Thursday, August 26, 2010

Damocles, soon operational on Rafale

Rafale B304 with Damocles pod - ©Jagueli
The CEAM (Centre d'Experiences Aeriennes Militaires / Military Aerial Experimentation Center) is currently finishing the operational evaluation of the Thalès Damocles pod on the Rafale.
The new LDP is due to enter operational service at the end of 2010 and could probably be deployed to Afghanistan in Early 2011.

The picture on the left was taken last July, 21st and shows the Rafale B304 of the 05.330 "cote d'argent" squadron landing at St Dizier Airbase during a test flight of the Damocles pod.
The Damocles eyes - © Antoine Grondeau
Back in 2005, the laser guided bomb was not seen as a priority for the Rafale as it was already the weapon of choise for the mirage 2000D fleet
Therefore, the AASM GPS guided bomb was integrated first on the Rafale, in order to introduce a cheap, all weather, stand of capability.for the french air Force and Navy.

However in 2007, the Rafale F2 sent to Afghanistan, received a raw integration of the GBU-12 bomb (to complement the AASM gps guided bomb). But they had to rely on an external laser designation, mirage 2000D or TAC-P, to use it.
At the end of 2008, the Damoclès pod was also demonstrated on the Rafale to the Swiss Air Force both in Air to Ground and Air to Air mission.

Eventually, it will enter into operational service  in a few months in the French Air Force. A long awaited feature for the Rafale which will be soon complemented by the laser version of the AASM

More pictures here : Delta Reflex

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