Dassault Rafale which literally pronounces from French to English as “Gust of Wind” or more commonly called by the military as the “Burst of Fire” is a French single-seat, twin-engine and multirole fighter jet which was developed by the Dassault Aviation to serve in the French Air Force.
The Dassault Rafale was designed to perform the following aerial goals for the FAF.
- Air supremacy
- Aerial reconnaissance
- Ground support
- In-depth strike
- Anti-ship strike
- Nuclear deterrence mission
In the late 1970s period, many of the European countries shared their resources and workforce to develop what was later a “Eurofighter Typhoon”. However, during the developmental stages, France had disagreements over work share which ultimately led to the French Air Force pursuing its own developmental program.
Dassault Rafale is different from other European fighter jets because it was built by only France’s major defense contractors like Dassault, Thales, and Safran.
The aircraft took its first flight back in 1986 as a part of the eight-year flight test programme. The aircraft was ready to enter the French Air Force service by 1996. However due to the delays caused by post-Cold War budget cuts the aircraft managed to enter the service back in 2001.
The aircraft is now available in following three variants as well.
- Rafale C single-seat land-based version
- Rafale B twin-seat land-based version
- Rafale M single-seat carrier-based version
The aircraft is also available to export to other countries’ Air Force and has been purchased by the following air forces as well.
- Indian Air Force
- Egyptian Air Force
- Qatar Air Force
Dassault Rafale which has taken part in the conflicts over Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq, and Syria, is expected to have a better and upgraded version with more advanced avionics to roll out anywhere in 2019.
Only Fighter Jet with Targeting Pod:-
Dassault Rafale is the only fighter jet in the world that comes equipped with a targeting pod called “TALIOS”. This is a multifunctional targeting pod that provides permanent pod view to the eyes of the pilot. This allows the pilot to have a keen eye of the battle scenario and also to zoom on his targets. With this feature, Dassault Rafale has an edge over its adversaries when it comes to tactical situation display.
MMI (Man-Machine Interface) of Dassault Rafale:-
Rafael also presents an MMI (Man-Machine Interface) that allows the aircraft to Hands on Throttle and Stick to Touch Screens. This feature allows the pilot to have unhindered performance during adverse conditions like systems resource management to left and right via screen touches.
In addition to this, heads-up display of the Dassault Rafale allows the pilot to utilize better visuals for both Short Term and Medium/Long Term aerial engagements.
All of these features provide Dassault Rafale to have‘Omnirole’ ability for better wide field view that enhances all of its other fighter capabilities.
For better attack capabilities, Dassault Rafale has a trade-off between its Side Intakes and Ventral air takes. Two of the most advanced fighter jets; Eurofighter Typhoon only has Ventral Air Intakes while F-22 Raptor has only Side Intakes.
This tradeoff between the side and ventral air takes allows Dassault Rafale to have increased fuselage performance and a batter load carrying capacity to provide it a beefed up ability for air-to-air capabilities.
Dassault Rafael has also been designed to have an LO (Low Observable) feature. This LO feature is estimated to be about 0.05 to 0.1 meter square on a radar cross section which makes it appear as equal to a Sparrow on the radar.
Dassault Rafael contains composite materials and Radar absorbent materials that suppress the Radar waves to prevent it from detection.
Flight Control System:-
Dassault Rafael features an advanced Fly-by-Wire Flight Control System that can be controlled by Analogue Channel and three Digital Channels. This digital FC of the Rafael has never caused the aircraft to suffer a single accident during its thousands of flight hours, thus making it one of the most reliable and precision fighter jets in the world.
The SPECTRA Electronic Warfare Suite of the Dassault Rafael also comes equipped with what is called “Active Cancellation”. This feature works by detecting a radar signal and then generating a radiation field of the same amplitude and frequency but the phase of it is in the opposite manner. This field generation is produced from the aircraft’s antenna.
This feature only adds to Dassault Rafael’s already brilliant stealth characteristics and is also used to suppress the radar signals.
Rafael also comes with LPI (Low Probability of Intercept) Radar which does not allow any enemy radar to detect Rafael’s radio waves to cause any jamming or tracking of it.
Able to carry Twice than its own weight:-
The advance airframe and air intakes of the Dassault Rafael allow the aircraft to carry almost 2.5 times more than its own empty weight. This allows the Rafael to carry different weapons for both Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground situations.
The weapons which Dassault Rafale can carry are as follows.
- METEOR Missiles
- MICA Missiles
- MAGIC-II Missiles
- APACHE Missiles
- Storm Shadow Missiles
- Hammer Missiles
Rafael can also be equipped with anti-ship missiles, the Exocet Block 2 Anti-Ship Missile as well as with a nuclear deterrence missile, “The ASMP-A nuclear missile”.
The Dassault Rafael aircraft is one of the few fighter jets that are able to fly on par an even better than many of the renowned fighter jets like F-22 Raptor and Eurofighter Typhoon. Its ability to carry twice than its own empty weight makes it an ideal war machine to be equipped with a variety of air-to-air, air-to-ground, anti-ship and nuclear deterrence weapons. Combined with its superior weapons carrying ability and its enhanced radar and stealth capabilities, this aircraft is one of the deadliest aerial fighting forces in the world.