Sunday, July 3, 2011

Le Bourget 2011, General Longuet interview about Rafale campaign in Libya

Which are the external operations the Rafale is engaged in ?

The most important is the Libyan operation which have demonstrated the quality of the [Rafale] fighter jet and the relevence of the versatility choice made for the Rafale. This is essential, we have a plane that has demonstrated the range of its operational flexibility and more over, it's ability to adapt to a polical context evolving constantly.

So the Rafale is a fully omnirole aircraft ?

Correct, The plane was flying above [the Libyan] theater 1 hour and a half after the political decision was acted. We were entering first, facing a Libyan Air Force which potential was not fully known and with a potential [SAM] missile threat. So a classic mission during which the Rafale proved its capacity to switch to Close Air Support of the Libyan insurgent defending Bengazi. That was the demonstration of the Rafale actual versatility.

It happens that a Rafale is tasked for a specific mission and is eventually redirected to another mission ?

Absolutely,  the flexibility is true for the aircraft but also for the crew which master the whole spectrum of the plane capabilities. I would like to had that it is not only a plane, it is also a system, integrated in a data exchange network. For instance, the Recce pod captures targets, instantly transmit the data to a strike fighter that will identify and destroy the target.

Thanks to the libyan campaign, the Rafale is now combat proven ?

Well it was already "combat proven" due to several deployements in Afghanistan. During the Libyan campaign the Rafale has proved its versatility. When some of our allies need 2 or 3 different planes for different mission, we can perform all missions with only one aircraft type. By the way, I've been told by our airmen that the Rafale has  imppressed. That's very favourable showcase for the export market.

Do you really think it will affect the export sales ?

Absolutely, we have observed the aircraft quality, its ability to hold a day and night tempo, to be adaptable and flexible. Another important point is that we could think that this "high tech" combat aircraft would be fragile. That's not the case. It is very reliable, there is no major failure and almost 100% of the shots have been successful. As a matter of fact, it has also meet its reliability requirement.

So, reliability and ability to perform all missions from the pinpoint stike on a pickup to the destruction of Air defense sites... well, all the spectrum... including reconnaissance... everything: This has been the most striking demonstration of the Rafale capabilities.

Source : Dassault Aviation

No comments:

Post a Comment