Dassault Rafale


Dassault Rafale
Rafale
A Rafale B (foreground), and a Rafale C (background) of the French Air Force
Role Multirole fighter aircraft
National origin France
Manufacturer Dassault Aviation
First flight 4 July 1986
Introduction 4 December 2000
Status In production, in service
Primary users French Air Force
French Navy
Program cost

39.6 billion (1 January 2008[1])

Unit cost Rafale C:

64 million, US$82.3 million (flyaway cost, 2008)[1]
Rafale M: 70 million, US$90.5 million (flyaway cost, 2008)[1]
Unit cost: 64 million US$90.5 million (dependent on type/variant and can be as high as 90 millionUS$124 million, 2010)[2]

The Dassault Rafale (French pronunciation: [ʁafal], squall)[3] is a French twin-engine delta-wing multi-role jet fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Introduced in 2000, the Rafale is being produced both for land-based use with the French Air Force and for carrier-based operations with the French Navy. It has also been marketed for export to several countries but has not yet received orders.

In the late 1970s, the Air Force and Navy were seeking replacements for its aircraft. To save development costs, France agreed with four other nations to produce an air dominance fighter, but subsequent disagreements led to a split. To satisfy stringent criteria formulated by the Ministry of Defense, Dassault built a technology demonstrator to prove the viability of its new product. Further development led to the current Rafale variants, which embody innovative avionics and aerodynamics, optimised for air supremacy operations.

Contents

Development

Logo with black stylised word "Rafale" against white background
The logo of the Dassault Rafale programme

Requirements

In the mid-1970s, both the French Air Force (Armée de l'Air) and Navy (Marine nationale) had requirements for a new generation of fighters to replace those in or about to enter service.[4] Because their requirements were similar, and to reduce cost, both departments issued a common request for proposal.[5] Meanwhile, Italy, Spain, West Germany, France and the United Kingdom agreed to jointly develop a new fighter, although the latter three had their own aircraft developments.[6] A number of factors led to the eventual split between France and the four countries. It wanted Dassault to lead the grouping; moreover, France demanded a swing-role fighter that was lighter than a design desired by the other four nations.[4] For these reasons, France and the other nations split in 1985, after which France committed to its own design.[7][8] These nations would develop what would later be named the Eurofighter Typhoon.[9][10]

Technology demonstrator

The Dassault Rafale A technology demonstrator in 2006

Back in France, the government proceed with its own programme. The French Ministry of Defense required an aircraft capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground, all-day and adverse weather operations. It would perform roles previously filled by an assortment of dedicated platforms, including the Jaguar, F-8P Crusader, Mirage F1C/R/T, Mirage 2000/N, Etendard IVPM and Super Etendard.[4] In June 1982, Dassault announced it was developing a successor to the Mirage 2000.[6] On 13 April 1983, France awarded Dassault a contract for two Avion de Combat eXpérimental (ACX) demonstrators, later revised down to one. The resultant Rafale A technology demonstrator was a large-delta winged fighter, with all-moving foreplanes, embodying fly-by-wire (FBW) flight control system.[4] The technology demonstrator was rolled out in December 1985 in Saint-Cloud, before made its maiden flight on 4 July 1986 from Istres.[4] It was initially powered by General Electric F404-GE-400 afterburning turbofans found on the F-18 Hornet, instead of the Snecma M88, to reduce the risk that often come with a first flight, and since the M88 was not considered sufficiently mature for the initial trials programme.[3][4] It was not until May 1990 when it replaced the port F404 in the demonstrator, thereafter it reached Mach 1.4 and demonstrated supercruise. After 865 sorties, Rafale A was retired in January 1994.[4]

With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, signalling the end of the Cold War, the French government considerably cut the defense budget. This resulted in the reorganisation of the Air Force, the phasing out of the Mirage 5F and the decision to upgrade 55 Mirage F1Cs to tactical fighter configuration, the Mirage F1CT. Budgets that would otherwise have been spent on the Rafale program were instead diverted elsewhere.[4]

Testing

To meet various roles expected to be performed by the new platform, the Air Force required two variants – the single-seat "Rafale C", with C standing for chasseur (fighter), and the "Rafale B" , with B standing for biplace (two-seater). The prototype of the C model (designated C01) completed its first flight on 19 May 1991, signalling the start of a test programme which primarily aims to expand the flight envelope, test the M88-2 engines and, later, man/machine interface and weapons.[11] Due to budget constraints, the second single-single-seat prototype was never built.[12] The C01 differed significantly from the Rafale A. Although superficially identical to the technology demonstrator, it was smaller and more stealthy through the coating the canopy with gold, re-designing the fuselage-fin joint, and the addition of radar-absorbent materials (RAM). This aircraft also saw extensive application of composite and other materials, which both reduce the radar cross-section (RCS) and weight. Moreover, Dassault opted for the absence of variable engine inlets and a dedicated air brake, which lessens maintenance loads and saves weight.[13]

The B01, the only prototype of the two-seat B variant, made its maiden flight on 30 April 1993.[11] It is 350 kilograms (772 lb) heavier than the single-seater, but carries 400 litres (106 US gal) less fuel. The craft was used for weapon-system testing. Later it saw validation roles regarding weapon separation and, specifically, the carriage of heavy-loads. The aircraft normally flies with 2,000-litre (528 USgal) external tanks, two Apache/Scalp cruise missiles, in addition to four air-to-air missiles[14]

A French Navy Rafale M performing a touch-and-go landing on the deck of the carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74).

The Navy, meanwhile, sought a carrier-based aircraft to supersede its fleet of ageing Etendard IPVMs, F-8P Crusaders and Super Etendard Modernises. Faced with no funds with which to develop a suitable fighter, the Navy was forced into modernising the Crusaders. Eventually, the requirement was met with the Rafale M, with M standing for Marine. The prototype (M01) first flew on 12 December 1991, followed by the second on 8 November 1993.[11][15] It features greatly reinforced undercarriage to cope with the phenomenal stress on landing, an arrestor hook, and "jump strut" nosewheel, which only extends as the aircraft takes-off during a catapult launch.[11] It also features a built-in ladder, carrier-based microwave landing system, and the new fin-tip Telemir system which enables its inertial navigation system to communicate with the aircraft carrier.[14] Altogether, the modifications and additions makes it 500 kilograms (1,100 lb) heavier than the other variants.[16] Nevertheless, Rafale M still retains high commonality with the Air Force's variants, although this means inability of its multi-spar wings to be folded (a vital asset with carrier-borne operations). However, this coincided with the then latest nuclear-powered carrier to enter service, the Charles de Gaulle, which was larger than the FS Foch and Clemenceau.[14]

Catapult trials were initially carried out between during July–August  1992 at NAS Lakehurst in New Jersey, and early the following year, as France had no land-based catapult test facility. The aircraft then undertook trials aboard the carrier FS Foch in April 1993. At the controls of Dassault's chief test pilot, Yves Kerhervé, M02 made its maiden flight in November that year, while the first prototype undergoes the third round of testing at Lakehurst in November and December.[16]

Procurement and production

Initially, the Rafale B was to be just a trainer, but the Gulf War and Kosovo War showed that a second crew member is invaluable on strike and reconnaissance missions, and therefore more Rafale Bs were ordered, replacing some Rafale Cs. In 1991, the Air Force switched its preferences towards the two-seater, announcing that 60% of the Rafale fleet would be made up of the variant.[17] The AdA originally envisaged taking delivery of 250 Rafales, but this was revised downwards to 234 aircraft, made up of 95 "A" and 139 "B" models";[15][18] this was further reduced to 212 aircraft.[17] The Navy, meanwhile, had 60 Rafales on order, down from 86 due to budget cuts.[15][17] Of the 60, 25 would be M single-seaters and two-seat 35 Ns.[18]

Production of the first aircraft formally started in December 1992, but was suspended in November 1995 due to political and economic uncertainty. Production only resumed in January 1997 after the Ministry of Defense and Dassault agreed on 48-aircraft (28 firm and 20 options) production run with delivery between 2002 and 2007.[17] It was not until 1999 that a production Rafale M flew.[citation needed] A combined 180 Rafales have been ordered as of 2011.[19]

Landscape photograph of two jet parked side-by-side on carrier deck, with faint white line running down the middle.
Two Rafales on the deck of the Charles de Gaulle by sunrise.

The marine version has a high priority since it replaces the older F-8E(FN) Crusader.[citation needed] Service deliveries began in 2001 and the type entered service on 4 December 2000, though the first squadron, Flotille 12, did not actually reform until 18 May 2001. The unit embarked on the Charles de Gaulle in 2002, becoming fully operational on 25 June 2004, following an extended operational evaluation that included flying limited escort and tanker missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom over Afghanistan.[citation needed]

The Armee de l'Air received its first three Rafale Bs (to F2 standards) in late December 2004. They went to the Centre d'Expériences Aériennes Militaires (CEAM) at Mont-de-Marsan for operational evaluation and associated pilot conversion training.[15]

The total programme cost, as of 2010, is around €40.690 billion, which translates to a unit programme cost of approximately €142.3 million. The unit flyaway price as of 2010 is €101.1 million for the F3+ version.[1]

Design

Aerodynamics

The Rafale features a delta wing combined with active integrated (close-coupled) canard to maximize maneuverability, while withstanding 9 g or −3 g) and maintaining stability in flight.[citation needed] The canard also reduces landing speed to 115 knots (213 km/h; 132 mph). According to internal sources (Les essais en vol du Rafale) low speed limit is 100 knots (190 km/h; 120 mph) but 80 knots (150 km/h; 92 mph) is sometimes demonstrated during airshows by pilots willing to underline low speed qualities of the aircraft." "A minimum of 15 kt have been reached during simulated combat vs a Mirage 2000 by an aggressive pilot."[verification needed] The aircraft can operate from 400-metre (1,300 ft) runways.[20]

Sensors and avionics

Weapon complement of the Rafale

Built as an air supremacy fighter, the Rafale features an advanced avionics suite designed to provide its pilots with excellent situational awareness. It sports an integrated electronic survival system named "SPECTRA", which embodies a software-based virtual stealth technology. The SPECTRA electronic warfare system protects the aircraft against airborne and ground threats.[citation needed] The real-time data link allows communication with other aircraft and fixed and mobile command and control centres. The Rafale will also eventually use the Damoclès electro-optical/laser designation pod that brings full day and night LGB capability, though the Armée de l'Air's current plans call for Rafale to use stand off weapons, and for the LGB role to be handled by Dassault Mirage 2000s.[citation needed] The most important sensor is the Thales RBE2 passive electronically scanned multi-mode radar. Thales claims to have achieved unprecedented levels of situational awareness through the earlier detection and tracking of multiple air targets for close combat and long-range interception, as well as real time generation of three-dimensional maps for terrain-following and the real time generation of high resolution ground maps for navigation and targeting.[citation needed]

SPECTRA's capabilities were trusted to the extent that French pilots began operations against Libya without the need for SEAD support aircraft or cruise missile bombardment.[21]

In circumstances when signature management is required, the Rafale can use several passive sensor systems. The front-sector electro-optical system or Optronique Secteur Frontal (OSF), developed by Thales, is completely integrated within the aircraft and can operate both in the visible and infrared wavelengths.[citation needed]

The Rafale core systems employ an Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA), called MDPU (Modular Data Processing Unit). This architecture hosts all the core functions of the aircraft as Flight management system, Data Fusion, Fire Control, Man-Machine Interface, etc.[22][N 1] The total value of the radar, electronic communications and self-protection equipment is about 30% of the cost of the entire aircraft.[23]

The Rafale's ground attack capability is limited by the lack of an advanced targeting pod,[24] but this will be rectified with the addition of Thales Optronique's Reco NG/Areos reconnaissance and Damocles targeting pods on the F-3 standard.[23]

The new Thales RBE2 AA Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar is planned to replace the existing passively scanned array of the RBE2. Thales will begin deliveries of the new radar in August 2010 for use on the fourth tranche of Rafale aircraft. A total of 60 tranche four aircraft have been ordered to date. The first AESA-equipped squadron of aircraft is expected to become operational in 2012. Thales also claims that the AESA radar will improve the operational capabilities of the aircraft in terms of range, interception, tracking ability and countermeasures.[25] Rafale's attempts at export sales have been hindered by a lack of AESA capability, "a baseline requirement for a 21st-century aircraft.”[26]

Cockpit

The cockpit uses a Martin-Baker Mark 16F "zero-zero” ejection seat, i.e., capable of being used at zero speed and zero altitude. The seat is inclined 29° to improve G-force tolerance. The canopy hinges open to the right. An on-board oxygen generating system developed by Air Liquide is provided to eliminate the need for multiple oxygen canisters.[27]

The cockpit includes a wide-angle holographic head-up display (HUD), two head-down flat-panel colour multi-function displays (MFDs) and a center collimated display. Display interaction is by means of touch input for which the pilot wears silk-lined leather gloves. In addition, in full development, the pilot will have a head-mounted display (HMD).[28]

The pilot flies the aircraft with a side-stick controller mounted on his right and a throttle on his left. These incorporate multiple hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) controls. The Rafale cockpit is also planned to include Direct Voice Input (DVI), allowing for pilot action by voice commands.[29]

Radar signature reduction features

Although not a true stealth aircraft, the Rafale, according to Dassault, has a reduced radar cross-section. While most of the stealth design features remain classified, extensive use of composite materials and serrated patterns on the trailing edges of the wings and canards help to reduce the radar cross-section.[30]

Standards

Initial deliveries of the Rafale M were to the F1 ("France 1") standard. This meant that the aircraft was suitable for air-to-air combat, replacing the F-8 Crusader as the Aviation Navale's carrier-based fighter, but not equipped or armed for air-to-ground operations. Actual deliveries (to Flotille 11 some time after 2007) are to the "F2" standard, giving air-to-ground capability, and replacing the Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard in the ground attack role and the Dassault Étendard IVP in the reconnaissance role. This will leave the Rafale M as the only fixed-wing combat aircraft flown by the Aviation Navale, and plans are to upgrade all airframes to the "F3" standard, with terrain-following 3D radar and nuclear capability, from early in the decade following 2010.[31] This upgrade has been brought forwards to 2010 for the first 10 French Navy Rafale F-1s.[32]

The first Rafale C delivered to the Armée de l'Air, in June 2005, was to the "F2" standard, and it is anticipated that upgrades similar to those of the navy will take place in the future. The Rafale replaces the SEPECAT Jaguar, Mirage F1 and the Mirage 2000 in the Armée de l'Air.

Engines

The Snecma M88 engine in the Rafale develops 50 kN (11,250 lbf) of dry thrust and 75 kN (16,900 lbf) with afterburners. They allow it to supercruise with four missiles and a 1,250-liter belly drop tank. The naval version (Rafale M) can supercruise up to Mach 1.4 while carrying six air-to-air missiles (MBDA MICA).[33][34]

Operational history

France

A Rafale M landing on an aircraft carrier.

The Rafale is now in service in the trials and training role with the French Air Force (CEAM/EC 5/330). EC 1/7 at Saint-Dizier was expected to receive a nucleus of 8–10 Rafale F2s during the summer of 2006, and was set to enter full operational service (with robust air-to-air and stand off air-to-ground precision attack capabilities) during mid-2007 (when EC 1/7 will have about 20 aircraft, 15 two-seaters and 5 single-seaters).[35] The aircraft is already in limited operational service with the French Navy (Flotille 12F) in the air-to-air role, and has undertaken a great deal of air-to-ground trials and evaluation work.

The Rafale M is fully compatible with US Navy aircraft carriers and some French Navy pilots have qualified to fly the aircraft from US Navy flight decks.[36] The first Rafale deployed in a combat zone were those of the French Navy during "Mission Héraclès", the French participation in "Operation Enduring Freedom". They flew from the Charles de Gaulle over Afghanistan as early as 2002, but the F1 standard precluded air-to-ground missions and the Rafale did not see any action. In June 2002, while Charles de Gaulle was in the Arabian Sea, Rafale conducted several patrols near the India-Pakistan border.[37]

In 2007, after a "crash program" enhancement six Rafales were given the ability to drop laser-guided bombs, in view of engaging them in Afghanistan. Three of these aircraft belonging to the Air Force were deployed to Dushanbe in Tajikistan, while the three others were Rafale Marines of the Navy on board the Charles De Gaulle.[38] The first mission occurred on 12 March 2007, and the first GBU-12 was launched on 28 March in support of embattled Dutch troops in Southern Afghanistan, marking the operational début of the Rafale.[39]

The Rafale is planned to be the French Air Force's primary combat aircraft until 2040 or later.[40] In November 2009 the French government ordered an additional 60 aircraft to take the total order for the French Air Force and Navy to 180.[41] On 4 June 2010, a French Rafale became the first jet fighter of a foreign navy to have its jet engine changed on board an American aircraft carrier, during an exercise on the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75).[42] In February 2011, Rafales flew demonstrations in India, including air-to-air combat against Su-30s.[43]

On 19 March 2011, French Rafale jets conducted reconnaissance and strike missions over Libya in Opération Harmattan, in support of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, being the first to attack and destroy heavy artillery units that had reached the outskirts of Benghazi.[44] On 24 March 2011 it was reported that a Rafale shot down a Libyan Air Force G-2/Galeb light ground attack/trainer jet.[45] A few hours later an armed forces spokesman specified that the aircraft was destroyed on the runway with an AASM air-to-ground missile just after it had landed.[46] By 14 August 2011, the 10 Rafale of the French Navy aboard the carrier Charles de Gaulle had flown 840 attack sorties (with Super Etendard), 390 reconnaissance sorties (Rafale only), and 240 refueling sorties (with Super Etendard) on buddy-buddy refueling missions.

Potential customers

Dassault Rafale Taxies to the runway for take off at Aero India 2011, Yelahanka Air force base Bangalore.

The Rafale is one of the six fighter jets competing for India's tender for 126 multi-role fighters. In April 2009, media reports surfaced stating that the Indian Air Force (IAF) had disqualified Rafale from the competition for not meeting minimum performance requirements of the IAF.[47] However, India's Defence Ministry dismissed these media reports and said that the Rafale was still in the race for the contract.[48] In April 2011, the IAF shortlisted Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon for the $12 billion contract.[49]

In January 2006, the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche reported that Libya wanted to order 13–18 Rafales "in a deal worth as much as $3.24 billion".[50] In December 2007, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi openly declared the Libyan interest in the Rafale.[51] Greece has also expressed an interest in the French fighter, possibly in exchange for its fleet of Mirages.[52] Libya did not order any Rafales; ironically, less than three years later during the Libyan uprising of 2011, French Rafales were dispatched over Libya as a part of the 2011 military intervention in Libya; missiles such as SCALP EG were deployed from carrier-based Rafales.[53] During 2006, the British Royal Navy considered the Rafale as an alternative to the F-35 JSF, but decided to proceed with the F-35.[54][55] However the aircraft carriers will be modified in order to operate CATOBAR aircraft such as Rafales.[56]

In February 2007, it was reported that Switzerland was considering the Rafale and other fighters to replace its F-5 Tiger IIs.[57] The one month evaluation started in October 2008 at Emmen Airforce Base consisting of approx. 30 evaluation flights. The Rafale along with the Gripen and the Eurofighter were to be evaluated.[58] In September, La Tribune reported that a sale to Morocco had fallen through, the government selecting the F-16 instead.[59] In October 2007, La Tribune's earlier report appeared to have been confirmed that the Rafale would not be bought.[60]

In January 2008, O Estado de S. Paulo reported that the Brazilian Defence Minister visited France to discuss the possibility of acquiring Rafale fighters for the F-X2 program. In June 2008, the Brazilian Air Force divulged a Request For Information to the following companies and their aircraft: F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-35 Lightning II, Dassault Rafale, Su-35, Gripen NG and Eurofighter Typhoon.[61] In October 2008, it was reported that Brazilian Air Force had selected three finalists for F-X2; Dassault Rafale, Gripen NG and Boeing F/A-18E/F.[62] On 7 September 2009, during a visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Brazil announced a pact with France and that the nations are in contract negotiations to buy 36 Rafales.[63] The crash of two Rafales in the Mediterranean off Perpignan on 24 September 2009 after a midair collision, comes at a delicate time for the Brazil-France negotiations.[64] On 5 January 2010, media reports stated that the final evaluation report by the Brazilian Air Force placed the Gripen ahead of the other two contenders. The decisive factor was apparently the overall cost of the new fighters, both in terms of unit cost, and operating and maintenance costs.[65][66] Some sources say that Rafale was chosen by the Defense Ministry,[67] but there has been no confirmation on this. In February, 2011, the press announced that the new president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, had decided in favor of the American F-18 fighter.[68] On 28 February 2011, the Minister of Finance, Guido Mantega, said the issue would not be resolved in the current year, citing "lack of resources", due to budgetary constraints for the new fiscal year.[69]

In February 2009, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that Kuwait was considering buying up to 28 Rafales, but with no firm order then. The same month, France offered Rafales to Oman to replace its ageing fleet of SEPECAT Jaguars.[70] But in 2010, Oman prefers to order the Typhoon.[71]

The United Arab Emirates Air Force was interested in an upgraded version of the Rafale with more powerful engines and radar, and advanced air to air missiles.[72] They have now started to explore a purchase of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet[73] or Eurofighter Typhoon.[74] This is reported to be because France's Defense Minister Hervé Morin has asked the UAE to pay 2 billion euros of the total cost to upgrade the Rafale.[75] Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has called the French offer "uncompetitive and unworkable".[76]

Leaked United States State Department cables have said that "French representatives have tried to spin the Rafale's dismal performance in the global market to be the result of U.S. government political pressure rather than the aircraft's shortcomings".[77]

Variants

Rafale B/C
Rafale A
A technology demonstrator that first flew in 1986. It has now been retired.
Rafale D
Dassault used this designation (D for discret or stealthy) in the early 1990s for the production versions for the Armée de l'Air, to emphasise the new semi-stealthy features they had added to the design.
Rafale B
This is the two-seater version for the Armée de l'Air; delivered to ECE 05.330 in 2004.
Rafale C
This is the single-seat version for the Armée de l'Air; delivered to ECE 05.330 in June 2004.
Rafale M
This is the carrier-borne version for the Aéronavale, which entered service in 2002. The Rafale M weighs about 500 kg (1,100 lb) more than the Rafale C. Very similar to the Rafale C in appearance, the M differs in the following respects:
  • Strengthened to withstand the rigors of carrier-based aviation
  • Stronger landing gear
  • Longer nose gear leg to provide a more nose-up attitude for catapult launches
  • Deleted front centre pylon (to give space for the longer gear)
  • Large stinger-type tailhook between the engines
  • Built-in power operated boarding ladder
  • Carrier microwave landing system
  • "Telemir" inertial reference platform that can receive updates from the carrier systems.
Rafale N
The Rafale N, originally called the Rafale BM, was planned to be a two-seater version for the Aéronavale. Budget constraints and the cost of training extra crew members have been cited as the grounds for its cancellation.

Operators

 France
180 ordered, 93 delivered as of December 2010[19]

Accidents

  • On 6 December 2007, a French Air Force twin-seat Rafale crashed during a training flight. The pilot, who was the only person on board the fighter, was killed in the accident.[78]
  • On 24 September 2009, two French Navy Rafales returning to the Charles de Gaulle after unarmed test flights collided in mid-air about 30 kilometers (19 mi) from the town of Perpignan in southwest France. One test pilot, identified as François Duflot was killed in the accident, while the other was successfully rescued.[79]
  • On 28 November 2010, a Rafale from carrier Charles de Gaulle crashed in the Arabian Sea. This aircraft was supporting Allied operations in Afghanistan. The pilot ejected safely and was recovered by a SAR helicopter from the carrier. Later reports said the engine stopped after being starved of fuel due to confusion by the pilot over the operation of valves in the fuel tanks.[80]

Specifications

A Rafale M flies above the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis.

Data from Dassault Aviation,[81] Superfighters,[82] French Navy,[83] International Directory of Military Aircraft[84]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1–2
  • Length: 15.27 m (50.1 ft)
  • Wingspan: 10.80 m (35.4 ft)
  • Height: 5.34 m (17.5 ft)
  • Wing area: 45.7 m² (492 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 9,500 kg (C), 9,770 kg (B),[83] 10,196 kg (M) ()
  • Loaded weight: 14,016 kg (30,900 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 24,500 kg (C/D), 22,200 kg (M) (54,000 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Snecma M88-2 turbofans
    • Dry thrust: 50.04 kN (11,250 lbf) each
    • Thrust with afterburner: 75.62 kN (17,000 lbf) each

Performance

Armament

  • Guns: 1× 30 mm (1.18 in) GIAT 30/719B cannon with 125 rounds
  • Hardpoints: 14 For Armée de l'Air version (Rafale B,C), 13 for Aéronavale version (Rafale M) with a capacity of 9,500 kg (21,000 lb) external fuel and ordnance
  • Missiles:
  • Others:
    • Thales Damocles targeting pod
    • RECO NG reconnaissance pod
    • up to 5 drop tanks
    • The Rafale can also carry a buddy-buddy refuelling pod[85]

Avionics

See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists

References

Notes
  1. ^ Quote: "The core of the enhanced capabilities of the RAFALE lies in a new Modular Data Processing Unit (MDPU). It is composed of up to 18 flight line-replaceable modules, each with a processing power 50 times higher than that of the 2084 XRI type computer fitted on the early versions of Mirage 2000-5."
Citations
  1. ^ a b c d Rapport public annuel 2010 : la conduite des programmes d'armement
  2. ^ Senat 2009. "Projet de loi de finances pour 2009 - Défense - Equipement des forces (in French). senat.fr, 2009. Retrieved: 5 November 2011.
  3. ^ a b Spick 2000, p. 433.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Williams 2002, p. 92
  5. ^ "Omnirole by design". Dassault Aviation. 2006. http://www.dassault-aviation.com/en/defense/rafale/omnirole-by-design.html?L=1. [dead link]
  6. ^ a b Eden et al 2004, p. 168
  7. ^ Lewis, Paul. "3 European Countries plan Jet Fighter Project." The New York Times, 3 August 1985, p. 31.
  8. ^ Donne, Michael. "Why three into one will go; Europe's new combat aircraft." Financial Times, 3 August 1985.
  9. ^ Spick 2000, pp. 432, 436.
  10. ^ Williams 2002, pp. 50, 92.
  11. ^ a b c d Eden et al 2004, p. 169
  12. ^ Williams 2002, pp. 92–93
  13. ^ Williams 2002, p. 93
  14. ^ a b c Williams 2002, p. 94
  15. ^ a b c d "Le programme Rafale" (in French). Avions-militaires.net. http://www.avions-militaires.net/rafale/programme.php. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  16. ^ a b Williams 2002, p. 95
  17. ^ a b c d Eden et al 2004, p. 170
  18. ^ a b Williams 2002, p. 108
  19. ^ a b c d "'Projet de loi de finances pour 2011: Défense – Equipement des forces" (in French). Sénat of France, 2010. Retrieved: 2 April 2011.
  20. ^ "Rafale." Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved: 8 August 2008.
  21. ^ de Briganti, Giovanni. "Rafale in Combat: “War for Dummies”." defense-aerospace, 31 May 2011.
  22. ^ "Rafale." Dassault Aviation, 12 June 2005. Retrieved: 15 October 2010.
  23. ^ a b Hoyle, Craig. "Paris Air Show: Rafale's fighting chance." Flightglobal.com, 10 June 2009. Retrieved: 19 March 2011.
  24. ^ "Jet, set, go!" week.manoramaonline.com, 16 April 2011. Retrieved: 16 April 2011.
  25. ^ Tran, Pierre. "Thales To Deliver AESA Radars." Defense News, 6 July 2010. Retrieved: 8 July 2010.
  26. ^ Lindsey, David. "Rivals Vie To Build Europe’s 1st AESA Radars". Defense News, 16 July 2010.
  27. ^ OBOGS > Air Liquide
  28. ^ "Rafale Au coeur du cockpit (French)." (English translation) avions-militaires.net.
  29. ^ "FLIGHT TEST: Dassault Rafale – Rampant Rafale" by Peter Collins at flightglobal.com
  30. ^ "Optimized airframe." dassault-aviation.com. Retrieved: 15 October 2010.
  31. ^ "Rafale F3 Multiyear Procurement Contract Awarded." deagel.com. Retrieved: 15 October 2010.
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Bibliography

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