Friday, November 22, 2013

F3-R launched in 2013 ?

Seen in La Tribune...

Jean-Yves le Drian (French MoD) told La Tribune that he plans to launch the development of the future F3-R standard before the end of 2013.

Reminder :

A risk reduction contract was signed earlier, in December 2012, for the preliminary studies one this standard which will give the Rafale :
  • the Meteor ;
  • the PDL NG to replace the Damocles ;
  •  IFF mode 5/S ;
  • improved L16 ;
  • Spectra upgrades ;
  • Reco NG upgrades.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Rafale M10 retrofit

It's not yet the kind of news we may find in the press, but the well informed people on Delta Reflex have informed us that during November, the Merignac assembly line is receiving the different parts to be integrated on Rafale M10.

The aircraft has bee totally disassembled and distributed in various plants before being re-assembled with all up-to-date parts.

The work should be completed in 8 months, making the delivery to the Marine possible in June 2014. The M9 should follow in August.

Copyright Eric Estrade

By the way, the Charles-de-Gaulle carrier will be back to sea on Thursday for training purpose, after an overhaul by DCNS and Areva, according to
The "CdG" last mission was Lybia in 2011.

Dubai Airshow 2013

Today started the Dubai Airshow on his 13th edition.

The Armée de l'Air is once again showing the Rafale, for the last time in 2013, with the Cpt Planche "Tao". The two aircraft comes from the Al Dhafra airbase in UAE.

With BAe and the UK prime minister pushing hard to sell the Typhoon in the disputed deal to replace the Mirage 2000-9, it's quite good to read something slightly different, on Reuters. The decision may not come soon.

Some interesting pics :

Friday, June 21, 2013

Video, Rafale in the French Air Force

Some nice shots in this video. My favorite below :
Mica IR being loaded on the wing tip

Radar maintenance

Damocles visu

Weapon management MFD page

Various MFD pages (nav, fuel, HSI, spectra ?)
Cockpit in flight

Video, In cockpit Rafale solo display at Paris air show

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tiger meet 2013, new camo


Rafale developement, TRAGEDAC and LEA

2 major projects have been recently revealed by the french DGA.

The first one, called TRAGEDAC intends to extend passive localisation capabilities of the Rafale using cooperative technics. The idea is to correlate and synchronise OSF and Spectra data from different aircrafts through link 16 to compute passive tracks more accurately (especially the target range as it is currently the most difficult data to assess using passive sensors only)

LEA electromagnetic decoy
The second one, LEA, has just been announced at the Paris Air show. It is an active electromagnetic decoy especially designed to jam/seduce a2a missile radars. Unlike a towed decoy which remains attached to the aircraft, the LEA is ejected like a chaff. 4 LEA could be stored in the same place as the present spiral chaff ejector on the Rafale.

source : A&C

Video, Rafale dogfighting F-22

This is the long awaited video showing a Rafale taking on an F-22 during one of the doghfights between the 2 machines during ATLC 2009

The interresting thing in that engagement is that there are only 2 high G turns at the begining (400-500 kts / 9G+). Then, everything is about being able to manoeuver at very low speed... down to 80 knots in the Rafale case which is the very edge of its flight envelope.

Also note how the TV camera of the OSF (on the left side of the nose) is moving up and down to track the F-22.

The F-22 is big but still very hard to outmanoeuver thanks to its TVC as shown in that impressive video.

As stated at the begining of the video, this footage is not a demonstration of any superiority of the Rafale over the F-22 in close air combat but merely a confirmation that both fighters match each other closely in that particular area. In fact, most engagements reported at the time were draws with 1 gun kill credited to the Raptor. Now we know that the Rafale pilots also managed to get at least 1 fair and square victory, which is pretty cool :) . Also, videos showing the raptor during actual simulated air combats are still very rare, especialy that long. For that reason I think it is certainly a worthy document whatever the outcome is.

higher resolution here

Friday, April 5, 2013

Video, Captain Ruet interview at Lima 2013

Interview by army recognition team

Captain Ruet was part of the third wave of Rafale which flew the first mission over Libya.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A new flight test by Vianney Riller Jr ?

Vianney Riller Jr is a pilot, Aerospace & Defense analyst, columnist for Defesanet.

As reported on Twitter, we are waiting forward the publication of its flight onboard the Rafale.

 Already, Mr Vianney Riller Jr has published some pictures on his account :

AASM laser for Mali

News from Air & Cosmos : Operation Serval, in Mali, demonstrated the need for a weapon capable of engaging a fast moving target.

This is the reason why a crash program was launched, and as a result, the AASM laser (capable of hitting a target moving at 80kmph) is going to be declared operational on Rafale in a few days, months earlier than initially planned.

Previously, on RafaleNews :
Laser AASM first strike on a fast moving target

AESA news

According to Guillaume Steuers (who writes for Air&Cosmos), at the end of the last month, an AESA equiped Rafale has fired a Mica, as part of its OPEVAL.

Picture of Rafale M02 firing a Mica, years ago. Credits : MBDA

More recently, the only AESA available for OPEVAL was installed onboard a twin seater Rafale, the B305. The quick operation lasted 2 hours.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mali, Rafale pictures of the day

After 2 months of operation, French Air Force Rafale continue to support the Franco-African troops on the ground.
Most of the sorties consist in Close Air Support and recce missions over the Ifoghas mountains requiring several air refueling with allied tankers.
The set of pictures below,  dated march 17th, shows a US KC135 refueling a Rafale B loaded with GBU-12 bombs and a Damocles LDP. It's difficult to say for sure, but something might have gone wrong as the fighter refueling probe seems broken on the last shot, with fuel still leaking from the tip of the probe.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mali, Rafale picture of the day

Very nice pictures of a Rafale and Mirage F1CR flying in formation over the Sahara desert during Operation Serval in Mali.
The Mirage F1 CR is carrying 4  MK82 type bombs and the Rafale 6 GBU-12 and a Damocles pod

Monday, February 4, 2013

First RAF pilot soon to be qualified on Rafale

RAF Typhoon pilot Lieutenant Johnstone made his first solo flight on Rafale last January 17th. This flight was performed on the Rafale C104 which belongs to the 2/92 Aquitaine Rafale transformation squadron.

source :

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.