Dassault Rafale

1st Flight 1986

The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft.

Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions.

The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault.

Variants

Rafale A

Technology demonstrator, first flew in 1986.

Rafale D

Dassault used this designation in the early 1990s to emphasize the new semi-stealthy design features.

Rafale B F3-R

Two-seater version for the French Air Force.

This can operate with the Talios targeting pod.

Rafale C F3-R

Same as Rafale B F3-R but single-seat version for the French Air Force.

Rafale M F3-R

Same as Rafale C F3-R but carrier-borne version for the French Naval Aviation, which entered service in 2001.

For carrier operations, the M model has a strengthened airframe, longer nose gear leg to provide a more nose-up attitude, larger tail hook between the engines, and a built-in boarding ladder.

Consequently, the Rafale M weighs about 500 kg (1,100 lb) more than the Rafale C.

It is the only non-US fighter type cleared to operate from the decks of US carriers, using catapults and their arresting gear, as demonstrated in 2008 when six Rafales from Flottille 12F integrated into the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Air Wing interoperability exercise.

Rafale DM

Two-seater version for the Egyptian Air Force.

Rafale EM

Single-seat version for the Egyptian Air Force.

Rafale DH

Two-seater version for the Indian Air Force.

Rafale EH

Single-seat version for the Indian Air Force.

Rafale B, C, M F4

This variant will have upgraded radar (F4.1), as well as improved capabilities in the Helmet-Mounted Display and AASM 1000 kg.

The OSF (long-range optoelectronics system) will add IRST (Infrared Search and Track) for detecting and identifying airborne stealth targets at long range (F4.1).

It will be more effective in network-centric warfare, with more data exchange and satellite communication capacity and will launch small (F4.2).

The variant was ordered in 2019.

All 180 French Rafale B, C, and M models will be upgraded to F4.1 in 2022 and F4.2 in 2027.

Specifications

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 take-off 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 M88-4e turbofans, 50.04 kN (11,250 lbf) thrust each dry, 75 kN (17,000 lbf) with afterburner

Performance

Maximum speed: 1,912 km/h (1,188 mph, 1,032 kn) / Mach 1.8 at high altitude

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

Super cruise: Mach 1.4

Combat range: 1,850 km (1,150 mi, 1,000 nmi) on penetration mission with three tanks (5,700 L combined), 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 auto cannon 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:

Missiles

Air-to-air

Magic II

MBDA MICA IR or EM

MBDA Meteor

Air-to-ground

MBDA Apache

MBDA Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG

AASM-Hammer (SBU-38/54/64)

GBU-12 Paveway II, GBU-16 Paveway II, GBU-22 Paveway III, GBU-24 Paveway III, GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II

AS-30L

Mark 82

Air-to-surface:

MBDA AM 39-Exocet anti-ship missile

Nuclear Deterrence:

ASMP-A nuclear missile

Other

Thales Damocles targeting pod

Thales AREOS (Airborne Recce Observation System) reconnaissance pod

Thales TALIOS multi-function targeting pod

Up to 5 drop tanks

Buddy-buddy refuelling pod

Avionics

Thales RBE2-AA AESA radar

Thales SPECTRA Electronic Warfare system.

Thales/SAGEM-OSF Optronique Secteur Frontal infra-red search and track (IRST) system.

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