Tag Archives: Dassault Aviation

Demonstrator phase

The governments of France and Germany have awarded Dassault Aviation, Airbus, together with their partners MTU Aero Engines, Safran, MBDA and Thales, the initial framework contract (Phase 1A), which launches the demonstrator phase for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

Demonstrator phase launched: Future Combat Air System takes major step forward

This framework contract covers a first period of 18 months and initiates work on developing the demonstrators and maturing cutting-edge technologies, with the ambition to begin flight tests as soon as 2026.

Since early 2019, the industrial partners have been working on the future architecture as part of the programme’s so called Joint Concept Study. Now, the FCAS programme enters into another decisive phase with the launch of the demonstrator phase.

This phase will, in a first step, focus on the main technological challenges per domains:

  • Next Generation Fighter (NGF), with Dassault Aviation as prime contractor and Airbus as main partner, to be the core element of Future Combat Air System;
  • Unmanned systems Remote Carrier (RC) with Airbus as prime contractor and MBDA as main partner;
  • Combat Cloud (CC) with Airbus as prime contractor and Thales as main partner;
  • Engine with Safran and MTU as main partner.

A Simulation Environment will be jointly developed between the involved companies to ensure the consistency between demonstrators.

The launch of the Demonstrator Phase underlines the political confidence and determination of the FCAS partner nations and the associated industry to move forward and cooperate in a fair and balanced manner. The increased momentum enables industry to deploy the necessary resources and best capabilities to develop this decisive European defence project. FCAS will be the cornerstone project guaranteeing Europe’s future operational, industrial and technological sovereignty.

The next important step in the FCAS programme will be the onboarding of Spain and the involvement of additional suppliers from Phase 1B onwards, which will succeed Phase 1A after its successful conclusion.

Intelligence program

On 30 December 2019 the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) ordered the Archange airborne strategic intelligence program, comprising three Dassault Aviation Falcon 8X aircraft equipped with the Thales new-generation payload CUGE (universal electronic warfare capability). A contract has been awarded for the first two aircraft.

The Falcon 8X Archange to serve the French Air Force

Dassault Aviation and the dozens of French companies associated with the Falcon programs wish to thank the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the DGA and the French Air Force for their confidence.

The required level of performance of the Archange Falcons necessitates highly complex integration work, something that is at the core of Dassault Aviation and Thales know-how.

«I am very proud and happy with the decision of the Ministry of the Armed Forces. The Archange Falcon will serve the French forces in the same way as the Falcons 10, 200, 50, 2000, 900 and 7X are already doing it», declared Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. «The special mission Falcons provide the perfect illustration of the dual competences of Dassault Aviation: our civil aircraft benefit from the cutting-edge technologies developed for our combat aircraft, which in return benefit from the industrial processes deployed for the highly competitive production of the Falcon aircraft».

The tri-jet Falcon 8X is the latest addition to the Falcon range. The business jet version can carry 8 passengers and 3 crew members over a distance of 6,450 NM/7,456 miles/12,000 km. It has digital flight controls which stem directly from Dassault Aviation’s experience acquired with the Mirage 2000 and Rafale. It is equipped with enhanced avionics system (EASY) digital flight deck and the totally unrivalled FalconEye combined vision system (CVS).

Exported to more than 90 countries, the Falcon aircraft are flexible and economic to fly. Their handling qualities, aerodynamics and versatility render them capable of fulfilling missions that go beyond civil aviation standards. They are designed by the design office that also develops the Rafale and nEUROn combat aircraft. Over the last 50 years, Dassault Aviation has customized many Falcons for purposes such as medical evacuation, cargo transport, maritime surveillance, electronic warfare, etc. These multirole aircraft represent about 10% of the Falcon fleet in service across the world.

Joint fighter program

According to Reuters, France and Germany have reached an agreement on their joint fighter program and are expected to award a contract to demonstrate the validity of the planned technology by January, Dassault Aviation chief executive said on Monday, November 18.

The contract for a demonstrator of the French-German-Spanish New Generation Fighter is on track for award in January 2020, according to Dassault Aviation’s CEO, and talks about a separate contract for its engine could be concluded this year (DA image)

The contract was initially expected to be awarded this year and the delay had sparked Dassault and Airbus, the leading industrial partners in the project, to pressure France and Germany to make progress.

«There is no more issue right now between the French and German (governments) as far as the FCAS (Future Combat Air System) is concerned», Dassault CEO Eric Trappier told Reuters at the Dubai Airshow. «There is an agreement at the top level and the next step should be the first contract for a demonstrator before the end of January 2020». He also said talks between France’s Safran and Germany’s MTU Aero Engines, which are making the engines, were progressing and that he hoped an agreement would be reached this year.

The project to build a new generation of manned and unmanned warplanes was announced by the leaders of France and Germany two years ago and expanded earlier this year to include Spain.

Dassault and Airbus won a 65 million euro ($72 million) contract in January to develop the concept.

The first test fight of the demonstrator remains on track for 2026, Trappier said, having earlier warned that date could be at risk from delays to the program.

The warplane system is expected to be operational from 2040, with a view to replacing Dassault’s Rafale and the four-nation Eurofighter, in which Airbus represents both Germany and Spain

«We are preparing not for the future of tomorrow but for the future of after tomorrow», Trappier said.

The European joint project faces competition from a British new generation fighter jet project dubbed «Tempest», which Italy joined last month.

Trappier said he did not mind that Britain was pursuing its own program and that it could still join the Franco-German project, but only after the first demonstrator flight. «What is sure is if nobody does anything, that is a problem. If there are two teams it’s better than no team», he said. Trappier also said he expected India to buy additional Rafale warplanes following its initial 36 jet purchase.

Indian Rafale

October 8th, 2019, Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, hosted the handover ceremony of the first Indian Air Force Rafale in Mérignac, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale final assembly facility. The event was placed under the high patronage of the Honourable Shri Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence of India and the Honourable Ms. Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces of France.

Ceremony held in Dassault Aviation Mérignac facility on October 8th, 2019, in the frame of the celebrations of Air Force Day

The ceremony, 3 years after the signature of the contract in 2016 for the acquisition of 36 Rafale to equip the Indian Air Force, marks the concretization of the strategic relationship between India and France and the celebration of the history of mutual trust between India and Dassault Aviation for more than 65 years.

The handover of the first IAF Rafale, materializes the determination of the French Authorities to fulfill the expectations and needs of the Government of India to comfort India’s protection and sovereignty and illustrates the exemplary cooperation between Dassault Aviation and the Indian Air Force, one of the most remarkable partner Dassault Aviation’s has ever worked with.

The setup of the Dassault Reliance JV (DRAL) production facility in Nagpur as well as the significant support of  the educational and scientific policy of the Indian Government through the establishing of an engineering center in Pune, the creation of the «Dassault Skill Academy» and the implementation of a vocational training programme «Aeronautical Structure and Equipment Fitter», demonstrate Dassault Aviation full commitment to the «Make in India» and «Skill India» initiatives in building the foundations for a national aerospace and defence ecosystem to become a worldwide reference of the sector.

Supported by Dassault Aviation partners, Thales already present in Nagpur, Safran to inaugurate its facility in Hyderabad as well as the French aeronautics and defence community among which twenty companies are already settled in India, this approach will mutually benefit both Indian and French industries and will contribute to guaranty both countries to meet tomorrow’s aeronautical challenges.

«I am particularly honored to host this ceremony today as India is part of Dassault Aviation’s DNA. The long and trustful relationship we share is an undeniable success and underpins my determination of establishing for the long term Dassault Aviation in India. We stand alongside the Indian Air Force since 1953, we are totally committed to fulfill its requirements for the decades to come and to be part of India’s ambitious vision for the future», has declared Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.

New Generation Fighter

France and Germany have awarded the first-ever contract – a Joint Concept Study (JCS) – to Dassault Aviation and Airbus for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) programme. The launch of the JCS was announced by the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, and her German counterpart, Ursula von der Leyen, at a meeting today in Paris.

Airbus and Dassault Aviation sign Joint Concept Study contract for Future Combat Air System
Airbus and Dassault Aviation sign Joint Concept Study contract for Future Combat Air System

The decision by both countries represents a milestone to secure European sovereignty and technological leadership in the military aviation sector for the coming decades. Starting date for the two-year study is 20 February 2019.

Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, said: «This new step is the cornerstone to ensure tomorrow’s European strategic autonomy. We, as Dassault Aviation, will mobilize our competencies as System Architect and Integrator, to meet the requirements of the Nations and to keep our continent as a world-class leader in the crucial field of Air Combat Systems».

Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said: «FCAS is one of the most ambitious European defence programmes of the century. With today’s contract signature, we are finally setting this high-technology programme fully in motion. Both companies are committed to providing the best solutions to our Nations with regard to the New Generation Fighter as well as the systems of systems accompanying it. We are truly excited about having been given this opportunity and appreciate the trust placed in both our companies».

This planned Next Generation Weapons System will consist of a highly capable manned «New Generation Fighter» (NGF) teaming with a set of new and upgraded weapons as well as a set of unmanned systems (Remote Carriers) linked by a Combat Cloud and its Ecosystem embedded in a System-of-Systems FCAS architecture.

The JCS is based on the bi-nationally agreed High Level Common Operational Requirements Document (HLCORD) signed at Berlin Air Show ILA in April 2018 between the Defence Ministers of France and Germany as well as respective national concept studies.

Its aim is to conceptualise the different FCAS capabilities and to pave the way for future design, industrialisation, as well as an estimated full operational capability by 2040. The study will prepare and initiate demonstrator programmes for launch at the Paris Air Show in June 2019.

Rafale F4 launched

Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, received the F4-standard development contract for the Rafale combat aircraft on January 14, 2019, during the visit of the Dassault Aviation Mérignac plant by Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed Forces.

Rafale F4 standard launched
Rafale F4 standard launched

The F4 standard is part of the ongoing process to continuously improve the Rafale in line with technological progress and operating experience feedback. The F4 standard marks a new step coming in the wake of the standards F1 (specific to the first aircraft of the French Navy), F2 (air-to-ground and air-to-air capabilities), F3 and F3R (extended versatility).

In our role as industrial architect, we will be responsible for implementing innovative connectivity solutions to optimize the effectiveness of our aircraft in networked combat (new satellite and intra-patrol links, communication server, software defined radio).

New functions will also be developed to improve the aircraft’s capabilities (upgrades to the radar sensors and front sector optronics, helmet-mounted display capabilities), and new weapons will be integrated: Mica NG air-to-air missile and 1,000-kg/2,205-pound Armement Air-Sol Modulaire (AASM) Air-to-Ground Modular Weapon.

Lastly, with regard to availability, we are working under a through-life support contract which will become more «top-down» under the authority of the aircraft manufacturer. F4 will include a new Prognosis and Diagnostic Aid System introducing predictive maintenance capabilities. Other maintenance optimization features are scheduled, particularly with solutions based on Big Data and artificial intelligence. Lastly, the Rafale will be equipped with a new engine control unit.

«The F4 standard guarantees that Rafale will remain at world-class level so that our combat air forces can carry out all their missions with optimum efficiency, whether in coalition operations or completely independently, as required by the French nuclear deterrent», stated Eric Trappier. «This new standard also guarantees that Rafale will remain a credible reference on the export market. Lastly, it confirms the continuous improvement approach and helps develop the manufacturers’ skills».

Validation of the F4 standard is planned for 2024, with some functions becoming available as of 2022.

Dassault Aviation and the 500 French firms associated with the Rafale program thank the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the Defense procurement agency (DGA), the French Air Force and the French Navy for their confidence.

 

ABOUT THE RAFALE

The only totally «omnirole» aircraft in the world, able to operate from a land base or an aircraft carrier, capable of carrying 1.5 times its weight in weapons and fuel, the Rafale has been designed to perform the full spectrum of combat aircraft missions:

  • Interception and air-to-air combat using a 30-mm gun, Mica IR/EM missiles and Meteor missiles.
  • Close air support using a 30-mm gun, GBU laser-guided bombs and AASM GPS-guided bombs.
  • Deep strike using Scalp-Storm Shadow cruise missiles.
  • Maritime strike using the Exocet AM39 Block 2 missile and other air-to-surface weapons.
  • Real-time tactical and strategic reconnaissance using the Areos pod.
  • Buddy-buddy in-flight refueling
  • Nuclear deterrence using the Air-Sol Moyenne Portée (ASMP-A) missile.

The Rafale entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air Force in 2006, gradually replacing the seven types of previous-generation combat aircraft. It has proven itself in external operations in various theatres: Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria. Of the 180 aircraft ordered by France to date, 152 have been delivered. The Rafale fleet currently totals almost 270,000 flight hours, including 40,000 in operations. A total of 96 Rafale aircraft have been ordered by Egypt, Qatar and India.

Maritime Surveillance

The DGA has awarded Dassault Aviation the detailed definition study of the future surveillance and maritime intervention aircraft of the AVSIMAR (AVions de Surveillance et d’Intervention MARitime – Maritime Surveillance and Response Plane) program. This contract is part of a global effort to streamline the acquisition and support of specialized military aircraft, based on the design of Dassault Aviation’s Falcon series business aircraft.

Dassault has been awarded a contract for the definition study for the French Navy’s new maritime surveillance aircraft, based on the Falcon 2000 LXS bizjet and which will replace the present Falcon 50M and Falcon 200 Gardians now in service (Dassault photo)
Dassault has been awarded a contract for the definition study for the French Navy’s new maritime surveillance aircraft, based on the Falcon 2000 LXS bizjet and which will replace the present Falcon 50M and Falcon 200 Gardians now in service (Dassault photo)

A first phase of the program has already identified the best technical solution, based on the Falcon 2000 LXS business aircraft, which is faster and more durable than the aircraft currently in service. The recently awarded study, which has a duration of 12 months, is preparing the acquisition contract planned for 2020. In particular, it must define the necessary adaptations to fulfill the operational missions of surveillance and maritime intervention, which in essence are very varied.

The AVSIMAR program must renew the air component of the French Navy dedicated to the surveillance and intervention for the maritime defense of the territory and the action of the State at sea. This mission is currently performed by 8 Falcon 50M and 5 Falcon 200 Gardian, who will be nearly forty at the time of their replacement. The Falcon 50M has recently distinguished itself by allowing the detection of escaped oil slicks from the two cargo ships colliding off Corsica.

To guarantee the intervention capability of the French Navy, the 2019-2025 military programming law provides for the delivery of the first three aircraft by 2025.

Qualified by the DGA

On 31 October last, the F3-R standard of the Rafale was qualified by the French Defense Procurement Agency (Direction Générale de l’Armement, DGA). The development of this new standard, launched at the end of 2013, was successfully completed by Dassault Aviation and its partners in full compliance with contractual performance, schedule and budget.

Rafale F3-R standard qualified by the DGA
Rafale F3-R standard qualified by the DGA

The F3-R standard is an evolution of the Rafale F3 standard, with the exceptional versatility being further reinforced. It is part of the ongoing process to continuously improve the aircraft in line with the operational requirements and the feedback from experience of the pilots. It enables the Air Force and Navy Rafale aircraft to carry the following equipment and weapons:

The European Meteor long-range air-to-air missile produced by MBDA. This high-performance missile achieves maximum effectiveness thanks to the Thales RBE2 AESA (Radar à Balayage Electronique 2 plans Active Electronically Scanned Array) which equips all production Rafale aircraft delivered since mid-2013. The Rafale is the only operational European combat aircraft equipped with an AESA.

The Thales Talios new-generation laser designator pod. Primarily used for air-to-ground strikes, in daylight or darkness, this pod further enhances the high degree of precision that the Rafale has shown since its first engagements (in 2007 in the Afghan theatre).

The laser homing version of the Safran Air-to-Ground Modular Weapon (Armement Air-Sol Modulaire, AASM). This family of weapons, with GPS primary guidance and an additional booster, is unmatched. It enables the Rafale to destroy targets at ranges of several tens of kilometers with metric precision. The laser homing version is particularly adapted to moving targets.

F3 R also includes upgrades to the Rafale sensors and to systems ensuring total interoperability.

The Rafale continuous improvement approach is now looking to the F4 standard, development of which should begin soon, after completion of the ongoing feasibility studies. This future standard will notably improve the connectivity of the Rafale and its ability to operate as part of a network.

Dassault Aviation and its partners associated with the Rafale program thank the Ministry of Defense, the DGA, the French Air Force and the French Navy for their confidence.

 

About the Rafale

The only totally «omnirole» aircraft in the world, able to operate from a land base or an aircraft carrier, capable of carrying 1.5 times its weight in weapons and fuel, the Rafale has been designed to perform the full spectrum of combat aircraft missions:

  • Interception and air-to-air combat using a 30-mm gun, Mica IR (heat-seeking)/EM (active radar homing) missiles and Meteor missiles;
  • Close air support using a 30-mm gun, Guided Bomb Unit (GBU) laser-guided bombs and AASM GPS-guided bombs;
  • Deep strike using Scalp/Storm Shadow cruise missiles;
  • Maritime strike using the Exocet AM39 Block 2 missile and other air-to-surface weapons;
  • Real-time tactical and strategic reconnaissance using the Areos pod;
  • Buddy-buddy in-flight refueling;
  • Nuclear deterrence using the Air-Sol Moyenne Portée (ASMP)-A missile.

The Rafale entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air Force in 2006, gradually replacing the seven types of previous-generation combat aircraft. The Rafale has proven itself in external operations in various theatres: Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria. Of the 180 aircraft ordered by France to date, 151 have been delivered. The Rafale fleet currently totals almost 260,000 flight hours, including 40,000 in operations.

MALE Program

The first full scale model of the European Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft (MALE RPAS) was unveiled on April 26, 2018 during a ceremony held at the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show, which opened its gates at Schönefeld airport.

Leading aerospace contractors from France, Germany, Italy and Spain unveiled at the Berlin air show a full-scale mockup of the future European MALE drone, emphasizing their commitment to the program (Airbus photo)
Leading aerospace contractors from France, Germany, Italy and Spain unveiled at the Berlin air show a full-scale mockup of the future European MALE drone, emphasizing their commitment to the program (Airbus photo)

The reveal ceremony, led by Dirk Hoke, Airbus Defence and Space Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO and Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Leonardo’s Aircraft Division Managing Director, confirms the commitment of the four European States and Industrial partners to jointly develop a sovereign solution for European Defence and Security.

The unveiling of the full-scale model and the reaffirmed commitment comes after a nearly two-year definition study launched in September 2016 by the four participating nations Germany, France, Italy and Spain and follows the Declaration of Intent to work together on a European MALE unmanned aerial system signed by the countries in May 2015.

«While still a lot of work lies ahead of us, this full-scale model represents a first milestone of what Europe can achieve in a high-technology sector if it bundles its industrial strength and know-how», said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. «The MALE RPAS will become an integral part in guaranteeing Europe’s sovereignty in the future. This programme is ideally suited to meet urgent capability requirements of Europe’s armed forces. This innovative partnership also eases the countries’ constrained budgetary situation through clever pooling of research and development funds», he added.

«Today’s unveiling reflects our companies’ total dedication to the European Defence and Security sovereignty. Cooperation and high technology legitimate the leadership of the European Industry and guarantee the strategic autonomy of Europe», declared Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. «Innovative programmes through efficient partnerships will serve European competitiveness and will offer new alternatives to the off-the-shelf acquisition of non-European products. Dassault Aviation reaffirms its full support to Airbus Defence and Space as programme leader of the MALE RPAS».

«Unmanned technologies and their applications represent one of the key technological foundations for the future evolution of European Defence Industries», said Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Leonardo’s Aircraft Division Managing Director. «The European MALE RPAS is orientated to foster the development of high technologies and will contribute to sustaining key competencies and jobs within Europe providing Armed Forces with a high performance and sovereign operational system», he added.

Qatar confirms order

Dassault Aviation is honored by Qatar’s decision to acquire 24 Rafale aircraft to equip its Air Force. The contract between the State of Qatar and Dassault Aviation is to be signed on Monday, May 4 in Doha in the presence of Mr. François Hollande, President of the French Republic. Following on from the Mirage F1, the Alpha Jet and the Mirage 2000, the Rafale is set to extend the historic partnership between Qatar, France and Dassault Aviation.

The radar cross section of the airframe has been kept to the lowest possible value by selecting the most adequate outer mould line and materials. Most of the stealth design features are classified, but some of them are clearly visible, such as the serrated patterns on the trailing edge of the wings and canards
The radar cross section of the airframe has been kept to the lowest possible value by selecting the most adequate outer mould line and materials. Most of the stealth design features are classified, but some of them are clearly visible, such as the serrated patterns on the trailing edge of the wings and canards

«This new success for the French team demonstrates the Rafale’s operational qualities and confirms the confidence that countries, that are already users of the Mirage 2000, have in our company», said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.

Dassault Aviation, its partners Thales and Safran, and the 500 companies associated with the Rafale programme, are delighted at the announcement of this new contract, constituting further proof of their competitiveness and their industrial and technological know-how.

The Rafale features a delta wing with close-coupled canards. In-house research in computational fluid dynamics has shown the specific benefits of close coupling between the wings and the canards: it ensures a wide range of centre of gravity positions for all flight conditions, as well as benign handling throughout the whole flight envelope.
The Rafale features a delta wing with close-coupled canards. In-house research in computational fluid dynamics has shown the specific benefits of close coupling between the wings and the canards: it ensures a wide range of centre of gravity positions for all flight conditions, as well as benign handling throughout the whole flight envelope.

 

Specifications and performance data

Dimensions

Wingspan:                                                10.90 m/35.76 feet

Length:                                                       15.30 m/50.19 feet

Height:                                                        5.30 m/17.38 feet

Weight

Overall empty weight:                       10,000 kg/22,000 lbs class

Maximum take-off weight:              24,500 kg/54,000 lbs

Fuel (internal):                                         4,700 kg/10,300 lbs

Fuel (external):                                        up to 6,700 kg/14,700 lbs

External load:                                            9,500 kg/21,000 lbs

Store stations

Total:                                                               14

Heavy – wet:                                                5

Performance

Maximum thrust:                                        2×7.5 tons

Limit load factors:                                      -3.2 g/+9 g

Maximum speed (Low altitude):        M = 1.1/750 knots/863 mph/ 1389 km/h

Maximum speed (High altitude):       M = 1.8/1,032 knots/1,187 mph/ 1,911 km/h

Approach speed:                          less than 120 knots/138 mph/222 km/h

Landing ground run:                  1,500 feet/450 m without drag-chute

Service ceiling:                              50,000 feet/15,240 m

Composite materials are extensively used in the Rafale and they account for 70% of the wetted area. They also account for the 40% increase in the max take-off weight to empty weight ratio compared with traditional airframes built of aluminium and titanium
Composite materials are extensively used in the Rafale and they account for 70% of the wetted area. They also account for the 40% increase in the max take-off weight to empty weight ratio compared with traditional airframes built of aluminium and titanium