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Subject: UK Pilot flight test the Rafale F3
Bluewings12    11/9/2009 1:57:05 PM
By Peter Collins : Chapter 1 , the aircraft : "Most advanced Allied air forces now have operational fleets of fourth-generation fighters (defined by attributes such as being fly-by-wire, highly unstable, highly agile, net-centric, multi-weapon and multi-role assets). These Western types include the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen NG. The Boeing F-15E and Lockheed Martin F-16 have an older heritage, but their latest upgrades give them similar multi-role mission capabilities. Of the above group, only the Super Hornet and Rafale M are capable of aircraft-carrier operations. As these fourth-generation fighters' weapons, sensor systems and net-centric capabilities mature, the likelihood of export orders for such an operationally proven package becomes much more realistic. On behalf of Flight International, I became the first UK test pilot to evaluate the Rafale in its current F3 production standard, applicable to aircraft for both French air force and French navy frontline squadrons. The "proof-of-concept" Rafale A first flew in 1986 as an aerodynamic study, leading to the programme's formal launch two years later. The slightly smaller single-seat Rafale C01 and two-seat B01 for the French air force and single-seat M01 and M02 prototypes for the navy flew from 1991. The first production-standard Rafale flew in 1998, and entered service with the navy's 12F squadron at Landivisiau in 2004 in the F1 (air-to-air) standard. Deliveries of the air force's B- and C-model aircraft started in 2006 in the F2 standard, dubbed "omnirole" by Dassault. Since 2008, all Rafales have been delivered in the F3 standard, which adds reconnaissance pod integration and MBDA's ASMP-A nuclear weapon capability. All aircraft delivered in earlier production standards will be brought up to the F3 configuration over the next two years. The French forces plan to purchase 294 Rafales: 234 for the air force and 60 for the navy. Their Rafales are set to replace seven legacy fighter types, and will remain as France's principal combat aircraft until at least 2040. To date, about 70 Rafales have been delivered, with a current production rate of 12 a year. Rafale components and airframe sections are built at various Dassault facilities across France and assembled near Bordeaux, but maintained in design and engineering configuration "lockstep" using the virtual reality, Dassault-patented Catia database also used on the company's Falcon 7X business jet. Rafale software upgrades are scheduled to take place every two years, a complete set of new-generation sensors is set for 2012 and a full mid-life upgrade is planned for 2020 SUPERB PERFORMANCE The Rafale was always designed as an aircraft capable of any air-to-ground, reconnaissance or nuclear strike mission, but retaining superb air-to-air performance and capabilities. Air force and navy examples have made three fully operational deployments to Afghanistan since 2005, giving the French forces unparalleled combat and logistical experience. The commitments have also proved the aircraft's net-centric capabilities within the co-ordination required by coalition air forces and the command and control environment when delivering air support services to ground forces. Six Rafale Ms recently carried out a major joint exercise with the US Navy from the deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The air force's B/C fighters have 80% commonality with the navy's Rafale M model, the main differences being the latter's navalised landing gear, arrestor hook and some fuselage longitudinal strengthening. Overall, the M is about 300kg (661lb) heavier than the B, and has 13 hardpoints, against the 14 found on air force examples. Dassault describes the Rafale as omnirole rather than multirole. This is derived from the wide variety of air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons, sensor pods and fuel tank combinations it can carry; the optimisation of aircraft materials and construction; and the full authority digital FBW controlling a highly agile (very aerodynamically unstable) platform. This also gives the aircraft a massive centre of gravity range and allows for a huge combination of different mission stores to be carried, including the asymmetric loading of heavy stores, both laterally and longitudinally. Other attributes include the wide range of smart and discrete sensors developed for the aircraft, and the way that the vast array of received information is "data fused" by a powerful central computer to reduce pilot workload when presented in the head-down, head-level and head-up displays. The Rafale is designed for day or night covert low-level penetration, and can carry a maximum of 9.5t of external ordinance, equal to the much larger F-15E. With a basic empty weight of 10.3t, an internal fuel capacity of 4.7t and a maximum take-off weight of 24.5t, the Rafale can lift 140% of additional lo
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french stratege       11/16/2009 6:41:41 PM
Riad Kahwaji, the chief executive of INEGMA, said that if the French jet met all the standards the UAE laid out for it, it could serve the UAE Air Force for the next 20 years.

?This is a new, almost fifth-generation fighter, and that?s exactly what the UAE is asking for. It?ll help them cover their needs for the next 20 years and be a good backing for the F-16.?
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jackjack       11/16/2009 8:53:56 PM
Quite funny how the RCS values for aircraft and even targets are sinking and sinking. The RBE2's tracking range of 100 km was given against a 3 sqm target for MANY years. Just recently the new number of 1 sqm pops up and I have never seen any official source confirming that, just forum posts...
BTW tracking range of the Captor was given against a 5 sqm target and the range stated was WELL BEYOND 160 km. It's actually not really known if that statement was based on miles or nm, that's why you can see some sources stating 185 km. The original statement was made by a RAF pilot and it was not in km anyway. 
RDY's detection range was given with 130 km against a fighter sized target and if the RBE2 is similar it would perfectly comply with the 180 km figure for the RBE2AA I have seen, which is 40% higher as stated by Thales. It should be taken into account that this figure is a detection and not tracking range figure. 
Regarding the MICA IR you have to take into account that the most recent fighters are all equipped with MAWs so you can't be to sure that the missile won't be detected, certainly not by EM emissions but by its heat emissions.

you may recall we had this out before with fs, where i posted a creditable link to 100k at 3m tracking
you also confirmed this and i invited him to post a creditable link to his claimed 100k at 1m
trolls are funny but 2 trolls, bw and fs are hillarious, when they get together and spout their nonsense, reinforcing each other
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sentinel28a       11/17/2009 3:45:24 AM
Yeah, right, FS--it's all an American conspiracy to keep the world-beating Rafale off the open market.  Which somehow doesn't explain the Typhoon and the Gripen, but whatever.  Napoleon also didn't really lose Waterloo...he was just having an off day because his hemmoroids were acting up.
Well, whatever lets you sleep at night is okay with me.
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MK       11/17/2009 8:00:28 AM

No this value was mentionned almost 4 years ago on this forum (including by me).
Anglo Saxons use BTW the ten square feet value (i.e 3m²) for target data, French use metric.

160 km agaisnt a 3 m² target is equivalent to 185 km against a 5 m²
Do the math using radar equation.

A fighter sized target is normally a 10 square feet target so 100 km for RDY against a 1m² target translate almost exactly to a 130 km range on 3 m². Again do the math.
If RBE2 PESA has a 100 km range against a 1 m² target, a REBE2 AESA with a 40% better range will have a 140 km range against a 1 m² target, or a 184 km against a 3 m² target or a 210 km range against a 5 m² target.
A AtoA missile is properled only during few seconds so a Mica IR may fly 50 km after propulsion phase and this distance excess current generation of MAWs.Morover at this distance you do not know if you are the target.

It's not the way things have been reported and trying to spin it the way through radar equations doesn't make it more valid. What about coming up with proper sources for that?
Heat of a fast missile caused by friction can still be detected and there are MAWS not relying on IR or UV anyway.
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french stratege       11/17/2009 3:17:15 PM
"Which somehow doesn't explain the Typhoon and the Gripen, but whatever. "
Typhoon have been sold to a traditional customer of UK (Saudi Arabia ) which has even bought crapy Tornado ADV and give back its money to its best allies, and Austria air force almost a part of Germany Luftwaffe .
Except that, nothing.
Gripen has been sold to few countries and for most lease Gripen at a very low price.
Morover USA prefer largely a UK or a Swedish export since they have leverage on those countries (for exemple on AMRAAM or ITAR components), rather than a French.
France is an ally but also a competitor of USA and can take position opposed of USA and you have no leverage.
But we will sell Rafale in numbers if our governement does the right funding to improve it to keep with our competitors whatever USA or Russia.
Our biggest threat are F35 and Pakfa for the future.
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Lynstyne       11/17/2009 3:24:04 PM
Whilst not the best Dog fighter, I was under the impression from various sources that the tornado ADV did its designed job well ie bomber interceptor with a good ability to loiter over the north sea.
Good radar + Good missiles
Quite why that makes it a crap aircraft i dont know.
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french stratege       11/17/2009 3:35:59 PM
Tornado ADV was enough to intercept bombers.But is crap in air superiority and Saudis needed air superiority and not to intercept bombers since no Russian bomber have ever been seen in Saudi Arabia.They just bought Tornado (while they had already F15) to give their share to british.
Saudi Arabia market is simple: 50% to USA, 30% to British, 20% for French (we have traditionally naval and ground system markets), and bribes for royals and tribes.
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Lynstyne       11/17/2009 3:46:26 PM
Wrong aircraft for the job doesnt make it a bad plane.
That quibble aside i dont know myself if the Saudis had a requirement for an interceptor in addition to the F15 Air superiority fighter. or whether it was part of another deal, or an interim aircraft until Typhoon - so i wont dispute youre workshare comments
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albywan       11/17/2009 4:29:06 PM

Our biggest threat are F35 and Pakfa for the future.


Yet the aircraft struggles to sell against 4th generation competitors...
Mate, you're dreaming...
A dream as big as the Maginot Line... and we all know how effective that was.

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Bluewings12       11/17/2009 4:53:00 PM
FS :
""BW , if I remember well French M2000-5 use the RDY-1 and not the RDY-2""
Of course , for some reason I was thinking about the -5 Mk2 . My bad ...
On the other , you also made a mistake ;-)
You said :
""BTW RF guided missiles have low probability to lock a LO target unless at very close range.So missile has to be guided almost until last km by plane radar and datalink and so differ few of a semiactive missile.
You lose benefit of fire and forget missile.""
(Ok , you 're talking about LO target , not VLO )
Unless you forgot what a "Fox-3" is , you are wrong . 
If the target is a F-22 or a B2 , you are correct , the missile needs help all the way to close range . Against a LO target (a la Rafale/SH) an American or French or Russian or Israeli or Indian or Chinese active EM missile (to name a few) will lock at a decent range (10 to 20km ?) . You can do a true fire-and-forget shot . Of course , RWRs , ECMs , etc will kick in .
""Now a missile like MICA IR has an enormous advantage to be silent, as the target may not be manoeuvering since it doesn't detect the missile (which is also not properled after first kilometers).So it extends real efficient range.""
I agree , but what MK said holds a lot of water :
""Regarding the MICA IR you have to take into account that the most recent fighters are all equipped with MAWs so you can't be to sure that the missile won't be detected, certainly not by EM emissions but by its heat emissions""
Surely you responded in kind by saying that the Mica has a very short burst (it also has the fastest acceleration/time ratio of all AtoA missiles) and is harder to detect during launch specialy from long range BVR . It is true .
MK also responded in kind , saying :
""Heat of a fast missile caused by friction can still be detected and there are MAWS not relying on IR or UV anyway.""
I don 't remember the link , but I was reading something on the Net not long ago about it . As I recall , some of the latest IRSTs could (?) detect the heat cone of a fast moving missile at around 15 to 20km in good weather condition . If someone knows a bit more , feel free ;-)
Interesting discussion anyway .
FS , the article you posted is also very interesting . You only copy/pasted a nice quote but that wasn 't the most important stuff . The following is more interesting :
""a deal to replace their 63 ageing Mirage 2000-9 fighters with the top-line Dassault Rafale multi-role aircraft""
Then later on :
""the Mirage 2000-9 are advanced enough that the French air force wants to keep them; that?s one of their best available options.?""
We knew that and we talked about it on another thread . I think that we could easily  "refurbish" the ageing 63 M2000-9s , keep 30 of them for us (Dijon , Cambrai (?)) and sell the rest , 3 Countries have interest in the deal .
Here in Dijon BA-102 , we could just send the 2/2 Wing (Alpha-Jet training Unit) to another airbase and get 30 M2000-9s in complement to our already 35 M2000-5Fs ! That would be a rather formidable force and we could even help the Rafales from St Dizier AB (20 minutes away in Mirage) for possible multirole missions in A-Stan .
That sounds good , don 't you think ?
Then , since France opened an airbase in the UAE , this quote is even more relevant :
""Gen Jean-Paul Palomeros, chief of staff of the French air force, said the UAE?s purchase of a French-built fighter made sense given an already close military relationship between the countries. Using similar or interchangeable hardware made battlefield co-operation easier, he said.?We work together on improving security and air capability,? he said. ?So any improvement that can be done on that field, using the same weapon, the same aircraft, is a nice move towards better efficiency for both of our air forces.?""
The Rafale is indeed the easiest aircraft to integrate within the UAE A
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