The Rafale and what you know about it.

Picdelamirand-oil

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Nov 30, 2017
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I launch this subject to describe things that are not very well known on the Rafale and often of little interest to the general public.
I would begin by describing the philosophy of using the Rafale as developed by the French Air Force.
This philosophy is quite different from the one underlying the use of fighters by the United States and often explains the technical choices that have been made.
 
SPECTRA

It is the best electronic protection suite integrated into a versatile fighter, even if it does not match that of a Prowler or a Growler, but their roles are not comparable.

It is a tool that perfectly meets French needs, namely that of aircraft that are supposed to operate in depth with few or no AWACS/ELINT support aircraft and is therefore difficult to compare with American electronic warfare tactics based on specialized aircraft.

Active cancellation is mainly used to improve SPECTRA jamming and not to make the aircraft electronically invisible.

It concerns the Rafale Equivalent Radar Surface Area (RCS). On this subject, there are two contradictory statements from Dassault employees. And the most reliable statement is the most surprising! Both may be true and the contradiction is probably due to the very different dates on which they were made.

The first statement is due to an engineer from Dassault who said that the Rafale RCS was between 1/10 and 1/20 of the Mirage 2000 RCS.

This statement can be combined with that of a SAAB Engineer who said about the Gripen A that its RCS was half that of a Mirage 2000 and a third of an F-16 Block 42.

However, the RCS of the F-16 Block 42 is known because it was the result of a RCS reduction campaign that L.M. announced as 1.2 m^2.

We deduce from this that the RCS of the Mirage 2000 to which SAAB refers is 0.8 m^2 and that the RCS of the Rafale is 0.06 +/- 0.02 M^2.

All this in frontal and without load of course.

The second statement was made by Bruno Revellin Falcoz, Director of the Rafale program at its launch, then Technical Director of Dassault Aviation, then Vice President of Dassault Aviation, who said in a Video that the RCS of a Rafale seen from the front is comparable to that of a sparrow.

Is that possible? No one believes him! We are still in the orders of magnitude of the F-22, i.e. a RCS of 0.0001 m^2 let's say 0.001 to be careful. So of course it's in frontal and without load

Where could this performance come from? We think of DEDIRA which works without structural modifications and we think of course of SPECTRA. This would mean that the "active cancellation" would have been greatly improved thanks to DEDIRA.

But what about the loads?

As a matter of principle, the RCS reduction method can also be applied to loads. Moreover, it seems that the Rafale makes a small tour in the anechoic chamber every time we have to integrate a new weapon. But since the emports have a larger RCS than a Rafale seen from the front, it is more difficult, from the processing point of view, and it requires more energy, because the feedback signal that we have to cancel is stronger.

just to set orders of magnitude suppose that the SER of the Rafale seen from the front without treatment is 0.5 m^2 and that the loads have a RCS of 5 m^2.

Then the first treatment which reduces from 0.47 to 0.06 would allow a RCS of 0.6 with loads

And the second treatment which reduces from 0.47 to 0.001 would allow a RCS of 0.01 with loads.

SPECTRA is expensive, much more expensive than other ECM/ECCM suites, but it avoids having to invest in a fleet of twice as large AWACS, special jamming aircraft, SEAD aircraft etc.

Similarly, the pilots explained that the Americans who had tested the Rafale simply did not understand how fantastic its fully automatic ground following is. On the one hand, this is because their own aircraft have only terrain avoidance systems and, as a general rule, automatic controls that are less automated. But on the other hand, it is also because they do not see the interest in penetration, to free the pilot(s) from aircraft control to concentrate on electronic warfare tasks (including listening) that their F-16 and F-15 do not have to manage.

To summarize the difference in employment philosophy, we can say that with the Rafale we have an all-terrain 4x4 with which we can settle for tracks to intervene while the US has ordinary vehicles that force them to tar the road network before starting their operations.
 
Buddy, the day first Rafale comes in, it will be tested in real combat and that will be the first ever time it will go up for a real fight. Let us keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. I hope it does what it has been claimed to be capable of.
As of now, Su-30MKI has already proven itself in real combat.
 
Buddy, the day first Rafale comes in, it will be tested in real combat and that will be the first ever time it will go up for a real fight. Let us keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. I hope it does what it has been claimed to be capable of.
As of now, Su-30MKI has already proven itself in real combat.
Precision and Purpose
Airpower in the Libyan Civil War (RAND Published Research)

https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR600/RR676/RAND_RR676.pdf

Page 158
For example, on March 19, at the end of a summit between the three, President Sarkozy revealed in front of the world’s press that French Rafale fighters had just undertaken attacks on Qaddafi’s forces that were advancing on Benghazi. The British and U.S. delegations at the summit were concerned that France would be portrayed as having acted unilaterally ahead of the rest of the coalition, so an all-important demonstration of unity was conveyed to the world. In fact, in light of what we now know, the French attacks were vital to the campaign’s success. Had there been a massacre in Benghazi, the coalition’s primary justification for involvement (the protection of the local populace) would have been seriously undermined, and Qaddafi could have consolidated his position in the east of the country. Benghazi was the National Transitional Council’s base, and it had become a symbol of the revolution.
Page 192
From a military perspective, this first strike did not go by the book according to standard U.S. practice, as SEAD operations or the confirmed destruction of Libyan airpower had not yet taken place. It was, therefore, a rather risky operation carried out successfully, and not merely a symbolic attack. It involved around 20 air force aircraft: eight multirole Rafales, two Mirage 2000-5s (for air superiority), two Mirage 2000Ds (for interdiction), six C-135FR tankers, and one E-3F AWACS, striking targets located some 1,500 kilometers from their bases. Four Libyan armored vehicles were reportedly destroyed during the mission, two by GBU-12 laser-guided bombs dropped by the Mirage 2000Ds and two by AASM guided weapons launched by Rafales. This was a rather small number by military standards, but it stopped the advance of Qaddafi’s leading forces at the outskirts of Benghazi and probably helped prevent a massacre in the city. Had Benghazi fallen, the outcome of the war could have been quite different. As such, this initial strike served a critical political and strategic purpose.
 
Buddy, the day first Rafale comes in, it will be tested in real combat and that will be the first ever time it will go up for a real fight. Let us keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. I hope it does what it has been claimed to be capable of.
As of now, Su-30MKI has already proven itself in real combat.
Rafale was the first plane to enter in the Lybian airspace. It destroyed some SAM sites and some tanks on the very first days. It destoyed a plane on a air base thanks to Hammer bomb.
It was heavily used in Syrian air space against ISIS, and very near Syrian and/or Russian bases.
 
Rafale was the first plane to enter in the Lybian airspace. It destroyed some SAM sites and some tanks on the very first days. It destoyed a plane on a air base thanks to Hammer bomb.
It was heavily used in Syrian air space against ISIS, and very near Syrian and/or Russian bases.
I am not doubting Rafale and its capabilities. I am one of the most vocal supporters of this aircraft. But a final battle when in air and being fired at multiple times, to evade those missiles and survive is a very different game. I am sure Rafale will come out with flying colours but there is always a BUT.
 
French AASM Demonstrates Outstanding Versatility in Libyan Campaign

The Libyan campaign has emphasized unique advantages of the French AASM-250 autonomous guided weapons. Previously criticized in the media as an excessively expensive weapon, AASM proved its value in offering operational flexibility, in providing small fighting formations the effects achied by much larger strike forces. The weapon was developed to meet a wide range of counter-air and offensive air missions, including Counter Air Defense/(Suppression of Enemy Air Defense – SEAD), Air Interdiction and Deep Strikes, to Close Air Support (CAS) including precision attacks in urban environments, as well as anti-ship missions.


sam3_okba_ibn_nafa.jpg

Relying on the AASM extended stand-off range, Rafales were tasked to suppress and destroySA-3 air defense sites during the initial phases of the conflict. During these strikes, utilizing the Rafales’ on-board sensor fusion capability, integrating data obtained from on-board sensors and external sources, delivered over Link-16, the fighters could generate strike coordinates based on real-time data, and feed it to the weapon in flight. The French fighters succeeded to hit the active sites with AASM, launching the weapons from long distance, outside the SA-3 launch envelope. Since each individual weapon is programmed with specific target coordinates, multiple weapons can be employed from the same aircraft, to attack different targets. Each weapon can be reprogrammed in flight, enabling it to engage several targets simultaneously (up to six in the case of the Rafale.)

A significant advantage of the AASM is the ability to retarget the weapon from the cockpit, just before launch. A Rafale carrying six weapons, each programmed with six different targets prior to takeoff. In addition to hitting each of the targets, the same fighter can re-attack targets already engaged but not destroyed, ensuring mission success, avoiding the high risk and costs involved with repeat missions, following battle damage assessment. Overall, Sagem claims a mission success rate of over 90%, compared to 70%, achieved by unpowered (gliding) laser guided or geo-targeted weapons, which are also restricting mission planning in flight envelope, flight trajectory, impact angle and penetration.

When employed against air defense assets, the combination of the weapon’s stand-off range and re-attack capability means an air defense site would be taken out of operation for longer periods, delivering higher success rate in SEAD operations and precision attacks of high value targets. Another important capability, particularly in today’s hybrid warfare, is the weapon’s flexibility in striking ‘time critical targets’. During the recent attacks in Libya, a Rafale pilot clearly demonstrated such method, when spotting a Libyan Soko G2 Galeb aircraft flying near Misrata. As the Libyan plane landed at the base, the Rafale pilot acquired its coordinates as a ‘target of opportunity’, fed the data to the weapon and launched the GPS/INS guided AASM against the target. As the weapon dropped, it homed in on the exact spot and destroyed the Libyan aircraft on the tarmac.

http://defense-update.com/wp/20110506_aasm.html
 
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Page no longer available at this link. Probably realised it was from a Rafale blog and deleted it.
 
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True SEAD is not merely the ability to destroy a fixed SAM site that only has a range of 15km and has been detected by an Israeli satellite prior. Even a JDAM or Paveway on a non-SEAD aircraft can do that.
 
Not too strong on VLO is she?
The product is supposed to be LO / VLO, Paddy, not the brand ambassador. Else , if one follows your advice one'd have a case like the Eurofighter where now even the developer nations don't want to have anything to do with it.

Now this much is obvious to anyone who can think but has to be explained to someone lke you for obvious reasons.
 
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