Dassault Rafale - The Omin Role Fighter
The Dassault Rafale is a French Designed and produced multirole fighter. Intended to perform aerial reconnaissance, air superiority, interdiction, ground support, strike missions, anti-ship, and even nuclear deterrence missions. Because of this vast range of missions, the Rafale is often referred to as the OmniRole fighter. Notable features include a delta wing, canards, twin engines, a single vertical stabilizer and a permanently extended refueling probe. The word Rafale translates to gust of wind or burst of fire in a more military sense.
9:22 Operational History
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You're listening to the pilot photog podcast. Let's take a look at Francis Omni roll fighter, the soul Rafal, the DeSoto thous a French design and produce multi-role Fighter intended to perform area reconnaissance hair, superiority, interdiction, ground support, strike missions anti-ship and even nuclear deterrence missions because of This vast range of missions there were follows often referred to as the Omni roll fighter, notable features include a Delta Wing canards twin engines, a single vertical stabilizer, any permanently extended refueling probe. The word Rafal itself translates to gust of wind or burst the fire in a more military sense.
When it comes to armament, The Rafal is armed with an internal GE out 30, 30 millimeter revolver, Canon designed to be both Effective and air to air as well as air to ground rules. The GF 30 can fire up to 2,500 rounds per minute, and either fire continuously or be selected to fire in bursts of either 0.5 seconds or One second. Additionally, the Rafal has an impressive 14 hard points with 13 on the M version more on that later, these hard Points in the profile can hold 9,500 kilograms or 20,900 pounds and are used to carry various ordinance, both air to air and air to ground munitions, which allow the Rafal to perform as a true Omni roll fighter.
Some air to air load-out examples include the short range, our five 50 magic missile, the short or medium range fired, forget mic or a Mica missile, which can be radar guided or infrared guided, or the ultra long 150 kilometer range Meteor missile, which boasts a 60 kilometer, no escape zone for air to ground Missions. The Rafal can take the conventional mark 82 series or free fall bombs along with a suite of PayWay laser guided bombs. Additionally, through a file can also Equip the NBDA Apache anti-romantic cruise missile, which is as devastating as it sounds or the NBDA low observable storm shadow Cruise missile, or scalp EEG, as it is known in France for anti-ship Operations.
The C skimming exocet missile can also be equipped. And finally, for nuclear Deterrence, the ASM PA or nuclear cruise missiles can be equipped. The ASM PA can have a yield of up to 300 kilotons Sensors to be an Omni roll fighter. The Rafael needs to have the best sensor suite Available today. The Rafal Uses the RBE two AA radar, which is an actively electronically scanned array or AESA radar. The RBE two radar can quickly switch between air to air and air to ground modes and provides excellent spectral purity, a wide bandwidth and ECCM or electronic counter countermeasures is important to note that the Rafal is the first European based aircraft to equip an AESA radar system.
Additionally, the Rafal Use of a long range optical electronic system known as front spectrum Optronics or FSO. The FSO is a passive sensor system, which enables firing Of infrared or heat seeking missiles at beyond visual range distances. Since FSO is optically base, it is immune to electronic Jamming and can be used to provide long range covert surveillance. Furthermore, The FSO provides laser range, finding capabilities for ground sea and air targets to provide situational awareness and electronic warfare capabilities through a file uses the spectrum system. Spectra integrates fully with other aircraft systems and provides multilayer threat warning capabilities against HASA missiles, lasers And radars long range Detection, localization and identification of threats are carried out by spectrum, which allows the pilot to select the best countermeasures to deal with the identified threats.
Spectra also includes an adaptable threat library and provides a next-generation missile warning system. There, our file also makes use of advanced data lakes and data fusion, which effectively provides the Rafala complete view of the integrated battlespace And while not a fully stealth aircraft, the extensive use of Composites and implementation of S duct air intakes to conceal it. Engine fan blades, there were fall has a greatly reduced radar cross section point that many of the features which reduce the radar signature are still classified Development dating back To the night 1870s, the French Navy and air force began working on requirements for a new fighter in an effort to reduce costs. A decision was made to develop a single fighter that could fulfill both roles at the same time efforts to develop a pan-European fighter already underway In 1979, if it was known as a European collaborative fighter project, and then renamed The European combat aircraft or ECA France contributed to the aerodynamic layout of the proposed fighter.
And after some disagreements In 1981 and new program called the Future European fighter aircraft or FEF program began in 1983. The FFA Program involves Spain west Germany, Italy, the UK, and France. However, due to Francis insistence on a Naval variant, they would soon exit the FDA, Ultimately leaving Spain, Italy, Okay. In a reunified Germany to go on to produce the excellent Eurofighter typhoon. Meanwhile, France Would continue development of a new fighter on its own. This was no small task. France would not only have to develop the airframe, but also The engines, avionics and weapon systems, all in-house additionally, since the requirement was for the new fighter to serve in the air force and Navy, it would be replacing no fewer than five fighter types.
By 1984, the Dusseau company had been selected and a technology demonstrator was planned in 1986. The technology demonstrator took its maiden flight where it went supersonic and only took 300 meters of runway to land. Further trials were performed with the technology demonstrator, including carrier takeoffs and landings. It is interesting to note that the technology demonstrator was powered by a general electric F 4 0 4 G 400 engine, the same engine using the F 18 Hornet. The GE engines were used initially as the <inaudible> were not considered ready at the time by 1990, the <inaudible> were installed in the Rafal demonstrator, which was re designated the Rafal a there a fall a Would ultimately go on to demonstrate through a false, super cruise durability and logs them 865 flights.
The aim model helped both the French air force and Navy developed their variants to meet their needs. The air force requested a single seat version, which became known as the Rafal HSA sewer or C model <inaudible> translates to fighter or hunter. The air force also requested a two-seat model, which became known as the Rafal B the prototype B version Was used for weapons testing and carrying heavy Lows. The Navy version became known as a Rafal M, which was A single seat variant with carrier takeoff and landing gear and weighed about 500 kilograms or 1100 pounds more as a result, the new BC and M prototypes different from the technology demonstrator in that they made extensive use of composites and radar absorbing materials, which would go on to be standard in all production models.
The design process of the Rafal was immensely helped by the use of the solves proprietary computer aided three-dimensional interactive application software Or Katia Katia For digital markups, as well as numerous efficiency improvements. From a design perspective, The profile combines a Delta wing along with canards to provide maximum agility. The airframe is built to handle G loads of minus 3.6 and positive nine GS. And even up to 11 GS in an emergency. Additionally, the Rafal was designed to be as simple to maintain as possible. One such example is the engine can be removed in just one hour with only two persons performing The work initial production profiles Were built to the France one or F1 Standard as an initial batch.
The F1 series did not include air-to-ground capabilities In 2006, The F two series began deliveries and these included air-to-ground capability Beginning in 2008. And continuing through today, the F three series have been delivered and include nuclear capability. Additionally, all operational F1 and F two series aircraft have been retrofitted to the F three standard delivering on the design requirements for being a true Omni roll fighter. While initially 330 orders were proposed, this thermal was cut back following the end of the cold war and other cutbacks over the years to date over 200 profiles have been produced and are showing promising results. As an export Fighter operators. France Is understandably the single largest operator of the Rafael with the French air force or Army Delair, which operates 110, B and C refiles and bases across France and the French Navy or Marine national, which operates Just over 40 referrals on carriers and air Bases.
It is important to note that the Naval version of the profile, the M model is able to land and take off from us carriers, the only non U S fighter to be able to do so. In fact, some are fall. Pilots are even qualified to operate from American carriers. Other customers include Egypt, which was the first export customer. They're a foul and currently operates over 20 examples with more expected On the way Qatar is another Customer with 15 examples and another 21 On order. India is the most recent customer with 36 profiles on order and several being delivered potential future customers include Spain, Indonesia, and Malaysia operational history. The first combat Deployment of the refusal occurred in 2002 in support of operation Enduring freedom Rafal M's operating out of the carrier.
Charles, the gall flew patrols over Afghanistan in support of allied forces. Additionally from 2009 through 2011 profile supported NATO ground forces in Afghanistan During operation Hartman, which was the name Of the effort given to support French intervention in Libya in 2011, profiles were used first as reconnaissance aircraft and then led some of the first air to ground strikes against targets near Ben Ghazi. It is important to note that the refiles did not require additional suppression of enemy air defenses, or seed aircraft to accompany them. Typically seed aircraft will come in first to take out enemy anti air defenses, but the Raphael's handled this using their spectrum systems, thereby operationally demonstrating their Omni roll fighter capabilities In 2013 In Mali, as part of operation, several Rafal supported the Mali government in combating radical Islamic forces who sought an overthrow.
The existing Regime. The airstrikes conducted By the ruffles were said to be instrumental in causing the rebel forces to withdraw in 2014, files were used in support of combating ISIS forces in Northern Iraq. Initially the files would be used as a reconnaissance aircraft identifying targets for us war planes, but eventually there were files would perform airstrikes themselves in 2015 Rafal M's again, operating from the Charles de Gaulle's truck targets associated with ISIS. And most recently in 2018, Raphael's performed airstrikes against targets in Syria during the Syrian civil war. The Rafal has an extensive and proven combat record. And these operations not only illustrate its effectiveness as a weapon, but also its operational readiness has most of these missions involved, long flights and extensive area refueling to reach targets.
Future the desal Rafal Is expected to serve well into the 2040s. However, Germany and France have already started working on their sixth generation fighter known as the future combat air system or FCAs. It is assumed that The new FCAs fighter will compliment and eventually replaced the venerable Rafal. What do you think is the profile the best European fighter? Where does it rank In today's fourth and fifth generation fighters. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe to this podcast so you don't miss any future episodes. You can also check out my YouTube channel. I'll leave the link in the show notes below. And lastly, you can find me on any social media platform at pilot photog be well, stay safe.
See you next time.