Tag Archives: Rafale

First three Rafales

The official ceremony marking the acceptance by the Arab Republic of Egypt of its first three Rafales was held on July 20 at the Dassault Aviation flight test center in Istres, under the patronage of His Excellency Mr. Ehab Badawy, Egyptian Ambassador to France, and in the presence of Dassault Aviation Chairman & CEO Eric Trappier.

Dassault Aviation Delivers First Rafales to the Arab Republic of Egypt
Dassault Aviation Delivers First Rafales to the Arab Republic of Egypt

This first delivery comes just five months after the Egyptian decision to acquire 24 Rafales (16 two-seaters and 8 single-seaters) in order to equip its Air Force with a latest-generation multirole fighter capable of meeting the country’s operational requirements and enabling Egypt, with full sovereignty, to secure its geostrategic position in the region. At the same time, an initial group of Egyptian users has been trained in France. Egyptian pilots, trained by the French Air Force, flew the first three Rafales to Cairo on the day after the ceremony.

Eric Trappier declared: «This contract constitutes a new milestone in the cooperation between Dassault Aviation and Egypt since the 1970s – more than 40 years of an exemplary partnership marked by commitment and mutual trust. After the Mirage 5, the Alpha Jet and the Mirage 2000, the Rafale is the fourth Dassault aircraft to fly in Egyptian colors, and Egypt is the first export customer for the Rafale, as it was for the Mirage 2000. We are very pleased with this partnership, which over time has shown its solidity and ensured the durability of the historical links between our two countries. On behalf of Dassault Aviation and its 8,000 employees, its partners Thales and Snecma and the 500 subcontractors, I thank the Egyptian authorities, for the trust they have placed in us once again, and also the authorities and the French armed forces, without whose support this success would not have been possible».

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

Specifications and performance data

DIMENSIONS
Wingspan 35.76 feet/10.90 m
Length 50.19 feet/15.30 m
Height 17.38 feet/5.30 m
WEIGHT
Overall empty weight 22,000 lbs/10,000 kg class
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 54,000 lbs/24,500 kg
Fuel (internal) 10,300 lbs/4,700 kg
Fuel (external) up to 14,700 lbs/6,700 kg
External load 21,000 lbs/9,500 kg
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/1,389 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
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

 

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

Russia, goodbye!

It is said in The Business Standard that the programme for India and Russia to jointly develop a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), long touted as the flagship of a time-tested defence relationship, has run into a stone wall. Documents available with Business Standard indicate India’s defence ministry is cold-shouldering Russian requests to continue the negotiations on a «R&D Draft Contract», which will govern the partnership to develop a futuristic, fifth-generation fighter, reported Ajai Shukla.

Unhappy with the way Russia has handled the joint project to develop India’s future fighter from the Sukhoi T-50 design, the Indian AF is backpedalling on the project
Unhappy with the way Russia has handled the joint project to develop India’s future fighter from the Sukhoi T-50 design, the Indian AF is backpedalling on the project

A letter from Russia’s powerful export agency, Rosoboronexport, points India’s defence ministry has not responded to Russian requests dated February 9 and March 3, which «suggested holding of the negotiations in February and March of 2015».

Sources tell Business Standard this is because air marshals fear the FGFA undermines the rationale for buying the Rafale fighter from France, a $18-20 billion contract that is sputtering through so-far unsuccessful negotiations.

In December 24, 2013, top Indian Air Force (IAF) officials alleged the FGFA would not meet Indian expectations. Business Standard reported that air marshals at a high-level defence ministry meeting (January 21, 2014) claimed: «Russia can’t deliver on Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft. The FGFA has shortfalls… in terms of performance and other technical features». The IAF claimed the FGFA’s current AL-41F1 engines were underpowered; the Russians were reluctant to share critical design information; and the fighter would eventually cost too much.

On January 15, 2014, at a MoD meeting to review progress on the FGFA, the Deputy Chief of Air Staff (DCAS), the IAF’s top procurement official, said:

  • the FGFA’s engine was unreliable;
  • its radar inadequate;
  • its stealth features badly engineered;
  • India’s work share too low;
  • the fighter’s price would be exorbitant by the time it enters service.
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

Contract with Dassault (April 10, 2015) seems logical conclusion of this story. Dassault Aviation, which is the Indian Air Force supplier for more than 60 years, is honored of the repeated trust of the Indian Government and welcomes its intention to finalize the acquisition of 36 Rafale aircraft at conditions that will allow to meet rapidly the security needs of India.

Dassault Aviation is grateful to the Indian Authorities to be given the opportunity to pursue and extend their partnership and underlines its pride in contributing to Indian defense and sovereignty.

By doubling the number of Rafales it will buy directly from France, without waiting for the conclusion of the license-production agreement, India ensures it will get the aircraft as soon as possible and gained extra time to work out local production details.

«Just as we are delivering the first upgraded Mirage 2000, I am delighted by the decision of the Indian Authorities which gives a new impetus to our partnership for the next decades and comes within the scope of the strategic relationship gathering France and India», declared Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.

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

 

Rafale

The Rafale, with its «omnirole» capabilities, is the right answer to the capability approach selected by an increasing number of governments. It fully complies with the requirement to carry out the widest range of roles with the smallest number of aircraft. The Rafale participates in permanent «Quick Reaction Alert» (QRA)/air-defence/air sovereignty missions, power projection and deployments for external missions, deep strike missions, air support for ground forces, reconnaissance missions, pilot training sorties and nuclear deterrence duties. The Air Force single-seat Rafale C, the Air Force two-seat Rafale B, and the naval single-seat Rafale M feature maximum airframe and equipment commonality, and very similar mission capabilities.

Lessons learned from the latest conflicts where air power was used, can be summarized into four overarching expectations about weapon systems by political decision makers:

  • «Versatility», that is the capability, with the same system, to perform different missions.
  • «Interoperability», or the ability to fight in coalition with the allies, using common procedures and standards agreements, and collaborating and communicating in real-time with other systems.
  • «Flexibility», which can be illustrated by the ability to conduct several different missions in the course of the same sortie («omnirole» capability). With this capability, it is possible to switch instantly on the demand of a political decision maker, from a coercion mission («strike force») to a preventive mission (a dissuasive low-altitude, high-speed «show of force»), or even to cancel a mission until the last second (reversibility).
  • «Survivability», that is the capability to survive in a dense threat environment thanks to stealthiness and/or to advanced electronic warfare systems.

The «omnirole» Rafale combines all these advantages: it is relevant against both traditional and asymmetrical threats, it addresses the emerging needs of the armed forces in a changing geopolitical context, and it remains at the forefront of technical innovation. Thanks to its versatility, its adaptability and its ability to meet all air mission requirements, the Rafale is the «poster child» transformational fighter, which provides a way forward to air forces confronted to the requirement of doing «more» with «less», in an ever-changing strategic environment.

The close-coupled canards/delta wing configuration is key to the combat performance of the Rafale: even at high angle-of-attack, it remains fully agile, and its range performance in strike missions with heavy weapon loads is unmatched for such a compact design
The close-coupled canards/delta wing configuration is key to the combat performance of the Rafale: even at high angle-of-attack, it remains fully agile, and its range performance in strike missions with heavy weapon loads is unmatched for such a compact design

 

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

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.

Egypt’s Rafale

Dassault Aviation announced the sale of 24 Rafale fighter aircraft to Egypt on 12 February. Dassault is greatly honored by the Arab Republic of Egypt’s decision to equip its air force with the Rafale. This decision is a continuation of the cooperation that dates back to the 1970s, and has seen the Mirage 5, the Alpha Jet and the Mirage 2000 fly in the colors of Egypt. The Rafale meets the needs of countries that, like Egypt, demand a sovereign air force of the best level.

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

«I would like to thank the highest Egyptian authorities for this strategic and historic partnership. Dassault Aviation will be equal to the faith that they have placed in us yet again», declared Eric Trappier, President and CEO of Dassault Aviation. «I would also like to thank the French authorities, which were behind the Rafale program, and have provided the political support, without which we cannot make any military exports. I would also like to pay tribute to the skills and know-how of the 7,000 people who work on the Rafale at Dassault Aviation, Thales, Safran and for our 500 subcontractors».

The Rafale is the first completely omnirole fighter capable of accomplishing all the missions assigned to combat aircraft (air-air, air-ground, air-sea). It first came into active service with the French Navy and the French Air Force in 2004-2006, gradually replacing seven types of aircraft belonging to the preceding generations. It was deployed in Afghanistan (2007-2012), Libya (2011), in the Sahel-Saharan strip (since 2013) and in Iraq (since September 2014). It was chosen for the Indian Army’s request for proposal for 126 aircraft. Negotiations surrounding the Rafale are currently underway with several governments.

Dassault Aviation produces military aircraft (Rafale, drones) and business aircraft (the Falcons) in the same design office and the same production plants. Its civil activities benefit from the high technology derived from its defense activities and offer an international capacity for industrial development in return. The contract with Egypt consolidates this business model, which is without equal in the aerospace industry. Over the last 50 years, Dassault Aviation has exported 72% of its aircraft to more than 90 countries.

The close-coupled canards/delta wing configuration is key to the combat performance of the Rafale: even at high angle-of-attack, it remains fully agile, and its range performance in strike missions with heavy weapon loads is unmatched for such a compact design
The close-coupled canards/delta wing configuration is key to the combat performance of the Rafale: even at high angle-of-attack, it remains fully agile, and its range performance in strike missions with heavy weapon loads is unmatched for such a compact design

 

Rafale

The Rafale, with its «omnirole» capabilities, is the right answer to the capability approach selected by an increasing number of governments. It fully complies with the requirement to carry out the widest range of roles with the smallest number of aircraft. The Rafale participates in permanent «Quick Reaction Alert» (QRA)/air-defence/air sovereignty missions, power projection and deployments for external missions, deep strike missions, air support for ground forces, reconnaissance missions, pilot training sorties and nuclear deterrence duties. The Air Force single-seat Rafale C, the Air Force two-seat Rafale B, and the naval single-seat Rafale M feature maximum airframe and equipment commonality, and very similar mission capabilities.

Lessons learned from the latest conflicts where air power was used, can be summarized into four overarching expectations about weapon systems by political decision makers:

  • «Versatility», that is the capability, with the same system, to perform different missions.
  • «Interoperability», or the ability to fight in coalition with the allies, using common procedures and standards agreements, and collaborating and communicating in real-time with other systems.
  • «Flexibility», which can be illustrated by the ability to conduct several different missions in the course of the same sortie («omnirole» capability). With this capability, it is possible to switch instantly on the demand of a political decision maker, from a coercion mission («strike force») to a preventive mission (a dissuasive low-altitude, high-speed «show of force»), or even to cancel a mission until the last second (reversibility).
  • «Survivability», that is the capability to survive in a dense threat environment thanks to stealthiness and/or to advanced electronic warfare systems.

The «omnirole» Rafale combines all these advantages: it is relevant against both traditional and asymmetrical threats, it addresses the emerging needs of the armed forces in a changing geopolitical context, and it remains at the forefront of technical innovation. Thanks to its versatility, its adaptability and its ability to meet all air mission requirements, the Rafale is the «poster child» transformational fighter, which provides a way forward to air forces confronted to the requirement of doing «more» with «less», in an ever-changing strategic environment.

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

 

SPECIFICATIONS AND PERFORMANCE

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

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

Farewell to Russia

During the Cold War (or, more precisely, «during the First Cold War», as my friend says) India has worked closely with the Russian military-industrial complex. However, in the beginning of the XXI century, this old friendship cracked.

INS Vikramaditya
INS Vikramaditya

First of all, after Russian aircraft carrier Baku was deactivated in 1996 (it was too expensive to operate on a post-Cold War budget), Russia and India signed a deal for the sale of the ship. Baku was free, while India would pay $800 million for the upgrade and refit of the ship, as well as an additional $1 billion for the aircraft and weapons systems.

The announced delivery date for INS Vikramaditya was 2008; however, India finally agreed to pay an additional $1.2 billion for the project – more than doubling the original cost. Furthermore, in July 2008, it was reported that Russia wanted to increase the price by $2 billion, blaming unexpected cost overruns on the deteriorated condition of the aircraft carrier and citing a «market price» for a new ship of $3-4 billion. On 17 September 2012, malfunctions were detected during sea trials. According to official Russian report, seven out of eight steam boilers of the propulsion machinery were out of order! Because of this, the deadline of the hand over this ship to the Indian Navy was postponed again until October 2013, and INS Vikramaditya was formally commissioned only on November 16, 2013. In May 2014, the carrier was declared operationally deployed along with its embarked air group.

Arjun MBT Mk-II
Arjun MBT Mk-II

Secondly, in 1996 the Indian government decided to mass-produce the new main battle tank at Indian Ordnance Factory’s production facility in Avadi. The Arjun project experienced serious budget overruns; nevertheless, in March 2010 the Arjun tank was pitted against the T-90 in comparative trials and performed well. The Arjun MBT Mk-II is an advanced third generation main battle tank; it had outclassed the T-90 during the trials.

Thirdly, in February 2011, French Rafales flew demonstrations in India, including air-to-air combat against Su-30MKIs. On January 31, 2012, the Indian Air Force (IAF) announced the Rafale as the preferred bidder in the competition with the Eurofighter Typhoon. The contract for 126 Rafales, services, and parts could be worth as much as $20 billion.

Unfortunately, the deal was stalled from disagreements over the fighter production in India. As per the RFP issued in 2007, the first 18 jets are to be imported and the rest manufactured under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). According to the sources, French Dassault was reluctant to stand guarantee for the 108 fighters to be built by HAL as far as liquidity damages and timelines for production are concerned. This, the sources said, is the critical issue that is delaying the final inking.

Dassault Rafale
Dassault Rafale

At last, on December 1, 2014 French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian raised the issue of the multi-billion dollar deal for 126 Rafale combat aircraft during talks with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar who said it would be «resolved in a fast-tracked manner». The Defence Ministry is of the view that the guarantee clause was part of the Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQR) under the RFP that was issued. Dassault had agreed to the ASQR and hence was chosen the winner, the sources maintained.

Dassault Rafale, which would replace India’s Russian-made fleet of MiG-21 and MiG-27 planes, had stood over combat aircraft manufactured by rivals like Boeing and Lockheed Martin. At present, India has only 34 fighter jet squadrons (16-18 planes in each) against the projected need of 45 squadrons.

Indian Air Force
Indian Air Force

 

Specifications and performance data

 Dimensions

Wing span:                                              10.90 m

Length:                                                      15.30 m

Height:                                                       5.30 m

 

Weight

Overall empty weight:                      10 t (22,000 lbs) class

Max. take-off weight:                        24.5 t (54,000 lbs)

Fuel (internal):                                       4.7 t (10,300 lbs)

Fuel (external):                                      up to 6.7 t (14,700 lbs)

External load:                                         9.5 t (21,000 lbs)

 

Store stations

Total:                                                           14

Heavy-wet:                                                 5

 

Performance

Max. thrust:                                             2 x 7.5 t

Limit load factors:                                -3.2 g/+9 g

Max. speed (high altitude/low):   M = 1.8 (1,912 km/h)/750 knots

Approach speed:                                   less than 120 knots

Landing ground run:                           450 m (1,500 ft) without drag-chute

Service ceiling:                                       15,235 m (50,000 ft)