F-35 Lightning II vs Dassault Rafale

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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herciv

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Unread post15 Mar 2021, 06:25

Atlantic TRIDENT preparation Around 2;12 and 2:30:
https://youtu.be/NDqej-9hdyM
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Unread post17 Mar 2021, 17:41

How the French "measure" the structural life limit and the fatigue of the Rafale
https://doureios.com/pos-metroun-oi-gal ... on-rafale/
The announcement that the first Rafale of the 12 second-hand aircraft to be delivered to the Air Force is the "B305", because it is the first Rafale to enter service in 2004 and is now in its 17th year of service, has created a sensation. The impression is that this fact invalidates the official statements that the used aircraft to be received will still have a large margin of flight hours available. However, things are not exactly like that and, addressing the professionals, we will try to describe in simple terms what is true in the case of the Rafale in terms of measuring its structural life.

According to official reports, the Rafale has a structural life of 5 000 flight hours and this can be extended to 7 000 and later to 9 000 flight hours. It should therefore be made clear that the design philosophy of French aircraft is based on the 'safe life' concept, according to which certain structural elements have a safety factor sufficient for the entire operational life of the aircraft. This concept is considered to be a more conservative approach and is accompanied by heavier designs, which are more durable and reduce the need for structural inspections. This is why in the Rafale only random inspections of a small percentage of the fleet are foreseen (if indeed it is deemed appropriate) rather than regular inspections of all aircraft.


https://doureios.com/wp-content/uploads ... .57.26.png
Thus, the French aircraft are more robust and durable, compared to the American aircraft, which follow the "Damage Tolerance" design principle, in which the safety factors are more marginal, thus allowing some cracks to develop in the structural elements of the aircraft. All these are updated through a structural integrity monitoring programme and sometimes structural checks or reinforcements are required. It can therefore be seen that due to this design concept, the structural integrity monitoring programme is more critical in the case of the US aircraft fleet. On the other hand, the "Damage Tolerance" concept, due to lower safety factors, allows for lighter designs however, consistent structural monitoring is highly necessary.

Under the French "Safe Life" concept, an increased safety factor of 5 is used in critical areas so that no structural inspections are required and, by implication, no reinforcement is needed. For each individual aircraft, data is recorded on the loads on each flight and as a parallel study is carried out using finite element models, a lower safety factor is allowed. The recording of the loads on the aircraft is done through the Rafale's computer, which collects all the key flight data and of course the cases where the G limits are exceeded. This is why it matters how "hard" or "soft" the utilisation is, i.e. whether the aircraft is constantly flying demanding profiles or more relaxed training flights. The data collected on the aircraft's computer is transferred via the Maintenance Data Cartridge to the aircraft's Health and Usage Monitoring System, which among other things calculates how much "consumption" of the Fatigue Index, has taken place after each flight. The Fatigue Index or 'Fatigue Coefficient' of the aircraft is not just one single parameter but a combination of individual factors.

What we can say with certainty is that, apparently, the extension of the structural life limit on the Rafale will apply to all users. But precisely because of the "conservatism" in the design concept of the aircraft, in which much stricter criteria and a much harsher stress range were taken into account, the monitoring of the data and the calculation of the Fatigue Index automatically leads to an extension of the service life limit. And this is done without structural upgrades and at a much lower cost than the time-consuming structural upgrades carried out on American aircraft.
https://doureios.com/wp-content/uploads ... .00.09.png
As we have stated from the outset, the 3 500 flight hours margin allows the aircraft to be operated for 20 years, with an annual number of 180 flight hours, which is normal. Therefore, any structural upgrade will be a matter for the Air Force in a second year and certainly not immediately.
https://doureios.com/wp-content/uploads ... x564-1.jpg
But to return to the first Rafale to be received by the Air Force, the two-seater "B305", if we accept that over the years it has been completing 180 flight hours per year, it means that it has "exhausted" 2,800-2,900 flight hours out of the 5,000 of the original structural life calculation. In theory, it will reach 5 000 hours in 2033, i.e. in 11.5 years. However, if we consider that it is used primarily for training purposes, then we can assume that it has a relatively "soft" consumption in Fatigue Index and the upgrade of the structural life limit to 7,000 flight hours is given and "automatic".

ANd a small comment by KK on air-defense.net :
http://www.air-defense.net/forum/topic/ ... nt=1392281
First, the Rafales do not fly 180 hours per year but rather 230-280 hours. The fleet leaders already had 3,300 Hdv in mid-2018. The B305 being the 3rd delivered ops aircraft, it must be at the top of this ranking with potentially ~4,000 Hdv on the clock today.

Then I'm not sure if the methods of calculating and monitoring fatigue are different in the US. If some US aircraft need structural upgrades, it's mainly because Uncle Sam flies them a lot (for example 10,000 Hdv for an F/A-18, which let's face it, is a lot for an airborne aircraft that undergoes efforts at each catapult/landing). And they are aiming for 12,000 Hdv for their F-16s and 15,000 Hdv for their F-15s.
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Unread post17 Mar 2021, 19:51

Finnish Air Force:

F/A-18 C/D Hornet: Safe Life / Fail Safe, these days accompanied by Safety by Inspection structural inspection programs that are done during maintenance. SBI is used to lower the risks and maintain structural integrity in a cost-effective manner. It's a combo of FiAF not being able to participate in setting the original design specs and their highly stressful flight spectrum.

So there's the original Damage Tolerant structural design. It's meant to reduce the risk of splintering, which could jeopardize the structural integrity of the fighter during its life cycle. But if experiments or analysis prove that splintering it's still possible, the user must take action to reduce the risks. Hence SBI.

In the early 2000s, before the last Hornets were handed over from the production line, it was clear that the HN fleet as such wouldn't be able to operate throughout their life cycle. The HN fleet would require in-depth domestic analysis, inspect, modification and maintenance capability. It needed a better integrity management plan.

BAe Hawk: Design aim was Safe Life over 6000 FH for the primary structures, but it has ended up getting Safety by Inspection programs like the Hornets.

Both Hornet and Hawk use USAF standard MIL-STD-1530C for the integrity management planning. For the Hornet NAVAIR's Service Life Bulletin is the basis. Manufacturer guidance is limited. There's Structural Repair Manual but its suggested scope of structural checks has proven too limited. Broader checks involving more structural parts have been necessary.

There's also Fleet Leader in use to provide early warnings of possible structural fatigue. So part of the fleet gets flown more Fatigue Life Expended and they get inspected to prepare for the problems before they happen to the majority.
Specific Hornets get tracked with SAFE, mainly Flight Hours, FLE of the wing root (directly proportional to the amount of times exceeded G), then T*, which is cumulative metric of flying high alpha. It's calculated with a combo of AOA and kinetic pressure, and it correlates with the wearing out of the horizontal stabilizers.

The main variables and SAFE are too simplistic. They account only for two flight states: high alpha and stress multiples. To broaden this there's also a parameter-based fatigue monitoring system based on neural network analysis.
It's achieved by installing a vast amount of strain gauge strips on two fighters in the vicinity of their critical structures.
They have been used to create virtual strain gauge data for other fighters. Neural network and transfer functions enable fatigue monitoring of a critical structural point under load of multiple forces. They can be used to calculate with reasonable accuracy the fatigue of a structural object in each aircraft unit based on its flight spectrum. Based on this, it's possible to rotate specific fighters for different tasks in order spread the accumulation of stress evenly among the fleet. This lowers flight safety risk and also helps to improve flight availability management.

Hawk use tracking is based on flight hours and G-force variation dependent Fatigue Index.
This info is recorded after the flight into a system which calculates cumulative flight time and FI accumulation. It's in contact with another system, which monitors flight hours and FI accumulation of the aircraft and its equipment and notifies when a certain maintenance, inspection, repair or equipment change is due. Then similar swaps and spreading around the load as with Hornets to wear out the whole fleet at a similar rate.


The above was mixed & mashed, translated from this (not a direct quote):
https://trepo.tuni.fi/bitstream/handle/ ... sequence=4¨

Most of the Hornet structural wear progresses at the same rate as wing root. Vertical stabilizers are an outlier. There was a need to add fins on top of the LEX after the first A/B production lot. To lessen the load in certain flight states. The fatigue and buffet problem, and the solution "LEX Fence" is described here: http://www.arcforums.com/forums/air/ind ... nt-2147620 http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/planes/q0176.shtml

The difference between the Finnish and the US schemes is described as the former being more pre-emptive due to the vast domestic metering effort. Due to this the structural integrity can be often restored, or increased without the need to replace structures during their planned life cycle. Settling for 4.5k FH 0.75 FLE instead of 6k FH can be compared to e.g. RCAF approach, where major rebuilds like centre barrel replacement program (also RAAF did some) have been done. So the FiAF approach could be described as more pre-emptive and no interest to do major life-extension programs.

I don't see a significant difference between the Rafale scheme and FiAF Hornet one. How the other countries have implemented theirs is another thing. We just know that for at least the F/A-18s the manufacturer set guidelines and responsibilities seem very limited. The type responsibility organization is the US Navy, not Boeing.

RAAF F/A-18 A/B:
The F/A-18A/B Hornet was designed for a safe life of 6000 airframe hours under specified flight profiles. Defence data indicates that, at the current rate of effort of 13 000 airframe hours per year for the fleet (reducing to 12 000 hours from 2013–14), the Hornet fleet as a whole will not exceed 6000 flying hours for each aircraft until after the current Planned Withdrawal Date of 2020. That said, all but nine aircraft have experienced structural fatigue above that expected for the airframe hours flown, leading the ACG to take steps to conserve the remaining fatigue life of its F/A-18A/Bs to ensure they remain operable up to the safe life of 6000 airframe hours.


(this I didn't go through, just picked the 6000 FH A/B design spec and how much they expected to get out of it)
https://www.anao.gov.au/work/performanc ... per-hornet

A History of Tracking Fatigue of the RAAF F/A-18 Hornet (real good one)
http://www.humsconference.com.au/Papers ... hite01.pdf

Somebody can find the F-35 specific stuff. This is just another 4 gen for comparison to take a first look whether the Rafale approach is as unique as it appears to its fans.

We may note that the whole F-35 ALIS approach was sold on the promise of moving towards predictive maintenance. With less need for broad inspections due to better part specific predictions and maintenance logistics + global sourcing.
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Unread post18 Mar 2021, 12:27

French Navy New Rafale M F3-R Achieves Full Operational Capability
French Navy (Marine Nationale) and French Air Force (armée de l’Air et de l’Espace) Rafale M in their latest variant, dubbed F3-R standard, reached full operational capability (FOC) and have now entered full operational service.

The French Navy (Marine Nationale) took delivery of its first Dassault Rafale M fighter upgraded to the F-3R standard in December 2018. The first unit to deploy the new Rafale M standard is the “Flotille 11F” squadron. It began operational service flying over Syria from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle on January 29, 2020.

Rafale M F3-R capabilities in brief:

Air superiority capability with :
the METEOR missile and a robust radar (including in dense electronic warfare situations)
an improved Spectra electronic warfare system;
an enhanced warning capability
Improved resilience against GPS jamming.
Acceleration of the decision loop and preservation of interoperability.
Improved ground target identification and designation capability with the integration of the new laser designation pod (TALIOS).
Improved air-to-air refueling capability with the integration of a new-generation pod (NARANG).
Integration of the GBU16 500kg laser-guided bomb.
Improved flight safety with the integration of an Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (AGCAS).
Improvements to the support system with an accelerated and more precise diagnosis of failures.

More at the link: https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/20 ... apability/

The F3R looks very capable, and F4 is just around the corner.
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Unread post18 Mar 2021, 12:52

I love the Rafale. Nice package, great systems, arguably one of the best 4.5gen overall.
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Unread post18 Mar 2021, 12:53

Blast from the past: why India chose Rafale (full story: https://www.livefistdefence.com/14696/)

The Indian Rafale will sport the Thales AREOS recce pod. Rafale pilots on rotations over Iraq said the AREOS had been performing splendidly in the operational tempo there, especially with its ability to beam high resolution images back to the Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier, allied units in the air and on ground, as well as decision-makers. The F3R also includes attendant software upgrades to on-board sensors and avionics.

India’s Rafales will operate the Meteor BVRAAM, which enters service with the French Air Force soon. France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) announced two weeks ago that a final live guided firing of the Meteor from a Rafale had been successfully conducted at the Biscarrosse missile test range near Bordeaux in southwest France. In twin loadouts with the SCALP cruise missile that India has opted for, the two weapons give the IAF an unprecedented stand off air-to-air and air-to-surface capability in conflicts on either front with Pakistan and China.

India’s Rafale will deploy the in-development BrahMos NG missile in either a twin or single weapon load-out when the system is ready from 2021. The MBDA Scalp and BrahMos will provide planners with unique subsonic/supersonic stand-off attack options available to no other air force in the world. Modifications, coding extensions and testing will be conducted in India with assistance from Thales and Dassault. The Rafale deal also includes assurances for coding extensions to other in-development Indian weapon systems, including the Astra BVRAAM.

The Indian Rafale will sport the fully internal SPECTRA electronic warfare system, billed as the ‘cornerstone of the Rafale’s outstanding survivability against the latest airborne and ground threats’. The Spectra stands to be a major leg up for the Indian Air Force. Showcasing the system and its capabilities has been easy — the system has had a daily torture test over the years in hostile airspace over Libya, Iraq and Syria. Several pilots from the French Air Force and Navy that Livefist interviewed praised the Front Sector Optronics (FSO) visual and infrared sensor that comes with the Indian Rafale. Described officially as ‘Operating in the optronic wavelengths, it is immune to radar jamming and provides covert long-range detection and identification, high resolution multi-target angular tracking and laser range-finding for air, sea and ground targets’, the FSO is a secondary sensor that the IAF saw great value in during field evaluation trials of the Rafale. The IAF’s current rules of engagement place a premium on visual contact, making the FSO a valuable addition to the combat system it will operate.

The aircraft, its weapons and its on-board systems apart, some of the most transformative elements in the Rafale package involve the surround sound. At the heart of the training ecosystem coming with India’s Rafales is a set of room-sized computers built by Sogitec, a fully owned subsidiary of Dassault Aviation. Termed synthetic collective training, two Sogitec training centres will be installed at Ambala and Hasimara, each equipped with two Rafale simulators for initial and hands on training, flight and Weapon Delivery and Navigation System (WDNS) procedure learning including repetition of complete missions with complex tactical environments, two Unit Level Instruction System (ULIS) self-service trainers and one Part Task Trainer (PTT) for guided or free-access training on a restricted number of key procedures. The Ambala training centre will additionally have Rafale Maintenance Trainer and Computer-based Trainer rooms.

Traditional pre-mission tabletop planning and charting will be replaced by the Rafale Touch set of touch-screen simulation tools will allow IAF mission planners to easily and quickly project scenarios on true maps with dynamic constraints including load-out, fuel, area denial etc. The Rafale Touch systems that Livefist was given access to additionally had scenarios for a true comparison of capabilities within a chosen configuration and mission between the Rafale and other aircraft that may be available in inventory, including the Mirage 2000. Since the Rafales are currently deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom in alliance with other types, the system also includes a tactical comparison for specific missions between Rafales, F/A-18s, other NATO aircraft and Gripens. The Rafale Touch in India will come with modules for the Jaguar, Mirage 2000, MiG-29 and Su-30 MKI.

Adding to the increasing app/tab quality that imbues modern fighter training is the very nifty system you see here: the FlightSphere pilot’s tablet system currently under final development for the Rafale, and to be offered to the Indian Air Force once ready. Based on a smaller customised version of the Microsoft Surface tab, the FlightSphere tab is a full personal mission and flight planning system for fighter pilots. Pilots will use the tab offline to conduct all tactical mission planning, then carry it with them into the cockpit where it plugs right into the aircraft’s mission computer.

While the Ambala and Hasimara bases will be the IAF’s principal Rafale centres (17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ is slated to be the inaugural Rafale unit), the Gwalior Mirage 2000 station will be fully integrated right from the start for operations and cooperative training. The collective training and synthetic learning architecture being installed at Ambala and Hasimara will be linked directly to a similar module in Gwalior, being set up for the IAF’s upgraded Mirage 2000-5 fleet (eight have been upgraded so far out of 51). This will allow pilots at the three bases to fly cooperative simulated missions using both aircraft types on a long list of existing and fresh combat scenarios. These will, of course, include area denial combat air patrol operations on the Chinese front and northern sectors, close air support and interdiction missions in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, precision strike missions along the Line of Control and cooperative reconnaissance missions/anti-surface missions on both of India’s seaboards.

This point may be way down on the list, but it’s difficult to exaggerate the significance of the maintenance training tools that the Indian Air Force gets with the Rafale. To say that the the entire approach from training maintainers right down to the actual maintenance-friendly architecture of the Rafale system, Indian maintainers are all set to encounter a serious legacy leap. Indian maintenance crews will begin training in France next year. Your correspondent had a chance to try out two systems — one that’s definitely coming with the Rafale (the Rafale maintenance trainer) and the robustly impressive Microsoft HoloLens-based virtual/augmented reality hands-on documentation and training system (HADOC) that is being offered to the Indian Air Force. Livefist participated in an exercise to remove the HUD on a Rafale using the maintenance trainer and used the HADOC system (see photo) to inspect the interiors of a Rafale that was up for repair. The use of commercial off the shelf (COTS) gadgets for precision engineering tasks is something the Indian Air Force will be employing for the first time with the Rafale. The intuitive, videogame-like qualities to training will, in Livefist’s view, be one of the most compelling bringers of change in the IAF’s approach to its missions.
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Unread post18 Mar 2021, 12:59

Blast from the past II:"Rafale in anger" (more at the link https://www.livefistdefence.com/rafale- ... r-cockpit/):

A Commander-rank Rafale M pilot who has flown missions both during Opération Harmattan in Libya as well as the ongoing Opération Chammal against Da’esh targets in Iraq and Syria, says mission endurance and potency have multiplied manifold since 2011. For instance, while missions over Libya were no more than 2.5 hours, combat sorties over Iraq and Syria currently average 6.5 hours with three mid air tank-ups. Rafales currently have a 600 nautical miles unrefuelled range from the aircraft carrier. Crews maintaining the jets on the carrier told Livefist that the two squadrons at sea enjoy a 97% availability rate (as opposed to 70% rate on shore).

“I was deployed on three six hour missions in two days in September last year, all involving deep fight raids and combat air patrol over Iraq. We can stretch that number. Things have changed completely,” the officer says. “We’re operating with other forces, principally the U.S. Navy and Air Force. Staying in the air longer to provide reconnaissance, targeting or other support is common now from both sides for aircraft that have expended their weapons in strikes.”

Rafale pilots at Landivisiau cannot stop talking about the AREOS recce pod. One pilot spoke of how the imagery AREOS pods produce during even high speed low altitude runs have upped the premium on Rafale sorties as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. “Rafale pod imagery is almost a currency now in the air over Iraq and Syria. We share those images, and the premium placed on our mission and involvement goes up. Coalition partners love the imagery capability they’re getting to tap into through our missions,” he told Livefist.

Capt. Cassan, who says he has flown F/A-18s for three years and deems it a ‘versatile multi-mission jet’, says that when it comes to long range sensors, the Rafale still manages to see ‘much better than what the Americans can see’. He’s referring to the Thales RBE 2 AESA radar on the Rafale. ‘Every pilot that’s now flying over Iraq or Syria will tell you that they’ve got or are getting more than they’ve expected in terms of sensors and tracking systems. The Meteor missile is just going to take all of that together and multiply it manifold.

In 2016, with Russian jets from the Kuznetsov over western Syria, Rafale crews operating in the area were tasked with entering airspace to acquire something they didn’t have: the attack mode of a Russian Su-33 radar. Two Rafales used their SPECTRA integrated electronic warfare systems on a 90 minute mission that finally ended in success. “It was a small but very important mission, and it helped sharpen how we use electronic warfare and signature acquisition in some of the most difficult and crowded airspace in the world,” a pilot who was in one of the Rafales says.

The Angry Rafale-M is rapidly becoming a Rafale after dark, and pilots flying missions off the Charles de Gaulle carrier swear by how much easier they’re finding it to trap by night than in daylight. “It’s almost a pleasure to trap at night. All we’ve got to do is align the vector instead of the mirror. With a wider HUD, landing is no longer the anxiety it used to be,” says Capt. Cassan, the Landivisiau CO.
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Unread post18 Mar 2021, 14:35

loke wrote:Blast from the past II:"Rafale in anger" (more at the link https://www.livefistdefence.com/rafale- ... r-cockpit/):

Capt. Cassan, who says he has flown F/A-18s for three years and deems it a ‘versatile multi-mission jet’, says that when it comes to long range sensors, the Rafale still manages to see ‘much better than what the Americans can see’. He’s referring to the Thales RBE 2 AESA radar on the Rafale.


If he's talking about a Legacy Hornet equipped with the APG-73 (which seems to be the case) then of course yes.

Now comparing with a Super Hornet Block II (with APG-79) it's a completely different thing.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post18 Mar 2021, 15:14

Blast from the past III -- interview with a Rafale M pilot:

How you rate the Rafale M in the following categories?

Instantaneous turn/High alpha/Sustained turn
“It’s good, it’s very good. you have two types of ‘flying the aircraft’: you have the air-to air mode where you pull +9 Gs up to 11.Then you have with bombs and full tanks, when your performance is not as good: about +5g and about 200 degree roll rate less – so it’s two different aircraft. When you’re in air-to-air all this stuff is pretty good. Instantaneous turn and sustained turn pretty good. So it’s two different aircraft – when it’s in air-to-air mode it’s very good. It depends what you make of it – I’ve never had any issues.”

Sustained turn

“Sustained turn is good.”

High alpha

“Less than a Hornet, but still good. High alpha could be better, but it’s really what you make out of it — I’ve never had any issue.”

Acceleration & Climb rate
“The acceleration is insane! Climb rate is firm – to give you an idea: if we’re at 500 knots & 500 feet… put the afterburner on — wait for the afterburner to kick in — then put the nose up at 60 degrees so you’re feeling like you’re vertical because of the angle of the seat (that’s 30 degrees) and at some point you have to throttle back in the afterburner to make sure it doesn’t go supersonic…in the climb 60 degree nose up! So that’s for the climb rate.”

As a carrier aircraft?

"And as a carrier aircraft it’s a good jet. Very versatile. Very robust. Really no issue on the carrier side. Fuel is efficient. You have enough fuel and it’s pretty fuel efficient. You’re burning less fuel in afterburner at high altitudes than Typhoon does without the afterburner.”

Which aircraft have you flown DACT against?
“Against F-16, against Typhoon, against Super Hornets. Against Harrier. Against Alpha Jet. Against Mirage 2000.”

…which was the most challenging?

“The F-16 is pretty cool. Typhoon is a joke, very easy to shoot. F-16 actually was a good surprise actually, I found it to be a pretty good aircraft. I think the most challenging was the F-16, it’s a pretty small jet so it’s easy to lose sight of it. So I think that was the big one. The Harrier can really turn around pretty fast, so you have to play it very close so you have to be careful with that. And with the Alpha Jet don’t go into a slow fight with it. It can manoeuvre and do some rolls at pretty low speed, some barrel rolls at pretty low speeds so you really want to pay attention. You can easily be tricked at low speed by an Alpha Jet. So you want to keep your energy high.”

The Rafale and Typhoon are often compared, how confident would you be fighting against a Typhoon? And why?

“I don’t know why they’re compared so often – it’s really not the same design, ideas or philosophy. We’re a truly omnirole platform. Typhoons are great, they like to use their big engines at 40,000 feet. I can’t count how many times I’ve shot down Typhoons at 45,000 feet in the contrails. And my radar off, everything off, I was coming from 100 feet below, supersonic in the climb from below. Absolutely undetected. So I have absolutely no fear of the Typhoons. Both the tactics used by the Typhoons, the agility and the cockpit of the aircraft make it easier for us to take the advantage — basically we have better fusion of the sensors — so we can be way more aggressive in terms of tactics. It’s a great aircraft at high level, but we’re not dumb enough to try to fight Typhoons at 50,000 feet or 45,000 feet. We’re going to put them outside their comfort zone. Against devious tactics. Now if you want to rate a Typhoon with AMRAAMs against a Rafale at 50,000 ft, then, yeah, Typhoon is going to have better performances for sure. But as a Rafale pilot, I’m stupid if I take him on like that, so I’m going to move the combat a bit. I’ll fake a combat at 50,000 feet and I’m going to send a guy sneakily low level to surprise the Typhoon, it’s more easy than you think!”

Rafale is described by many as the most beautiful fighter in production – how do you rate the aesthetics of Rafale?

“I like it, I must confess I find the Mirage 2000 very good looking as well… and slimmer and maybe faster looking — and it is faster than the Rafale. Rafale is slower than the Mirage 2000. We’re talking Mach 1.8 against 2.2. But I like the design of Rafale aircraft a lot. I think it’s a good-looking aircraft, but then again, it’s like asking a dad if he thinks his kids are good-looking or not! So we’re biased anyway. But compared to Typhoon you can tell it’s a good-looking aircraft. I like the Hornet’s shape, I think that’s a good-looking aircraft too. And the F-22 is one of my favourite looking aircraft! The F-35? I really don’t like the design, I think it’s a shitty looking aircraft to be honest…but don’t quote me on that!


More at the link: https://hushkit.net/2019/11/11/flying-f ... t-veteran/
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Unread post18 Mar 2021, 15:24

Blast from the past IV (https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... e-road-map):

BERLIN—The French Air Force has developed a road map for its Dassault Rafale that could see the fighter serving on the front line until 2070.

In addition to a new, nuclear-tipped missile in the 2030s, the air force wants to add more conventional weapons, avionics, sensors and connectivity to the Euro-Canard that will pave the way for the New Generation Fighter (NGF) being developed with Germany and Spain as part of the Future Combat Aircraft System (FCAS).

The French Navy, operating the Rafale from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, is also aligned with the plan.

Such a commitment could be music to the ears of potential export customers. The Rafale is in contention for tenders in Finland, India and Switzerland, and would calm customer fears they might be left with orphaned, expensive fleets.

By comparison, the Eurofighter operating nations have said they want to fly later tranches of the fighter beyond 2040, but none have said, at least publicly, how far beyond.

“The Rafale will be the testbed for new technologies,” Maj. Gen. Frederic Parisot told the International Fighter Conference here Nov. 13. “The F4 upgrade in 2025 will lay the initial building blocks of connected combat, expanding the connectivity and software tools for networked operations.”

An important factor is that air force commanders foresee a need to have a second, cheaper-to-operate platform for operations in which the threats are less complex. Parisot points to the ongoing fast jet operations in Africa using various versions of the Mirage 2000. Once the last Mirage 2000 is retired in 2035, the Rafale will take on that mantle, leaving the NGF to deal with the high-end mission.

Additional aircraft will also be purchased; around 60 more will be delivered over the next decade, replacing early model aircraft.

Rafale upgrades are phased. The Rafale community is currently being equipped with the F3R upgrade, which delivers the integration of the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile and the Thales Talios targeting pod, which delivers increased electro-optical acuity and enhanced stabilization. The French Navy is expected to deploy with the F3R-equipped Rafale M in February.

The F4 upgrade, planned for 2023, will introduce the new Mica NG air-to-air missile as well secure radios and satellite communication systems.

Updates to the RBE2 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and the Spectra electronic warfare system are also planned.

The proposed F5 upgrade, planned for 2030, allows for the integration of the ASN4G missile, replacing the ASMP-A. It also paves the way for the use of remote carriers—the unmanned air systems that will complement the FCAS—performing surveillance and electronic warfare while flying ahead of or alongside the Rafale or NGF.

Perhaps the most significant upgrade in F5 will be what Parisot calls a virtual cognitive assistant—an artificial intelligence system capable of reconfiguring aircraft systems in the event of a failure, alerting the pilots to tactical situations, and advising on new routings.

Parisot likened the cognitive assistant to Iron Man’s “Jarvis” from the Marvel comics. Jarvis communicates with Iron Man through voice activation, a feature Parisot says the cognitive assistant will also require, noting it should operate “intuitively without excess chatter ... with a high level of trust, speakability and intelligibility.”

Most crucially, it will monitor pilots’ brain, heart and eye activity, looking out for what Parisot calls “cognitive overload.”

If detected, the system will deliver “cognitive countermeasures,” he explains, with the AI taking back tasks from the pilot and reducing the level of information on visual displays.

Work on the artificial intelligence is already underway through the Man-Machine Teaming advanced study program launched by Thales and Dassault in March 2018.

A critical element in being able to accelerate the upgrade process for the aircraft is ongoing work to separate the aircraft’s flight-critical software from its tactical systems. This is an approach adopted by Saab for its Gripen NG that allows upgrades to onboard systems to be delivered without the need for costly and time-consuming recertification. Additional connectivity could allow mission data to be updated in real time from electronic intelligence gathering such as the planned CUGE platform to replace the Transall Gabriel Sigint aircraft.

Parisot acknowledges the significant efforts underway to support collaborative operations. But he notes that elements of the Rafale force need to be able to operate in a “nonconnected mode of action ... this is critical for the deterrent mission.”

F6 and F7 upgrade plans are also envisioned and will be aligned with the upgrade path for the NGF.

Several studies are also underway to extend the Rafale’s airframe life from the current 5,000 hr. up to 7,500 and potentially 9,000 hr.

There are also studies taking place into whether additional power could be gleaned from the SafranM88 engine when the Rafale receives the new ASN4G.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post19 Mar 2021, 02:54

loke wrote:
A critical element in being able to accelerate the upgrade process for the aircraft is ongoing work to separate the aircraft’s flight-critical software from its tactical systems. This is an approach adopted by Saab for its Gripen NG that allows upgrades to onboard systems to be delivered without the need for costly and time-consuming recertification.




Is this that thing Gripen fans were insisting was completely unique o Gripen E just a couple weeks back?
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Unread post19 Mar 2021, 09:38

The Indian air chief said the f-16 and fa-18 had better radar and missiles, but someone had to be eliminated. (I can't find the link).Why he included the AESA f-16, I don't know. Take that any way you want. I would put the fa-18 and the talk of a later growler lite being offered, as a real step up.

We need to remember it's not a continuation of block 1 and upgrade. It is a step change. The SH block 2 was sold to the navy with the Boeing JSF tech, from the failed competition. They call their updates spiral development.


https://www.globalsecurity.org/military ... spiral.htm
F/A-18E Spiral Development
Spiral development is being invoked as the preferred current method of procuring weapon systems. Some of its distinguishing features, such as a cyclic approach for incrementally growing a system's degree of definition and implementation, can be found in the archives chronicling the Navy's development of the F/A-18 strike fighter, with particular attention to this aircraft's most recently enhanced variants-the singleseat F/A-18E and the dual-seat F/A-18F Super Hornets.
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Unread post19 Mar 2021, 12:03

magitsu wrote:Finnish Air Force:


Somebody can find the F-35 specific stuff. This is just another 4 gen for comparison to take a first look whether the Rafale approach is as unique as it appears to its fans.



It's only an article to explain the rafale logistic approach. When it is unique or not is not my subject. This only tell you :
- that this approach is cost effective
- that rafale from the very beginning is ready for that

You're article show that FinAF use this approach and probably have good results. Then OK.
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Unread post19 Mar 2021, 12:30

optimist wrote:The Indian air chief said the f-16 and fa-18 had better radar and missiles, but someone had to be eliminated. (I can't find the link).Why he included the AESA f-16, I don't know. Take that any way you want. I would put the fa-18 and the talk of a later growler lite being offered, as a real step up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJZjMfYGnGM
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Unread post19 Mar 2021, 12:44

loke wrote:
optimist wrote:The Indian air chief said the f-16 and fa-18 had better radar and missiles, but someone had to be eliminated. (I can't find the link).Why he included the AESA f-16, I don't know. Take that any way you want. I would put the fa-18 and the talk of a later growler lite being offered, as a real step up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJZjMfYGnGM

Any section in particular, or just the general revisionist history?
I recall TOT and building them in India was the deciding factor. Something the US wouldn't do.

The USN exercise with the Rafale, they know it. I've mentioned it in this thread, before we do a vs F-35, you need to show vs fa-18e II / growler
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