Dassault Rafale - Updates and Discussion

Herciv

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According to USAF official, F-35 beats even F-22 in stealth. I don't like F-35 and love Rafale, but let's just call a spade a spade. Rafale can't match the RCS of F-35, thus F-35 will always enjoy superiority over Rafale in that area.
That's not what he wanted to say. What he wanted to say is :
Firstly that passive stealth is not the alpha and omega of survivability. There are several other way.
Secondly there are Technical and budget prices
Thirdly in several bands (like visibles)the f-35 is very bad and can be seen at a much greater distance than any other planes.
 

randomradio

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You're under a lot of illusions about the stealth of the F-35. :giggle:

We have to trust American sources, as much as we can trust French sources. The Americans claim the F-35 is stealthier than the F-22. So that's how it is.

I think there has been significant confusion due to the massive variation between the design goal and final numbers achieved. And the variation is so vast that it's led to a lot of misinformation.

For example, we can say the F-22's design goal was 0.01m2 and the F-35's design goal was 0.001m2. But while they were working on the F-35, the F-22's achieved numbers took it to the 0.0001m2 class. So in 2006-07, they claimed the F-22 has a smaller RCS than the F-35 (marble vs golf ball). But as the F-35 got to its achieved number at a later date, it was very likely (practically guaranteed to be) even better than the F-22's RCS.

It doesn't make sense to me for the F-35 to have a bigger RCS than the F-22. It's a far newer design.
 

randomradio

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That's not what he wanted to say. What he wanted to say is :
Firstly that passive stealth is not the alpha and omega of survivability. There are several other way.
Secondly there are Technical and budget prices
Thirdly in several bands (like visibles)the f-35 is very bad and can be seen at a much greater distance than any other planes.

True, but a lot of the survivability features of the Rafale can be added to the F-35 as well, but not vice versa. As an older design, the Rafale has both engine and airframe limitations.
 
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Optimist

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We have to trust American sources, as much as we can trust French sources. The Americans claim the F-35 is stealthier than the F-22. So that's how it is.
Really? Do you want to have a real conversation with a Frenchman about the US aircrafts? This will be interesting, to watch them wriggle and squirm and of course outright lie.

F-35, F-22..RCS, depends what bands you are measuring.
IR, The f-35 would be better.
 

randomradio

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F-35, F-22..RCS, depends what bands you are measuring.

I'd actually say the F-35 would be better in any band. It has a lower RCS in X already, and its design is more in tune to deal with ground radars, 'cause it's a strike jet, making it better in those bands by default.

Where things would be different is the aspect. The F-22 would generally fly higher, so it would demonstrate better numbers from certain angles at such heights compared to the F-35 at the same height.

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Stealth has to be designed for every angle depending on what threat it faces, and the F-35 has the curves to match that. The F-22 and J-20 don't. Only the Su-57 comes closest to match the F-35.

IR, The f-35 would be better.

Can't say. The F-22 has IR suppression features too, like rectangle nozzles and cooling air streams.
 
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Rajput Lion

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Supersonic aircrafts can't be fully stealthy.
F-22's frontal aspect RCS is equal to B-2's in X-Band. F-35's is supposedly even smaller. 0.0001m2 or -40dBsm is the number thrown around in open source net for the former two.

NGAD is going to full-on supersonic and would have even better stealth(all-aspect) than B-2. Only B-21 maybe better and even that is not guaranteed, IMO.
 

Lolwa

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F-22's frontal aspect RCS is equal to B-2's in X-Band. F-35's is supposedly even smaller. 0.0001m2 or -40dBsm is the number thrown around in open source net for the former two.

NGAD is going to full-on supersonic and would have even better stealth(all-aspect) than B-2. Only B-21 maybe better and even that is not guaranteed, IMO.
Nah the heat when these fighters go supersonic shows them in eo systems. A decently made irst can spot these fighters. The same is not true for b-2. It will be visible far later.
 
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Rajput Lion

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Nah the heat when these fighters go supersonic shows them in eo systems. A decently made irst can spot these fighters. The same is not true for b-2. It will be visible far later.
True. But I was talking about RF detection in particular. EO/IR detection is a whole different discussion, IMO.
 

Picdelamirand-oil

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Safran partners with Egyptian Air Force to enhance Rafale fleet performance

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed at Egypt Defense Expo 2023 sets the stage for implementing EngineLife services.

This agreement centres on Safran’s EngineLife services, a solution specifically designed for armed forces operating the M88-powered Dassault Aviation Rafale. Source: Johannes Kraak/Shutterstock

Safran Aircraft Engines and the Egyptian Air Force have solidified their partnership at the Egypt Defense Expo 2023 by signing a MoU for the EngineLife services.

Tailored for the M88-powered Dassault Aviation Rafale, this agreement focuses on through-life support (TLS) for Egypt’s 24 Rafale fleet, introducing a by-the-hour support model with guaranteed availability levels.

This agreement centres on Safran’s EngineLife services, a solution specifically designed for armed forces operating the M88-powered Dassault Aviation Rafale.

Under the terms of the MoU, EngineLife will provide through-life support for the M88 engines propelling Egypt’s current fleet of 24 Rafale aircraft. The by-the-hour support model comes with levels of availability, aiming to maximize engine uptime and minimize the cost of ownership.

Egypt placed an initial order for 24 Rafale aircraft in 2015 for an original value of $5.2–6bn. The deal initially included the sale of eight Rafale-EM variants and 16 Rafale-DM variants, according to GlobalData’s intelligence on Egypt’s defence market.

By 2019, Dassault had completed the delivery of 24 Rafale fighter aircraft, and in May 2021, Egypt signed a follow-on order to acquire an additional 30 Rafale airframes, bringing the total number of Rafale ordered to 54 airframes. The new follow-on order for an additional 30 Rafale airframes is anticipated to cost $8.7bn and to be delivered by 2026.

EngineLife offers a set of services tailored to each customer, including the deployment of personnel to support on-site mechanics, optimization of maintenance operations, technical support by teams to maximize engine potential, and logistics management between Safran Aircraft Engines and the customer.

This collaborative service approach involves sharing maintenance tasks between Safran and the Egyptian Air Force, enabling local on-base mechanics to benefit from Safran’s experience in TLS. The goal is to strengthen the skills of local personnel, optimize fleet availability, and exercise better control over operating costs for M88 operators.

Christophe Bruneau, vice president of military engines at Safran Aircraft Engines, expressed his honour in signing the MoU with the Egyptian Air Force, “We’re honoured to sign this MoU with the Egyptian Air Force as part of the launch of our new EngineLife offering.

Following the successful service entry of the M88 with Egypt’s Rafale fleet, we’re now stepping up our support arrangements to ensure our customer has the highest levels of engine availability for its flight operations.”

With the procurement of Rafale Combat Aircraft, the Egyptian Air Force is anticipated to gain a capability edge in the region against its immediate neighbours, such as Sudan, with whom it has territorial as well as water disputes, according to GlobalData’s “The Global Military Fixed Wing Aircraft Market 2023-2033” report.

Air marshal Mahmoud Fouad Abdel-Gawad, said: “Safran Aircraft Engines has been a key partner supporting the Egyptian Air Force’s success for many years. We’re delighted to be strengthening our long-term partnership with the company through this MoU and look forward to seeing the benefits of EngineLife for our fleet availability.”
 

Picdelamirand-oil

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You just read the headline, didn't you. It's just engine maintenance.
Yes, and it's very interesting, it's the introduction of a new service "a by-the-hour support model with guaranteed availability levels" that may be of interest to Indians.
This collaborative service approach involves sharing maintenance tasks between Safran and the Egyptian Air Force, enabling local on-base mechanics to benefit from Safran’s experience in TLS. The goal is to strengthen the skills of local personnel, optimize fleet availability, and exercise better control over operating costs for M88 operators.
 

randomradio

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You just read the headline, didn't you. It's just engine maintenance.

It brings the OEM into operational bases. In a 2018 exercise called Gagan Shakti, where the entire air force participated in executing a two-front war. HAL presence was deemed to be very important in maintaining high operational availability. HAL provided services specific to the base infrastructure and the mission at hand. The MKI's availability shot up to 80%, and most other stuff was at 90-95%. The French seem to want to provide such services too.
 

Picdelamirand-oil

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Rafale : les prospects pour l’avion de chasse de Dassault s'envolent !
Rafale: prospects for Dassault's fighter jet soar!

Business is booming for Dassault. Thanks to the Rafale fighter jet, the French company has considerably increased its sales book since 2021. Around the world and on several continents, many countries are turning to the Rafale, representing a reliable technological guarantee while rejecting the hegemony of Russian and American manufacturers.

The list of nations interested in the Rafale is growing. In recent days, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have positioned themselves to acquire units to equip their armies. In South-East Asia and among the former satellites of the USSR, the 4th generation fighter appears to be the hope of modernising ageing fleets dating back to the Cold War. Currently considered to be one of the most capable fighter aircraft in the world, the Rafale seems to represent the aircraft of the "non-aligned". With its latest F4-standard iteration, the Rafale offers increased strike power. Capable of reaching Mach 1.8 (2222 km/h), the fighter can engage aerial targets, support ground troops and strike behind enemy lines, carrying conventional payloads. Armament remains unchanged, with GBU-24 and AASM bombs, Scalp, MICA or Meteor missiles and a Nexter 30 mm single-tube cannon. The F4, which will enter service with the French Air and Space Force in August 2023, will provide pilots with an RBE2 AESA radar and a Scorpion helmet-mounted sight. This technology will enhance detection and interception capabilities, while the helmet will provide an improved information interface for the crew. An attractive proposition, enough to ensure a diplomatic and industrial masterstroke?

Rafale in the former Soviet Union

The strategy is (almost) paying off for the French government and aircraft manufacturer Dassault in the countries of Central Asia. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, which border Russia and are former Eastern Bloc countries, seem to be positioning themselves in favour of the Rafale. While a purchase from Kazakhstan seemed uncertain due to its political proximity to Russia and the receipt of four Russian Su-30s in 2022, Astana has expressed its desire to replace dozens of obsolete aircraft by October 2023. The Kazakh air force auctioned off 117 Soviet fighters, including Su-24s, MiG-27s, MiG-29s and MiG-31s. With the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron at the beginning of November and the declared desire of the two countries to extend their economic and industrial collaboration, Kazakhstan has become a key player in the fight against terrorism. As far back as 2021, Kazakhstan purchased 2 A400M Atlas military transport aircraft manufactured by Airbus. If Astana invests in a contract with Dassault, the model could be similar to India's, with a fleet shared between Russian and French aircraft.

Speculation is far more tangible in Uzbekistan, whose most recent fighter aircraft date from before 1991 and the break-up of the USSR. Two aircraft are in the running to replace the Uzbek MiGs and Sukhoi: the South Korean F/A-50 and the Rafale. Dassault could sell 24 F4-standard fighter-bombers to the former communist country. With a winning hand on the fighter manufactured by KAI (Korea Aerospace Industry)? The F/A-50 still has technical and operational uncertainties, and has yet to prove itself once deployed.

A final ex-Soviet country could be Serbia, where the country's president has indicated that he would be able to spend €3 billion to acquire the aircraft in February 2023, whereas the Eurofighter had previously been mooted. However, no follow-up to this initial announcement has been revealed.

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The Rafale M, operated by the French Navy, on exercise near the Zaragoza air base in Spain. French Navy, Ministry of Defence


Air supremacy in South-East Asia

While discussions are still at a preliminary stage in Central Asia, other countries further east have decided to modernise their air fleets by opting for the Rafale. One of the big announcements of the summer of 2023 is the signing of a contract with India for the purchase of 3 French submarines and 26 Rafale-Ms for its naval air forces, where they will bolster the fleet of 36 Rafales already integrated into the Indian air force. While this is only an agreement in principle at present, the aircraft manufacturer is working with the Indian government to conclude the sale, and negotiations on the construction of a local assembly line are being discussed in order to meet national needs, but also to keep pace with production for the benefit of other future prospects.

In February 2022, the Indonesian National Army Air Force announced its intention to acquire no fewer than 42 F3-standard Rafales, currently in service with the country's Air and Space Force. No delivery date has been announced by Dassault, but the company stated in August 2023 that 24 aircraft were on order, following the establishment of a "tranche" contract.

In Malaysia, the Rafale seemed to be favoured by officials between 2015 and 2018. But in early 2023, the Malaysian military secured a contract for the delivery of 18 South Korean F/A-50s. As the Golden Eagles are light fighters, they are unlikely to replace all the aircraft already integrated into the Malaysian Air Force, namely the F/A-18 Hornet, Su-30 and MiG-29. Kuala Lumpur's acquisition of the Rafale therefore remains the country's main option for ordering a modern combat aircraft, as tensions with China in the South China Sea remain high.

Bangladesh also appears to be looking to Europe to replace its obsolete aircraft. The Bangladesh Air Force, currently equipped with Chengdu J-7s and MiG-29s, is looking closely at the Airbus Eurofighter and Rafale. While the Rafale seems to have won over the military, Bangladeshi political decision-makers are not as enthusiastic about the idea of equipping themselves with the same fighter aircraft as their Indian neighbour, with whom diplomatic relations are considered delicate. However, Emmanuel Macron's visit to Bangladesh in September 2023 could bode well for finalising a deal for Dassault.

Flying over the Middle East

Dassault is no stranger to the Persian Gulf and the Middle East: in addition to the €16 billion contract for 80 F4-standard Rafales for the United Arab Emirates, the aircraft manufacturer has already supplied 36 Rafales to Qatar after an order placed in 2015 and Armed Forces Minister Sébastien Lecornu visited Doha again in July 2023. At the time, the Emirate's dignitaries raised the possibility of a new contract by 2025, aimed at obtaining 24 new fighters over the next decade. Their objective: to follow a strict roadmap for modernising its aircraft, including an F4 standard and a hypothetical future F5.

With a smaller budget of around €3 billion, Iraq also seems interested in buying 14 Rafales. In the midst of restructuring its armed forces and still under threat from jihadist militias, Baghdad expressed its interest in the French fighter jet in May. General Yahya Rasoul pointed to the technological capabilities of the fighter-bomber. To date, there are no documents or agreements in principle to confirm the Iraqi government's intentions, but this is the only aircraft for which an interest has been officially expressed.

What about South America?

American diplomats may have been lobbying for Colombia to replace its 19 Israeli Kfirs with General Dynamics F-16s, but Bogotá's heart seems to be set on the Rafale. In 2022, the Colombian government announced its interest in acquiring 3 or 4 French fighter jets, backed by a "meagre" budget of €600 million. The manufacturer initiated a dialogue to convince the Colombians to increase their order. In vain. But the leaders of the South American country are not discouraged. On the sidelines of the Paris Air Show, held in June 2023, the Colombian president is said to have held talks with Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault, as reported on a defence website. The target date for rejuvenating the Colombian air force fleet is 2025-2026.

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The Iraqi military have had the opportunity to see Rafales flying over Iraq. The F3 standard has even seen its intercompatibility improved with the F-16 IQ. Air and Space Force


Technological and diplomatic masterstroke

Between 2015 and 2021, 156 Rafales will be sold for export by Dassault. By 2022, the aircraft manufacturer will have sold 92 Rafales to foreign countries. The spectre of high-intensity conflicts and the increase in defence budgets are playing a key role in the desire of certain countries to acquire new fighter-bombers. And while Lockheed's 5th-generation F-35 fighter is gaining ground with many of the Atlantic alliance's long-standing allies, the Rafale is winning more and more contracts and is becoming a real diplomatic tool.

Compared with other aircraft, the Rafale's features are very attractive indeed. The Rafale-M, the most expensive aircraft to produce, costs €78 million to buy. In comparison, the F-35 costs an average of $150 million to export, while the Eurofighter tops out at €120 million for non-EU countries, even though it has been beaten by the Rafale in competitions between them. The price per flight hour also makes a difference to the choice of aircraft. According to several parliamentary reports published since 2022, a Rafale costs between €15,000 and €20,000 per flying hour, compared with $41,000 for the F-35 (source: GAO). The operating cost of a Eurofighter is probably lower than the €70,000 / hdv quoted by Italy or Austria, but these bad examples are probably a brake on interested countries. The Swedish Gripen would cost much less, between €10,000 and €15,000 depending on the source. Airbus and €4,500 from Saab. These factors partly explain the current situation for the three competing aircraft proposed by Europe: Eurofighter has not won an export contract since 2015, and the last export order for Gripen dates back to 2014.

While work on the development of a 6th generation fighter is in full swing at Dassault, the Rafale will remain the benchmark aircraft for several decades to come. The French company could well remain a credible alternative to a potential Lockheed monopoly in the air defence sector.
 

Picdelamirand-oil

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Dassault CEO talks Saudi interest in Rafale, takes a shot at F-35 and reveals FCAS details

A simmering dispute between London and Berlin over exporting Eurofighter Typhoons to Saudi Arabia could pave the way for Dassault's rival Rafale offer to succeed, Eric Trappier suggested.

French fighter jet manufacturer Dassault hopes to secure new Rafale export contracts with Saudi Arabia and India (Dassault Aviation on X)

PARIS — Dassault Aviation’s CEO has confirmed Saudi Arabia is negotiating the purchase of 54 Rafale aircraft, six weeks after reports first emerged of the two sides opening discussions. In parallel, the French manufacturer plans on signing a Rafale deal with India, covering 26 jets for its navy.

Speaking to the Association of Defense Journalists last week, Eric Trappier said that “although Saudi Arabia has traditionally bought British” aircraft, Dassault has been approached by Riyadh after Germany controversially blocked Saudi Arabia’s billion-dollar bid for Eurofighters over the kingdom’s intervention in Yemen’s civil war.

Trappier made no mention of the dispute, merely commenting that even if “periods of conflict are not very favorable and tend to slow discussions a bit,” the request from Saudi Arabia for 54 Rafales was “independent of the crisis in the Middle East.”

Of the 285 Rafales sold on the export market since the first contract (with Egypt) was signed in 2015, 171 have been bought by Riyadh’s neighbors, notably the United Arab Emirates with 80 Rafales in the F4 standard, Qatar with 36 and Egypt with 55. India has also bought 36 and is currently negotiating for 26 naval versions of the aircraft.

“We have to be tenacious in these talks,” Trappier remarked.

Even so, as he has so often done in the past, Trappier, a staunch pro-European, took aim at the F-35 program, which has dominated the European fighter jet market, often beating Rafale to lucrative production contracts in the process.

“Europe was already dominated by US aircraft such as the F-16, so it’s always existed, but today, apart from NATO liaison 11 for maritime operations and [Link] 16 for air-to-air [communication tech], the F-35 is only interoperable with itself,” he said. “Is there some element of blackmail?” He failed to elaborate on such an extraordinary question.

Elsewhere, Dassault is beginning to work on the F5 version for deployment in the French Air Force in 2030. Trappier said it would fly missions “with other combat aircraft and drones with highly coordinated piloting.”

Some FCAS Details


In parallel, Dassault is working on the New Generation Fighter, key to the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), a sixth generation fighter project between France, Germany and Spain. The new jet will be bigger than the Rafale because it will have an integrated weapons hold, Trappier said.

“We need to make a choice between stealth and air combat, so we’re going to need to arbitrate to get a multi-role aircraft,” he explained. So the aim of the demonstrator the company is working on will be to find “a compromise between being aerodynamic and being stealthy.”

He said the navy’s version of the NGF would be “identical” to the air force design except with stronger landing gear and “a strengthening of some parts to support the stress of landing.” A hook is also expected to be required for carrier landings. Trappier added that Dassault was already working with Naval Group (which is designing France’s next generation aircraft carrier) to ensure the aircraft and carrier are a match.

Also in the interview Trappier noted that whereas the first decade of the 21st century had seen Western nations engaged in asymmetrical warfare, looking at today’s state-against-state conflicts means that future aircraft “need to work in airspace which is extremely well protected by surface-to-air weapons. This means that we need good upstream intelligence, optimal flight aptitude, an anti-air defense treaty and possibly combine aircraft and drones which could be more efficient.”

At a competitive level, Dassault and Airbus Defense and Space are currently locked in a battle to secure a contract from the DGA French procurement agency, launched nearly a year ago, to replace 18 Dassault-Breguet Atlantique TL2, one of the few aircraft in service worldwide that was specifically designed for anti-submarine warfare. It is currently being modernized to standard 6 but will have reached the end of its life by around 2030.

Dassault is offering the Falcon 10X whilst Airbus is countering with the A320Neo. “But we have more experience and we work with Thales which is an advantage,” Trappier said.
 

Optimist

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Dassault picking up the scraps, like a stray dog.

 

Herciv

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Dassault picking up the scraps, like a stray dog.

100-200 will be great but unbelievable. Trappier spoke of 54.
Could 100-200 change a lot to the talk with Egypt and India ?
 

Optimist

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100-200 will be great but unbelievable. Trappier spoke of 54.
Could 100-200 change a lot to the talk with Egypt and India ?
100-200 was French wishful thinking? Though with Russia out of the picture and CAATSA. France is doing very well with the scraps.