The Dassault Rafale has it all - Stealth, Supercruise, Omnirole, the best sensor suites, naval variant, great looks .... it could not get any
Stealth dies the instant you put external stores on something. This because the /interactions/ between the munitions (Creeping waves, Surface Waves
Corner Relfectors, Edge/Material Discontinuities) all go from 'hard to unnumerable'. My question is why Dassault try-to-lie when they have SCALP to
take care of the S-300 class and AASM to kill off anything in the 20-60km residuals.
Oh, /that's right/ they don't advertise a major suport jammer, overhead or drone based targeting, or standoff assets. Because they know that that
is what you NEED to have if you plan on blundering into a step-on-snake scenarior of effective TACTICAL as much as technologic IADS usage. Hell, the
French don't even have a hypervelocity /ARM/ to respond to such a scenario with (nor could the Rafale carry it without sacrificing fuel or wing
loading or primary attack munitions).
To my knowledge, the M88-2 is useless for much the same reason that the F135 is: Steel front end which cannot soak for long periods of intermediate
supercruise ABOVE 1.4.
Now, add to this the certain reality that IF YOU DON'T HAVE TRUE VLO, all's supercruise does is impale you on multiple other-guy poles. And the
reality of life becomes simply: Supercruise is only effective in getting you TO the fight. In the transit phase between launch and fence in at the
Now, given the types wingloading at a typical loadout of say six AASM, 4 MICA and 2, 2000 liter tanks plus one 1,700 liter tank (which is what you
will _have_ to have to make more than 400nm radius in the absence of tankers).
Can you give me the lift at drag, IN THE AIR TO MUD CONFIGURATION NAMED by which to delineate it's sustained SSC point?
My bet is that it is no better than the F-15 and 16 jets in Desert Storm which, according to Smallwood's _Strike Eagle_ were themselves doing
1.1-1.15 as they came over the fence.
At 30,000ft. GOING DOWNHILL so that they could get some lift under their wings to have a hope in hell of fighting the local defenses around their
While transonic behaviors actually persist up to about 1.35 or so, they are at their worst at in the region I named and actually create additional
stresses on both the airframe and the engine which are specifically placarded against in most Dash-1s.
It is effectively like doing 60mph in 2nd gear with a plow attached to the trailer hitch.
OSF and Damocles are an overlap and thus a major wa$te in comparison with either AIRST or EOTS. Since we know now that targeting pods have had an A2A
role for at least the last 10 years. And since the Damocles position under the Rafale inlet is at another high drag, high signature point which costs
the F-15E supersonic performance, I have to admit to wondering what you are buying into here.
It's not like systems such as Falcon Eye and Falcon Knight haven't been under test since the later 80's so you cannot claim that the technology bed
for UNDERNOSE STRIKE CAPABLE systems was not in place.
Indeed, I would say the positioning of OSF is as much an admission of inability to 'fight up' into the true supersonic @ 40K regime by which the
majority of future (pole position and hotside lookdown) AAW will be determined.
Stealth was a major priority for the Rafale. This led to designing the fuselage in the way it is, which has produced Rafale's characteristic shape.
The radar-absorbent materials initially used caused the dark color of the Rafale C prototype.
Blah-blah-blah. The only thing I see is a large aperture associated with the supposed active cancellation mode of the Spectra suite. Since Tamara
has proven BOTH sides are able to track specific micro-flux ether changes inherent to /any/ emission with cueable if not fire control levels of
accuracy, 'lighting up remains the surest way to get smoked'.
Furthermore, to avoid large decible buildup and wavefront overlaps which can resonate RAM and 'shed' large, random-aspect, EM spikes in the RF
equivalent to Coanda Effect, _true_ VLO assets which use curveature as part of their LO control do so with continuously /varied/ slope and bevel
equivalent changes in their sculpting. Rafale _can't_ because it's 'just a fighter' and thus compromised by it's role performance and size into
some very specific shapes.
But later special electromagnetic-transparent paints were developed so the aircraft could receive any color scheme.
Whoopy. SWAM paints ONLY effect the 'fuzz not the quills' of what has to be a basically sound VLO design to begin with. Furthermore, they are
almost unnaturally heavy. So much so that it takes two men to lift a 5 gallon can and they are straining to do it.
Rafale lost the VLO-wannabe battle the instant they sized it to an F-18 and stuck it with external carriage as an ACX Jaguar replacement.
Furthermore, with the ever increasing emphasis upon OPTICAL tracking (IR-OTIS on the JAS-39, /as a testbed/ has tracked targets at up to 120% of PS-05
range when used at altitude), the question I have is why you justify a black paint scheme on a day fighter 'intended for operations in the middle and
far east' (the only places that can afford such extravagant waste). Instead of trying to esplain-Lucy the 'teflon' and 'mirrorback' Topcoat
systems on the F-22 and now some V-22s.
Very very low RCS :
Dassault engineers claim that they have been able to reduce the signature of the Rafale cross section by a factor of 20 to the Mirage
With what load? An S530D and R550-2 themselves add up to a considerable RCS penalty. And the Rafale is a 'multirole from start' which effectively
means (15 years on) they are trying to do what we did with the AIM-120 and AIM-9 as 'self escort' on the F-16. The laughable reality then being
that the Rafale can't carry as many MRM as the LGPOS while continuing to haul primary target ordance because it has, wait for it, all of TWO weapons
stations per wing suitable for heavy ordnance. Those on the fuselage being stress and fuel compromised when carrying centerline/auxilliary station
stores or operating off a carrier.
And Pssst, you _still_ don't have an ARM. So while the little ol' Viper has theoretically gained the ability to /also/ 'suppress as she goes'
with the Camelback CFT; you just look uglier.
Stealth Through Electronics & Software :
The Rafale carries, for the first time in aviation history, an integrated electronic survival system named SPECTRA which features
a software-based virtual stealth technology.
Thales Group and Dassault Aviation have mentioned stealthy jamming modes for the SPECTRA system, to reduce the aircrafts apparent radar
signature. It is not known exactly how these work or even if the capability is fully operational, but it may employ 'active cancellation'
technology, such as has been tested by Thales and MBDA. Active cancellation is supposed to work by sampling and analysing incoming radar and feeding
it back to the hostile emmiter slightly out of phase thus cancelling out the returning radar
The Spectra [Système de Protection et d'Evitement des Conduites de Tir du Rafale] self-protection suite of the Rafale has been integrated by
Thales, but it consists of elements built by various companies. The Spectra consists of a radar-warning receiver (RWR), missile-launch-warning system
(MLWS), laser-warning receivers (LWS), a management computer, four chaff/flare dispensers, and a built-in jammer, all integrated into a single
automatic system. The RWR and active jamming system were developed by Dassault Electronique (presently Thales) and are integrated as the Détection et
Brouillage Electromagnétique (DBEM) system.
In the F1 standard, the DBEM can detect transmitters over the frequency range of 2-18 GHz, but this was increased to 2-40 GHz on the F2 standard. The
system has a very high accuracy of up to one degree in azimuth. The DBEM automatically detects, classifies, and identifies emitters and inputs
information about them into the computer. The Spectra's active jamming subsystem uses phased-array antennas located at the roots of the canards.
The antennas can produce a pencil beam compatible with the accuracy of the receiver system, concentrating power on the threat while minimizing
the chances of detection. It also uses other low-probability-of-detection techniques, so the Rafale's electronic-countermeasures (ECM)
capability is also compatible with its stealth
And spectra is so old that elements of it have been installed in the Mirage 2000D/S and even 05 mod as part of ICMS 3 or whatever it is they are
calling it now. IDECM planned for this multiple threat-defense system back in the mid-80's when they were trying to implement a workable survival
suite for the A-6. ALQ-156, ALQ-165, TAAED, ALR-67V3 all wrapped up in a sock. ASPIS and similar (export) systems on the F-16C50+ and 60 now achieve
the same effect.
Flubber does the same with it's integrated RHAWS/CrossEye/TRD/Plessey-AMAWS suite. Again, whoopity effing do. Everytime you have to go
'electronic' to justify your survival, you are admitting a BUNCH of things:
1. They can see you well enough 'naturally' that you have to further spike your signature to keep from being FC'd.
2. You have NO ARM by which to suppress their emitters from 100-200km out.
3. You have NO standoff/standforward jammer asset by which to network softkill energy at 10 times the wattage count so that the threat is looking at
NOISE thresholds on their auto-gain so high you could drive a frelling /train/ over their emitter and they still would not see it. *
4. You are too stupid and/or embarrassed to admit that a defense in depth against an aerial raider involves SHOOTING BACKWARDS since there is no
occupational-force effect to worry about overrun. Tactically, this means I can use Ding Hao teams with 1,000 dollar binoculars and echo-phones to SEE
you inbound during the day. Or 10,000 dollar aerostat tethered IRST to do so above the haze level at night. And then once your wonderbra is
lift-and-thrust beyond the 3-9 o'clock on those FQ emitters, I can shoot you like a rabid dog, from behind.
*In Vietnam, the USN went with the ALQ-51 internal deception jammer and chaff/flare buckets. And a good thing too because the tricky-poo
not work_ even though the expendables were pretty handy, while they lasted. Meanwhile the USAF, with nominally the same F-4 airframe, didn't install
ANY internal ECM. But used raw numbers plus dedicated suppression aircraft and NOISE jammer pods to white out the enemy radar networks. Their
systems /did/ work because they employed basic physics of 'know the band channel and pulse rate and you're all over them like stink on an ape' with
each additional jammer in a cell only increasing the total azimuth fan by which even 'dumb' airplanes cooperatively synergized their rollback. The
reason was not due simply to specifics of electronic advancment in the sixties. It was because things like manufacturing errors _within tolerances_
for operation, often made one radar susceptible to one (deception) technique but not another. Even as a wilely operator who knew how to jiggle the
knobs and read the goats entrail results could change the results yet again. Add to this the dead certainty that both Russian and Chinese engineers
were making /weekly/ adjustments in the 'wizard war' of EW and there was no 'EOB map' of fixed emitter characteristics upon which to rely for
softkill on the sly, even way back when.
Comparitively, Spectra will need to have /very/ specific thumbprint data (modulation, phase, channel steps) in a world where major mode changes can
happen within days via software-only alterations and indeed the difference between Go To War and Peacetime modes can be as if with entirely different
systems. As long as you have the total bandwidth to make the enemy chase your hopping/SS and PRN CCM effort hard, the likelihood that an
offensive-airpower nation will be able to stay abreast of local threat defenses it can only sample on Day 1 is zero. Because, at best, they will get
a tape update on the 'knowns' of enemy aperture behaviors on a quarterly basis as whatever ELINT jet the French send around the globe (like we do)
makes another quick pass back through their neighborhood.
It won't help of course that the Frenchies are well known to give _nothing_ away relative to source/object code modifiers for their EW systems so
that local ingenuity cannot stand in for absent OEM tech support.
Cold and Stealthy :
Show me a millimeter radiometic graph of that signature against a variety of sky 'brightness' backgrounds. Then we'll talk science.
OTOH, you shoot yourself in the 'rear quarter' every time you show a jet, from below, at visual distances, FROM BEHIND. I mean even /John Wayne/
knew he was fried when girlie-ace got him there. Not to mention that even a Russian IRST become 'suddenly competitive' when you showed them two
glowing holes (60km+ detection ranges) worth of mountable retreat.
M88 engine Infrared Reductions :
More dim and dingy pictures of multiple, near-90 BLUNT back ends. Stop selling the jet's figure by show us it's a$$. I myself see no extended
tailpipe section to elongate the run up to the turbine afterstage and thus shut down viewing aspects. I see no square-nozzle to put out an unstable
and rapidly mixed flow stream. I see no petal faceting of the axissymmetric nozzle to make /some/ amends for the multi-material, multi-contour,
broken-edged RQ signature. Heck, I don't even really see the potential for vectoring.
Stop and THINK about what your fancy photos /really/ depict. And then take a look at the Neurone and ask yourself, 'if the existing method is good
enough' why are they tail-chasing the lead dog /again/ with the followon?
The irony being the the Neuron will cost less than the gold-plate manned jet and yet it will also be undeniably BETTER because it doesn't in fact
/need/ all the self protection gear and munitions to justify it's emperiled approach.
I would rather put a pylon system or ramp-rolloff on a midsized commuter or cargo aircraft (C160 or BAe-146) and use the difference to buy more SCALP
than trust to this concoction of 'spend more money and we'll write another press statement!' idiocy. Mind you, ground launch aeroballistics with
separable multi-strike warheads are probably the wave of the future, even with 'cruise'.
Rafale L.O > Blended wing fuselage, decreases transonic drag, increases internal fuel volume decreases RCS >
Click for large pic >
Baaah. Can't get buy stochiometrics and thermodynamics sonny. You got what, 9,800lbs of gas onboard feeding two engines? In the Hornet that was
all of about 190nm with a heavy CAS load or 320-360nm with a variable profile (hi-hi-med) PGM sortie with two wing tanks and guarantee drop of
heavyweight, high-drag munitions. Strip 15% of the weight for the navalization. Add another tank worth of no-bringback-penalty. And you are
probably still talking under 500nm.
The BIG question (and one which is equally applicable to the U.S. jets, if only the morons were smart enough to see it) is what thee heck you plan to
do in your in-out profile with 'both pylons today I tell'ya!' and all of 20 minutes, tops, in the target area.
Kill a building did'ya? Well good on you son. I'm sure it fought back /real/ hard. Note to self, add another 50 million to the rebuilding fund
after we 'win'.
The reality of life is that the only targets worth hitting in Warden's fifth ring-becomes-loop of 'moral intimidation' that is 4GW; are those which
wander about on an hourly basis. And modern airpower can only hit those if it can persist in 'areas of interest', developing a travelpattern
picture of ALL movements while holding hostage those SMALL target sets which are so time-critical fluid as to be associated with certain places and
times for only minutes. 'By the shine on their SUV'.
Here too, the Rafale is a piece of crap because even if it can reach, it cannot stay and it's massive aural and visual signature (in the conband) at
medium-high altitudes only scares away the fish. Comparitively, I have yet to see anyone even /try/ to compare any 4th generation fighters
'prowess' at taking down a UCAV or similar no-empennage, no-canopy, no-gaping-maw inlet, no hogs-nose radar, VLO ENDURANCE asset. Which is
light=cheap enough to loiter in the 40Kft altitude band /above/ the conlayer. On a flight idled fraction of it's full thrust.
One thing I guarantee you is that it will make far better use of those 10,000lbs of fuel than your dinky little toy warplane will.
The present M88-2 that churns out 76kN (x 2 engines) of thrust can make the Rafale supercruise at Mach 1.2 .The M88-3 that produces 90kN (x 2) of
thrust will power the Rafale starting 2007 and is said to be able to make the Rafale supercruise at 1.4 Mach
And everyone knows that the Frogs cried golden tears when they lost in Korea AND Singapore because those were their last chance to do with the Rafale
what the Swedes did with the JAS. Namely develop a Mk.2 'on the buyers wallet' with the 88-3 engines and the AESA based radar. And the COTS based
digital gateway architecture for netcentrism without going /backwards/ to NATO STANAG compliance.
No buyer and the French have a notorious reputation for not developing the toys that make their pretty fighters into effective /warfighters/. Since
this was all over AvLeak and Flight International, I have to assume you just don't care to acknowledge the realities of political economics as being
ten times a harder hill to take than the technical/engineering ones.
In any case, if the F119 runs at about 1.5 times the SFC of the F100 in achieving these kinds of speeds and the F-22 has 20,000lbs of go-further. I
will be very interested in hearing about the persistence factors of SUSTAINED supersonic cruise.
Not least because, as I have said before, if you cannot guarantee all-aspect LO, you are taking a running leap at a spear thicket by trying to play
boost-lofting games with what are effectively SRM/ISRM to begin with (what /git/ decided to put 242lbs worth of motor fraction into a nominally BVR
weapon facing threats anywhere from 350 to 700lbs? Especially when the Super 530D, itself a 500lb class weapon, really works?)
Infact the Rafale-M (which is heavier than the other Rafale variants by 650kg) demonstrated supercruise with 4 Air to Air MICA missiles installed on
it in addition to a central 1250 L fuel tank.
Sigh. Rafale M is a strike fighter. That's /why/ there is a boat rower and duck shooter separation of cockpit responsibilities. You DO NOT risk a
50-60 million dollar fighter, loaded down with upwards of EIGHT THOUSAND POUNDS more air to mud munitions (to make the GIB useful) in air to air
combat! I have /never/ agreed with the notion of 'self defense' on the part of a conventional-signature fighter. And now you want to make it
happen twice as fast with a weapon that has half the total motor impulse seconds.
Progress in electronics enabled a reduction in the size of the Rafale's airframe. This resulted in an even lower RCS.
It is also worth
emphasizing that the smaller and lighter airframe used in production Rafales enables them to fly in "supercruise" mode – supersonic flight
without the use of afterburners.
Supercruise enables the aircraft to execute a part of the ingress and/or egress route at supersonic speed
without serious penalty to its tactical radius
Since we don't have a realistic figure for the Rafale's radius, the presence of buddy or dedicated tanking, what it's supposed to /do/ when it gets
to radius or how many and what type of threat systems will object to it's attempt upon arrival, this is ludicrous.
The Rafale is called an "omni-role," fighter which means that Rafale can perform ground-attack and air-combat tasks in one sortie.
Multirole and Omnirole are just semantic differences. The reality of life is that you fly the profile you are intending to FIGHT because you cannot
waste time nor cripple yourself with munitions/fuel that are not relative to prosecuting another mission.
Surprisingly given the Dassault's too-snooty-for-you (sung to the theme of too-sexy-for-my...), the REAL definition of operational FREEDOM of action
is inherent to _COE_. Contempt Of Engagement. Don't seek combat with threats that cannot see or touch you. By trying to pretend their airshow
sextoy is "Equal to all comers, no really! Please, won't /someone/ come?". They have merely underlined their lack of understanding and
sophistication in this deadly art.
What is truly damning however are the continued lags in French acquisition which gives them a decidedly Rotten Tigershark Too Long On The Hook stench
It even has a carrier borne variant > The Rafale Marine :
Snort. And, even assuming there are no structural penalties in the landbased version, every Rafale customer will pay for that variant.
Just as the U.S. will undoubtedly make every FMS F-35A player pay part of the R&D amortization on the F-35C.
Its FBW/FCS :
The Rafale’s “carefree” handling fly-by-wire system has been cleared from 100-750kt (185-1,390km/h), and the aircraft can be flown
at a 29.5º angle of attack and perform manoeuvres up to 9g or 5.5g with a heavy load.
Whoopy. The F-4 was a 4G fighter with externals. A 6G fighter with (internal) wingtanks full. An 8G fighter with only internals. But only about a
3.5G fighter in a nose low loaded condition for /changing/ it's maneuver state. The difference between maneuverability and agility being...
Because, BVR, according to Janes, 90% of all fights happen UNDER 3G. With both sides conserving energy and deflected airframe (flat plating)
signature state for the get-out-of-town and last ditch missile step.
OTOH, where and how many times you take away from that conserved energy and aspect will largely detemine the point at which knots and altitude cross
for useful EM performance. And in this, I would be vastly surprised if the Rafale comes within 30% of the F-22's 'carefree' 9G at 800knots
Its ability to conduct networked operations with F2 software have also been proven following a demonstration of the type’s Link 16 datalink while
operating with an air force Boeing E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System, navy Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft and the
French navy’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. The Rafale distributed synthesised data from its on-board sensors during the trials.
And here I thought you were through shining the dunce cap. i.e. NEVER advertise /someone else'/ C4ISR platform as if it was your own!
A. Because it is a continual reminder that you too are only riding the Ameritrain.
B. Because the majority of your customers will not have access to U.S. systems if they 'buy French'. Even if they were friendly before.
More on the Link 16 :
L16 is dated. It is JTIDS with a funky designator. TTNT and a whole host of other systems operating under the CDL or Common Data Link architecture.
And satcomms with wide-open bandwidths on the order of 240 mpbs are what drives the game today. Something which only further highlights how the
'French, so much better than everyone else, are ready to be part of the team, as soon as they are asked'. Because they don't in fact HAVE the
elements of common netcentric architecture (separate shooter-RST assets) the make offboard targeting work to begin with.
NOW you are telling your potential customer that he must not only pay for the Rafale. But also buy all the assets which make it sneakier, silenter,
but no less costly.
It is also one of the best looking modern day jets ... Take a look ..
Believe it or not, this is actually important. People often underestimate the It Factor of sex-appeal requirements in selling to a LOMD obsessive
fighter pilot cultur looking to 'stand out from the crowd', without a Frankenstein effect.
Unfortunately, the reality here too is that any UCAV on the planet will look ten times sleeker than any manned airframe and it only takes ONE nation
to add sex appeal to zero training costs and /chuck/ the worthless gits in the cockpit, no matter their opinion.
Boeing lost the JSF CDA bid with a bullfrog looking X-32. But they may yet win the JUCAS worth /hundreds/ more A-45 airframes. At which point the
only question will be what will hunt the cow bombers. And I guarantee you it won't be a manned fighter.
Stealth Spy, you and the French need to think politics and licensing if you really want the Rafale to work. What's more, you need to do it FAST while
the furor over the U.S.' 'global imperialism' is still a hot enough topic that you can effectively break free from any arms proliferation
restrictions while still pot:kettle deflecting criticism.
If you do not, given the likely (