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 post20 May 2021, 09:39

Corsair1963 wrote:Common because they're needed..........


As the ferry journey from UTAH to France have shown it's a KC tanker for 4 f-35 more or less the same for a ferry journey from france to india with a MRTT for 4 rafales.
Yes depend of the mission. Even if you take the f-35 above the China seas or above the pacific, without fuel tanks it doesn't go very far.The tanker can't go very far with rafale or F-35. Then the f-35 would also need fuel tanks.
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Unread post20 May 2021, 11:21

https://breakingdefense.com/2021/05/egy ... a-sharing/
BEIRUT: Egypt’s $4.5 billion for 30 new Rafale jets will buy not just more of the French jets, but should improve data sharing across the Mideast powerhouse’s fleet.

Egypt and France’s contract to provide additional jets to Cairo’s Rafale fleet makes it the second-biggest fleet in the world after France, with 54 of the fighters.

Egypt will receive the F3-R version of the Rafale. Its updated software will allow integration of advanced systems including Thales’ Talios new-generation laser designator pod, MBDA’s impressive Meteor long-range air-to-air missile and the laser homing version of the Safran AASM air-to-ground modular weapon.

This may not be the last Rafale purchase. Egyptian sources tell Breaking Defense that Egypt is now eying the F4. “We are looking to increase the number to 72 or 100 units, depending on Egypt’s financial capacity,” they told me. “The new F4 version will have enhanced radar capabilities, and new weapon systems including smart gliders, heavier versions of the AASM Hammer precision-guided munitions and updated MICA NG missiles.”

Validation of the F4 standard is planned for 2024, with some functions coming in 2022. The F4 will include a new predictive maintenance tool known as the prognosis and diagnostic aid system. Other maintenance optimization features are scheduled, particularly with solutions based on big data and artificial intelligence.

“This new order is proof of the unfailing bond that unites Egypt, the first foreign user of the Rafale, as it was for the Mirage 2000, with Dassault Aviation for nearly 50 years,” Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation said in a statement on May 4. “It is also a tribute to the Rafale’s operational quality, as this is the second time an export customer has chosen to order additional aircraft.”

The order will be financed through a 10-year loan, with the first aircraft delivered three years after the contract takes effect. The estimated cost is $4.5 billion, including associated equipment from French companies MBDA and Safran worth another $240 million, according to the “Disclose” investigative website.

Data Sharing

Military experts believe the new Rafale will improve data sharing with American, Russian, and other European aircraft in service with the Egyptian Air Force.

Military researcher and defense analyst at the Arab Forum for Policy Analysis in Cairo Mohammad Al-Kenany noted that Dassault Aviation provides the ability to integrate different data links, including for Non-NATO allies, an important aspect for Egypt who operates platforms from different origins.

Things do not look complicated for Russian Mig-29 and Su-35 aircraft either.


“The process of linking, exchanging, and sharing data will happen through the ground command and control centers, by receiving and indirectly sharing data between the fighters, various combat platforms and the command-and-control system,” he said, given that these platforms operate within the scope of the ground command and control network.

“If this happens, data sharing between Western and Eastern aircraft will highly increase,” he told me. “Not only will this improve jam resistance and situational awareness, but also increase data throughput and capacity of information exchange.”

The F3R Rafale aircraft has a new and more advanced data link able to exchange information and images with different types of fighters and aircraft. “The aircraft will also be fitted with a new satellite link that increases the operational range of data transfer with the ground command and control stations and monitor all changes through long-range air operations,” he added.

For Western-made fighters, data sharing for Egypt is easy as fighters “carry unified Link-16 tactical data links or connect through early warning platforms currently in service with the Egyptian Air Force, such as E2C Hawkeye AEW & C.

To do so, Egypt relies on its indigenous Radar Integration and Surveillance Center (RISC2), an integrated system that jointly undertakes the tasks of battle management, command and control of air defense and air force units as well as gathering, analyzing and sharing data.

Also, Egypt recently launched Tiba-1 satellite that will be serving both the military communications network and armed forces command and control network while facilitating the process of exchanging data for analysis.

What The Deal Represents

The deal clearly represents a huge leap ahead for Dassault Aviation’s Rafale production line.

“This agreement heavily supports the French military industry in general, and the Rafale’s production line till after 2026 in specific” Al-Kenany said, creating the equivalent of 7,000 jobs in France over three years.

To the Egyptian army, the new fighters will add unique features to the Air Force deterrence capabilities on both tactical and strategic levels.

“The new number of Rafale jets gives the Air Force a bigger capacity to perform precise surgical strikes and access hostile depths, enhancing air sovereignty and reinforcing the Egyptian deterrence system,” Mohamad Hassan, researcher and defense analyst at the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies explained. “With an operational range of 1,850 km, the Air Force will now be able to counter bigger threats within its strategic field,” he added.

The deal is also a clear message to the US.

“After the US rejected Egypt’s request to acquire 20 F-35 jets back in 2019, Cairo had to look for a fighter with technologies closer to the fifth generation,” Al-Kenany said. “The Air Force still needs to complete its development plans, and with the lack of any American imminent action to develop the existing F-16 fleet, the new fighters will compensate for what we need.”
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Unread post21 May 2021, 03:23

2nd hand RAFALEs get a leg over/up/whatever for CROATIA:
ORIGINAL: https://www.jutarnji.hr/video/news/juta ... i-15074628
ENGWISH: http://alert5.com/2021/05/21/croatia-to ... more-88959
"Croatia to buy second-hand Rafales Posted on May 21, 2021 ALERTfour/five/six

"Croatian daily Jutarnji says the country has decided to select the Rafale F3R as the winner of the fighter competition.

These are second-hand jets that France has offered to Croatia. A total of 12 jets are to be sold. The oldest aircraft in the package is 10 years-old. Delivery is to start in 2024."
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Unread post21 May 2021, 14:37

There's still not an official decision about the future Croatian fighter aircraft. Those are unconfirmed rumors/news.
But note that I'm not doubting that Croatia will end up selecting the Rafale.
The Rafale F3R is together with the F-16V the most capable aircraft of all being considered which are: used Israeli F-16 updated to Block 50, new Gripen C/D, new F-16V and used Rafale F3R and being the Rafale F3R used/second hand and the F-16V new means that the Rafale probably has a better or a competitive price and if there's a political will in Croatia of being more 'reliant' from Europe than outside it, these could be more than enough reasons why Croatia will probably select the Rafale.

Anyway, here's the original source which is in Croatian translated to English:
https://translate.google.com/translate? ... i-15074628

There it can be read the following:
The Croatian government has decided to buy 12 used French F3R Rafale fighter jets, Jutarnji list has learned unofficially from well-informed sources.

...

President Zoran Milanovic in the Croatia barracks said a little later that the government had not been given a recommendation on what type of aircraft to buy, but hoped "that he and the prime minister understood each other well". Asked if he knew which plane we were buying, he replied "No comment".


Of course one also has to know/learn if that Croatian 'Jumanji' journal/site ( :mrgreen: ) is a trustworthy source of information or not?
Last edited by ricnunes on 21 May 2021, 19:21, edited 1 time in total.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post21 May 2021, 15:24

Beautiful video of atlantic trident
https://youtu.be/xAvgnMPANeE
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Unread post21 May 2021, 16:52

ricnunes wrote:There's still not an official decision about the future Croatian fighter aircraft. Those are unconfirmed rumors/news.
But note that I'm not doubting that Croatia will end up selected the Rafale.
The Rafale F3R is together with the F-16V the most capable aircraft of all being considered which are: used Israeli F-16 updated to Block 50, new Gripen C/D, new F-16V and used Rafale F3R and being the Rafale F3R used/second hand and the F-16V new means that the Rafale probably has a better or a competitive price and if there's a political will in Croatia of being more 'reliant' from Europe than outside it, these could be more than enough reasons why Croatia will probably select the Rafale.

I agree with that. Just an other information. It's seem that the rafale coming fron the French Air Force would be more old than 10 years. If you consider their potential is 9000 hours and that the franch air force use rafale at a rate of 250 hours/year.Then you can consider that the rafale sold to croatia have used more or less 1/3 of their potential.
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Unread post21 May 2021, 17:22

herciv wrote:
ricnunes wrote:There's still not an official decision about the future Croatian fighter aircraft. Those are unconfirmed rumors/news.
But note that I'm not doubting that Croatia will end up selected the Rafale.
The Rafale F3R is together with the F-16V the most capable aircraft of all being considered which are: used Israeli F-16 updated to Block 50, new Gripen C/D, new F-16V and used Rafale F3R and being the Rafale F3R used/second hand and the F-16V new means that the Rafale probably has a better or a competitive price and if there's a political will in Croatia of being more 'reliant' from Europe than outside it, these could be more than enough reasons why Croatia will probably select the Rafale.

I agree with that. Just an other information. It's seem that the rafale coming fron the French Air Force would be more old than 10 years. If you consider their potential is 9000 hours and that the franch air force use rafale at a rate of 250 hours/year.Then you can consider that the rafale sold to croatia have used more or less 1/3 of their potential.

Assuming that Croatia flies them as frequently as the French air force. If they fly them 150-200hrs/year (or less) they'll get more years out of them.
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Unread post21 May 2021, 21:07

France begins Rafale F4 flight trials
21 May 2021 Gareth Jennings

"France has launched flight trials of the latest F4 standard of the Dassault Rafale combat aircraft, the Ministry of the Armed Forces announced on 20 May. The tests of an F4-1 configured Rafale took place out of Istres airbase in southern France from 26 to 29 April. They were conducted under the stewardship of the Directorate General of Armament (DGA).

“Eight complex missions representing 50 aircraft sorties were carried out by test crews from the DGA, the French Navy, the French Air and Space Force, and Dassault Aviation,” the ministry said, adding the trials saw two Rafales configured to the F4-1 standard operate as part of a wider aerial component of up to eight aircraft, performing realistic tactical scenarios.

News of the commencement of flight trials came some two-and-a-half years after the Rafale F4 upgrade was formally launched. As noted by Dassault in January 2019, the F4-standard will include enhancements to the Thales RBE2 active electronic scanned array (AESA) radar, the Thales TALIOS long-range airborne targeting pod and the Reco NG reconnaissance pod; upgrades to the aircraft's communications suite; improved pilot helmet-mounted displays; a new engine control unit; and the ability to carry new weaponry such as the Mica Next-Generation (NG) air-to-air missile and 1,000 kg Sagem Armement Air-Sol Modulaire (AASM) modular air-to-ground precision weapon."

Source: https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news ... ght-trials
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Unread post22 May 2021, 03:13

More CROATION speculATION: https://www.euractiv.com/section/politi ... om-france/
Croatia to buy Rafale fighter jets from France 21 May 2021 Zeljko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr
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Unread post22 May 2021, 13:00

spazsinbad wrote:
France begins Rafale F4 flight trials
21 May 2021 Gareth Jennings

"France has launched flight trials of the latest F4 standard of the Dassault Rafale combat aircraft, the Ministry of the Armed Forces announced on 20 May. The tests of an F4-1 configured Rafale took place out of Istres airbase in southern France from 26 to 29 April. They were conducted under the stewardship of the Directorate General of Armament (DGA).

“Eight complex missions representing 50 aircraft sorties were carried out by test crews from the DGA, the French Navy, the French Air and Space Force, and Dassault Aviation,” the ministry said, adding the trials saw two Rafales configured to the F4-1 standard operate as part of a wider aerial component of up to eight aircraft, performing realistic tactical scenarios.

News of the commencement of flight trials came some two-and-a-half years after the Rafale F4 upgrade was formally launched. As noted by Dassault in January 2019, the F4-standard will include enhancements to the Thales RBE2 active electronic scanned array (AESA) radar, the Thales TALIOS long-range airborne targeting pod and the Reco NG reconnaissance pod; upgrades to the aircraft's communications suite; improved pilot helmet-mounted displays; a new engine control unit; and the ability to carry new weaponry such as the Mica Next-Generation (NG) air-to-air missile and 1,000 kg Sagem Armement Air-Sol Modulaire (AASM) modular air-to-ground precision weapon."

Source: https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news ... ght-trials


Add to this scorpion HMS https://twitter.com/BOECKLERFred/status ... 8103990273
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Unread post23 May 2021, 22:11

Flash back in 1999 with Chris Neo a former BAE pilots who have tried a very low altitude attack with a Rafale pre F2 :


VI/ Pilot Reports
1999 - Chris Yeo, former Director of BAe AirOps

In the Falcon that brings me to Istres to fly the latest Dassault fighter, I think it's an honor and a joy to fly a mission in such a modern and efficient fighter: the Rafale.

Let's be clear: this is neither a test nor an evaluation, but a demonstration of the weapon system's capabilities in the form of an attack mission that a Rafale F2 pilot could execute.

My pilot will be Philippe Rebourg, deputy chief test pilot in charge of the military aircraft department at Dassault Aviation. Philippe Rebourg has accumulated more than 5,000 hours of flight time, is a graduate of the Ecole de l'Air and has flown the Mirage IIIE, attended the USAF Test Pilot School (Class of 1990A) at Edwards. He flew 400 hours on the Rafale (and another 700 on gliders).

Our aircraft, the B302, is the third of the production aircraft and the second two-seater in production. It made its first flight in December 1999 and is used for the development of the F2 standard. It is equipped with a Thales RBE2 electronically scanned radar with air-to-air and air-to-ground modes and, depending on requirements, a SPECTRA electronic warfare system, front-end optronics (FSO) or direct voice input (DVI).

For this particular flight, we have a development OSF with the TV sensor only. Neither SPECTRA nor DVI will be available on this flight.

With 2 Magic II acquisition towers, 2 false MICA EM and a supersonic tank of 1250L under the fuselage, our weight is 16400 kg. The external tank which brings the capacity of kerosene to 6550L is limited to mach 1.6.
The B302 is powered by 2 SNECMA M88-2 Stage 1 engines of 7500 kgp of thrust each.

Each flight on board a fighter aircraft begins with a passage to the equipment department for the necessary briefing on the ejection seat, the reception of the flight suit, the fireproof underwear, the G suit, the special gloves, the helmet '

This mission being considered as an experimental flight, 2 test engineers will follow our evolutions from the test room. Thanks to the data link, they will be constantly listening to radio communications and conversations in the cockpit.

As I approached the Rafale, I was immediately struck by the aircraft's size. The days of small Dassault fighters are over. This is another world: even the landing gear of the airborne version is massive, the cockpit is very high and the vertical stabilizer reaches 5.34 meters.

We are welcomed by Jacques Izquierdo, chief technician in charge of the B302. At Dassault, the test pilots have total confidence in the technicians, and the pre-flight check has no reason to be.

With some excitement, I climb into the rear cockpit, taking care not to step on the canard foreground.

With the help of Klaüs Brückner, the technician, I grab the zero ejection seat of the Martin-Baker Mk16F, equipped with a very simple harness, an advantage over the Jaguar MK4 or the MK10 of the Mirage F1 and 2000. The Rafale is equipped with an integrated leg and arm safety system that minimizes injury in the event of a high-speed ejection.

The Rafale is equipped with an OBOGS system that eliminates the need for a hazardous air supply and an integrated cryogenic generation system that eliminates the need to store and handle liquid nitrogen.

Another new feature is the centralized safety system that allows the pilot to automatically secure any dropable load (weapons, tanks, flares, chaff, etc.) from the cockpit. It is no longer necessary to secure each load with a pin when leaving or returning from an armed aircraft.

Although the fighter is equipped with an internal APU, the start-up is performed with a GPU at the Dassault flight test center. The procedure is very simple: just press two buttons from "stop" to "idle" and turn a rotator to the right and then to the left (inversely to start the left engine before the right engine, there is no preferential order). Then, everything is fully automatic and the M88 are ready in less than 2 minutes.

Philippe Rebourg selects the INU mode (inertial navigation unit) on the left screen and asks me to start the gyroscope alignment sequence using the touch screen. After exactly 4 minutes, the 2 SAGEM INU are aligned. For an emergency takeoff, a quick alignment is performed in 1.30 minutes, the precision is less but can be considerably improved by hybridizing the GPS. The Rafale integrates a complete navigation system with mission computer + trajectory computer + INU. No less than 600 navigation points can be programmed and the system automatically calculates the trajectory, flight times and fuel availability based on consumption.

While Philippe Rebourg performs the pre-flight checks and instrumentation tests, I examine the cockpit. The ergonomics have been particularly well thought out by the engineers and the pilot has a very neat interface. The instrument panel is dominated by the wide angle (20° x 20°) high resolution (1000 x 1000) display, collimated to infinity. The two touch-sensitive LCD screens on either side of the center screen have a resolution of 500 x 500.

On the left console, a small touchscreen is used for air-to-air or air-to-ground mode selection, while an auxiliary screen is used to check autopilot modes. Each display is NVG compatible and the forward scene is recorded by a camera placed under the wide angle (22° X 30°) holographic HUD and displayed by the rear seat on a video screen with associated symbology and crosshairs. The pilot can dialogue with the plane by manipulating HOTAS, touch screens, a touch pad, the DVI (inactive today) and the 2 matches. These are two controls that protrude from the instrument panel and can be manipulated without having to release the throttle and the stick.

Impulses to the left, right, up or down call up the primary menus on the side screens.

The aircraft is equipped with a self-diagnostic system, alerting the pilot whenever a mission-critical fault occurs (level 2 fault' ).

After testing the FBW system, we are ready to taxi.

As we approach the runway, Philippe Rebourg signals to arm the ejection seat with the side safety switch.

While I lower the two visors of my helmet, Philippe Rebourg aligns the aircraft on runway 33. The Rafale is so powerful that it is not possible to use the maximum dry thrust when braking: the friction coefficient is not sufficient to stop the plane and the tires would be damaged.

The best technique is to go from idle to full afterburner by releasing the brakes. The FADEC manages all engine parameters without any human intervention. As on the Mirage 2000, the Jx, the longitudinal acceleration value at takeoff, appears on the HUD and shows that the engines are giving their optimum thrust.

At 130 knots, Philippe Rebourg pulls the trigger and we perform a cold takeoff after 700 meters.

After a few seconds, we reach our low altitude transit height.

First impressions: the cockpit is very spacious and the ejection seat very comfortable. Even if the 2 canard foregrounds hide the ground from the back seat, the visibility is excellent and I can easily see at six o'clock.

With the Alpilles mountains in front of our plane and Mont Ventoux to starboard, we turn at 400 kts and 1000 feet towards Arles and our first navigation point, before heading north. During the transit, Philippe Rebourg shows me the flexibility of the navigation system. At any moment, if the orders have been modified or if the tactical situation has changed, the pilot can quickly develop a new flight plan.

For the purposes of the remote attack demonstration, a virtual configuration with two SCALPs under the wings is created. During mission preparation, special software determined the geographic range of fire so that the missiles could fly over their first navigation points. When approaching the firing zone, Philippe Rebourg selects the attack mode and the air-to-ground page is displayed on the left screen. The ALN symbol appears on the HUD, which means that we must initiate the alignment of the SCALP INS.

As I learned in the simulator, I start the procedure by pressing the touch screen. A new command appears on the HUD, reminding the pilot to jingle to align the missile gyro; Philippe Rebourg tilts the plane and pulls the trigger: we make a right and then a left turn to get back on course. Before firing, I have to start the SCALP engines, not too early to save fuel. On the central screen, the huge crescent-shaped field is displayed and as soon as we enter, the pilot pulls the stick to start a steep climb by maintaining the speed vector of the HUD between the 2 vertical trend bars. This climb is essential because the pylons are designed to release the SCALP under a positive load factor.

Philippe Rebourg presses the release button simulating the firing of the 2 missiles and immediately exits to the left because, during a real attack, a collision with the SCALP flying at the same speed as the aircraft can occur. As soon as the missiles are launched, their wings unfold and they begin their journey towards the target.

The air-to-air and air-to-ground functions can be activated simultaneously," explains Philippe Rebourg. This is the real innovation that gives the Rafale its superiority over its competitors. During the SCALP attack, the air-to-air and air-to-ground functions can be activated simultaneously," explains Philippe Rebourg. The air mode was active with a radar and an OSF dedicated to this function. Naturally, the radar tracked some targets and the OSF locked on to the target classified as the most dangerous by the system.

A single thrust would have been sufficient to engage this target. The complete firing sequence can be performed by the autopilot by simple impulses given with the stick coolie. On the Rafale, the autopilot is completely integrated into the flight control system: it is part of the chain of command like the braking function, for example.

[b]After the simulated firing, we go out at very low altitude and Philippe Rebourg engages the automatic terrain following system. The hills of the Vivarais are an ideal environment to demonstrate this capability. The 2 secured maps of the multi-lane navigation system continuously elaborate 2 trajectories, either with the data of a digital file of 300 000 km² on the ground, or with the information of a radiosonde for the movements at sea. A ground profile is calculated for the additional 10 km, which allows the aircraft to fly under the radar coverage, automatically, day and night, in all weather conditions. This totally passive system allows to fly at 300 feet, this altitude being only temporary, the final objective is 100 feet. The RBE2 has a 3D mapping mode allowing to fly at very low altitude over a terrain not recorded in the file.

Before the flight, Philippe Rebourg selected the desired flight altitude, 500 feet in this area, and added 100 feet, the height of the highest man-made structures in this area. Depending on the discretion required, the pilot can choose between 3 flight options: soft, medium and hard. In hard mode, the load factors are almost doubled compared to the Mirage 20000D and N and the speed range is considerably larger. For this flight, the soft option was used to take care of me. At 450 knots, the aircraft is remarkably stable. The anti-turbulence mode, once considered, was ultimately not installed as the FCS proved perfectly capable of handling gusty winds during jump peaks.

A revolutionary ground-based anti-collision system is being developed for the F2 standard. Thanks to the digital file, the onboard computer knows the exact altitude of the aircraft in relation to the ground. In case of a dangerous situation, for example if the pilot is disoriented during an air fight, in clouds and dives towards the ground, the system will warn him and he can switch to terrain following mode. In the F3 standard, the computer will be able to automatically switch to terrain following mode to avoid a crash.
[/b]

Interception The Rafale is a "swing role" aircraft designed to excel in the air-to-ground and air-to-air domains. For air-to-air combat or interception, the pilot has 3 sensors at his disposal - radar, OSF, SPECTRA - the data fusion system taking into account the most accurate system for a given criterion when identifying or locating a target. OSF will be the preferred system for angular resolution, radar for long range ranging (shorter range OSF laser rangefinder), and SPECTRA for passive threat identification (by comparison with a database). This data fusion capability between the various sensors is certainly the most significant point of the Rafale weapon system," explains Philippe Rebourg. "It's a revolution compared with the M2000 or F16 generation aircraft, whose pilots have to build up a picture of the tactical situation by analyzing the information provided by the radar or the threat warning system. With the Rafale, crews can get a clear view of the entire air battle at a glance and take advantage of it.

All the data recorded by the various sensors is merged and presented on a central screen. The OSF image can be displayed on the same screen or a magnifying glass can be activated to verify that a single track is not a raid of several aircraft flying in close formation. In RWS (range while scan) mode, the RBE2 can track 40 targets, 8 of which can be tracked by an enhanced tracking mode for missile designation. The M88-2 engines can accelerate from idle to full warm-up thrust in less than 3 seconds, allowing the Rafale to accelerate quickly. The digital FBW gives very good agility, and the steeply reclined ejection seat position allows the pilot to withstand higher load factors.

Suddenly, at the exit of a turn, the RBE2 acquires a contact at medium altitude, Philippe Rebourg immediately triggers an aerial interception, by accelerating. The target is automatically tracked by the weapon system and the pilot validates the proposed option by pressing a button on the throttle. For obvious reasons, no radar or FSO performance will be disclosed here. We are out of range of the MICA and we still have to get closer but the OSF having locked the target at the beginning of the interception shows an image of a Transall despite a thin layer of clouds separating us from the target. The FSO's television system actually operates in the visible near-infrared range, and its wide field of view makes it possible to track high-level targets. The pilot can choose between two ranges: maximum range or no escape zone. Maximum range is indicated by a dotted line and no escape zone by a solid line surrounding the target. In WVR combat, a minimum firing distance is shown on the tactical screen.

As soon as we are in range, the weapon system signals to "fire" on the HUD. When switching from one contact to another, the pilot can immediately engage the other targets, and the second missile is automatically locked on target n+1. MICAs can be fired every 2 seconds, those from the airframe points are ejected up to 4G while the wing pylons can release MICAs up to 9G. The propelled phase is very short (a few seconds) and the shooting is almost undetectable, no smoke is produced by the rocket engine. For long-range interception, the missile follows an inertial trajectory towards coordinates continuously refreshed by the data link and then uses the seeker before reaching the target. The missile's flight time is shown on the HUD and the duration of the data link appears as a descending pie chart.

Precision attack
The simulation of an LGB attack using the GBU-12 against the Faraman beacon at the southern end of the Rhone Delta will highlight this demonstration. Philippe Rebourg starts with a run at medium height; first action: he has to acquire an offset point to update the navigation system. The navigation system knowing precisely the coordinates, the bearing and the distance of the target from this offset point will calculate precisely the point of release of the weapon.

At 20,000 feet and 15 NM from Port Saint Louis where a pier will serve as the offset point, the FSO is locked and the laser range finder is briefly activated to determine the distance. After being positioned, the pilot authorizes the attack by pulling a trigger on the side stick and the computer fires 3 of the 4 simulated GBU-12s. With the GBU-12, the drop zone is small. The pilot must follow the crosshairs".

For a second attack, in a jet, we flew 20 NM before returning to the beacon. At 18,000 ft, Philippe Rebourg did an inverted roll and dived to 23°. With a command on the throttle, he places the designation diamond on the triangle marking the position of the target calculated by the system. He uses the zoom function of the OSF to aim more precisely, as soon as the order is given on the HUD he goes up to 5,5G while following the reticule of guidance, the last GBU-12 is launched. The maneuver takes us to 10,000 feet out of range of the short-range missiles and AAA.

Aerial acrobatics
Thanks to its FBW, the Rafale is extremely maneuverable. Depending on the configuration, there are 2 flight domains: air-to-ground with heavy loads (5.5G max and 160°/s roll) or aerial combat (9G max and 280°/s roll). In case of emergency, the max load factor can reach 11G. During the test flights for the opening of the flight domain at very low speed, the aircraft flew at an incidence of more than 100° and at negative speeds of 40 knots without loss of control. We consider that firing after a sharp pitch-up like a Cobra is risky during combat because weapon separation problems can occur and the pilot can be in a very dangerous situation if he fails to destroy his opponent(s). We prefer to use a very agile weapon, such as the MICA and a helmet-mounted sight," explains Jean Camus, test pilot and former director of the EPNER 5 flight school (France) and former M2000 test pilot.

Air-to-ground radar and combat
We head for Istres to acquire a low altitude radar map using the DBS (Doppler beam sharpening) function of the RBE2. With this function, the pilot can approach a target at low altitude, approach briefly to record the map and then dive to cover and work on the stored image.

The DBS will be replaced by a SAR mode giving an even more detailed image. The controller reports that a Mirage 2000N is about to cross our flight path from the left. With a simple push of a button on the throttle, the pilot activates the combat mode and the 2000N is immediately locked on by the RBE2 while it works in ground mapping mode. With the integration of a helmet-mounted aiming unit in the F3 standard, this acquisition (although extremely fast) will be even faster for targets outside the radar FOV and will avoid aggressive maneuvers. The seeker of one of the "Magics" locks the target and Philippe Rebourg aggressively turns to shoot. A few seconds later, everything is over and the fate of M2000 is decided.

The female voice of the vocal system signals the Bingo, unfortunately, it is time to go home. First action: reduce the speed. This is done by pulling on the gas pedal, braking and unlocking the automaton: this system adjusts the delay of all aerodynamic surfaces and the thrust of the engines to follow a very precise slope.

In the last turn, Philippe Rebourg takes the controls and carefully makes contact with the runway. While keeping the nose up, he turns on the afterburner and pulls firmly on the stick: we are in the vertical!

Short landing: at 120 knots, aerodynamic braking is not very efficient and Dassault test pilots advise to put the main gear on the runway immediately in order to brake quickly. The plane stops in less than 500m.

Chris Yeo, former director of BAe AirOps (Flight International 1999)


Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
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herciv

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Unread post23 May 2021, 22:35

AN other VLA and Very fast penetration mission with Vianney Jr in 2013 in a rafale F3-04T.
https://www.defesanet.com.br/rafale/not ... fference-/
Dassault allowed us to test the capabilities of its fighter in great detail, all recorded and analyzed with telemetry support in almost every possible mission. In fact, we remained "invisible" several times, letting the Rafale fly alone in "terrain following" mode at more than 450 knots (835km/h) below 300 feet (90 meters) between the mountains around Istres. Over the Mediterranean, we flew at less than 30 meters above sea level.
(..)

I'm flying at...900km/h, about 20 meters above the ground with lots of enemies around

The pilot's safety is ensured by numerous systems on board the Rafale. On the seat, the 29° tilt distributes the gravitational force better. It prevents "G-Loc" and limits the efforts of the positive 9G that the Dassault fighter can reach in air-to-air mode. In addition, this system incorporates GPW (Ground Proximity Warning), an audible and visual warning to avoid collision with the ground when the aircraft is too close to it. If necessary, a pre-programmed "anti-spin" flight recovery system can be activated by the pilot in the event of spatial disorientation, enabling the Rafale to automatically recover stabilized flight with 5° of incidence at 350 knots. If the pilot does not react when the GPW is activated, an automatic maneuver brings the aircraft back up to safety.

Although the Rafale protects itself with the CFIT (controlled flight into terrain) safety system, it is precisely in low-level flight (in the mountains, on land or at sea) that the fighter has one of its greatest advantages. It has a unique ability that I would call "guerrilla invisibility". The Terrain Following mode is much more than an extreme piloting aid. It is a real extra pilot in this kind of flight profile. I felt a real sense of security and confidence in the system, which is integrated with the AESA radar and the digital database. It allows us to focus on the tactical objective of the mission and release the controls at the right time and place. It also allows us to search for air targets and threats during the intrusion (read more in parts 2 and 3).

In addition to this pilot protection and high-performance aeronautical capabilities, the Rafale has an electronic "shield" integrated into the fighter. We have the feeling of flying in a secure bubble. The SPECTRA system, developed by Thales and MBDA, integrates situational awareness capabilities and provides alerts on multi-spectral threats, i.e. enemy radars, lasers and missiles. Beyond "simply", if we can call it that, giving the pilot time and a head start against threats so he can make the best decision to avoid them, SPECTRA is also integrated into the Rafale's Data Fusion and allows the pilot to turn the threat into an enemy target. Learn more about this topic with our examples against a Mirage 2000 C RDI, in part 3.
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Unread post24 May 2021, 08:10

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Unread post24 May 2021, 13:07

Here is a description from Desert Storm 30 years ago about specialized low level aircraft (Tornado GR1) used:
https://www.raf.mod.uk/what-we-do/centre-for-air-and-space-power-studies/documents1/air-power-review-vol-19-no-2-first-gulf-war-25th-anniversary-special/

The route along 'the Olive Trail' with the Victor Tanker was uneventful. For a second time the Tornados topped up with fuel for the 80-minute flight over enemy territory. The jets were now very heavy; full of fuel and with eight 1,000 lb bombs slung underneath. After leaving the tanker it seemed that Mark asked me for the range to the border every 30 seconds. I shared his concern. The brown line on the map marched down the display at 450 knots and we soon found ourselves 'Sausage Side'. Heartbeats became closer together, the adrenalin pumped, and the fear of the unknown was soon to become the fear of the known. Bugger. The further we flew the faster we could fly and eventually we sat at a comfortable 480 knots. Since crossing the border we had not been above 100 feet. Twice I looked at the Radar Altimeter and both times it read around 50 feet. The desert was as flat as a pancake but we still felt exposed and very vulnerable even at 50 feet. We pressed on


Approaching the target the aircraft was still heavy and we needed more speed, at least another 70 knots, to be able to perform the dreaded daytime loft manoeuvre. To do so we needed to use afterburner which was a worry to both of us as it would provide an ideal target for any infra-red missiles out there. We made a wild-assed guess when it would be most appropriate, the reheat kicked in and we were soon at 550 knots for the pull-up. I took a quick squint on the radar and identified the aiming point. Now less than two minutes to the target all the switches were double and triple checked. This was definitely not the time to screw up. The seconds approaching the pull up point seemed to pass in double time and it was time to expose ourselves to the airfield defences. During the loft manoeuvre the seconds felt like minutes but
eventually the bombs came off. Throughout the manoeuvre Mark and I were 'heads in', or on instruments, which may be just as well because I remember seeing black puffs of smoke in my peripheral vision. Perhaps it was best to pretend to be in the simulator! Chaff, Flare, Chaff, Chaff, Flare, Chaff, Flare. My life had become immersed in the small lights on the Electronic Warfare suite as they illuminated and distinguished. Eventually the nose came to the horizon and we
could ease off the bank and start our descent to low level again. It may have been seconds or minutes when No. 2 piped up on the radio and the reality of war struck the whole formation - 'We've f**ked up and have still got our bombs'. 'Get rid of the bombs and let's get out of here', called the leader. Soon No. 2 called back, 'We're on fire, 'may have to get out'. Then silence. The leader tried to raise them a couple of times but to no avail.


All this shows how dangerous low altitude penetration missions were already 30 years ago even with one the most powerful SEAD/DEAD efforts ever. Sure Rafale has more advanced systems than Tornado GR1, but modern threat systems are also way more capable than Iraqi SA-3, SA-6, SA-8, SA-9, SA-13 and ZSU-23-4 along with SA-7/14/16 they had. Tornado could also fly just as low or even lower than Rafale while being even faster. Low altitude was poison for those old AD systems, but modern systems are far more effective against low flying aircraft.

A lot depends on terrain as Iraqi terrain was mostly flat without vegetation which made things pretty dangerous. In hilly terrain is good if the aircraft can fly so that they can keep terrain features between them and enemy systems. Of course it largely negates long range surveillance radars, but that not enemy AEW&C aircraft which can detect and track low flying aircraft at pretty impressive ranges.

Btw, I love this quote (nothing to do with Rafale):
Now, the Tornado was designed to operate at low level. But its radar altimeter had a known habit of cunningly ‘unlocking’ (ie, suddenly reading zero) below about 50 feet – just when you really need it. The German and Italian air forces modified their ‘radalts’ with a filter so they operated down to zero. The MOD's ‘pen pushing jotter blotters’ had taken a different approach and stated that there was no requirement to fly below 200 feet. Well, there was tonight...
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ricnunes

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Unread post24 May 2021, 14:49

hornetfinn wrote:All this shows how dangerous low altitude penetration missions were already 30 years ago even with one the most powerful SEAD/DEAD efforts ever. Sure Rafale has more advanced systems than Tornado GR1, but modern threat systems are also way more capable than Iraqi SA-3, SA-6, SA-8, SA-9, SA-13 and ZSU-23-4 along with SA-7/14/16 they had. Tornado could also fly just as low or even lower than Rafale while being even faster. Low altitude was poison for those old AD systems, but modern systems are far more effective against low flying aircraft.


Ditto hornetfinn! :thumb:

And yes, Tornado is an impressive aircraft in terms of capability to fly at very low altitudes (50 feets) above the ground level and keep up with the terrain and altitude due to a terrain-following radar coupled with the autopilot, a capability of which most modern aircraft (like probably the Rafale) don't have.
And the reason why modern aircraft don't have or don't use these Tornado capabilities (capability to follow the terrains at 50 feets) isn't because it's difficult to be done - since if they were done in the 1970's surely today it would be far easier - but because they weren't much of use back in 1991 and surely they would be pretty much useless nowadays due to all the reasons already discussed (namely the murderous capabilities of modern Air Defences, including SHORAD).


hornetfinn wrote:A lot depends on terrain as Iraqi terrain was mostly flat without vegetation which made things pretty dangerous. In hilly terrain is good if the aircraft can fly so that they can keep terrain features between them and enemy systems.


Yes, the Iraqi 'flat terrain' could technically or in theory be more dangerous than hilly terrains but even here I have my doubts due to the following reasons:
- Not so flat or hilly terrains means that you cannot fly very low over any point ou path. For instance you can't fly over bigger hills and mountains because here you wouldn't be flying very low and thus would be exposed to enemy radars. This means that a fighter aircraft which wants to penetrate enemy territory by flying very low will have to fly over certain and limited pre-sets of routes in order to take advantage of terrain features such as valleys or flatter lands in order to fly as low as possible. The problem is that the enemy will know these places as well or even better since afterall it's their country/nation which by its turn means that the enemy can relocate SHORAD and other air defence units to these lets call them, 'choke points'.


hornetfinn wrote:Of course it largely negates long range surveillance radars, but that not enemy AEW&C aircraft which can detect and track low flying aircraft at pretty impressive ranges.


You're of course 100% correct about enemy AEW&C aircraft.

But even about long range surveillance radars, if you put such surveillance radars on top of higher points/hills/mountains/peaks than the radar will be able to look 'below the horizon' and thus detecting any aircraft that is flying at very low altitudes below and far from the radar.

And then you have radars that can be mounted on top of high masts (which you can watch below) which makes the tactic of flying at very low altitudes in order to take advantage of the terrain even more dangerous since the radar is located at a higher altitude (on top of a mast) which gives the radar the ability to peek what's behind terrain features (while the radar remains hidden):

Image

And such technology isn't limited to radars. It's also used to further expand the range of other sensors such as IR which you can watch below:
Image
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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