The Dassault Rafale is able to operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base.

Introduce

The Rafale program was initiated in the late 1970s by the Giscard d’Estaing administration as a replacement for the Super Etendard, Mirage F1, Mirage III, and Mirage V aircraft already in service and the Mirage 2000 multirole fighters which were in the advanced design and production phase.

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.

Dassault Rafale
Dassault Rafale

Design

The Rafale was developed as a modern jet fighter with a very high level of agility; Dassault chose to combine a delta wing with active close-coupled canard to maximize manoeuvrability. The aircraft is capable of withstanding from −3.6g to 9g. The Rafale is an aerodynamically unstable aircraft and uses digital fly-by-wire flight controls to artificially enforce and maintain stability.

The aircraft’s canards also act to reduce the minimum landing speed to 213 km/h; while in flight, airspeeds as low as 28 km/h have been observed during training missions. According to simulations by Dassault, the Rafale has sufficient low speed performance to operate from STOBAR-configured aircraft carriers, and can take off using a ski-jump with no modifications.

Powerplant

The Rafale is powered by two M88-2 engines from SNECMA, each providing a thrust of 75kN. The aircraft is equipped for buddy-buddy refuelling with a flight refuelling hose reel and drogue pack. The first M88 engine was delivered in 1996. It is a twin-shaft bypass turbofan engine principally suitable for low-altitude penetration and high-altitude interception missions.

The Dassault Rafale is a relatively small, light airplane. Its combat radius is also impressive – 1,852 kilometers, the second-best in the market trailing only the F-15C/D. The Rafale also has an excellent rate of climb – 304 m/s.

Armament

Rafale can carry payloads of more than 9t on 14 hardpoints for the air force version, with 13 for the naval version. The range of weapons includes: Mica, Magic, Sidewinder, ASRAAM and AMRAAM air-to-air missiles; Apache, AS30L, ALARM, HARM, Maverick and PGM100 air-to-ground missiles and Exocet, Penguin 3 and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

For a strategic mission the Rafale can deliver the MBDA ASMP stand-off nuclear missile.

The Rafale has a twin gun pod and a Nexter 30mm DEFA 791B cannon, which can fire 2,500 rounds a minute. The Rafale is equipped with laser designation pods for laser guidance of air-to-ground missiles.

Specifications

(Source: Wikipedia)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 or 2
  • Length: 15.27 m (50 ft 1 in)
  • Wingspan: 10.90 m (35 ft 9 in)
  • Height: 5.34 m (17 ft 6 in)
  • Wing area: 45.7 m2 (492 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 10,300 kg (22,708 lb) (B)

9,850 kilograms (21,720 lb) (C) 10,600 kilograms (23,400 lb) (M)

  • Gross weight: 15,000 kg (33,069 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 24,500 kg (54,013 lb)
  • Fuel capacity: 4,700 kg (10,362 lb) internal for single-seater (C); 4,400 kg (9,700 lb) for two-seater (B)
  • Maximum fuel: (C): 16,550 l (4,370 US gal; 3,640 imp gal) (5,750 l (1,520 US gal; 1,260 imp gal) internal + 2,300 l (610 US gal; 510 imp gal) in 2x conformal tanks + 8,500 l (2,200 US gal; 1,900 imp gal) in 5 drop tanks)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Snecma M88-2 turbofans, 50.04 kN (11,250 lbf) thrust each dry, 75 kN (17,000 lbf) with afterburner

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 2,223 km/h (1,381 mph, 1,200 kn) / Mach 1.8 at high altitude

1,390 km/h, 860 mph, 750 kn / Mach 1.1 at low altitude

  • Supercruise: Mach 1.4
  • Combat range: 1,850 km (1,150 mi, 1,000 nmi) on penetration mission with three tanks (5,700 L), two SCALP-EG and two MICA AAMs.
  • Ferry range: 3,700 km (2,300 mi, 2,000 nmi) with 3 drop tanks
  • Service ceiling: 15,835 m (51,952 ft)
  • g limits: +9 −3.6 (+11 in emergencies)
  • Rate of climb: 304.8 m/s (60,000 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 328 kg/m2 (67 lb/sq ft)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.988 (100% fuel, 2 EM A2A missile, 2 IR A2A missile) version B

Armament

  • Guns: 1× 30 mm (1.2 in) GIAT 30/M791 autocannon with 125 rounds
  • Hardpoints: 14 for Air Force versions (Rafale B/C), 13 for Navy version (Rafale M) with a capacity of 9,500 kg (20,900 lb) external fuel and ordnance,with provisions to carry combinations of:

Avionics

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here