Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rafale M38, the last of a kind

Here it is. Watch it carefully. It's a very special Rafale.

The Rafale M 38 is the last Rafale M equipped with a PESA radar. Also the last Rafale M of the third batch.

Just out of the plant in Merignac and already captured by Bastien Engerbeau. Enjoy.

Rafale picture of the day

Rafale taking off from Chad during the Mali conflict

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

EAU, Rafale is too expensive

UAE president Cheikh Khalifa meets French President (AFP)
"It is a matter of price". This is what French President Francois Hollande said regarding a possible Rafale sell to the UAE.
Hollande was in the country today to meet UAE authorities and discuss about the ongoing crisis in Mali as well as possible commercial deals.

In other words the UAE would still be interested in the French fighter jet and its technology, but reject the price asked by Dassault. In the meatime they are also considering the Eurofighter and the F/A-18E as possible alternatives.

Source Reuters 

Mali, Rafale strikes have been successfull

A fully armed Rafale ready for departure
A yesterday article from the New York Times quote locals stating that Rafale strikes have been deadly on islamists positions.

[...] The French attacks on Gao, an insurgent stronghold in the north, were welcomed by Abdheramane Oumarou, a local counselor reached late Sunday after a day of French airstrikes.

“We are in the best of all possible worlds,” he said. “The planes have been circling Gao since 5 this morning. All of the sites they targeted, they hit. The airport. The warehouses, they destroyed them. These were all sites occupied by the Islamists, and they have been totally destroyed.” 

AASM missiles being loaded on a Rafale
“The Islamists are in hiding. There were many dead,” he added. For the first time since the insurgents overran the town last year, “the population of Gao will sleep soundly, and will even snore.” 

In Douentza, a town south of Gao but still inside Islamist-held territory, French strikes have driven the Islamists “into the bush,” said the parliamentary deputy from the region, Fatoumata Dicko. “We are breathing much easier now,” she said.[...]

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mali, First Rafale strikes

Rafale C and GBU-12
4 Rafale left the Saint Dizier Air Base saturday-Sunday night to conduct their first strikes over the cities of Gao and Kidal. They were carrying their full load of 6 AASM or 6 GBU-12 as well as 3 2000L fuel tanks and Damocles pod.

As per the video footage below, showing the Rafale landing at N'Jamena, Tchad, after their mission, 21 bombs/missiles were probably fired during the attacks : One of the Rafale didn't fire 3 of its 6 AASM. It is also worth noting that 3 of the Rafale were two seaters but with only one pilot onboard.

According to witnesses, several islamist key positions (training camps, amunition depots) were hit by the Rafale strike.

Other pictures of the Rafale departures here

Erratum : we previously thought that the GBU were GBU-49, but they are in fact classic GBU-12

Video, Damocles footage

starting at 4 min 15

Le Journal de la Défense n°75 de janvier 2013 by ministeredeladefense

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mali, Rafale to get involved soon in operation Serval

Since Friday January 11th, 04:00 PM, the French forces are supporting the Mali army in order to stop the  islamist AQMI organisation offensive in this country.

6 Mirage 2000D, 2 Mirage F1CR, 1 Atlantique 2 and several combat helicopters (Gazelle / Cougar) are taking part in this operation.

According to several sources, Rafale fighter jets from the Normandie Niemen squadron as well as Tiger helicopters could be deployed in the next days to increase the air strike capabilities of the French forces.