Rafale is a twin-jet combat aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of short and long-range missions, including ground and sea attack, air defence and air superiority, reconnaissance, and high-accuracy strike or nuclear strike deterrence.
The aircraft has been developed for the French Air Force and Navy and was designed and built by Dassault Aviation.
The origins of the RAFALE can be traced to joint discussions between European nations taking place in the early eighties. But in the wake of the tri-national Tornado program which had put the most emphasis on air-to-surface functions, it soon appeared that the prime requirement of participating nations other than France was predominantly on the air-to-air side.
The French Forces wanted a balanced multi-role aircraft that would be able to replace 7 types of aircraft around 2000-2010 :
– air defence missions
– reconnaissance missions
– precision strike/interdiction with conventional weapons (air-to-ground attack)
– nuclear strike
These needs were taken into account from the conception; thus it enabled the engineers, using all the new technologies, to conceive an aircraft which goes beyond objectives of each mission. Versatile and better in everything, RAFALE is truly effects multiplying.
The RAFALE has exhibited a remarkable rate of survivability during latest main French Air Force and Navy operations thank to an optimized airframe and a wide range of smart and discrete sensors. It is slated to be the French armed forces’ combat aircraft until 2040 at least.
* Crew: 1–2
* Length: 15.27 m (50.1 ft)
* Wingspan: 10.80 m (35.4 ft)
* Height: 5.34 m (17.5 ft)
* Wing area: 45.7 m² (492 ft²)
* Empty weight: 9,500 kg (C), 9,770 kg (B), 10,196 kg (M) ()
* Loaded weight: 14,016 kg (30,900 lb)
* Max takeoff weight: 24,500 kg (C/D), 22,200 kg (M) (54,000 lb)
* Powerplant: 2× Snecma M88-2 turbofans
o Dry thrust: 50.04 kN (11,250 lbf) each
o Thrust with afterburner: 75.62 kN (17,000 lbf) each
* Maximum speed:
o High altitude: Mach 2 (2,390 km/h, 1,290 knots)
o Low altitude: 1,390 km/h, 750 knots
* Range: 3,700+ km (2,000+ nmi)
* Combat radius: 1,852+ km (1,000+ nmi) on penetration mission
* Service ceiling: 16,800 m (55,000 ft)
* Rate of climb: 304.8+ m/s (1,000+ ft/s)
* Wing loading: 326 kg/m² (83 1/3 lb/ft²)
* Thrust/weight: 1.10 (100% fuel, 2 EM A2A missile, 2 IR A2A missile)
* Guns: 1× 30 mm (1.18 in) GIAT 30/719B cannon with 125 rounds
* Hardpoints: 14 For Armée de l’Air version (Rafale B,C), 13 for Aéronavale version (Rafale M) with a capacity of 9,500 kg (21,000 lb) external fuel and ordnance
+ MICA IR/EM or
+ Magic II and in the future
+ MBDA Meteor
+ MBDA Apache or
+ SCALP EG or
+ AASM or
+ GBU-12 Paveway II or
+ AM 39 Exocet or
+ ASMP-A nuclear missile
o Thales Damocles targeting pod
o RECO NG reconnaissance pod
o up to 5 drop tanks
* Thales RBE2 radar
* Thales SPECTRA electronic warfare system.
* Thales/SAGEM OSF (Optronique Secteur Frontal) infrared search and track system.