Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rafale new antenna update

rafale B301 at Emmen air base in Switzerland (october 2009)
Some news about the mysterious antenna seen on the back of the rafale B324 : It appears that a similar antenna was already presents on the rafale B301 and B307 that took part in the Swiss trials back in october 2008. We know that those rafale had special equiments not yet operational in France like the RBE-2AA, the damocles pod and reco NG pods. Could it be a new sat com antenna dedicated to the reco NG pod ?

Edit : This new device is in fact a VHF/FM antenna which has also been installed on French Super Etendard and some Mirage 2000D to facilitate secured communications with Foward Air Controlers (Source Air Fan, February 2012)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

French Rafale news

Spoted by Jagueli on Delta reflex the rafale B324 features a new large spin antenna. It is believed to be a com antenna.

The 30th rafale M has just been delivered to the french Navy.

The status of the rafale M is the following :

  • Prototype M01 : retired
  • Prototype M02 : new standard development
  • M1 : Used by Dasault for aircraft carrier trials
  • M2 to M10 : Put in storage. Upgrade to F3 standard expeted in 2014
  • M11 to M30 (minus M22/M25) : In operational service with 12F squadron
  • M22 and M25 : Lost due to a mid air collision on 24 september 2009

Only 3 rafale M deliveries were planed for 2011. The M31 should arrive before the end of the year. The delivery rate for the next years should be 2 or 3 per year which is very low !

1/32e Rafale kit from scratch

You can't find a 1/32e rafale kit at your favorite toy shop ? Well, let's build it from scratch !
Honda, a well known french modeler, has made his own in just 4 months : Follow the montage on
The M88-2 is a beauty !

Monday, July 26, 2010

Libya : Su-30 and Rafale ?

According to the french paper La Tribune Dassault, Thales ans MBDA officials were in Tripoli last week to discuss several defense contracts. Among them the long expected rafale deal to form a "special force" squadron of 14 fighters. Those rafale would come in support of the Su-30 recently ordered by Tripoli.
The deal is said to be heavyly linked to the EAU rafale purchase which would not be expected before late sepembter, early october.

picture : French Rafale and EAU mirage 2000-9 side by side

Qatar race is ON !

Defensenews reveals that Qatar could initiate a RFQ for 40 fighters jets in order to replace its fleet of 12 mirage 2000-5 EDA/DDA bought in 1994. Qatar was the second export costumer of the dash 5 which were replacing the aging mirage F1.

It is worth noting that the gulf state is trying to sell its mirage 2000-5 since 2005 and offered them to India (But no deal was signed due to the high price tag asked by Qatar). Back then the rumors were saying that Qatar was trying to get rid of its mirage 2000, either to buy rafale or to swicht to a US fighter.

Now it seems that Qatar is accelerating its replacement process, So one could guess that they might have found a solution to sold the Mirage. In the mean time, it is important to remember that the UAE will soon put about 50 very powerfull mirage 2000-9 on the market of used fihters.

Several countries could be interested by those second hand, but still green, mirage. Among them we can cite India of course but aslo Egypt or Irak.

In India, they could be part of a mixed package of second hand mirage 2000-5/9 and new rafale for the MRCA contest.
Egypt is already an operator of the Mirage 2000E (first export version) and could take the opportunity to buy a second squadron of the delta at a good price. IMHO, it is very unlikely,but who knows...
Irak could be a surprise. The country is rebuilding its air force, and France could very well be part of the process.

This map of the persian gulf shows the 6 possible fighter deals that could happen during the next 5 years. Rafale is a strong contender in 3 of them : EAU, Kuwait and Qatar.

To conclude I think it is now prety obvious that the rafale will not export well if France fails to manage properly the market of the used Mirage 2000.

Kuwait : Rafale will face the silent Eagle

According to Flight Global, the rafale may have to compete against 2 Boeing birds in Kuwait. So far the only known competitors were the F/A-18 and the Rafale but it seems that the F-15 Silent Eagle, which has just made her first flight, will also be part of the contest.

So, once again the rafale will have to face the Eagle. Back in 2002 and 2005 the F-15K (Korean) and F-15SG (Singapore) won the final political round whereas the rafale was said to have technicaly overtaken the eagle... especialy on the low observability ground.

Rafale mission

This is a short adla clip describing the different steps of a rafale mission. Short, but nice images.

Rafale News online.

Welcome to rafale news, a blog dedicated to the the Rafale fighter jet.
Here you will find all the latest news related to the french plane. Start the visit !