F-35 Lightning II vs Dassault Rafale

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post01 Feb 2019, 22:27

marsavian, I think the issue is that while there are historical references to tanks being dropped, they have become exceedingly rare in the last 30 years. There are numerous accounts of F-15s performing supersonic interceptions and keeping their tanks on board. It is not a given that they will be dropped.
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ricnunes

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Unread post02 Feb 2019, 00:03

marsavian wrote:Sorry ricnunes but in real life combats/intercepts jettisoning of fuel tanks is exactly what happens to unlock the full top speed/maneuverability of the aircraft if required. e.g. Iran-Iraq war


No, I'm actually the one who's sorry to inform you that what you posted was again an exception and definitely not a rule!

Exception meaning: something that is not included in a rule, group, or list or that does not behave in the expected way.

Or to be more precise, your "drop tanks during interception" example is IMO nothing more than a very rare situation (again an exception) which happened because of a pilot which was flying an "inferior aircraft" (F-5) - while by the way flying an air-to-ground mission and NOT an intercept mission! - which was just too eager not to lose the opportunity to take the chance of "banging" a "superior aircraft" (Mig-25). He was so eager that not only he dropped his drop tanks but also dropped his air-to-ground ordinance.
Again, this is far, far off from being a rule or even being the behavior of a well trained and professional Air Force like for example, most/many NATO countries even because that "stunt" had everything to go wrong for the Iranian F-5 pilot - imagine for example if the Mig-25 wingman returned and/or other Iraqi fighters were dispatched to help that wounded Mig-25?? Not only would the Iranians lose wasted drop tanks and air-to-ground ordinance but also a F-5 in the process :roll:

Moreover, I'm pretty sure that the F-5 drop tanks were (and are) much, much cheaper than the ones carried by the Typhoon but I'll address this below.

Resuming, that situation was not the rule then and certainly it is not the rule now as well as it surely won't be in the future and wasn't even a typical Intercept mission (again the aircraft was performing and Air-to-Ground mission).


marsavian wrote:Yes in a real life war intercept Typhoons would do exactly the same to a Foxhound/Flanker if Mach 2+ speed/9g capability was needed to properly effect an intercept/dogfight as the replacement of a $50-100m aircraft and trained pilot is a lot harder on the opposition then replacement fuel tanks for you plus of course self-preservation would naturally kick in and a pilot wouldn't go into death combat with a speed/maneuverability/RCS handicap if he can change it. The clue is in the name, DROP TANKS.


No, they wouldn't.
First, sprstdlyscottsmn already gave you an excellent example that F-15s while performing supersonic intercepts NEVER drop their tanks so I'm pretty sure that with the Typhoon it won't be any different.
Secondly, and more specific to to the Typhoon: The drop tanks it carries are supersonic tanks which I'm willing to bet that they are perhaps among the most expensive drop tanks in existence. I'm pretty sure that these Typhoon supersonic tanks would be far, far more expensive than the drop tanks of that F-5 that you mention on your last post.
And who knows if they aren't even more expensive than the F-15 Eagle drop tanks? Resuming, Drop tanks or External Fuel Tanks are becoming more and more expensive which again means less to be around and much less likely to be dropped/ditched in situations which aren't last resort and/or dire need.
Third, your drop tank price versus intercepted/shot down aircraft is IMO severely flawed and this why: When you Drop Tanks in an aircraft like the Typhoon you drop several tanks - a group of two or three Drop tanks depending on the configuration - and you will always lose them but as opposed shooting down even a single aircraft is not guaranteed for each group of External Fuel Tanks you drop, actually very far from it! Specially considering that the Typhoon is NOT a Stealth aircraft and as such the chances of a Mig-31 being able to detect the incoming/intercepting Typhoons and avoid being shot down by them should be quite good indeed. So dropping External Fuel Tanks in order to get a slightly better chance of interception/shooting down and enemy aircraft like the Mig-31 is definitely a no-go even during wartime and of course much less during peacetime (during a "routine interception").
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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vilters

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Unread post02 Feb 2019, 01:48

The last drop tanks dropped in combat (to my knowledge) where the Israel F-16 when they went for the Bagdad reactor, and that was to reduce drag for pure range gain.

And…. The high value of the target and mission justified the losses of the tanks.

Combat load, remember?
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gta4

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Unread post02 Feb 2019, 04:28

I think the definition of "inferior" is relative, not absolute. For instance, at close range gun fight F-5 is clearly superior and Mig-25 is inferior. At high altitude supersonic the role reverses.
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ricnunes

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Unread post02 Feb 2019, 22:48

gta4 wrote:I think the definition of "inferior" is relative, not absolute. For instance, at close range gun fight F-5 is clearly superior and Mig-25 is inferior. At high altitude supersonic the role reverses.


Yes indeed.
My point of the F-5 being "inferior" was in general terms (and not in some specific metric) but more accurately and importantly, that the F-5 is a light fighter while the Mig-25 is a heavy fighter.
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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Unread post06 Feb 2019, 20:33

COLOGNE, Germany — The French Air Force has successfully practiced a nuclear strike mission, sending aircraft on an 11-hour mission to sneak a nuclear-capable cruise missile through simulated enemy air defenses and nail it into the sands of a test range south of Bordeaux.

The Feb. 4 mission, billed by the Armed Forces Ministry as “operation-representative,” featured a Rafale fighter jet releasing an ASMP-A missile, made by MBDA. Officials designed the drill to include “all phases characteristic of a nuclear-dissuasion mission,” including successive refueling by C-135 and A-330 tankers before aiming the missile — without a nuclear warhead — at a missile test area near the town of Biscarrosse.

“This success reinforces the technical and operational credibility of the deterrence that the airborne component has continuously maintained through the Air Force since 1964,” reads an Armed Forces Ministry statement from Feb. 5.


https://www.defensenews.com/global/euro ... ar-strike/

The amazing Rafale shows its teeth.
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f4u7_corsair

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Unread post06 Feb 2019, 20:41

The first one of "Lafayette" FS since its transition to Rafale AFAIK. Although these exercises are led on a yearly basis at the very least for French Strategic Air Forces.
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Unread post07 Feb 2019, 05:36

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
ricnunes wrote:You will NEVER (and I repeat NEVER) and EVER drop External Fuel Tanks to for example intercept an enemy faster/quicker something which is mentioned quite often in these forums - I remember for example people picturing a Mig-31 intercept by Typhoons where the Typhoons would carry External Fuel Tanks to fly further (longer range) but they would then drop the External Fuel Tanks in order to intercept the Mig-31's quicker.
Disclamer: This is not going to happen, period. The reason is mentioned above by vilters - it's logistically not sustainable and not enough stocks or resuming: External Fuel Tanks are expensive!

If you want to assume tanks are dropped, then be sure to increase the CPFH by 30,000 per tank over the length of a sortie.


I checked with him on Quora...not one single mission did he ever drop his tanks. He never got any kills but he routinely hunted and found MIGS, chased them down as best he could...with tanks.
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loke

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Unread post07 Feb 2019, 17:14

Dassault has handed over the first of an eventual 36 Rafale combat aircraft – a DQ two-seat variant – to Qatar, for operation by the country's air force.



https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... rs-455567/

Presumably this implies that integration of things like HMD and the Meteor missile has been completed...

AFAIK lack of HMD was the one weak point of Rafale mentioned in the Swiss leak.

The best Eurocanard in the world (and probably the best 4.5 fighter...) just got much better ;)
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optimist

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Unread post10 Feb 2019, 03:43

loke wrote:
The best Eurocanard in the world (and probably the best 4.5 fighter...) just got much better ;)

I'll take than as an opinion. In regards to drop tanks, a pilot said that the fuel vapour on separation, shows up very well on radar and it is a big 'here I am' sign. As well as cost, there are tactical considerations to be taken into account.
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swiss

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Unread post10 Feb 2019, 20:35

loke wrote:https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... rs-455567/

Presumably this implies that integration of things like HMD and the Meteor missile has been completed...

AFAIK lack of HMD was the one weak point of Rafale mentioned in the Swiss leak.

The best Eurocanard in the world (and probably the best 4.5 fighter...) just got much better ;)


I second that.

Are there any updates from Thales or Dassault about the GaN Modules for Spectra and RBE2.
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loke

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Unread post10 Feb 2019, 20:47

swiss wrote:
loke wrote:https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... rs-455567/

Presumably this implies that integration of things like HMD and the Meteor missile has been completed...

AFAIK lack of HMD was the one weak point of Rafale mentioned in the Swiss leak.

The best Eurocanard in the world (and probably the best 4.5 fighter...) just got much better ;)


I second that.

Are there any updates from Thales or Dassault about the GaN Modules for Spectra and RBE2.

It seems that both SPECTRA and the RBE2 will get GaN modules in F4:

Thales is heavily investing on the promising Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology that will shape the future of the Rafale’s sensors from 2025. Compared to current AESA modules, GaN transmitters/ receivers will prove even more powerful, but with reduced electric and cooling requirements, allowing the RBE2 radar’s already impressive performance to be significantly increased and additional functionalities to be performed via the radar antenna.

New multifunction GaN arrays are likely to find their way onto the Rafale, thus multiplying the number of sensor apertures to enlarge the radar’s field of view. GaN antennas will also be adopted for the Spectra jammers.

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/dae/sp ... ox3_19.pdf
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swiss

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Unread post11 Feb 2019, 20:32

loke wrote:
It seems that both SPECTRA and the RBE2 will get GaN modules in F4:

Thales is heavily investing on the promising Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology that will shape the future of the Rafale’s sensors from 2025. Compared to current AESA modules, GaN transmitters/ receivers will prove even more powerful, but with reduced electric and cooling requirements, allowing the RBE2 radar’s already impressive performance to be significantly increased and additional functionalities to be performed via the radar antenna.

New multifunction GaN arrays are likely to find their way onto the Rafale, thus multiplying the number of sensor apertures to enlarge the radar’s field of view. GaN antennas will also be adopted for the Spectra jammers.

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/dae/sp ... ox3_19.pdf


Yes, i know this article. I think it's from 2017. But would be nice to read a newer statement from Thales or Dassault, if they are on track.
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Unread post12 Feb 2019, 10:58

On the issue of droping drop tanks, my take is.
Its definitely an option when needed. But its not a decision that they should take lightly.

If they dropped it and ended up in a merge then they can justify that decision. Good call. But imagine if they didn't make it to the merge.

Thats where the problem lies, when do you make that decision? As far as I've read, pilots start firing at around 15 nautical miles away. But even there, most shots fail to hit, the real good shots are taken at around 10 nautical miles or lower. So do you punch out tanks when you cross the 10 Nautical mile threshold? I don't think there is a written rule like that. Pilots probably have their own preference on when to punch tanks out.

By the way, we have had very few air to air engagements in recent history. And we have never faced an advanced adversary since 1991. So historical references are not always indicative of what will happen in a peer to peer engagement IMO
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optimist

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Unread post12 Feb 2019, 12:54

Anyone would think that only the french have GaN

https://breakingdefense.com/2016/09/pla ... m-nitride/
Lockheed Martin, is already exporting ground-based GaN radars (AN/TPS-77s) to Romania and Latvia. Last year, Lockheed got contracts to build GaN radars for the Space Fence project tracking orbital hazards and to build a GaN Long-Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) for the Missile Defense Agency.

As for Raytheon, besides upgrading AN/TPY-2, the company is using GaN in the Air & Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) on the future Flight III upgrade of the Navy’s Arleigh Burke destroyers. It’s also offering a GaN radar upgrade for the famous and widely exported Patriot missile defense system.
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