Finnish DefMin Interest in F-35s NOT Gripens

Program progress, politics, orders, and speculation
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magitsu

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Unread post10 Jun 2021, 19:29

herciv wrote:And when you hear the word "jamming" you don't quote it as an advance offensive feature ?


Let's start from this:
The plan divides the AEA mission into four major parts:

Standoff jamming—the disruption of enemy communications from a distance—goes to the Air Force.
Escort jamming, assigned to the Navy, features jammer aircraft that fly as part of a strike package.
Self-protection, or the use of onboard-generated signals to throw off the guidance of surface-to-air missiles, will be provided by each service.
“Stand-in” jamming, or extremely close-in disruption of radars, hinges on two systems, one Air Force and one joint.

https://www.airforcemag.com/article/1204electron/

Stand-in jamming is these days mostly done by missiles/drones like MALD-J/X and SPEAR-EW.
Growler can do all of the rest, except standoff jamming which is done with EC-130 Compass Call (USAF) or land based systems (Russia).
The rest have self-protection jamming without specific pods/expendable weapons.

Self-protection can be thought of as defensive, even if it's technically offensive against direct threat against that same platform. AEA (Airborne Electronic Attack) is almost solely Growler's realm, but certainly all try to break the kill chain at least in X band with the use of AESA radar + Barracuda/Spectra etc.

More good basics: https://basicsaboutaerodynamicsandavion ... asure-ecm/

France has probably spent a lot of money on ASMP-A (clearly superior to US B61-12 but it's a bit of a token instead of actually usual capability anyway), which unfortunately isn't useful for other users than France.
If we compare it to the most logical peer, Typhoon, they've achieved a lot (and in a timely fashion unlike Typhoon) with one country's resources. But there's no harm admitting that it's not a perfect fit against future peer threat. It's something which USA also has had to admit when thinking about the Pacific/China. In the short term, these needs can be met to a degree with certain new weapons/MALD-type jammers/decoys.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post10 Jun 2021, 20:19

herciv wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:I don't think Rafales penetrated alone either. I thought we covered that because the internet is determined to say Rafales went into Libya alone from the start and that was never the case.

This is not only Internet but also the CAIA : Confederation Amicale des Ingénieurs de l'Armement. As i have explained above this confederation is mainly composed of Program Directors, most of them are IGA meaning Ingénieur Général de L'Armement : rank GENERAL. If the CAIA tells officially that the french entered first thanks to spectra, one can tell that it is a fact not only internet briberies.




2) operation Harmattan: in the early afternoon of Mar. 19, by order of the President Sarkozy, the French Chief of Defence Staff launched “Operation Harmattan”, name of the French participation to the Odyssey Dawn. Beginning at 12.30Z French aircraft flew into Libya to provide air defense missions to enforce the no-fly zone in the region of Benghazi (radius 150 km from the town) and to strike those military targets identified on the ground that could threaten the civilian population. 20 aircraft were involved in the first raid (8 Rafale, 2 Mirage 2000-5, 2 Mirage 2000 D, 6 C-135 tanker and 1 E3F AWACS ) and two frigates and anti-aircraft air defense (the Jean Bart and Forbin) positioned off Libya.

Even though the press release later affirmed that “these French military forces were engaged in close coordination with our allies the time that the multinational coalition into place” some online newspapers reported that France’s first strike in Libya somehow angered some of the countries gathered at the afternoon Paris summit meeting. In fact, it is at least weird that the French Air Force decided to attack Gaddafi’s forces around Benghazi without support from partners. For sure the French intervention (claiming 4 Libyan tanks destroyed) stopped (or at least helped to stop) the loyalists forces’ advance to Benghazi but many saw this action as an attempt by President Sarkozy, that was criticised in the past for being too cautious, to give France a leading role in the North Africa crisis; others saw the warmongering behaviour as also a means to raise the profile of the Rafale by giving it visibility as a combat proven weapon system….

For sure the solitary attack made by the French contingent was at least unusual/unexpected, especially since French Air Force lacks some specialties (or, let’s say, has not in its inventory the proper kind of aircraft even if Rafale can on the paper somehow fulfil the tasks) and it’s not capable of autonomously performing those missions that are usually required at the beginning of a campaign, like SEAD and accompanying active kinetic EW. Usually, an air campaign starts with (cruise missiles) strikes aimed at the enemy Air Defence and Communication network, to give aicraft that will provide air superiority and will have to enforce the NFZ an airspace cleared of SAM launchers and radars. On the other side it must be noted that, according to the most informed sources, any SAM sites in the Benghazi area are not believed to be operational and, MANPADs aside, real threats to the French fighters were extremely limited in that area. For this reason, without much trouble a French attack plane (Mirage 2000D or Rafale) fired the first shot of Operation Odyssey Dawn at 14.45Z (using either a GBU-12 laser guided bomb or a AASM air-to-ground guided weapon). Some guessed the French were sent to Benghazi to invite Libyans to turn on their SAM site’s radars, unveiling their actual location for later targeting. Although possible, it sounds to me a bit risky considering also that a lot of SIGINT platform have been operating in the Libyan airspace with the specific task of gathering as much information as possible on the current status of the Libyan air defence network.

The fighters took off from Solenzara, Corse, while the supporting planes departed from Istres. Someone has speculated the attack could have originated from N’Djamena, Chad, where French Mirage F1 and 2000 have been operating since the early ’80s. However this option should be ruled out because of the distance and because the aircraft deployed there should be Mirage 2000 RDI. Libyan State TV claimed a FAF aircraft was shot down, but the news was denied by the French authorities.



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I DONT KNOW WHY WE HAVE TO GO OVER THIS AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. YOURE NOT FOOLING ANYONE, THIS ISN'T YOUTUBE. WE HAVE KNOWN FOR OVER 10 YEARS NOW THAT RAFALE DID NOT ATTACK ALONE INTO LIBYA.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post10 Jun 2021, 20:24

https://googlethatforyou.com?q=op%C3%A9 ... tan%202011

Youre going to need to change your story herciv. I eagerly await your further revisionist history where you get it wrong and accuse everyone else of lying.
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Unread post10 Jun 2021, 20:26

Let's chalk it up to his enthusiastic nationalism.

For the purposes of HX, this quote doesn't bode well:
especially since French Air Force lacks some specialties (or, let’s say, has not in its inventory the proper kind of aircraft even if Rafale can on the paper somehow fulfil the tasks) and it’s not capable of autonomously performing those missions that are usually required at the beginning of a campaign, like SEAD and accompanying active kinetic EW.


Unfortunately we know nothing about what extra they might have included to satisfy the SEAD/offensive EW need. Technically they aren't needed. But in practice they probably are key enablers to succeed in the specific presented scenarios. Everybody else offering them is good enough reason to assume it.
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Unread post10 Jun 2021, 21:14

magitsu wrote:Let's chalk it up to his enthusiastic nationalism.

For the purposes of HX, this quote doesn't bode well:
especially since French Air Force lacks some specialties (or, let’s say, has not in its inventory the proper kind of aircraft even if Rafale can on the paper somehow fulfil the tasks) and it’s not capable of autonomously performing those missions that are usually required at the beginning of a campaign, like SEAD and accompanying active kinetic EW.


Unfortunately we know nothing about what extra they might have included to satisfy the SEAD/offensive EW need. Technically they aren't needed. But in practice they probably are key enablers to succeed in the specific presented scenarios. Everybody else offering them is good enough reason to assume it.


Rafale like many aircraft ends up with "features" that are are some "geek" in a labcoat saying "could be theoretically possible" that is then taken by the salesforce and increased, the internet then does the rest. A giant game of "telephone"

Before you know it, everyone is spouting about a capability the airplane has never had as if it were fact. When you look for it to research it yourself, you suddenly find lots of "weasel words" like "reportedly" and "could" or "may have"-- zero confirmation. one can look at the "Spectra Alone" Mantra that has become engrained in the internet as a great Rafale cliche, despite having never actually done that. I've heard of "active cancellation" on Rafale since the 2000s. I've never heard of it being confirmed at all. Moreover in the great EMCOM battle, Active cancellation will have emissions of its own.

Mirage 2000s and AWACS are not "Spectras" unless I really misunderstood something :mrgreen:

The problem for F-35 competitors and we see this again in Finland, is that nearly all competitors are "multi-role" they also have multiple methods of achieving these capabilities. All the aircraft packages are moderately capable some more than others, and the F-35 has the largest amount, if we imagine all these capabilites piled into a box, the F-35 has the largest box. not the EW capability of a Growler, but far more than anything else. Boeing solution is basically make "2 boxes", split the missions and sell both Super Hornets and Growlers in order to try and offset F-35s basic advantages. Some airplanes are going to have advantages in other areas over F-35, but taken as a whole, the F-35 will have the highest marks across multiple missions. F-35 is not a passive kind of infiltrator like F-117. It has both LO and its own very sophisticated EW, but with the key advantage that all the "trons" aren't wasted trying to hide itself, but can be directed at the enemy. f-35 is hard to beat because it didn't have to "pick" between EW or Stealth. it did both, while remaining a lets say "highly competitive" price
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herciv

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Unread post10 Jun 2021, 21:14

magitsu wrote:
Unfortunately we know nothing about what extra they might have included to satisfy the SEAD/offensive EW need. Technically they aren't needed. But in practice they probably are key enablers to succeed in the specific presented scenarios. Everybody else offering them is good enough reason to assume it.

https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/p ... _RR676.pdf
As Christian Anrig has noted, this attack could point at a difference in “ways of w a r ”: Specifically, the United States musters overwhelming force to produce decisive results at the least cost of lives. In contrast, former European colonial powers have a history of fighting outgunned and outnumbered...This attitude is also reflected in the French air force’s initial strikes on 19 March 2011. Some commentators were quick to play down the risks involved, arguing that the French had identified a gap in the fixed-site air defense system, but the threat of mobile surface-to air missiles undoubtedly remained.11In their post-war assessment, the French point at this first strike to downplay their reliance on U.S. assets for SEAD. This assessment is correct for this particular raid, since no losses occurred. Libyan air defenses nonetheless identified the French raid and engaged it with an SA-8 surface-to-air missile system, which fortunately was out of range.12 It is, however, questionable that such a risky tactic would have worked for the whole campaign, as the French were probably not ready to take significant risks of aircraft losses. Therefore, this opening move might denote a divergence of operational habits. The French, like the British, are used to making do with less.
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Unread post10 Jun 2021, 21:21

Tiger05 wrote:
herciv wrote:EDIt : have a special look at the lybia post :
Rafales were the first to entered and the pilot confidence in SPECTRA was such that they didn't rely on nor a preventive strike on anti air capabilities nor a dedicated jamming capabilities.


To be fair, Libyan IADS was largely obsolete relying on 60s-70s era systems like SA-2, SA-3, SA-5 and SA-6. Not exactly a high-end threat. And its operational status was questionable after years of decay due to the UN arms embargo.

Had Libya operated more advanced systems like S-300s, i doubt that France would have been so confident in sending Rafales without SEAD support.


but the threat of mobile surface-to air missiles undoubtedly remained.11In their post-war assessment, the French point at this first strike to downplay their reliance on U.S. assets for SEAD. This assessment is correct for this particular raid, since no losses occurred. Libyan air defenses nonetheless identified the French raid and engaged it with an SA-8 surface-to-air missile system, which fortunately was out of range.12 It is, however, questionable that such a risky tactic would have worked for the whole campaign, as the French were probably not ready to take significant risks of aircraft losses.


Priceless.
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Unread post10 Jun 2021, 21:47

XanderCrews wrote:
Priceless.

Indeed.
Yes there is a part of risk with this doctrine.
And the raid must have been well prepared to avoid such SA-8 threats.
But French Pilots are very confident in SPECTRA.

just for fun :https://www.defense.gouv.fr/air/actus-air/campagne-sa8-fr
"On June 10-12, 2014, Electronic Warfare Squadron (EWS) 48.530 deployed its SA8 "GECKO" short-range ground/air weapon system to Nancy Air Force Base 133 for its final campaign.

During the two-day training, Mirage 2000D and Mirage 2000N crews were able to test this Soviet-origin weapon system operated by the qualified personnel of GSE 48.530. 
Pilots and navigators were given static presentations and were able to take part in missions alongside the operators from inside the SA8.

As part of its missions to generate electromagnetic threats for aircrew training, the GSE has been operating an SA8 "GECKO" since 2008.

 This SA8 campaign was the last one carried out by the GSE 48.530 before its scheduled closure on September 1.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)"
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Unread post11 Jun 2021, 06:58

herciv wrote:And the raid must have been well prepared to avoid such SA-8 threats.
But French Pilots are very confident in SPECTRA.



So what helped more?

SPECTRA, Planning, Or Confidence?

Image


(I'm excluding luck and libyan incompetence to make things fair. )

A third of the French aircraft on the above raid had no SPECTRA at all and somehow survived. What are we to make of this?

Am I wrong in that the NON SPECTRA Equipped aircraft including those form the UK, Canada, Sweden etc somehow survived? or is international pilot confidence in SPECTRA just that high?

The claims are kind of silly when one sits back and actually considers the options proposed. The question is how good?
Yes SPECTRA is good. Its all good. The Gripen E is not yet in service yet and wouldn't you know it? its already an amazing super aircraft. Beloved by its pilots, feared by its enemies, and if one looks at the over a decade plus company propaganda, its adaptable, future proof and has an unrivaled EW suite--- astounding! Just like the other 4 contenders.

We have 5 gold medalists, and the medalists think they won. an incredible coincidence, we invited 5, and all 5 think their EW is best. Good thing I was sitting down for that.

SPECTRA is good, but I'm afraid the Libyan example simply is not proof enough. When people start saying "confidence" and not least of all (oh god help me) "pilot confidence" (such humble, fearful, unconfident lot those fighter pilots) I think I feel my eyes rolling into the back of my head. Confidence is an intangible if there ever was one, immeasurable even when its authentic, and effective still even when its fake or worse-- false. You know how many "confident" dead people I know? Guys who "had it" right up until they didn't it?

Image

Confidence, results may vary.


Confidence? please. Are we going to get back to the part where you accused me of "briberies" before I pointed out what you claimed was complete hogwash in the first place? or is "pilot confidence" a measure in the Finnish Evaluations?



Now back to our internet claim that persists 10 years later that Rafales were "alone"

Where Rafale might get a "pass" is that it was LONE French operation, however it was not a lone Rafale Operation as I'm sure the Mirages, Awacs and even tankers will attest.
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Unread post11 Jun 2021, 07:16

A paper about Rafale for Finland :
https://siivet.fi/sotilasilmailu/yli-40 ... in-rafale/

" In Libya, Rafalet faced a complex air defense network and organized armed forces for the first time. There, the aircraft-type capabilities as an operational combat aircraft were demonstrated for the first time when they served as NATO’s spearhead in guarding, reconnaissance and destroying topcoats.

In the first wave, six Rafale units flew to Libya, with four aircraft with air combat armament to ensure air dominance and two with reconnaissance equipment to photograph topcoats. The second wave had two Rafales in the air for ground and self-defense armaments, two Mirage 2000Ds in the air for ground armaments, and two Mirage 2000-5Fs as fighter jets. In the attack, Rafalet destroyed 155mm crawlers with Hammer precision weapons. "
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Unread post11 Jun 2021, 07:53

dassault-rafale-siivet-2017-6-05.jpg
The whole article :
Over 40 000 combat flight hours with Rafale
The F3R standard air-to-air Rafale is equipped with two MBDA Meteor missiles mounted on the side wings of the rear fuselage, but foreign customers have the option to mount four Meteors under the aircraft, with two mounted on the wing wings as shown in the picture. The wing tips are fitted with MICA infrared missiles. Photo. Almansa

The Dassault Rafale is a twin-engine fighter aircraft, with different versions designed to operate from land and from aircraft carriers. As a multirole fighter, it is capable of many, if not all, combat aviation missions: air superiority and fighter interception, close air support, bombing, reconnaissance and maritime defence. The Rafale entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the Air Force in 2006. It has more than 300,000 flight hours in the French Air Force, including 40,000 combat missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Mali. The aircraft is on its way to Egypt, Qatar and India (flight hours updated from original article to online publication).



This article was originally published in Siivet magazine, issue 6/2017.

Subscribe to the magazine!

Or check out the digital magazine!

Text by Pentti Perttula

Photos by Dassault Aviation



Dassault produces three different versions of the Rafale fighter: a single-seat C version, a two-seat B version and a single-seat M aircraft carrier version. Originally intended to be a single-seat aircraft, the 2000 budget decided to convert 48 aircraft into two-seat aircraft to improve air-to-ground capability.

Of the other European delta- and canard-winged fighters, the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Saab JAS 39 Gripen, the Rafale is most distinguished externally by the placement of the canards and the design of the engine air intakes. Of course, the Rafale also stands out from the Gripen as a twin-engined aircraft.

The canards are positioned close to the leading edge of the wings, from where they direct the airflow towards the wingtips. This flow control improves the aerodynamic efficiency of the wing, the manoeuvrability of the aircraft at high angles of attack and also reduces drag during cruise.

Engine air intakes are designed to provide a steady airflow to the engines at high speeds, high angles of attack, tight turns and in glideslope. They are also designed to reduce the radar footprint by shielding the otherwise highly visible fan and compressor blades from radar beams.

The Rafale's carbon fibre wings are very thin, even thinner than those on the Mirage 2000. Nevertheless, four hangers can be attached to each wing, two of them with additional fuel tanks. In addition, six hangers can be attached to the fuselage, only five on the M version due to the larger nose landing gear.

France is the only European country to use a conventional fighter aircraft as an aircraft carrier. After many delays, mostly due to technical problems, the Charles de Gaulle carrier entered service in September 2000. The navy is in the process of acquiring 60 Rafale M aircraft. The original plan for 86 aircraft was cut in the 1997 defence budget. The first squadron of five aircraft was formed in 2001.

The M version weighs 600 kilograms more than the others, of which about 400 kilograms consists of sturdier landing gear and a landing hook. The M stands with its nose eight degrees more upright than the C and B versions. The M version's landing gear can withstand a descent of 6 m/s. In a normal landing with a 3° glide angle, the sink rate is 2 to 4 m/s. The nose wheel rotates a full 360 degrees, which facilitates manoeuvring the machine on board.

Dassault is now producing Rafals to meet the French order for 180 aircraft (63 B, 69 C, 48 M) and the Egyptian, Qatari and Indian orders for 84 aircraft. The French armed forces currently have 148 Rafale aircraft in service, of which 48 are C, 54 B and 46 M versions - all of the latest F3.4 standard. The air force will receive one aircraft this year and three next year. The remaining aircraft to be completed will be exported. Thereafter, no Rafale will be produced for the French armed forces for three years, until 28 aircraft are completed between 2021 and 2023.

The Crusader replacement

The original Rafale F1 was an interim model, with capabilities limited to air-to-air missions. Three aircraft were produced for the French Air Force for a development programme and ten M-model aircraft for the Navy. They were a huge leap from the Navy's previous fighter aircraft, the Vought F-8P Crusader, which dates back to the 1960s. Yet the F1s still lacked the weaponry and optimised cockpit typical of the 4.5 generation.

In 2010, the remaining Rafale M F1s were upgraded to the F3 standard, replacing their mission computer, cockpit displays, wiring and hangers, and fitted with the Thales Spectra countermeasures system. It is a combined self-protection and electronic warfare system consisting of several components. It has radar and laser detectors and warnings, a missile launch detector, a powerful radar jammer and alarm triggers for firing flares and shells. The first F3-equipped F1 aircraft was delivered to the navy in October 2014.


F2 to war

In the F2 standard, the Rafale received a modular data processing unit (MDPU) and all versions added air-to-ground weapons capability. Assault and ground tracking modes were added to its radar, and the arsenal included laser-guided 250-kilogram GBU-12 and GBU-22 anti-ship bombs and Scalp cruise missiles, a MICA IR air-to-air missile using the OSF IRST sensor, a Link-16 communications protocol and, in the M model, an air-to-air refuelling tank.

The first air-to-ground version of the F2 was fielded by the French Navy in 2004 and by the Air Force in 2006. However, the F2 did not have its own laser targeting capability, so the French Rafale had to operate in Afghanistan alongside the Super Etendard and Mirage 2000D. 48 F2s were produced, 32 for the air force and 16 for the navy. The F2s were also upgraded to the F3 standard, which was a much easier upgrade than the F1s.


Competitiveness with AESA

Since 2008, all Rafales completed have been F3 standard. Initial modifications included the ability to launch ASMP-A nuclear cruise missiles, allowing the replacement of Mirage 2000N aircraft with Rafales. Other additions included full integration of the Reco NG reconnaissance tank, full capability of the RBE2 radar, anti-ship capability with Exocet or ANF missiles, and improvements to the air-to-air refueling capability.

Later, the F3 also incorporated the Damocles reconnaissance and laser targeting tank, first used in Libya in 2011. However, the resolution provided by the tank is only 640×480 pixels at best. The operational limitations of the Damocles were quickly identified, which is why a contract was signed with Thales in 2012 to develop a new Talios targeting tank.

As of September 2013, the fourth production batch (F3-O4T, from aircraft C137 onwards) was the first to receive Thales RBE2-AA AESA radars. The new radar requires 400,000 lines of code compared to two million lines in the entire avionics software of the aircraft, but in return, the AESA radar typically delivers two to three times better resolution or range compared to PESA technology. The nuclear capability does not contribute to the Rafale's exports, but the AESA radar and the independent precision capability will make the aircraft more competitive in the suppressor market.


Meteor

The F3R development programme was allocated €1 billion to provide the aircraft with the MBDA Meteor air-to-air missile, the SBU-64 AASM laser and GPS-guided anti-sniffer bomb, the AESA radar upgrade, the Spectra homing system upgrade, Talios PDL-NG to replace the Damocles targeting tank with 1280×1040 pixel resolution, upgraded Link 16 head, Mode-5/Mode-S compliant IFF auto-detection device and air refuelling tanks for naval aircraft.

The last of the five test launches of the Meteor integration took place in April 2017, evaluating the Rafale's fire control system and the missile itself in realistic conditions. The missile was launched towards a target at extreme range, but was given a new target midway and successfully hit it. The missile's warhead was replaced by telemetry equipment during the tests. The next Meteor test launches in early 2019 will be part of the F3R's operational evaluation. They will involve both the French air and naval forces.

Spectra is about to receive a frequency extension for the sensors and jamming equipment at both the upper and lower ends of the spectrum. The aim is to achieve extremely accurate radar localisation and three-dimensional tracking for flying radars as well. A single Rafale should be capable of instantaneous precise positioning, which previously required the slow cooperation of several aircraft.

Cockpit operations, which have consistently been considered more difficult on the Rafale than on the Typhoon, will also become easier. Improvements to the diagnostic system will make it easier to maintain the aircraft and reduce maintenance costs.
The F3R test flights will end in 2018 and the standard will be fully deployed in the same year. The Rafale will then be the only operational fighter in the world to carry both the AESA radar and the Meteor missile.

In February 2017, both the UK and French defence ministries signed a contract with MBDA to upgrade the Scalp (Storm Shadow in the UK) cruise missile. The first upgraded missiles will enter service with the French armed forces in 2020. The missile model will remain in service until the early 2030s.

F4 in 2025

Next year, Dassault and the French Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA) will officially launch the six-year development programme for the Rafale F4, but risk mapping was already started this year. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has authorised the start of F4 development. The new standard will include new missile and engine technologies.

The first F4 will enter service in 2025, although some features will be introduced as early as 2023. The F4 is part of the fifth production series of the Rafale, of which the French armed forces plan to order 45 aircraft, in addition to updating the standard for all aircraft in service.

As the F4 will replace the Mirage 2000 aircraft currently in service, it is likely to integrate new versions of the Mica air-to-air missile, the SCALP cruise missile and the ASMP-A nuclear cruise missile.

The infrared-guided IR Mica and radar-guided EM Mica will be upgraded to the Mica NG standard, with a two-stage engine for increased range and even more accurate seeker heads mounted on the same fuselage.

The radar is getting two new air-to-ground modes: moving target indicator (GMTI) and ultra-high resolution (UHR). From F4 onwards, the Rafale's front-facing optronics (FSO) will be equipped with a new generation of airborne IRST sensors optimised for airborne terrain, which can be used alone or in conjunction with the radar. The upgrades are aimed at further improving situational awareness for the pilot and crew.

The Rafale's cockpit will be equipped with a helmet display and a new generation Thales Contact radio, which will be available to the entire ground and naval forces in a few years. In addition, the Rafales will receive a directional, high-speed data link for intercommunication and data traffic using FO3D three-dimensional waveforms to accompany - not replace - the Link-16.

In 2015, a satellite communications system (satcom) was added to the Rafale as an urgent operational requirement, but it will not remain on the aircraft. The military satcom of the future will be completely encrypted and impossible to crack.

Gallium nitride

Gallium nitride (GaN) technology will be used in the antennas of the F4.2 radar and jamming equipment to provide even greater efficiency in both discrimination and attack. This technology will be used in aircraft to be built from 2025. The fifth production series aircraft will have twice the power for radar and jamming antennas.

GaN technology will provide wider bandwidth, higher radiated power and further facilitate switching between modes and functions. Radar, jamming and electronic warfare modes can be combined or interleaved through the same AESA antenna. GaNs are also used in Spectra, which speeds up the system's radiation-reception cycle and significantly increases power.


The CAPOEIRA programme (Connectivité Améliorée Pour les Evolutions du Rafale) has been set up to protect the aircraft against cyber-attacks. Its purpose is to help define the architecture required for the future navigation and combat system.

Even after the F4, the Rafale will still be slightly behind its European competitors in a few respects. Firstly, the Meteor missile's data link on the Rafale is only unidirectional, which does not allow the missile's full potential to be exploited. Secondly, the Rafale's helmet-mounted display is not capable of exploiting the full field of view of the MICA's wide-angle goggles.


For network-centric warfare

Today, the Rafale has already logged 40,000 hours of combat operations in all the French armed forces' operations since September 2001, in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, the Central African Republic, Iraq and Syria.

The Rafale got its first taste of fire in Afghanistan, where it was used in a show of force by flying high and low over Taliban forces. They were also used for precision strikes with air-to-ground weapons. The harsh conditions of combat operations led to the aircraft being modified to better suit the needs of its users.

In Libya, Rafales were confronted for the first time with a complex air defence network and an organised military force. There, the aircraft's capabilities as an operational fighter were demonstrated for the first time as it acted as a NATO spearhead for no-fly zone patrols, reconnaissance and surface-to-air destruction.

In the first wave, a squadron of six Rafales flew to Libya, four of which were equipped with air combat armament to ensure air superiority and two with reconnaissance equipment to photograph surface paintings. The second wave included two Rafaleas in air-to-ground and anti-personnel armament, two Mirage 2000Ds in air-to-ground armament and two Mirage 2000-5Fs as anti-personnel fighters. During the attack, the Rafales destroyed 155 mm anti-tank guns with Hammer anti-tank guns.

In Libya, Scalp cruise missiles were used for the first time in combat operations. Although the range of the missiles is classified information, reports to the French political leadership state that they have a range of 400 kilometres.

In Libya in 2011, network-centric warfare also became a reality for Rafales, with all aircraft involved in the operation sharing their position, fuel and armament information in real time via NATO Link-16. This information sharing significantly increased the coalition's combat effectiveness.

Since operations in Mali began in 2013, three to four Rafale aircraft have been deployed to provide close air support, reconnaissance, convoy protection and battlefield containment. The Rafales fly in pairs, with each aircraft equipped differently: one with a Reco-NG reconnaissance tank and the other with four to six GBU-12s or Hammer and a Damocles reconnaissance tank.

In the theatre of operations, the machines are different: one starts imaging the various targets and the other stays in control and is ready to deploy forces. The aircraft remain in communication via Link-16. The Rafales, based in N'Djamena, Chad, are capable of covering the entire Sahel region, the Central African Republic and Nigeria. As the whole area is the size of Europe, the aircraft are supported by an air-to-air refuelling aircraft, either a French C-135FR or an American KC-135R.

Current air-to-ground weapons

Against ISIL (Daesh) in Iraq and Syria, Rafales have operated from Al Dhafra base in the United Arab Emirates and from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.

The basic armament of the Rafale B/C includes the 250 kg (Mk. 82 bomb body) GBU-12 Paveway II, the GBU-22 Paveway III and the 1000 kg (Mk. 84) GBU-24 Paveway III. Next year, the 500 kg (Mk. 83) GBU-16 will also enter service. The Paveway family of weapons will be used on Rafales with the Damocles tank. Alternatively, the target can be illuminated by another aircraft, a FAC airborne air gunner or a ground force JTAC air gunner.

The basic armament of the French Navy's Rafale M consists of a 227 kg BLU-111 and BLU-126 and a GBU-12 Paveway II mounted on a 125 and 250 kg CBEMS bomb fuselage. The Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier's two nuclear reactors determine the type of bombs that can be carried on board.

MBDA's CBEMS (Corps de Bombe à Effets Multiples Sécurisé) is a new bomb body of the BANG family (Bombe Aéronavale de Nouvelle Génération) that is resistant to fire, explosions, falls and shrapnel penetration. It also has a long service life and is resistant to temperature variations, mechanical stress, weight and electromagnetic fields. BLU-111, on the other hand, is coated with a thick FM-26 thermal barrier and filled with PBXN-109, a polymer-bonded insensitive explosive that is much less dangerous on a carrier than the tritonal-filled Mk. 82. BLU-126, on the other hand, contains less explosive than Mk. 82.


Hammers

Against heavily protected targets, the Rafale's main air-to-ground weapon is the SBU-38, -54 or -64 Hammer (Highly Agile, Modular Munition Extended Range) manufactured by Safran Electronics & Defence. These weapons distinguish the Rafale from its competitors. The SBU-38 has inertial and GPS guidance to reach an accuracy of 10 metres, the SBU-64 has inertial, GPS and infrared guidance to reach an accuracy of metres and the SBU-54 has laser, inertial and GPS guidance to hit even fast moving targets.

Compared to the precision weapons of the Paveway family, a rocket motor allows the Hammers to be fired from a much greater distance and avoid enemy air defences. The Hammer's official range from the target is 15 kilometres if flying at surface level and 60 kilometres if flying at high altitude. The weapon can be fired up to 90 degrees to the side of the aircraft's gun axis and the angle of impact can be selected for maximum damage. Typically, the Hammer is fired from two G's of movement, providing the weapon's inertial navigation system with sufficient movement and G information.

The Hammer series is being expanded to minimize the need for the Paveway family of weapons. The new, simplified Block 4 series of precision weapons will have redesigned winglets, but no longer have an engine. Recent operational experience has shown that a rocket engine is not always needed, especially for close air support missions.

A data link and new seeker heads are being introduced for the hammers, including against fast-moving targets. Preliminary studies have started to develop heavier versions to replace the laser-guided 500 kg GBU-16 Paveway II and 1000 kg GBU-24 Paveway III bombs.

Life cycle extension

As the French armed forces plan to keep the Rafale in service with their air and naval forces until at least the end of the 2040s, the French Ministry of Defence is investing in the continuous modernisation and upgrading of the aircraft type. The life-cycle upgrade may involve further modifications to the Rafale's cockpit or the addition of stealth capabilities.

Safran Military Engines is not increasing the power of the Rafale's M88 engine, nor is it adding a new high-pressure core to the engine, despite speculation to that effect. Instead, the manufacturer is focusing on the durability of engine components and extending the service life. The engine technology is being developed for an unmanned attack aircraft, and in due course the Rafale will benefit from this development, but not before a lifecycle upgrade.


This article was originally published in the 6/2017 issue of Wings magazine.

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

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Unread post11 Jun 2021, 09:47

There's the obvious elephant in the room. If Spectra was so good, then why did they need Growler support in Libya? You're trying to tell me that Spectra is going to beat 4 dedicated ECM pods on a Growler?

Haha, have you even seen the size of those pods? Somehow a black box in the Rafale is going to generate more power to be better than the external pods on the Growler? And to top it off, the two powerplants on the Rafale are weaker than the F414-GE-400s in the SH. But somehow they're going to produce more power and generate more noise.

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herciv

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Unread post11 Jun 2021, 10:12

kimjongnumbaun wrote:There's the obvious elephant in the room. If Spectra was so good, then why did they need Growler support in Libya? You're trying to tell me that Spectra is going to beat 4 dedicated ECM pods on a Growler?

Haha, have you even seen the size of those pods? Somehow a black box in the Rafale is going to generate more power to be better than the external pods on the Growler? And to top it off, the two powerplants on the Rafale are weaker than the F414-GE-400s in the SH. But somehow they're going to produce more power and generate more noise.

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I don't try to compare SPECTRA with something else since I have no data. Then I totally agree that Rafale could have much more chance to survive if a growler goes in mission with him. But Rafale have to be able to accomplish the same mission alone if needed ans SPECTRA help to lower the risk.
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magitsu

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Unread post11 Jun 2021, 10:22

Let's move away from Spectra.

Storm Shadow / Black Shaheen / SCALP EG looks a bit weary already. What could Dassault offer for the future, since the gap to JASSM family seems to be widening?
https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/apache-ap/

Apart from Meteor (widely accepted as very capable), MBDA portfolio might have some challenges. Amazingly they haven't managed to win any competitions in Finland lately (Exocet beaten by Gabriel V, SAMP/T "beaten" by NASAMS, Aster beaten by ESSM). Though certainly that would change a lot with a non-US HX fighter win.
Last edited by magitsu on 11 Jun 2021, 10:31, edited 1 time in total.
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kimjongnumbaun

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Unread post11 Jun 2021, 10:24

herciv wrote:
I don't try to compare SPECTRA with something else since I have no data. Then I totally agree that Rafale could have much more chance to survive if a growler goes in mission with him. But Rafale have to be able to accomplish the same mission alone if needed ans SPECTRA help to lower the risk.



But have they? In Libya they had Growler support on day 1.
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