F-35 Lightning II vs Dassault Rafale

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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mk82

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Unread post04 Apr 2018, 12:29

botsing wrote:TL;DR

The whole of the world is a conspiracy to sell American jets, but we can trust the CEO of a French commercial competitor on his blue eyes to tell the truth... Right?


Don’t worry Botsing. As far as I am concerned, the Dutch Air Force performed just as well as the French Air Force in real life operational missions and Le Eric is an arrogant a**e who is bitter about his beloved Dassault missing out on many opportunities to GOUGE their potential customers on sustainment, spare parts and upgrade costs. Oh yes, ask the Taiwanese.....they love the sustainment side of their Mirage 2000s......NOT!!! Safe to say...the Taiwanese wouldn’t buying Dassault products again. Oh yeah, as good as the Mirage III0 was...the RAAF wouldn’t be buying any Dassault products ever again (I wonder why...see a pattern developing there...). Add to that the Israeli Air Force...they wouldn’t be buying Dassault products ever again too as Dassault was frankly pretty flaky to the Israeli Air Force. On another note, good luck to Le Eric’s dream of Dassault being the lead contractor/boss for the joint Franco-German next generation fighter project....it will like the early days of EFA part Deux. No way the Germans are going to take Le Eric’s demands lying down.
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ricnunes

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Unread post04 Apr 2018, 17:38

hornetfinn wrote:Swiss Hornets have AN/ALQ-165 ASPJ jammers and while good system, it's rather old system by now (although continually updated). It was developed in 1980s and LRIP started in 1989 or so. It's not really surprising that 10-15 years newer systems have better performance especially in aircraft with lower basic RCS. Super Hornets have quite different system in AN/ALQ-214 with ALE-50/55 towed decoy and newer RWR system. I'd guess that SH has also better EW suite than Swiss Hornets. No idea how it compares with SPECTRA or Arexis, but I'd guess capabilities to be generally similar.

Growler is totally different to self protection jammers and is independent from them. E/F Super Hornets (and every other friendly in the neighborhood) benefit from Growler, but can not skip on self protection EW capabilities because of them. Different goal, different technologies and different abilities.


^ ^ ^
Ditto!
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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loke

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Unread post04 Apr 2018, 20:29

hornetfinn wrote:Growler is totally different to self protection jammers and is independent from them. E/F Super Hornets (and every other friendly in the neighborhood) benefit from Growler, but can not skip on self protection EW capabilities because of them. Different goal, different technologies and different abilities.

I understand that Growlers are entirely different from self protection jammers; my point was that (AFAIK) France is lacking stealth capabilities, and also assets similar to Growler.

The SH would not be used for, e.g., SEAD/DEAD mission by itself; it would normally be supported by other assets (or other assets would do the SEAD/DEAD without involvement of the SH at all!)

What other assets would France use instead of Rafale, or to support the Rafale in SEAD/DEAD type of missions? What is the French "growler" or the French "B-2/F-22/F-35"? AFAIK Rafale is basically what they got for the high-end threats.

Therefore I am thinking that they may spend more on developing SPECTRA than what the USN is willing to spend on developing the self protection suite for the SH.

I may be wrong of course.
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Unread post05 Apr 2018, 09:05

loke wrote:The SH would not be used for, e.g., SEAD/DEAD mission by itself; it would normally be supported by other assets (or other assets would do the SEAD/DEAD without involvement of the SH at all!)

What other assets would France use instead of Rafale, or to support the Rafale in SEAD/DEAD type of missions? What is the French "growler" or the French "B-2/F-22/F-35"? AFAIK Rafale is basically what they got for the high-end threats.

Therefore I am thinking that they may spend more on developing SPECTRA than what the USN is willing to spend on developing the self protection suite for the SH.

I may be wrong of course.


I think both USA and France are trying to get as much bang for the buck/euro as they can. USA just has a lot more money to play with and can design and acquire systems like Growler or B-2 or F-22. France struggles just to acquire the required number of Rafales and thus can not buy anything extra. I'm sure French forces would like Growler-Rafale if they could, but they have to do without due to costs involved. Of course when it comes to fighting advanced and strong enemy IADS, France is not likely going alone against them. And I'm sure USN could well fight without Growler, but that would naturally mean change in tactics and way of fighting.

USA also can buy a lot more Super Hornets than France can buy Rafales and thus developing similar EW system costs comparatively less for them (unit costs), especially since USA can draw experience and solutions from much larger number of other EW systems. I doubt that SPECTRA is that much better system than equivalent version of AN/ALQ-214. I'd say that it also depends on exact timeframe and version of both systems as both are continually developed and updated/upgraded. Both have their strong points, like SPECTRA having DDM-NG MAWS, while AN/ALQ-214 has towed decoys.
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swiss

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Unread post05 Apr 2018, 12:20

hornetfinn wrote: Of course when it comes to fighting advanced and strong enemy IADS, France is not likely going alone against them.


Agreed.

For mission like in Syria, Irak or Mali to fight against IS and co. The Rafale alone could do the Job. But when you have a enemy like irak in 1991, France would need NATO support. Especially USAF and USN.

What surprising me why the USN upgrade the SH to Bl.III in the 2020s? The F-35c should be available then to replace the SH.
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Unread post05 Apr 2018, 22:21

swiss wrote:What surprising me why the USN upgrade the SH to Bl.III in the 2020s? The F-35c should be available then to replace the SH.


I believe that your question is actually and relatively easy to answer:
- Corporate Welfare (using a common terms used often in this forum which is IMO spot on).

Boeing kinda of more or less "threatened" (note the quotes) to shut down its fighter aircraft production line in St. Louis in case no more fighter aircraft are ordered from Boeing which would mean that only the fighter aircraft production lines from Lockheed Martin would continue to exist in the USA.
Guess that the US politicians wants to keep the Boeing fighter aircraft production line opened at "almost all costs"...
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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loke

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Unread post06 Apr 2018, 08:45

swiss wrote:
hornetfinn wrote: Of course when it comes to fighting advanced and strong enemy IADS, France is not likely going alone against them.


Agreed.

For mission like in Syria, Irak or Mali to fight against IS and co. The Rafale alone could do the Job. But when you have a enemy like irak in 1991, France would need NATO support. Especially USAF and USN.

Since at least 2016(?) SEAD has officially been part of the missions set for the Rafale in the French air force:

For the air force, the benefit is still sometimes more direct still: it's at Albacete that Rafale pilots have developed fight antiradar (or SEAD) capabilities of the device, based on their conversations with experts in the field in NATO, the British, the Germans and the Americans.

By taking advantage of special detection capabilities of the Rafale - and including the SPECTRA-sensors, they determined a how-to to reintegrate this mission in the operational air force catalog. What is now effective, thanks to the advice of the military aviation expertise centre.


auto-translated from: http://www.air-cosmos.com/10-nouveaux-m ... -air-63195

It is not clear if India plans to use Rafale for SEAD, however the Indian air marshall says this about Rafale in an article about current and future Indian EW capabilities (back in 2016):

The Rafale will bring new EW technologies. It features an integrated system named SPECTRA developed jointly between Thales and MBDA, which protects the aircraft against airborne and ground threats. SPECTRA would allow Rafale to become independent of SEAD platforms.

Read more at:
http://www.indiandefencereview.com/spot ... tiplier/2/
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hornetfinn

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Unread post06 Apr 2018, 11:50

loke wrote:Since at least 2016(?) SEAD has officially been part of the missions set for the Rafale in the French air force:


Sure they are acquiring such capability, but to me it seems to be rather basic capability against low- and some medium level threats. It likely works well against SA-3, SA-6 and SA-8 level of threat. Against S-300/400 along with SA-15 and Pantsir or something similar, they are going to struggle a lot. Having anti-radiation missiles (like HARM or ALARM) and/or support jammers (like Growler) would help a lot in those situations.
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ricnunes

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Unread post06 Apr 2018, 11:52

loke wrote:
swiss wrote:
hornetfinn wrote: Of course when it comes to fighting advanced and strong enemy IADS, France is not likely going alone against them.


Agreed.

For mission like in Syria, Irak or Mali to fight against IS and co. The Rafale alone could do the Job. But when you have a enemy like irak in 1991, France would need NATO support. Especially USAF and USN.


Since at least 2016(?) SEAD has officially been part of the missions set for the Rafale in the French air force:



I would say that Rafale has indeed some SEAD/DEAD capabilities since like you mentioned in your post the Rafale can geolocate Air Defence systems, namely resorting to SPECTRA and thus engage those same systems with munitions such as the AASM.

However both hornetfinn and swiss have a point in which the Rafale SEAD/DEAD capabilities are "limited" and thus when facing a "strong enemy IADS" the Rafale would certainly need support from other NATO assets.
For example, I believe that the Rafale could indeed face an enemy equipped with Air Defence systems such as the SA-15/Tor which albeit being "advanced air defence systems", the SPECTRA/AASM combo would certainly outrange the SA-15/Tor and the same applies to other similar shorter ranged air defence systems or even to somehow longer ranged air defence systems such as the SA-11/17/Buk.
But a completely different thing would be to face for example, a S-300 air defence system (or even worse, the S-400). In this case the SPECTRA/AASM combo won't outrange such systems and if these air defence systems are connected into an IADS then things would become much, much more complicated for the Rafale and in such case EW support would be a must and support of aircraft equipped with longer ranged Anti-radiation missiles would also help a lot.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post06 Apr 2018, 12:16

hornetfinn wrote:
loke wrote:Since at least 2016(?) SEAD has officially been part of the missions set for the Rafale in the French air force:


Sure they are acquiring such capability, but to me it seems to be rather basic capability against low- and some medium level threats. It likely works well against SA-3, SA-6 and SA-8 level of threat. Against S-300/400 along with SA-15 and Pantsir or something similar, they are going to struggle a lot. Having anti-radiation missiles (like HARM or ALARM) and/or support jammers (like Growler) would help a lot in those situations.

I agree; however the question was rather whether also the SH will be able to operate efficiently around low and medium level threats without extra support.

Perhaps they are, but I have not heard about examples, for instance in Libya this seemed not to be the case. This could of course be due to a different risk assessment than what the French did, but I don't think we know for sure.

In any case it is interesting to note that the Indian air marshal specifically mentioned that Rafale would be able to operate independently from dedicated SEAD assets, he did not make that remark for the other Indian planes, including those having e.g., Israeli EW systems.
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Unread post06 Apr 2018, 13:00

Both of you are right. This is why MBDA is developing a new family of "wolfpack" weapons, smart glider (which they claim to be a mix of the best of SDBI and II). Presently the combination AASM/SCALP proved to be sufficient yet, but the dissemination of area denial systems made the development of new weapons a must have.
MBDA is incesting more on saturation attacks and pack behaviour of weapons than antiradiation because they consider that growing intelligence of smart missile systems would be challenge to ARM.
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Unread post06 Apr 2018, 13:45

loke wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:
loke wrote:Since at least 2016(?) SEAD has officially been part of the missions set for the Rafale in the French air force:


Sure they are acquiring such capability, but to me it seems to be rather basic capability against low- and some medium level threats. It likely works well against SA-3, SA-6 and SA-8 level of threat. Against S-300/400 along with SA-15 and Pantsir or something similar, they are going to struggle a lot. Having anti-radiation missiles (like HARM or ALARM) and/or support jammers (like Growler) would help a lot in those situations.

I agree; however the question was rather whether also the SH will be able to operate efficiently around low and medium level threats without extra support.

Perhaps they are, but I have not heard about examples, for instance in Libya this seemed not to be the case. This could of course be due to a different risk assessment than what the French did, but I don't think we know for sure.

In any case it is interesting to note that the Indian air marshal specifically mentioned that Rafale would be able to operate independently from dedicated SEAD assets, he did not make that remark for the other Indian planes, including those having e.g., Israeli EW systems.


I'd say that SH can probably do that about as well as Rafale although I'm sure they likely never will because USN and RAAF have Growlers and HARMs. Why take chances when you have such support available?

I'd say that Rafale will be easily the most advanced fighter aircraft in Indian inventory with the most advaced and integrated avionics system. Su-30MKI has decent EW suite but I'd say it's still quite far from Rafale and besides Su-30MKI has very big RCS and otherwise the avionics system is not that advanced.
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Unread post06 Apr 2018, 17:57

ricnunes wrote:
I believe that your question is actually and relatively easy to answer:
- Corporate Welfare (using a common terms used often in this forum which is IMO spot on).

Boeing kinda of more or less "threatened" (note the quotes) to shut down its fighter aircraft production line in St. Louis in case no more fighter aircraft are ordered from Boeing which would mean that only the fighter aircraft production lines from Lockheed Martin would continue to exist in the USA.
Guess that the US politicians wants to keep the Boeing fighter aircraft production line opened at "almost all costs"...


Yes Ric that sounds indeed right. Its same why France and Germany still built the Rafale and EF and want to develop a 5 gen. Fighter, instead to buy the F-35. To buy the US stealth Fighter would be a lot easier and cheaper. But that would mean to shoot down probably the whole European Fighter industry.

But i am very curious how long the SH Bl III stays in service, with the F-35c in the back.

hornetfinn wrote:I'd say that SH can probably do that about as well as Rafale although I'm sure they likely never will because USN and RAAF have Growlers and HARMs. Why take chances when you have such support available?


Also fully agreed. So the French need to buy or develop a HARM weapon for the Rafale as fast as thy can.
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Unread post06 Apr 2018, 23:10

French Naval Aviation Trains with U.S. Navy
April 2018 Captain Roux de Luze [French Navy]

"...This deployment is called “Chesapeake Mission 2018.” This mission will resemble a friendly French invasion: the French Navy carrier air wing, composed of some 350 sailors, 12 Rafale fighter aircraft and 1 E-2C Hawkeye will deploy for eight weeks, from 4 April to 25 May, to Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana and NAS Chambers Field. The Rafales belong to squadrons 11F, 12F, and 17F based at NAS Landivisiau, in Brittany, France, and the Hawkeye hails from squadron 4F based in NAS Lann-Bihoué, also in Brittany. While operating in the United States, these aircraft, their aircrew, and their ground crew will be integrated in the U.S. Navy’s Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8).

Following a month of tactical training of increasing complexity and intensive field carrier landing practice, the French air wing will embark for two weeks on board the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) with CVW-8. Together the two air wings will conduct carrier qualifications and advanced tactical training, including live fire drills. For the first time, French Rafales will be launched from a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier with live ordnance under their wings that came from the U.S. ammunitions stock....

...The benefits of Chesapeake Mission 2018 exceed the value of the aeronautical (carrier qualification) and tactical (multi-warfare domain flights) currency training. The mission takes on a strategic dimension by demonstrating the interoperability of our two navies and the capability of the French Navy to integrate its carrier air wing seamlessly into a U.S. Navy carrier air wing on all levels (aviation, human, logistics, maintenance, combat information systems, command and control).

The French aircraft are crossing the Atlantic as this is written. The Hawkeye will fly north, via Iceland, escorted by a French Air Force A400 M for logistical support and a French Naval Aviation Falcon 50 for search and rescue. The Rafales will cross the Atlantic directly in two waves of six aircraft, refueled in flight by two French Air Force KC-135s and escorted by another search-and-rescue Falcon 50. To celebrate this deployment and the strong ties between our two navies and our two countries, the French Hawkeye has donned a French-American color pattern which should please Americans! This Hawkeye’s squadron, 4F, which I had the honor to command, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and is the oldest unit in French naval aviation...."

Photo: "Photo : French Navy E-2C Hawkeye with special paint scheme for deployment to the United States. Courtesy French Navy." https://www.usni.org/sites/default/file ... 5Apr18.jpg


Source: https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedi ... ns-us-navy
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Unread post06 Apr 2018, 23:25

monkeypilot wrote:Both of you are right. This is why MBDA is developing a new family of "wolfpack" weapons, smart glider (which they claim to be a mix of the best of SDBI and II).


This won't solve the Rafale's "limitation" when performing S/DEAD missions against a well equipped enemy with systems like the S-300/400 connected into an IADS.
The problem is that even with weapons like the SDBI and SDBII or other similar (glide) weapons which have a maximum range around 110km an air defence system like the S-300/400 can engage a Rafale at distances farther than the range of these weapons. The S-300 could technically engage the Rafale at distances around 200km while the S-400 can engage even further.

For what's worth this same problem also "affects" the E/F variants of the Super Hornet but at least the SH has the option of being supported by the Growler variant and/or the HARM missile which currently has a reported range of 150km while the upcoming AARGM-ER which is being developed will certainly have a quite longer range than the existing HARM.

Now those glide weapons like the SDBI/SDBII that you mention are excellent SEAD/DEAD weapons for the F-35 (but not so much for the Rafale or Super Hornet) because an air defence system like the S-300 or S-400 can only detect a F-35 at a quite shorter range than the maximum range of these glide weapons.

Or resuming:
- A Rafale could/would be engaged by a S-300/S-400 before it could launch those glide SDB-type weapons against these air defence system sites.
- A F/A-18E/F Super Hornet could/would also be engaged by a S-300/S-400 before it could launch SDBII weapons against these air defence system sites but there's always the option of being supported by the Growler variant of the SH and the use of HARM (AARGM-ER in the future) would also improve its chances.
- A F-35 will be able to launch SDBI/SDBII against a S-300/S-400 without these same air defence system ever knowing who or what shot at them.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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