F-35 Lightning II vs Dassault Rafale

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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locum

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Unread post11 Aug 2006, 12:11

'The F-35 by a LONG shot over the Rafale'.
Huh huh huh ha ha... (laugh of Statler & Waldorf of the Muppets Show)
The RNLAF started in 1998 a Defense Material Choice Process, it started researching the performance, capabilities and life-cycle cost of: F-35, Typhoon Tr.3, Rafale F4, JAS-39C, Advanced F-16 (improved version of the block 60) and F-18 SuperHornet as a swing-role fighter replacement for the aging Viper.

The JAS-39 is very capable, has very good life-cycle costs, but lacked the desired payload-range so it was dropped off the shortlist.
The F-18 E/F was too large and too heavy and less capable then Rafale F4 and Typhoon Tr.3 and dropped.
The Advanced F-16 was also less capable then the F-35, Rafale & Typhoon and dropped.
So they ended up with a final shortlist of 3 warplanes:
1. The F-35, the best
2. Rafale F4, second-best. It was stated that the F4 was almost as good as the 'Triple Ugly'. The difference between the 2 was because off the Stealth capabilities of the F-35.
3. Typhoon Tr.3, Nr.3 because the Rafale is better in A2G missions and can be employed in more rolles than the Typhoon.

The RBE-2 radar, Toan says that the detection range is 130~148 km 70nm~80nm, because the RBE-2 has similar or a little bit better performance than the RDY. The RDY, which is being used in the Mirage 2000-5F, has a maximum detection range of 220 km/ 119nm and can detect 24 fighter-sized targets. In the track-while-scan mode, the range is 140km/ 80nm and can track 8 fighter-sized targets.
A Dutch exchange pilot who flew the Mirage 2000-5F, described the RDY radar as very good, he also said that the integrated ECM systems are better than in US fighters.
The RBE-2 radar is not the prime sensor of the Rafale, that is the passive SPECTRA, this system is the most expensive and most compex device in the Rafale with a maximum dectection range of 500 km/ 270nm.

'Boff180 said that the Rafale is not a true supercruiser, because it has to use its afterburners to cross the M1.0 barrier', well even a Raptor will use his afterburners for a short period because it takes to much time and gas to break the Mach barrier.
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skrip00

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Unread post11 Aug 2006, 14:52

The F-18 E/F was too large and too heavy and less capable then Rafale F4 and Typhoon Tr.3 and dropped.

HAHAHAHA!

Rafale F4??? Shoot man, F2 aint anywhere yet. Tr. 3??? It may not even be built.

The F/A-18E/F is here already dude, with an AESA radar and IDECM goodies. It carries a hefty weapons load a good distance, has the lowest RCS of the three, and so on...

I love when people compare what is out now, to what will possibly, hopefully, maybe, be out later.

If your going to do that, give the F/A-18E an upgraded AN/APG-79 (with better signal processing and more power = more range) and improved 414 engines which have further increased thrust (25% increase), higher efficiency, less weight, easier maintainability, and maybe even TVC. Because that is in the works as well.
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Unread post11 Aug 2006, 17:27

'Shoot man, F2 ain't anywhere yet, Tranche 3 It may not even be built.'

"Ain't anywhere yet", hiii yaaa, 27 June 2006, AirBase 113, Saint Dizier, Squadron 01.007 "Provence" EC 1/7 was inaugurated with the first 10 Rafales F2.2 and at the end of this year, this squadron will have 5 Rafale Cs & 15 Rafale Bs F2.2 standard. The first F2 was allready delivered in June 2005 and theAeronavale will receive its first F3 in 2007. Yes, I agree, the Tr. 3 may not even be built.
The RNLAF took into account performance, capabilities and life-cycle costs of 4.5 and 5th generation fighters, Skrip00 do you have all this information too in order to make a good comparison between the F-18E and the Rafale?.
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skrip00

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Unread post11 Aug 2006, 17:40

Oh wow. 15? +5? Thats a whole ummm, 20 aircraft? Compared to the hundreds in USN service with AESA radars going online in the next few months?

All I know is that plans are in the works to introduce a further variation of the GE F414-400 Engine. This new engine would have similar dimensions (as to be used on current airframes), but will have 30% less parts and maintenence time, 25% increase in thrust. And due to this increase in thrust, you can add TVC and still get a net gain in thrust, even though TVC has a thrust penalty built in.

In addition to this, the APG-79 will be, without a doubt, upgraded with newer signal processing (software change) and maybe even newer generation T/R modules which can handle higher power output. This is being done right now with the F-22A APG-77, so its logical to assume the APG-79 will be upgraded in a similar manner.

Furthermore, the SuperHornet will also see upgrades in RCS reduction. Possibly with the addition of improved RAM coatings to leading edges and pylons to reduce frontal RCS. (RAM is probably not seen on the F/A-18E/F yet due to the fact they are waiting on the JSF program to produce more durable RAM coatings which can survive long periods in corrosive ocean environments.)

The only one of these upgrades which I cannot be sure of is the TVC one. It is possible... but I havent seen much on it.

But this is a very real possibility for the SuperHornet series. More real than Tranche 3, of even Rafale F4s.
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Unread post11 Aug 2006, 17:46

Remember, the F/A-18E/F is the US Navy's equivalent to the F-22A in terms of hi-lo mix. Also, Block II has been initiated. Block III is in the works.
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Unread post11 Aug 2006, 18:03

Off topic, A F414 with 27,500 lbs thrust, upgraded APG-79, reduced RCS, possible TVC! Ssssss, don't wake up the Democrats. They maybe start thinking: Heee we don't need that F-35C, a block 3 Rhino will do the job.
Skrip00, you think that the F-18E is the best, I think that the Rafale (squall) is better, even the F2 and F3, we are probably both hard'head'/'a$$'. The F-18 and Rafale have allready flown exercises against each other so maybe a Rhino driver (clown_shoes ?)who posts at this site can give some comments, period.
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skrip00

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Unread post11 Aug 2006, 18:36

Off topic, A F414 with 27,500 lbs thrust, upgraded APG-79, reduced RCS, possible TVC! Ssssss, don't wake up the Democrats. They maybe start thinking: Heee we don't need that F-35C, a block 3 Rhino will do the job.

It'll be a beast in the AtA domain, but the F-35 will have the monopoly on AtG and any mission where stealth is needed. Which in these days means: AtA and most AtG. There is a reason both types will be working hand in hand for many decades to come.

Also, I dont think its the "best". I just don't like it being counted out so quickly. Especially in comparisons to aircraft types which dont even fly yet. Like the F3 or F4. THERE IS NO F4 SPECS YET! F3 maybe, but its funding is a bit iffy.

The Rafale F2 is just taking its baby steps and isnt near the operational readiness the F/A-18E/F is right now. The USN has hundreds of aircraft already flying. Many of them Block II (with AESA).

Compare fairly.

Wanna compare F4 to the F/A-18F? Compare it to a Block III.
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Unread post11 Aug 2006, 18:57

boff180 wrote:Rafale is capable of supercruising... however not in the true sense of the word... it can fly supersonically on mil power, but cannot break through the barrier using just mil power and requires a burst of reheat (unknown for how long) in order to breach the barrier before returning to mil power.

Andy


But this is what all aircraft capable of supercruising do to get supersonic anyway. This is what the F-22 does to get up to its supersonic cruise speed. That's what the Concord did. Are you going to tell me that the Concord wasn't a true supercruising aircraft because it had to use its blowers to get up to Mach 2 (at which point it would turn them off and maintain that speed). You have a number of rapidly changing variables (lift, drag, thrust, pitching moment, inlet performance, etc) in the transonic regime that basically make acceleration difficult without reheat. You don't finesse the transonic regime... you simply do your best to bust right through it.

If you look at optimum climb profiles for some fighters, you'll see that part of the transonic leg at high altitude has them descending. This is to break through the transonic regime as fast as possible despite the fact that you're actually losing altitude in the process. Believe me... the F-22 doesn't reach Mach 1.7 from below the Mach using only MIL power. It would take too long and actually hurt your range performance. Even the F-22 might have trouble getting to its top supercruise speed using just MIL. If it did, you certainly wouldn't hear a peep about it. But it's honestly a moot point since nobody in their right mind would avoid lighting the AB in order to get up to supersonic cruising speeds.

The only aircraft in the world (known to the public at least) that maintained high supersonic speeds throughout its flight profile through continuous use of afterburner was the A-12/SR-71. Again though, max AB was used to get up to cruising speed and then throttled back to some lower AB stage. The only time max AB would be engaged during the flight profile was (I think?) to gain a bit more altitude and airspeed to avoid being intercepted by a SAM or enemy fighter interceptor. The SR certainly didn't cruise at max AB. But it could curise relatively efficiently in AB due to its unique engine/inlet design which bypassed all the moving parts in the turbojet's core past a certain Mach number. So it was basically a ram jet... not really fair. :)

Anyway... to sum things up, it is NOT a sin if you need to use AB to get up to a supersonic speed that can be maintained in MIL power. That's just how it's done.
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Unread post11 Aug 2006, 19:03

skrip00 wrote:All I know is that plans are in the works to introduce a further variation of the GE F414-400 Engine. This new engine would have similar dimensions (as to be used on current airframes), but will have 30% less parts and maintenence time, 25% increase in thrust. And due to this increase in thrust, you can add TVC and still get a net gain in thrust, even though TVC has a thrust penalty built in.


Skrip, I'll tell you what I tell everyone. I don't believe the program is in place, but they are looking at changing some stuff on the engine because of the state of California sued the USN for pollution output. Now from an engineering perspective, you've got a cleaner process meaning more CO2, less CO, and less NOx. CO and NOx reduce the energy in the equation, so cleaner burning will get you more energy that can be used. This means one of two things, you can get more thrust, or burn less fuel. Maybe even both of them. And if you ask how I know this, my mother works for GE Aircraft Engines. And no, I won't tell you anymore.
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Unread post11 Aug 2006, 19:50

If I remember correctly though, new engines were always in the cards for the F/A-18E/F. Updating them and improving them is alot easier with time and offers immense performance yields.
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Unread post11 Aug 2006, 22:06

Raptor_One wrote:
boff180 wrote:Rafale is capable of supercruising... however not in the true sense of the word... it can fly supersonically on mil power, but cannot break through the barrier using just mil power and requires a burst of reheat (unknown for how long) in order to breach the barrier before returning to mil power.

Andy


But this is what all aircraft capable of supercruising do to get supersonic anyway. This is what the F-22 does to get up to its supersonic cruise speed. That's what the Concord did. Are you going to tell me that the Concord wasn't a true supercruising aircraft because it had to use its blowers to get up to Mach 2 (at which point it would turn them off and maintain that speed). You have a number of rapidly changing variables (lift, drag, thrust, pitching moment, inlet performance, etc) in the transonic regime that basically make acceleration difficult without reheat. You don't finesse the transonic regime... you simply do your best to bust right through it.

If you look at optimum climb profiles for some fighters, you'll see that part of the transonic leg at high altitude has them descending. This is to break through the transonic regime as fast as possible despite the fact that you're actually losing altitude in the process. Believe me... the F-22 doesn't reach Mach 1.7 from below the Mach using only MIL power. It would take too long and actually hurt your range performance. Even the F-22 might have trouble getting to its top supercruise speed using just MIL. If it did, you certainly wouldn't hear a peep about it. But it's honestly a moot point since nobody in their right mind would avoid lighting the AB in order to get up to supersonic cruising speeds.

The only aircraft in the world (known to the public at least) that maintained high supersonic speeds throughout its flight profile through continuous use of afterburner was the A-12/SR-71. Again though, max AB was used to get up to cruising speed and then throttled back to some lower AB stage. The only time max AB would be engaged during the flight profile was (I think?) to gain a bit more altitude and airspeed to avoid being intercepted by a SAM or enemy fighter interceptor. The SR certainly didn't cruise at max AB. But it could curise relatively efficiently in AB due to its unique engine/inlet design which bypassed all the moving parts in the turbojet's core past a certain Mach number. So it was basically a ram jet... not really fair. :)

Anyway... to sum things up, it is NOT a sin if you need to use AB to get up to a supersonic speed that can be maintained in MIL power. That's just how it's done.


I'm not saying they do.

What I'm stating is that both F-22 and Typhoon can breach the barrier using mil power... it may take a little while (long than ab for instance) but they can do it. Rafale however can't and must rely on AB power to breach the barrier.

Thats all I'm saying!
Andy
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Unread post11 Aug 2006, 23:19

We frequently CANNOT even use the combat radius numbers to compare aircrafts especially when it is from two different sources. The problem is that even when you declare the store type and the mission profile (say lo-hi-lo, lo-lo-lo, or whatever) different authorities have different standards as to what is considered combat reserve. That is ohter than the fuel need to fly in there with the stores, drop them and come back, want constitutes "enough" fuel to fight with while at the target area. This can range from "nothing" to 50% fuel reserve. Also, there is no standard as to what speed the ingress and egress has to be conducted at and so on and so forth. Differences in such standards can easily fudge the "combat radius" figures by up to 50% and making comparisons highly dubious.
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Unread post11 Aug 2006, 23:29

The only aircraft in the world (known to the public at least) that maintained high supersonic speeds throughout its flight profile through continuous use of afterburner was the A-12/SR-71. Again though, max AB was used to get up to cruising speed and then throttled back to some lower AB stage.

Actually, it is the opposite. the SR-71 is practically in continuous AB use during cruising. The J58 engine is not a typical turbojet or turbofan. The "turbo" part of the engine is basically to enable the aircraft to take off, fly to altitude and.. ahem... refuel with a tanker. The SR-71 then lights is AB and get past Mach 2.5. At around this speed, the airflow to the engine core is basically shut off while ram air is compressed by the intake, bypasses the core and introduced straight to the afterburner can where it is mixed and burned with fuel. In otherwords, once the SR-71 gets up to speed, the engine effectively becomes a RAM JET and the afterburner can is continuously in use.
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Unread post11 Aug 2006, 23:29

boff180 wrote:I'm not saying they do.

What I'm stating is that both F-22 and Typhoon can breach the barrier using mil power... it may take a little while (long than ab for instance) but they can do it. Rafale however can't and must rely on AB power to breach the barrier.

Thats all I'm saying!
Andy


Right, and what I'm saying is that there's no reason to mention that as it's not an important capability. What is important is what speed you can maintain without afterburner. The reason why the F-22 can cruise as fast as it can is largely due to the F119-PW-100. When the F100-PW-100 was designed and mated to the F-15A, there was a similar revolution in performance, albeit more along the lines of maximum AB thrust. The F119's dry power is totally insane and is probably equal to, if not more than that of the original F100-PW-100 in AB at low speeds/altitudes. It's very difficult for an afterburning turbofan or turbojet to maintain efficiency above Mach 1.0 without the use of afterburning. My guess is that the F119 simply has a very high exit velocity in MIL power and, as a result, doesn't suffer too much from ram drag at high altitudes and airspeeds.

The question you should be asking about the Rafale is how fast it can cruise in MIL power... not whether it needs AB to get there. Another important thing is acceleration in AB. You want to be able to get up to cruising speed fast to minimize the use of afterburner, further increasing your supersonic cruise range/endurance. The Rafale has a relatively small engine compared to the F119, correct? That alone can limit thrust output. Engine diameter has a huge impact on the amount of thrust you can generate. So a small-ish fighter like the Rafale or EF-2000 can either have one really big, powerful engine (like the F-35) or two smaller, less powerful engines. Often two smaller engines are required for various reasons.
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Unread post11 Aug 2006, 23:30

The only aircraft in the world (known to the public at least) that maintained high supersonic speeds throughout its flight profile through continuous use of afterburner was the A-12/SR-71. Again though, max AB was used to get up to cruising speed and then throttled back to some lower AB stage.

Actually, the SR-71 not really in continuous AB use during cruising. The J58 engine is not a typical turbojet or turbofan. The "turbo" part of the engine is basically to enable the aircraft to take off, fly to altitude and.. ahem... refuel with a tanker. The SR-71 then lights is AB and get past Mach 2.5. At around this speed, the airflow to the engine core is basically shut off while ram air is compressed by the intake, bypasses the core and introduced straight to the afterburner can where it is mixed and burned with fuel. In otherwords, once the SR-71 gets up to speed, the engine effectively becomes a RAM JET and it is not using is "afterburner" because you are not "afterburning" anything previously burned in the engine core. You are a RAM JET plain and simple.
Last edited by dwightlooi on 11 Aug 2006, 23:33, edited 1 time in total.
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