posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 5761 times:
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http://lci.tf1.fr/economie/entrepris...si-dassault-n-en-vend-6863189.html

The French Defence Minister has threatened to pull the plug on the Rafale as it has been a total export flop.

23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinejouy31 From France, joined May 2003, 447 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 5712 times:

Quoting Chamonix (Thread starter):
The French Defence Minister has threatened to pull the plug on the Rafale as it has been a total export flop.

2030 is not bad at all for an aircraft that is an export flop. When is production of the Eurofighter scheduled to end with the current orders, BTW? Sometime around 2015 if I am not mistaken, and it is supposedly an export success. As also shown by the comparison of the cost increases for both the Rafale and Eurofighter programmes, good programme management is at least as important as exports.


User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3906 posts, RR: 19
Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 5655 times:

LOL, developments in military aviation are now so horribly slow that even terminating a programme takes 18 years?


The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlinemffoda From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1062 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5584 times:

Quoting jouy31 (Reply 1):
2030 is not bad at all for an aircraft that is an export flop. When is production of the Eurofighter scheduled to end with the current orders, BTW? Sometime around 2015 if I am not mistaken, and it is supposedly an export success. As also shown by the comparison of the cost increases for both the Rafale and Eurofighter programmes, good programme management is at least as important as exports.

This is laughable... The program has been slowed over the years because it has not had export success. Not because of good program management! In it's current form, this is nothing more then a expensive jobs program.

There have been approx. 100 Rafale's produced since 1986, out of the 180 total on order... And the French taxpayer has spent 39.6 Billion Euro's as of Jan 2008 (4 years ago) on this project. I would hardly call this a success...

Face it, France blew it on this call... They should have stuck with the Typhoon program. Imagine what could have been for the Typhoon program if France were part of it? Rather then competing (bad mouthing) against it. It wouldn't be unreasonable to suspect that the Typhoon could have 800-1000 orders by now if France would stayed with the program. In addition, there would be the maintenance, spares and other ancillary revenues from a much larger pool for years to come....



harder than woodpecker lips...
User currently offlinejouy31 From France, joined May 2003, 447 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5544 times:

Well, in terms of financial management, the cost of the Rafale program has not suffered from the overruns of the Eurofighter. Furthermore, while the AESA radar for Rafale is already slated for production, the development cost of the AESA radar for the EF has not been fully committed by the consortium countries. And, on the basis of current orders, the 4 production chains for the EF will come to a stop long before the Rafale.

Rafale is neither a jobs aprogram nor an export program. It is the aircraft France needed to replace most of its combat aircraft fleets in both the air force and naval aviation as well as have a unified pilot profile. It is also a program that allows the French defence industry to remain a player in key technological areas. Eurofighter has no naval version, is late for the delivery of the AESA radar, countries such as Germany and the UK are scrambling to reduce their commitments and the cost overruns as displayed by the British NAO are daunting, even though they may be smaller than for the F35.

So, as a French taxpayer and citizen, I am extremely satisfied with the performance of the Rafale and glad that we did not get involved in yet another multilateral cooperation that generates the delays and the cost overruns of the Eurofighter or the A400M.

[Edited 2011-12-08 08:28:49]

User currently offlineChamonix From France, joined Mar 2011, 316 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5544 times:
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Quoting mffoda (Reply 3):
There have been approx. 100 Rafale's produced since 1986, out of the 180 total on order... And the French taxpayer has spent 39.6 Billion Euro's as of Jan 2008 (4 years ago) on this project. I would hardly call this a success...



Absolutely...another big export flops are the Leclerc MBT which sold for billions of losses to the UAE and the FAMAS assault rifle which has never been exported.

Gone are the days when France was the leader with its good old Mirage III,Super Etendard and Alouette III.


User currently offlineArniepie From Belgium, joined Aug 2005, 1265 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5509 times:

Quoting mffoda (Reply 3):
Face it, France blew it on this call... They should have stuck with the Typhoon program. Imagine what could have been for the Typhoon program if France were part of it? Rather then competing (bad mouthing) against it. It wouldn't be unreasonable to suspect that the Typhoon could have 800-1000 orders by now if France would stayed with the program. In addition, there would be the maintenance, spares and other ancillary revenues from a much larger pool for years to come....

Agree 100%,
As it is now they are factually both part of the EADS empire anyway, France really didn't do themselves any favors
pulling away from ths EF program just to be able to use its own, obsolete, engine and other French sytems.
Pride can be a bad adviser and obscure people from seeing the more obvious logical solution.
A French partnered EF would have been a succes from the getgo making it likely to carry its advanced AESA from at
least T2 and already upgraded (TVC???) engines while being a much better export candidate for many customers.

As things are now, the EF faces an extra unnecessary competitor while the Rafale will have continuing problems
in the sales department, they both seem to have lost because of this split.



[edit post]
User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3906 posts, RR: 19
Reply 7, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5451 times:

IIRC an important reason for France's withdrawal from EFA was Dassault's concern that EFA was too heavy and expensive for export. This judgement was correct, but they failed to produce a much cheaper aircraft, mainly through lack of a good single-holer engine I'd say.


The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineAutothrust From Switzerland, joined Jun 2006, 1591 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5348 times:

Quoting jouy31 (Reply 4):
Furthermore, while the AESA radar for Rafale is already slated for production,

Still the Rafale has not the same performance as the Typhoon and not the same key technologies.(EJ-2000/PIRATE/DASS/Sensorfusion )

France would have won a lot more knowhow then you think participating with the Eurofighter.

Quoting jouy31 (Reply 4):
Eurofighter has no naval version

That's sure the problem   (See Typhoon India Naval version)

Quoting jouy31 (Reply 4):
late for the delivery of the AESA radar


Even though it might be late, the Typhoon is not in such hurry to get an AESA then the Rafale. The CAPTOR is capable to interleave like an AESA(thought slower) and provides through a unique third radar channel unrivalled ECM resistance.

It will also provide a 2 channel datalink to the METEOR.

Quoting Arniepie (Reply 6):
France really didn't do themselves any favors
pulling away from ths EF program just to be able to use its own, obsolete, engine and other French sytems.

Couldn't agree more.

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 7):
an important reason for France's withdrawal from EFA was Dassault's concern that EFA was too heavy and expensive for export. This judgement was correct,

Their judgement was mostly wrong, the EF is not much heavier (800kg) and it still is more maneuvrable.
Expensive ... yes but the Rafale isn't cheap either and it has been exported.



“Faliure is not an option.”
User currently offlinejouy31 From France, joined May 2003, 447 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 5242 times:

Quoting Autothrust (Reply 8):
Quoting jouy31 (Reply 4):
Eurofighter has no naval version

That's sure the problem (See Typhoon India Naval version)

Eurofighter may be planning on the naval version for the future, but France needed a naval combat aircraft far earlier; Rafale M has been inducted into French Naval Aviation since 2001 and been fully operational since 2004. The timeline for the Naval version of the Eurofighter is currently sketchy at best.


User currently offlineChamonix From France, joined Mar 2011, 316 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5227 times:
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Naval version Typhoon:any links,anyone?
Most intersting.
Many thanks!
Two Naval Rafales ran out of juice not so long ago.
Something to do with faulty gauges IIRC.
http://www.marianne2.fr/Accident-du-...-tombe-en-panne-seche_a200281.html

http://www.medias-france-libre.fr/ra...ssus-de-locean-indien-actualise-3-

An expert tells us that "the Rafale (different in that the Rafale Air), you can empty the fuel through a hole on the right side of the aircraft. There is no need to hit the tanks under the wing to empty the fuel. During the first flight of the Rafale F1 (first standard that does not fly anymore) incidents had taken place, the dump does not close automatically. it is managed by the "fuel calculator" that used to drain the excess oil to reach the mass landing. so, if this computer (FADH) forgot to cut the gap quickly and manually closing does not work, the only way to continue flying it 'is to refuel in flight "


User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3906 posts, RR: 19
Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5218 times:

Quoting Autothrust (Reply 8):

I added that the French didn't manage to produce a lighter aircraft, didn't I?
My point is that I think it's silly to blame the French for Eurofighter's limited export success.

Of course all the Mirages should have gotten British/Europen engines a long time ago.

Peter 



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineAutothrust From Switzerland, joined Jun 2006, 1591 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5208 times:

Quoting jouy31 (Reply 9):
Eurofighter may be planning on the naval version for the future, but France needed a naval combat aircraft far earlier;

That wouldn't have been a problem either. Just put a hook on the Typhoon.... ready , next problem please. (seriously, minor changes are necessary like reinforced undercarriage design, an arrestor hook)

http://www.armedforces-int.com/news/...fered-for-indian-jet-contract.html

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 11):

I added that the French didn't manage to produce a lighter aircraft, didn't I?

My apologies then if i missunderstood you.

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 11):
My point is that I think it's silly to blame the French for Eurofighter's limited export success.

Agreed, nevertheless probably the Eurofighter would already have an AESA and Thrust Vectoring if France would have participated instead of making an own mediocre fighter. Not because technology, because money.



“Faliure is not an option.”
User currently offlineflagon From France, joined May 2007, 145 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5163 times:

Quoting Autothrust (Reply 8):
Their judgement was mostly wrong, the EF is not much heavier (800kg)

If you were working on aerospace industry, you would know that 800kg is very heavy. Working on an aircraft of MTOW of 300 tons, my boss would be quite happy if I turned up one day saying "I found an idea which can make us save 20kg per AC". Weight is a very critical design driver in aerospace industry, 800kg weight saving could allow 800kg extra fuel and significantly improve range, which in case of the Typhoon, wouldn't be a luxury.

Quoting Autothrust (Reply 8):
That's sure the problem (See Typhoon India Naval version)

Please, not that joke again...

Quoting Autothrust (Reply 12):
That wouldn't have been a problem either. Just put a hook on the Typhoon.... ready , next problem please. (seriously, minor changes are necessary like reinforced undercarriage design, an arrestor hook)

There you go, you must be jocking....

See the changes that were required on Mig 29 and Su-27 to navalise them, then use a little bit of thinking and you will realise how significant the change is. Navalising an land based aircraft is a revolution. Dassault did some preliminary study on Mirage 2000 and came up with the conclusion that 80% of the airframe would require modification.
In my opinion structurally speaking in the case of the Typhoon, career landing would become critical load case in a lot more areas than just the undercarriage, the wing spars would need reinforcing as well as the wing covers and fuselage frames in the vicinty of the undercarriage, the rear fuselage frames as well around the hook attachement, the air intake will have to be reinforced to withstand load from the front wheel impacting the deck (with potential impact on the air duct which would require a bit more work)...etc. All of this would fairly significantly impact the weight of the aircraft, which is already not ideal to operate in aircraft careers of the size of the CdG.

Other issues could be:
approach speed would need to be reduced
the position of the canard which may hamper the pilot visibility in career landing approach because of high angle of attack
...these are just random thoughts

I am not saying navalising the Typhoon is impossible, after all everything is possible as long as one is ready to pay the price and spend the energy for it....



Stephane
User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3906 posts, RR: 19
Reply 14, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5152 times:

Quoting Autothrust (Reply 12):
Not because technology, because money.

Large international programmes are helpful only if partners are prepared to make compromises to keep things relatively simple. A horrible example is the Tiger I think, with completely different equipment for each partner.



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineArniepie From Belgium, joined Aug 2005, 1265 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5142 times:

Quoting flagon (Reply 13):

You seem to be in the loop when it comes to AC engineering,
In case of the Rafale vs EF Typhoon argument dedicated for carrier use wouldn't it have made more
sense for France to go with the Typhoon program and just buy their Carrier based AC from the most logical
choice, namely the US (F18 Super Hornet) since it is only a very small subfleet and it is nothing new for the
Franch NAVY to operate US specially made carrier Airplanes (E2, F8)?

Their desire to design and operate something so specific as a carrier based fighter seems to have compromised
the Rafale as a whole too much, making the whole program exorbitantely expensive while being not fundamentally
better than its alternative,no?



[edit post]
User currently offlineflagon From France, joined May 2007, 145 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5128 times:

Quoting jouy31 (Reply 4):
So, as a French taxpayer and citizen, I am extremely satisfied with the performance of the Rafale and glad that we did not get involved in yet another multilateral cooperation

I think a multilateral cooperation would have been better as long as it was set up in a sensible and economical way (ie not involving four final assembly lines like Eurofighter just for the sake of individual national prides and jobs). However the question is irrelevant since to have a multilateral cooperation you need at least common requirements. The concept of the Typhoon back then (pure air superiority fighter) just didn't fit to the french requirements and its weight was on the paper already above the 9.5T upper limit that the french were ready to accept.

When one look at it today, you cannot help thinking that maybe a good cooperation opportunity has been missed, but how realistic would it be to think that we could make a Typhoon to meet the french air force and navy requirements (replacing 7 types of aircrafts).

I still think the money put in the Rafale is money well spent as it seems to respond to today's France's needs. At least with this plane, the french does not feel the need for desperately re-selling some of the planes to foreign air-forces (Saudi Arabia, Oman) or canibilising some of them (like the RAF does with its Typhoons), whilst investing in the F35 in parallel.

Quoting Autothrust (Reply 12):
making an own mediocre fighter

I would not be so harsh, since everytime Rafale has been involved in technical evaluations for potential customers, it did pretty well and quite often (always?) better than Typhoon. I trust that those who run these evaluations (air force pilots, technicians,...) are far more knowledgable on the matter that you, me or anyone posting on that forum. At the end of day they are the customers, and the customer is always right, no matter the amount of technical information you manage to dig out from the internet to emphasis you point that the Typhoon is the top art.
As a general comment you just have to accept that Typhoon and Rafale are both very good products, if one was far better than the other this would be obvious for anybody and you would not have all these endless and pointless forums arguing on the matter.



Stephane
User currently offlineflagon From France, joined May 2007, 145 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 5117 times:

Quoting Arniepie (Reply 15):
You seem to be in the loop when it comes to AC engineering,
In case of the Rafale vs EF Typhoon argument dedicated for carrier use wouldn't it have made more
sense for France to go with the Typhoon program and just buy their Carrier based AC from the most logical
choice, namely the US (F18 Super Hornet) since it is only a very small subfleet and it is nothing new for the
Franch NAVY to operate US specially made carrier Airplanes (E2, F8)?

You are raising some good points but I guess this is a question to the french decision makers, not me.
It is worth noticing that the french NAVY initially didn't want to wait for the Rafale and wanted to buy F18s, which the french government disapproved quite probably due to national interest, or just to stick to the orginal driving requirement which was one type of fighter everywhere (Air force, Navy).

Quoting Arniepie (Reply 15):
Their desire to design and operate something so specific as a carrier based fighter seems to have compromised
the Rafale as a whole too much, making the whole program exorbitantely expensive while being not fundamentally
better than its alternative,no?

I am not sure the 9.5 tons limit was entirely down to carrier operation requirement, it may also be simply a high band limit based on the fact the heavier the aircrat, the more expensive to buy and to maintain. They had never been any heavy fiighter in the french air force before (the Mirage 4000 didn't make it on that basis).

Quoting Arniepie (Reply 15):
making the whole program exorbitantely expensive

You need to put this into context: would it have been cheaper to buy and maintain F18s for the Navy, and buy Typhoons for the Air Force and spend the money to integrate all weapons including Nuclear weapons and recognition pods, whilst not having the minimum range required, and/or eventually invest in F35?
Asking the question is like answering it....



Stephane
User currently offlineChamonix From France, joined Mar 2011, 316 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 4899 times:
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An article in the (print edition) www.marianne2.fr sums up the sales problem with the Rafale.
Beyond the price and trade wars,the real reason why it has not won an export deal is because there is no political advantage in buying French compared with American.
Brazil,Switzerland and UAE all cited "cost" but this is euphemism as they had greater reasons than "cost" not to buy the Rafale.
Switzerland turned it down because they were sick of being manhandled and maligned over the issue of tax-dodgers when Sarkozy vented his anger at the G20 meeting in Cannes.
The stunned Swiss President struck back:"One does not talk that way to a friendly country!"
No wonder they went for the cheapo IKEA fighters.


User currently offlineflagon From France, joined May 2007, 145 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 4715 times:

I think it is not that simple:
if from political reasons it was just impossible to sell Rafale to South Korea and Singapour, that are very much under the USA umbrella, things are not so clear for the UAE for example, where France has set up there a french air force base, a french navy base and moved a "legion etrangere" section over there from Djibouti. Hence there is a significant commitment from France. So I think in UAE the cost of the Rafale is really in issue, mainly due to the weak euro (1.00euro = 1.30$, how can make a competitive offer in these conditions) which is not only a problem for the Rafale but also for the whole european industry when trying to sell stuff in contries who buy in dollar. That aside UAE are reknown for being tough negociators anyway (sure that the french who were involved in the Leclerc battle tank deal would agree with that). As part of the Rafale negociations, I believe that they obtain from France some slots in CdG airport for their airline Emirates to the expense of Air France. They also demanded that France buy their M2000-9 back apparently for quite an expensive price. For all these reasons it seems quite difficult to believe that they would walk away from Rafale, but the thing that puts them in strong position is that they don't really need these planes to be fair, at least not for the time being, so they have plenty of time to play their negociation game, they may also wait the answer from India as if India go for Rafale India may fund some interesting enhancements for the Rafale which UAE therefore would not have to pay for.
It is worth noticing that UAE adopted pretty much the same attitude at the time they were bying the 2000-9, ie at the last minute they announced they were looking at alternative offers from the USA (F16s....).

In the case of Switzerland Sarkozy obviously took a bold move at the wrong time but I suspect he probably knew that Rafale were not going to make it anyway for cost reason. One should remember that when Switzerland started this RFP they asked Dassault for a proposal for M2000, which Dassault could not do as the M2000 assembly lines were already running dry so they put Rafale in the race, obviously a much more expensive alternative.
By the way the "Ikea plane" is a very good platform for an affordable price but even so it is not certain it will eventually make it in the Swiss Air Force as is it will required cuts in areas like eduction, ... and the opposition party in Switzerland is quite keen to make a referendum to sabotage the project.

Back to the original topic. An extract of the TV program where the French Defence Minister made his statement with regards to the difficulties experienced in the Rafale program can be found in the lin below (in french):

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xmt...sur-les-difficultes-du-rafale_news

You can judged by youself...
Asked about the future of the Rafale program, Longuet politely tries to educate the panel, which obviously does not have a clue on the way a military program like Rafale is managed (one of them even asked whether the Rafale will be finished in 2013....). So longuet explains that the assembly line will deliver all Rafales ordered so far by the french forces, which should keep the assembly line live at least up to 2018, then if there is no export order, the assembly line will have to stop. Longuet then stresses that this just the end of the production of the Rafale, NOT the end of the programme by all means.
You would expect all of this to be obvious for anybody who is more or less in the loop with regards to aeropsace stuff, but still, the next day you could read in most of the supposedely "serious" aerospace news sites a statement along the lines of "Longuet threatens to end Rafale if no export order".

That makes you wonder about how serious all this is, really....
So much noise for nothing.



Stephane
User currently offlineebj1248650 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1932 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4696 times:

It's interesting to me to note that nowhere in this discussion did anyone mention that the French and the Eurofighter consortium took two different approaches while designing these airplanes. The Rafale was optimised for air-to-ground, with a good air-to-air capability. The Typhoon, on the other hand, was optimised for air-to-air, where the performance requirements are greater. It has a very good air-to-ground capability. My point is that each airplane was designed with a different emphasis with regard to mission requirements. Does it make sense then to compare two airplanes that aren't optimized to perform the same mission?


Dare to dream; dream big!
User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3906 posts, RR: 19
Reply 21, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4692 times:

Quoting ebj1248650 (Reply 20):
Does it make sense then to compare two airplanes that aren't optimized to perform the same mission?

Certainly, since they compete in the same markets.



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlinewvsuperhornet From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 516 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4632 times:

Quoting Chamonix (Thread starter):
The French Defence Minister has threatened to pull the plug on the Rafale as it has been a total export flop.

I like the aircraft I wouldnt call it and export flop but how who ever does the marketing for it a flop. The aircraft is comparable and favorably in many ways to the Superhornet but boeing seemed to have done a better job at marketing their aircraft. I wouldnt go as far as to say the aircraft was a flop its a good plane just poorly marketed and priced.


User currently offlineflagon From France, joined May 2007, 145 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 4616 times:

Quoting ebj1248650 (Reply 20):
The Rafale was optimised for air-to-ground

For some reason this missconception has been widely spread by the english written press since ages. The Rafale was not optimised for ground attack, it was design to excell in all types of mission that the French Air Force and Navy would have to carry out by replacing all fighter types that are currently in the french inventory (seven planes) some of which are air superiority fighters....
That said the Typhoon which was originally designed to master in air-to-air is generally recognised as having the edge in that field, especially at high altitude. But that does not mean the Rafale was optimised for ground attack.

That said all in all, the two planes are quite comparable and I have the feeling they will become more and more comparable as they become more mature in the years to come.



Stephane
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