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Rafale vs F-35 dogfight performance

Posted by picard578 on October 11, 2014

1) Rafale will not be entering dogfight with its full external load. Fuel tanks will be dropped, and all but wingtip missiles expended, prior to the merge. Empty hardpoints and wingtip missiles cause relatively minor drag penalty, one that cannot negate F-35s far higher baseline drag.

2) Performance penalty due to external carriage is only really relevant when baseline performance is the same, but Rafale has far better baseline performance than the F-35:

2.1) Rafale’s wing loading at combat takeoff weight is 325 kg/m2, which is less than the F-35s wing loading at combat weight (428 kg/m2). Difference is 32%. At combat weight, Rafale has wing loading of 275 kg/m2 (difference 56%).

2.2) Rafale’s canards add 3,6 m2 to wing’s own 45,7 m2. Further, they can be expected to improve maximum lift coefficient of wing by cca 9%. This results in effective wing area of 53,4 m2 and wing loading of 235,6 kg/m2. F-35s horizontal tail adds 11,8 m2 to wing’s own 42,7 m2, but does not make any further contribution. This results in effective wing area of 54,5 m2 and wing loading of 335,2 kg/m2. That is still a 42% difference. Further, Rafale’s wing trailling edge control surfaces have the same effect as the F-35s tail during sustained turn, but at less drag due to cleaner aft lines.

2.3) In order to initiate a turn, F-35’s tail momentarily provides download before settling into a lift-producing position. Rafale’s canards momentarily provide upload before settling into a neutral position in which they create no lift by themselves, but improve wing lift and reduce drag. This also reduces need for Rafale’s elevons to provide download in order to initiate a turn, further improving instantaneous turn rate. Taking a look at the point above, this means that effective wing loading during instantaneous turn is 235,6 kg/m2 for Rafale and 591,3 kg/m2 for F-35 (151% difference), while effective wing loading for sustained turn is 252,7 kg/m2 for Rafale and 335,2 kg/m2 for the F-35 (33% difference).

2.4) Rafale’s canards create an area of low pressure on forward part of the wing. This moves center of lift forward, increasing instability beyond the static instability already built into the aircraft. Further, unlike the static instability, dynamic instability does not shift to stability in supersonic flight. This results in significant subsonic, and especially supersonic, maneuvering advantage even before lower wing loading, higher thrust-to-weight ratio and tailless delta’s traditional planform advantages in supersonic maneuver (no interference drag, large amount of lift) are accounted for.

2.5) Rafale, thanks to its combination of 48*-swept wing and LERX, has an effective wing sweep of 56*. F-35 has physical wing sweep of 35* and an effective wing sweep of either 39* or 55*, depending on how you count it.

2.6) Rafale also does not have internal bomb bays or overemphasis on radar LO, both of which cause a large penalty in the F-35s baseline drag.

2.7) Rafale has thrust-to-weight ratio of 1,01 at combat takeoff and 1,2 at combat weight, compared to the F-35s 0,87 at combat takeoff and 1,07 at combat weight. Combined with advantages noted in previous points (2.4-2.6), this results in significantly better acceleration and sustained turn capability.

2.8) Rafale’s canards not only improve pitch onset and turn onset rates (2.2-2.4) but they also energize outer portion of the wing, thus improving roll onset rates. Combined, this gives Rafale a transient performance significantly superior to that of the F-35.

3) Both external fuel tanks and most missiles are expended prior to the fight. Rafale in dogfighting configuration only has 2 wingtip IR missiles, and contrary to opinions of some people, properly integrated wingtip missiles (here I am discussing the F-16/Rafale/Gripen configuration) actually reduce drag when carried. F-35 on the other hand can either limit itself with internal carriage (which means that pilot has to wait for cca 1 second for doors to open) or carry wingtip missiles (which are carried not on tips of wings but on classical underwing hardpoints some distance away from wing tips, and thus do cause drag penalty). In addition to wingtip stations, Rafale also has two semi-conformal stations on body near the wing root; thus both the F-35 and Rafale carry 4 missiles in low-drag configuration, and both can carry a maximum of 10 missiles.

4) Rafale can achieve Mach 1,8 and cruise at Mach 1,2-1,4 with 6 missiles. F-35 can achieve Mach 1,6 and cruise at Mach 0,95 with 4 internal missiles. This makes it quite clear that the F-35 has inferior acceleration (and thus lift-to-drag and thrust-to-drag ratios) compared to Rafale, even when both aircraft are in air-to-air configuration. Similarly, clean F-35 achieves only 17% greater combat radius than the air-to-air configured Rafale (1.082 vs 925 km), despite having 17% greater fuel fraction (0,369 vs 0,316 at combat takeoff weight) and 75% greater total internal fuel capacity (8.280 kg vs 4.720 kg).

Further reading

Dassault Rafale vs F-35

166 Responses to “Rafale vs F-35 dogfight performance”

  1. Xplane said

    Some may say this is not a realistic confrontation as the US dogfight plane should be the F-22.
    This said, when the F-35 is really able to dogffight, Rafale will have reached the mid life update with many improvements (engine, missile, etc…) that could increase the difference.

    Like

    • picard578 said

      Indeed, but the F-35 is more interesting in some ways as it will be Rafale’s primary export opponent (both are multirole – though Rafale is designed for air superiority while the F-35 is designed for bombing; both have carrier variants; both are the aircraft that their home countries are heavily commited to because their air forces depend heavily on their timely procurement).

      Like

      • My last few posts haven’t gone through. I’ll try to retype this one and see if it goes through.

        ________

        1. Primary export opponent where?

        – Netherlands picked the F-35 over the Rafale/EF/Gripen.
        – Denmark has to choose between the F-35, SH & EF. (Rafale sat it out, Gripen dropped out.)
        – Finland has to choose between the F-35 and Gripen (and its tilting towards the F-35).
        – Japan & South Korea; Rafale didn’t compete because of perceived political biases.
        – India; F-35 wasn’t involved in the MMRCA competition.

        The only market where they’re being considered together is Canada. The Canadians have given the Rafale lip-service (Dassault gave a presentation, no financial bids requested), but we both know, that for all the kicking and screaming by the Liberals and Greens, the RCAF will be going in for the F-35A.

        As a matter of fact, with domestic orders already cut, if the Indian MMRCA contract falls through (and they’re balking at its staggeringly high cost), the Rafale is done for. Dassault will find it exceedingly hard to swing the Qatari & Kuwaiti deals after that.

        2. Air superiority is a hard call given the Rafale’s small radar. Especially considering its IRST woes.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          “- Netherlands picked the F-35 over the Rafale/EF/Gripen.”

          Under a lot of US diplomatic pressure, and IIRC guy who made that decision was trying to become a new secretary of NATO. In these conditions, it would have picked the F-5 or F-86 over any Eurocanard, thank you very much.

          “- Denmark has to choose between the F-35, SH & EF. (Rafale sat it out, Gripen dropped out.)”

          SAAB pulled back because competition was biased.

          “- Finland has to choose between the F-35 and Gripen (and its tilting towards the F-35).”

          Which has absolutely nothing to do with the F-35s qualities as a weapon.

          “The only market where they’re being considered together is Canada. The Canadians have given the Rafale lip-service (Dassault gave a presentation, no financial bids requested), but we both know, that for all the kicking and screaming by the Liberals and Greens, the RCAF will be going in for the F-35A.”

          F-35 is the most likely choice, yes, because Canada depends a lot on US.

          A bit on F-35s exports. Note that it is more or less the same for all other aircraft, so using exports as a gauge of aircraft quality is misguided at best, dishonest at worst.
          https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/on-f-35-export-success/

          “2. Air superiority is a hard call given the Rafale’s small radar. Especially considering its IRST woes.”

          In any real air war, radar will stay off.

          Like

        • picard578 said

          “My last few posts haven’t gone through.”

          Got flagged as spam by Askmet. I checked and restored other two replies.

          Like

      • Why the F-35 is beating out the Rafale and other competition isn’t the question. The F-35’s ‘quality’ isn’t the key point. The question I asked was that how is the Rafale the F-35’s ‘primary export opponent’?

        Dassault is actively campaigning in only a few markets – UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and a half hearted effort in Malaysia. Nowhere is it going head-to-head against the F-35 except for Canada, which the F-35 already has buttoned up.

        In any real air war, radar will stay off.
        $5M+ on each RBE-2AA, down the drain then.

        Like

      • picard578 said

        “The question I asked was that how is the Rafale the F-35′s ‘primary export opponent’?”

        Rafale is the only other modern Western fighter in production that has a naval variant and is a new development as opposed to an upgrade of old airframe. It is also closest in terms of what it is supposed to do (replace a large number of different airframes with a common one across multiple services).

        “$5M+ on each RBE-2AA, down the drain then.”

        Indeed (except maybe for bomber/transport interception). Same goes for the APG-77 and APG-81 (latter’s antenna costs 2 million USD, no idea about other elements).

        Like

      • Rafale is the only other modern Western fighter in production that has a naval variant and is a new development as opposed to an upgrade of old airframe. It is also closest in terms of what it is supposed to do (replace a large number of different airframes with a common one across multiple services).

        Its design or purpose isn’t the point. All this is your explanation of why the Rafale is a good fighter. That’s not the issue.

        You said the Rafale is the F-35’s ‘primary export opponent’. In that context, which export market is are they competing against each other in? (Everyone knows that Canada’s going to eventually buy F-35s.)

        Indeed (except maybe for bomber/transport interception). Same goes for the APG-77 and APG-81 (latter’s antenna costs 2 million USD, no idea about other elements).

        And every country in the world including France has gotten it wrong? Despite having the resources to actually test your hypothesis (of excessive radar performance degradation in heavy EM environments)?

        Like

      • picard578 said

        “You said the Rafale is the F-35′s ‘primary export opponent’. In that context, which export market is are they competing against each other in?”

        Both Rafale and the F-35 are carrier-capable multirole aircraft. So if any country wants commonality between its land and naval aviation, they are the only Western choices avaliable. Wether they actually compete against each other is irrelevant – India didn’t even consider the F-35, Canada initially decided on the F-35 under US pressure but is considering alternatives (including Gripen NG and Rafale).

        “And every country in the world including France has gotten it wrong? Despite having the resources to actually test your hypothesis (of excessive radar performance degradation in heavy EM environments)?”

        It is not my hypothesis, and air-to-air combat is not the only application of radar.

        Like

      • Both Rafale and the F-35 are carrier-capable multirole aircraft. So if any country wants commonality between its land and naval aviation, they are the only Western choices avaliable. Wether they actually compete against each other is irrelevant – India didn’t even consider the F-35, Canada initially decided on the F-35 under US pressure but is considering alternatives (including Gripen NG and Rafale).

        – Only three countries operate CATOBAR carriers – US, France & Brazil. So the Rafale’s carrier compatibility doesn’t pit it against the F-35C in any market.

        – Whether they compete against each other is very much the point. You called the Rafale the F-35’s ‘primary export opponent’. Most people would interpret that as meaning that they are competitors in the export market.

        – Gripen has dropped out of the Canadian ‘competition’. Rafale has gone no further than delivering a presentation to the MoD. No formal cost estimation has been requested.

        It is not my hypothesis, and air-to-air combat is not the only application of radar.

        Theory then? As for the radar’s ground applications, the RBE-2 PESA performed the full gamut of air-to-ground and multi-role functions that the new AESA does. As does the RDY-2 for that matter.

        So, the implication that the French AESA upgrade was primarily for something other than air-to-air operations, clearly doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          “Whether they compete against each other is very much the point. You called the Rafale the F-35′s ‘primary export opponent’. Most people would interpret that as meaning that they are competitors in the export market.”

          It does not necessarily mean that they will compete directly in market. F-16 took away many markets from the F-20 without having to compete with it directly.

          “Theory then?”

          Hypothesis or theory it isn’t mine, it is actually the very reason why Typhoon (and Rafale) have IRST. When EFAs ECR-90 was trialled, it was discovered that jamming can reduce its range vs fighter aircraft to less than 9 kilometers.

          “As for the radar’s ground applications, the RBE-2 PESA performed the full gamut of air-to-ground and multi-role functions that the new AESA does. As does the RDY-2 for that matter.”

          PESA can only generate a single beam, F-22s AESA can generate four independent beams. And I said that FSO is a primary air-to-air and RBE-2 primary air-to-ground sensor, not that these are their only uses.

          Fox 3 no 4:
          “But low-observability is definitely
          not the only way to boost survivability.
          As radar and radio emissions
          can betray the position of a fighter,
          the designers have adopted for
          the Rafale a wide range of unique
          passive sensors and missiles:
          the passive Front Sector Optronics
          used in conjunction with the longrange,
          infrared-guided Mica IR
          missile gives Rafale pilots unprecedented
          capabilities, allowing
          totally silent interceptions to be
          performed, especially when accurate
          targetting data is received
          via a datalink. Additionally, radar
          e m i s s i o n s c a n b e c a r e f u l l y
          controlled, and emission limitations
          can even be programmed on
          a data transfer cartridge before
          the mission.
          The Rafale is fitted with a discrete
          terrain avoidance/following
          system optimised to improve
          sur v i v a b i l i t y w h i l e f l y i n g a t
          extremely low altitude and very
          high speed. For threat avoidance,
          the Thales Spectra electronic warfare
          suite is capable of accurately
          localising and targetting enemy
          radar emitters (both surfaceto-
          air and airborne systems).
          Lethality zones, determined by
          Spectra according to the performance
          of the air-defence weapon
          types detected and the local terrain,
          are displayed on the colour
          tactical screens, enabling the
          aircrew to avoid dangerous areas
          without being detected.”

          Fox 3 no 14:
          “The Rafale is the only fighter equipped with an integrated
          system optimised for target identification and battle damage
          assessment at stand-off distances. The Front Sector Optronics
          is composed of a powerful TV sensor to identify targets and
          to determine the number of hostile aircraft within an incoming
          raid, and of an eyesafe laser rangefinder for telemetry.
          When used in conjunction with the long range Mica IR missile,
          the FSO allows entirely passive interceptions to be carried
          out without radar emissions”

          And another reason for AESA upgrade you are ignoring:
          “Furthermore, AESA
          radars are inherently more reliable and cheaper to maintain.”

          Fox 3 no15:
          “For instance, they can use their
          radar high-resolution mode
          to look at an area of interest
          from extreme distances before
          cueing their Damoclès pod to
          precisely identify a target and
          find its coordinates.”

          Fox3 no11, also shows that both MICA IR and MICA EM are intended for a BVR engagement::
          “The IR seeker has
          many advantages for such
          a long range missile. It has
          excellent angular resolution
          and countermeasure resistance
          – thanks to dual band
          imagery – and is totally stealthy:
          when used in conjunction with
          the Rafale’s revolutionary Front
          Sector Optronics system, the
          passive homing head enables
          ‘silent’ interceptions without
          tell-tale radar emissions to
          betray the fighter’s position;”
          “When under a
          Rafale’s MICA threat, a target
          would have difficulties choosing
          between two very different
          types of defensive tactics.”

          Like

      • Duviel said

        When will you admit that you are completely biased in favor of Rafale and French industry?

        Others that argue with you have their own biases including me but yours is one of the most deeply engrained.

        I wonder if you are aware of your own bias?

        You are smart and educated in this topic but clearly biased toward French equipment.

        I wonder why????

        Like

        • picard578 said

          “When will you admit that you are completely biased in favor of Rafale and French industry? ”

          According to other people I’m also biased in favor of Gripen and Swedish industry… and in favor of Su-35 and Russian industry… and in favor of F-22 and US industry. Depends on whom you ask.

          “I wonder if you are aware of your own bias?”

          Not to have a bias would, depending on definition of the word, mean that I don’t have an opinion. And I’m quite opinionated.

          “I wonder why????”

          Because it is good.

          Like

  2. Chris said

    The F-35 is pretty hopeless as a dog fighter.

    1. It’s double inferior. At dogfight mass, it has inferior thrust to weight and inferior wing loading (F-35 is very heavily loaded). The naval version partially addresses this, but is reportedly slower (perhaps due to the navalized hull and other internal modifications).

    2. Compounding the issue, the large fuselage of the F-35 is very draggy and it’s stuck with it after the missiles are fired.

    3. The large thermal signature of the F-35’s engine mean that although it is a single engine fighter, the amount of thrust it gives off will be closer to that of a dual engine fighter. This largely negates the radar signature advantage too. Essentially this fighter has none of the advantages you’d expect from a single engine fighter.

    4. The DAS on the F-35 is more ground oriented that the SPECTRA integrated system on the Rafale, which is a better system overall for air to air combat.

    5. Rafale has a better transient performance. This is not a small gap either.

    6. The F-35 B and C variants do not have an internal gun.

    7. Sortie rates would be very unfavorable for the F-35 and compounding this issue, it is the more expensive weapon. It’s going to be badly outnumbered.

    8. The low sortie rate in turn means that at any given cost, the F-35 pilot will likely end up with fewer hours of real flight and more simulator reliance. Actually, this is not the only issue – the “up or out” promotion system in the US in particular disadvantages pilots.

    9. There’s also the risk given the superior performance of the Rafale to the F-35 of being “bounced” by surprise. The fact that the F-35 pilots are likely to have fewer hours vastly compounds this.

    10. In direct combat, the gun on the Rafale is probably going to be more effective at maneuvering with missiles and against any AIM-9s as well. Not 100% sure on this, but there might be plans to add IRIS-T to the Rafale, which will likely skew things even more in favor of the Rafale. Reportedly, all that is needed is some extensive software modifications.

    F-35 is a bomber more or less. It’s hopeless as a fighter and could only be used against less than competent opponents or for counterinsurgency tactical bombing (which admittedly seems to be the main thing the US is doing, although a CAS like aircraft would do better for that too).

    There is another issue – BVR. It’s likely that the Rafale would have an advantage in dodging any BVR AAMs (most likely AIM 120s) that the F-35 would fire. The F-35 will likely be less effective at this as it’s a larger fighter.

    Like

  3. Chris said

    Actually I should add one more problem – the F-35 does not have good rear visibility. This worsens the problem of being slower by a lot. It is totally reliant on the helmet display, assuming they can get it to work eventually.

    Rafale has a bit of canopy framing, but overall pretty decent, and certainly better all around visibility than the F-35.

    Like

  4. Chris said

    Come to think of it, a more fascinating question is, what will the F-35 pilot do versus a good enemy?

    Like

  5. vyse said

    Honnestly I don’t see the point in comparing the F35 VS anything. It will loose, whatever the chosen mission might be. Especially dogfighting, where I think you don’t need a top notch Rafale to ridiculise it. A 50 years old Mig 21 or Mirage 3 would suffice IMO.

    It’s supposedly not in the “bottom ten” aircrafts for strike mission though. (but not in the top ten either)

    As for CAS, I believe even a Cessna Scorpion would do a better job.

    Like

    • picard578 said

      My aim wasn’t to ridiculise the F-35 (it is doing a great job of that by itself) but rather to provide counterpoints to some typical lies and half-truths used to show the F-35 as being better than it is (such as using a large horizontal tail as an excuse for the small wing, etc).

      Like

      • vyse said

        Sure.
        But to be fair you should do the same comparison for the other side of the job. For AtG missions it will probably have a few points to make, at least.
        Also, you should include Super Hornets and Prowlers in the comparison, since they are the planes it will massively replace.

        Like

      • picard578 said

        I included F-18E here:
        https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/comparing-modern-western-fighters/
        It is relatively rough compared to another comparision I made (“Comparing modern fighter aircraft”), but I think it should be sufficient.

        As for Prowler, it is a dedicated EW aircraft, so it doesn’t make sense to compare it with aircraft whose task is to shoot down other aircraft and bomb crap. Unless you meant Growler, which is an F-18E modification.

        Like

  6. Nuno Gomes said

    Why so much love for the Rafale? Its the worst of the Eurocanards…

    Like

    • Andrei said

      Why?
      Because of sales?
      If you analyze the Rafale objectively you will notice that it’s combination of performance, sensors, maintainability, construction, design (especially aerodynamics and command and control) makes it the best fighter in the world right now.

      Like

      • Nuno Gomes said

        Well Andrei,i respect your opinion,and i am sure that you have your arguments,but consider this:
        -It still has no HMD…
        -The Damocles pod has the worst resolution in the market
        -It cost 2x has much as much compared to the Gripen
        -It has worst performance than the Eurofighter
        And outher issues…read it yourself:http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/frances-rafale-fighters-au-courant-in-time-05991/
        It is the wrong aircraft for everybody right now…to much expensive vs the F-16/Gripen…and if can buy a Rafale,you can buy the Eurofighter…or the much more capable F-15…

        Like

      • picard578 said

        1) HMD is not an end-all in dogfight, true, ability to fire 90* off-bore is an advantage but ultimately one that can be countered and cannot really compensate for airframe performance, and that assumes that HMD actually works.
        2) Rafale has better performance than Typhoon when it comes to air-to-air combat – Rafale is actually designed as a dogfighter while Typhoon is an interceptor, with comparably less emphasis on maneuverability and more on speed and acceleration.
        3) F-35 is far less capable than Rafale… inferior maneuverability, lower cruise speed, less stealthy (except vs X-band radars), limited payload.

        https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/comparing-modern-fighter-aircraft/

        Like

      • Chris said

        @Nuno Games

        You seem to think that electronics is the end all be all of aerial combat.

        Pilot quality is the end all, be all in most cases. Who wins? Whoever has the top pilots.

        Planes are less substantial. But in terms of aircraft, let’s see:

        – Rafale has the most refined aerodynamics of the 3 Eurocanards (and perhaps the most refined of any fighter today)
        – Highest fuel fraction at .33 (only the Su-27 variants are higher)
        – Raw TW isn’t as good, but it’s higher fuel fraction and superior aerodyanmics should compensate, plus it can remain on station longer
        – Electronics do pale in comparison, but the Rafale does have SPECTRA

        I mean there are areas for upgrades. IRIS-T for example is possible.

        But it’s probably the best dual engine fighter you’re going to get. Only something like the FLX will likely prove superior.

        Like

    • Nöd said

      Worst of Eurocanards? The Swiss Air Force strongly disagrees: http://files.newsnetz.ch/upload//1/2/12332.pdf

      Like

  7. Andrei said

    “-It still has no HMD…”

    -Are you kidding me? Where do you get your information? Oh wait I see an article that gives as evidence a link that when one clicks on it can not be found http://www.avions-militaires.net/rafale/cockpit.php Maybe because the link is no longer current. Rafale has had HMD since the prototype stage: initially the Thales Topsight which did not live up to expectation which was replaced by the Safran’s GERFAUT on the F3. Anyway the integration of HMD is a problem of all HMDs except for the original DASH II used by Israel. Not even the American Joint Helment Mounted … whatever is called … made with Israeli help is not living up to expectations. The fact that Dassault offers the HMD as an option on export planes means that the problems have probably been fixed.

    “The Damocles pod has the worst resolution in the market”

    So what the Rafale doesn’t use the Damocles exclusively as legacy aircraft (F-16, F-15, Mirage 2000) use their pods, it also uses the OSF and the seeker head of whatever IR guided weapon it has on board. Al the data is the fused and the pilot gets a unified picture that is at better resolution then any one sensor taken alone. Here read more about how the Rafale was used in actual combat: http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/feature/125860/rafale-in-combat:-%E2%80%9Cwar-for-dummies%E2%80%9D.html

    “-It cost 2x has much as much compared to the Gripen”

    Yeah and the same as a block 50+ F-16, 2/3 of what a Typhoon costs, half to a quarter of what the F-35 will cost and so on and so on. In fact it’s the cheapest modern aircraft after Gripen.

    “It has worst performance than the Eurofighter”

    Really?

    Rafale:

    Performance

    Maximum speed:
    High altitude: Mach 1.8 (1,912 km/h, 1,032 knots)
    Low altitude: Mach 1.1 (1,390 km/h, 750 knots)
    Range: 3,700+ km (2,000+ nmi) with 3 drop tanks
    Combat radius: 1,852+ km (1,000+ nmi) on penetration mission
    Service ceiling: 15,235 m (50,000 ft)
    Rate of climb: 304.8+ m/s (60,000+ ft/min)
    Wing loading: 306 kg/m² (62.8 lb/ft²)
    Thrust/weight: 0.988 (100% fuel, 2 EM A2A missile, 2 IR A2A missile) version M
    Maximum g-load: +9/–3.2 g

    Armament

    Guns: 1× 30 mm (1.18 in) GIAT 30/M791 autocannon with 125 rounds
    Hardpoints: 14 for Air Force versions (Rafale B/C), 13 for Navy version (Rafale M) with a capacity of 9,500 kg (20,900 lb) external fuel and ordnance

    Avionics

    Thales RBE2 radar
    Thales SPECTRA electronic warfare system.
    Thales/SAGEM-OSF Optronique Secteur Frontal infra-red search and track system.

    Eurofighter Typhoon:

    Maximum speed:
    At altitude: Mach 2 class[289][295][296][297]
    At sea level: Mach 1.25[288] (1,470 km/h or 910 mph)[298]
    Range: 2,900 km (1,800 mi)
    Combat radius: **Ground attack, lo-lo-lo: 601 km (325 nmi)
    Ground attack, hi-lo-hi: 1,389 km (750 nmi)
    Air defence with 3-hr combat air patrol: 185 km (100 nmi)
    Air defence with 10-min. loiter: 1,389 km (750 nmi) [289][299]
    Ferry range: >3,790 km (2,350 mi (with 3 drop tanks))
    Service ceiling: 16,765 m (55,003 ft[300] (up to 64,000–70,000 ft))[301]
    Absolute ceiling: 19,812 m[300] (65,000 ft)
    Rate of climb: >315 m/s[302][303] (62,000 ft/min[304])
    Wing loading: 312 kg/m²[289] (63.9 lb/ft²)
    Thrust/weight: 1.15 (interceptor configuration)[289]
    Maximum g-load: +9/−3 g[305]
    Brakes-off to Take-off acceleration: <8 sec
    Brakes-off to supersonic acceleration: <30 s
    Brakes-off to Mach 1.6 at 11,000 m (36,000 ft): <150 s[306][N 8]

    Guns: 1 × 27 mm Mauser BK-27 revolver cannon with 150 rounds
    Hardpoints: Total of 13: 8 × under-wing; and 5 × under-fuselage pylon stations; holding up to 7,500 kg (16,500 lb) of payload[289][308]

    The only performance where Typhoon is better is maximum speed and ceiling. Even if it has higher thrust to weight ration then the Rafale, the Rafale has better lift to drag ratio, so it needs less thrust then the Eurofighter for the same maneuver. Which means that they have the same maneuverability if you don't factor in the close coupled canards of the Rafale vs the long arm canards of the Typhoon. Close-coupled canards make Rafale controllable at over 100 degrees Angle of Attack versus the maximum 70 degrees Angle of Attack that the long armed canard Typhoon can mange, which translate in more lift at the same angle-of attack for the Rafale compared to the Typhoon which means that to generate the same radius turn the Rafale needs a smaller Angle of Attack then the Eurofighter which translates to smaller drag, and less thrust needed which means the Rafale even despite the smaller thrust-to-weight ration has actually more available thrust and thus the option to either out-turn the Eurofighter by using the extra thrust or out-last the Eurofighter by needing less fuel for the same maneuvers.
    In the 2009 exercise in an ATLC exercise in UAE the Rafale beat the Eurofighter in every mock combat including 2 4 on 4 fights that were won by the Rafale with 7 kills to one. The one kill by the Eurofighters was obtained in the second fight when the Rafale was severely handicapped by the ROE : http://g2globalsolutions.com/review/2009/12/17/atlc-rumors/
    The Typhoon also carries 2 tons less payload despite being bigger and costing more to operate.

    "It is the wrong aircraft for everybody right now…to much expensive vs the F-16/Gripen…and if can buy a Rafale,you can buy the Eurofighter…or the much more capable F-15…"

    An block 50+ F-16 is 90 million Euros the same as an Rafale , Eurofighter si 135 million what you pay for 2 Eurofighter you can buy 3 Rafales that carry twice the payload that 2 Typhoons can carry. And I don't know on what you base the affirmation that F-15 is much more capable … Which F-15 are we talking about? The interceptor that sucks at dog-fighting, the bomber that needs EW and dedicated SEAD escorts (which the Rafale doesn't because it can do SEAD and ground attack and air combat in the same sortie)? Anyway people that have flown the Rafale have other opinions then you, and call it the best aircraft in the world : http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/flight-test-dassault-rafale-rampant-rafale-334383/

    Also this report of evaluation made during the Swiss competition clearly states that the Rafale is the best of the candidates with Gripen coming second http://www.letemps.ch/r/Le_Temps/Quotidien/2012/02/13/Suisse/Textes/gripen.pdf
    The aircarft were evaluated in several missions. Rafale was declared the best in all of them. And this are the Swiss that made the evaluations, the people know most for precision and correctness.
    Gripen eventually won the Swiss tender only because of it's price. But the tender will probably be re-organized in the future because the Swiss people voted against aircraft acquisitions at this time.

    Seriously have you read any of the materials published on this blog or are they TL;DR and you just want to troll us?

    Like

    • picard578 said

      Actually:

      Dassault Rafale C

      Length: 15,30 m
      Wing span: 10,8 m
      Height: 5,34 m
      Wing area: 45,7 m (wing only)

      Turn rates:
      32-35 deg/s instanteneous (30 at mach 0,5)
      24 deg/s sustained (24 at mach 0,5)
      290 deg/s roll (270 deg/s with centerline tank)

      Climb rate:
      >250 m/s in air policing configuration

      Wing loading:
      276 kg/m2 with 50% fuel, 6 MICA
      328 kg/m2 AtA takeoff

      Thrust-to-Weight ratio: (thrust: 10 206 kgf dry, 15 331 kgf afterburner)
      1,22 with 50% fuel, 6 MICA
      1,02 air-to-air takeoff weight

      Fuel fraction:
      0,33 (9 550 kg empty, 4 750 kg fuel) 1

      Weight:
      9 550 kg empty (9 979 kg operational empty)
      12 597 kg with 50% fuel, 6 MICA
      14 972 kg AtA takeoff (100% fuel, 6 MICA)
      24 500 kg maximum takeoff

      Maximum AoA: 100*
      Corner speed: 350 kt for 9 g sustained turn rate

      Speed:
      Mach 2 dash
      Mach 1,8 sustained
      Mach 1,4 supercruise w 6 AAM (M 1,6 possible with 90 kN engine)

      Combat radius
      925 km on internal fuel
      1 852 km on a penetration mission

      Snecma M88:
      Thrust: 11 250 lbf / 5 103 kgf dry, 17 000 lbf / 7 711 kgf reheat each

      RBE2 PESA:
      Range: 139 km vs 5m2 target

      RBE2 AESA:
      208 km vs 5m2 target
      278 km vs 5m2 target when coupled with SPECTRA

      FSO:
      IR detection range vs subsonic fighters: 80 km from front, 130 km from rear
      Laser ranging capability: 33 km
      TV camera range: 45 km

      SPECTRA:
      range for firing solution with 50 km)

      RCS: 0,1-0,2 m2 frontal
      NOTE: SPECTRA reduces RCS by a factor of 1,5 to 3; thus effective RCS is 0,03 – 0,1 m2

      G load
      9 g operational (design limit load)
      11-12 g with override
      16,65 g structural (ultimate limid load – 185% of design limit load in Rafale’s case – C is downgraded M)

      http://www.ixarm.com/Technical-card,10820
      service ceilling 18.000 m

      Dassault Rafale M

      Wing span: 10,9 m
      Wing area: 46 m2
      Length: 15,27 m
      Height: 5,34 m

      Empty weight: 10.196 kg
      Maximum takeoff weight: 24.000 kg
      Maximum speed: Mach 1,6
      Maximum altitude: 50.000 feet
      Engines: 2×7,5 t Snecma

      Eurofighter Typhoon T2

      Length: 15,96 m
      Wing span: 10,95 m
      Height: 5,28 m
      Wing area: 50 m2 (wing only)
      Canard area: 1,2 m2

      Turn rates:*
      30-35 deg/s instanteneous (29 at mach 0,5)
      20-25 deg/s sustained (23 at mach 0,5)
      240 – 250 deg/s roll (200 according to some other info)

      Climb rates:
      >200 m/s in air policing configuration

      Wing loading:
      340,2 kg/m2 loaded (AtA)
      290,8 kg/m2 with 50% fuel, 2 Sidewinder, 4 AMRAAM

      Fuel fraction:
      0,31 (11 285 kg empty, 4 940 kg fuel)

      Weight:
      11 285 kg empty
      14 538,6 kg with 50% fuel, 4 AMRAAM and 2 Sidewinder
      17 009 kg loaded
      23 500 kg maximum takeoff

      Thrust
      12 236 kgf dry (60 kN / 6118 kgf per engine)
      18 354 kgf afterburner (90 kN / 9177 kgf per engine)
      14 072 kgf war setting dry (69 kN / 7036 kgf per engine)
      19 374 kgf war setting afterburner (95 kN / 9687 kgf per engine)
      (“war setting” is not tested and may require new parts)

      Thrust-to-Weight ratio:
      1,08 AtA takeoff
      1,26 with 50% fuel, 2 Sidewinder, 4 AMRAAM

      Maximum AoA: 70*; 40* operational
      Corner speed: 360 kt

      Speed
      Mach 2 dash
      Mach 1,8 sustained
      Mach 1,5 supercruise w 6 AAM
      Mach 1,4 supercruise w 6 AAM, 1 supersonic fuel tank

      Combat radius
      Ground attack, lo-lo-lo: 601 km
      Ground attack, hi-lo-hi: 1 389 km
      Air defence with 3-hr combat air patrol: 185 km
      Air defence with 10-min. loiter: 1 389 km (with centerline tank)
      Air defence: 1 100 km (internal fuel only)

      EJ-200:
      Thrust: 13 500 lbf dry, 20 250 lbf reheat

      CAPTOR-M
      Range: 185 km vs 3m2 target

      CAPTOR-E
      Range: 185-216 km vs 3m2 target

      PIRATE:
      IR detection range vs subsonic fighters: 90 km from front, 145 km from rear

      G load
      9 g operational
      11 G override
      12,6 G structural (G load factor 1,4)

      Like

    • Nuno Gomes said

      Easy people…bouth the Gripen and the F-16 are less than 50 million dollars …the only F-16 that costs 80 million is the Block 60/61 wich is produced in a very boutique configuration…AND THAT INCLUDES SPARES AND SUPORT…
      The Rafale is more than 100 million…EUROS….

      Like

  8. Nuno Gomes said

    Oh and Andrei…an upgraded F-15 is a monster compared with the Rafale or the Eurofighter…It could have(depending on configuration/model) similar performance but much better range than bouth the Eurocanards…http://www.ausairpower.net/Analysis-Typhoon.html

    Like

    • picard578 said

      Ausairpower isn’t a good source. It is basically an F-22 lobby.

      Like

      • Andrei said

        Yeah they disregard the Rafale completely despite the fact that India will have close to 200, and despite the fact that Rafale proved itself (with gun-camera footage ) superior to the F-22 in a dogfight.

        Like

      • Nuno Gomes said

        «Ausairpower isn’t a good source. It is basically an F-22 lobby.»??????????So Peter Goon and Carlo Koop are paid by LM to promote the F-22 while pounding on the F-35 build by Boein……………WAIT A MINUTE 🙂 lol

        Like

      • Yeah they disregard the Rafale completely despite the fact that India will have close to 200

        India may end up having zero. Given its recent cost estimates (as high as $30 bn with the weapons complement), the new Indian govt has been lukewarm to the Rafale deal, and its defence budget is rather stressed at the moment.

        Like

    • Xplane said

      A proof of neutral position, indeed. The official cost is $16 bn. Why not $50 bn?

      Like

      • Official cost is $16bn according to whom?

        The Brazilians rejected the Rafale for being too expensive and bought the Gripen instead. How much are they paying for it? $150 million each. ($5.4bn for 36 aircraft.)

        And now you’re claiming that the Rafale sale to India is budgeted at $125 million each? ($16bn for 126 aircraft.)

        For the record, the most widely circulated figure for the deal is $20bn (several sources put it at $22bn). Not including the weapons complement.

        Like

      • Xplane said

        According to the last Indian Air Force chief declarations.
        On the reverse side, all of the 20 to 30+ $bn estimations come from Rafale oponents. Didn’t you realise that?
        Anyway we won’t know the very truth until conclusion. Are we OK on that point?

        Brazil choosed the Gripen on much less cost basis. Anyway, it’s hard to dissociate ToT and studies from plane price at the moment.

        Like

      • According to the last Indian Air Force chief declarations.

        AFAIK the negotiations are being handled by the Indian MoD. The IAF isn’t involved in that aspect.

        On the reverse side, all of the 20 to 30+ $bn estimations come from Rafale oponents. Didn’t you realise that?

        Actually, a simple extrapolation from the Brazilian competition makes them quite credible.

        Anyway we won’t know the very truth until conclusion. Are we OK on that point?

        Sure thing. 🙂

        Brazil choosed the Gripen on much less cost basis. Anyway, it’s hard to dissociate ToT and studies from plane price at the moment.

        Like

      • Brazil choosed the Gripen on much less cost basis. Anyway, it’s hard to dissociate ToT and studies from plane price at the moment.

        ToT and licensed production was/is involved in both deals.

        Like

  9. vyse said

    Andrei: “Yeah they disregard the Rafale completely despite the fact that India will have close to 200, and despite the fact that Rafale proved itself (with gun-camera footage ) superior to the F-22 in a dogfight.”

    Well, they do not disregard the Rafale itself, or Dassault productions specifically (they once operated Mirages III), but you have to realise most anglo-saxons have a culture of diregarding anything french. (In U.K it is a national sport, really).

    So when you add to that the fact that the Rafale, by it’s very existence, is considered a blow in the face of Great Britain, it’s not surprising it will get bashed/ disregarded/ slandered in most english speaking medias. This site is a rare exception, you can tell from a quick look our dear Picard is not british lol.
    I once spoke with a diplomat who told me (as a joke, but…): “Had England had invested in the Typhoon program the quarter of what they invested in anti-Rafale propaganda, bribing and spin doctoring, the Eurofighter would be the best plane in the world by now”…

    Still, arguing that the Rafale is superior to the F22 because it did once, is a bit of an overstatment.
    Even french pilots assessed they had been beaten at least 4 times, although they seemed to believe the (US imposed) ROE were made to the F22 advantage.
    Yet they claimed the F22 to be impressive, very fast and agile, hard to follow. It is also to be noted that on that famous footage, the engagement ends at the Rafale pilot request, because he’s low on fuel. It’s surprising since it is supposed to lose less energy in the dogfight. So it is a possibility this Rafale was fighting on the tight rope, with low fuel to increase agility. But we don’t know how much energy was remaining in the Raptors tanks, so it is just a guessing game. 😉

    Like

    • Andrei said

      “Still, arguing that the Rafale is superior to the F22 because it did once, is a bit of an overstatment.
      Even french pilots assessed they had been beaten at least 4 times, although they seemed to believe the (US imposed) ROE were made to the F22 advantage.
      Yet they claimed the F22 to be impressive, very fast and agile, hard to follow. It is also to be noted that on that famous footage, the engagement ends at the Rafale pilot request, because he’s low on fuel. It’s surprising since it is supposed to lose less energy in the dogfight. So it is a possibility this Rafale was fighting on the tight rope, with low fuel to increase agility. But we don’t know how much energy was remaining in the Raptors tanks, so it is just a guessing game. ;-)”

      I’m not disparaging the F-22 I think it’s a very impressive plane. But if you take into account the quality/price ration the Rafale is way more impressive, the only other more impressive aircraft in this regard is the Gripen.
      I’m sick of all the hype that went into F-22 the marketing the whole “unbeatable, super-maneuverable, super, super fighter”, that, until this site made me think for myself, had even me poisoned into thinking the F-22 can walk on water. So my comments can be a little harsh when I get the impression that the person I’m countering is doing the same mistake I did in the past, that is spew out marketing information instead of analyzing correctly the information available and making an opinion for oneself.

      Like

      • picard578 said

        “had even me poisoned into thinking the F-22 can walk on water.”

        Don’t worry, I used think that as well. Until I ran across this:
        http://eucitizens.eu/Forum/index.php?topic=166.0

        Article itself wasn’t what made me thinking; rather, it were two presentations from CDI that were linked to in the topic. Links are dead now, but as I had the presentations saved on my PC, I reuploaded them here:

        “So my comments can be a little harsh when I get the impression that the person I’m countering is doing the same mistake I did in the past, that is spew out marketing information instead of analyzing correctly the information available and making an opinion for oneself.”

        Same here. I even called people idiots when I saw that they refused to think. Though at least I had an excuse that for a long time, marketing information was the *only* kind of information I had, and I started doing research not long after I got Internet access… which in turn led to me discovering topic and presentations I linked to. They didn’t convince me immediately, but they did make me think and also made it easier to do further research as I got some idea what to focus on. In the end, that indirectly led to me starting this blog (I ran across Typhoon vs Rafale discussion on another forum, which in turn made me do further research, and then I started writing articles… first I only published them on the said forum only, but then I decided to start a blog after I had written a few articles already). It wasn’t either easy or quick work – I ran across the said discussion sometime in 2009/2010 and wrote first article (F-22 analysis) in 2012 – but it paid off.

        But many people I’ve talked to have fixed ideas about what is correct, and absolutely refuse to change their position, though I’m not going to give any specific examples here.

        Like

      • vyse said

        Yes, I understand, both of you have goten tired of US propaganda.

        But it is exactly what I was saying. As long as you browse english speaking Internet (which means 55% of the web according to wikipedia), you will feel the world is under US and UK propaganda.
        But if you start browsing in Russian, you’ll find mostly Sukoi apologist who’ll tell you how much a Su 34 is superior and (yet to enter service) T50 is unbeatable, etc.
        Same will goes with China, India (I saw lots claiming the Rafale deal should be ditched in favor of … Tejas!), and approximately every country having a significant weapon industry.

        What I mean is, you have to deal with propaganda systems steming from nationalism everywhere; in that regard USA are not worse than others, their poles of influences are just spread wider.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          “What I mean is, you have to deal with propaganda systems steming from nationalism everywhere; in that regard USA are not worse than others, their poles of influences are just spread wider.”

          Indeed, comes with well developed media industry and being a large English-speaking nation.

          Like

      • I saw lots claiming the Rafale deal should be ditched in favor of … Tejas!

        They can buy six of them for the cost of one Rafale, with most of the money invested in the domestic economy. One can see the appeal.

        Like

      • Xplane said

        Sure. They even can buy millions of catapults for the same price.

        Like

      • Sure. They even can buy millions of catapults for the same price.

        Amusing yes.

        Except that most air to ground missions can be performed perfectly well by the Tejas (Litening G4 + Paveway II/III). And it in air to air role, it can be data-linked to AWACS and Su-30s to maximize its potential.

        The Rafale might be better than the F-16, but that doesn’t make the AdlA more powerful than the USAF. Numbers matter.

        Like

      • Xplane said

        First, excuse my chaotic writen english, i am “relearning” it after many years of “only reading”.

        Yes. So why did India choose the Rafale among prestigious concurrents after a five years analysis?

        We are comparing planes, not nations. France will never be engaged face to US.

        Like

      • vyse said

        “They can buy six of them for the cost of one Rafale, with most of the money invested in the domestic economy. One can see the appeal.”

        Considering a single Rafale makes the job of at least 3 Mirages 2000, and seing how far the HAL Tejas still is from the 2000 (actually you’re again advocating for an unproven, non-operational fighter), I’m not seing that much of an interest in it. Plus even in HAL wet dreams it would never come close to MMRCA requirements. But I suppose it doesn’t matter.

        Not even considering the increasing cost of choosing number VS quality as far as pilots, maintaining crews, parts, hangars and logistics are concerned.

        Like

      • So why did India choose the Rafale among prestigious concurrents after a five years analysis?

        Why is it they haven’t been able to sign it despite being chosen back in 2012. Fact is, the cost negotiation began only after the aircraft was chosen. And they’ve vastly overshot the originally budgeted amount ($12bn).

        We are comparing planes, not nations. France will never be engaged face to US.

        The same doesn’t apply to India vis a vis China.

        Like

      • Considering a single Rafale makes the job of at least 3 Mirages 2000,

        That quote never made much sense to me. Unless the Mirage can carry only two AASMs (I’ve seen pictures of it with six of them).

        and seing how far the HAL Tejas still is from the 2000 (actually you’re again advocating for an unproven, non-operational fighter), I’m not seing that much of an interest in it.

        How far is the Tejas from the 2000? Not that far, considering it costs less than half as much as the Mirage as well.

        Plus even in HAL wet dreams it would never come close to MMRCA requirements. But I suppose it doesn’t matter.

        The MMRCA had a sanctioned budget of $12bn.

        Not even considering the increasing cost of choosing number VS quality as far as pilots, maintaining crews, parts, hangars and logistics are concerned.

        They’ll actually save money by reducing the number of fighter types in operation.

        Like

    • Chris said

      Hmm, looking at the two:

      F-22
      – High T/W so higher maximum speed without afterburner
      – Acceleration will also be higher
      – Sustained turn should also be superior I would reckon

      Rafale
      – More refined aerodynamics should give it better transition performance
      – Instant turn rate should be better
      – Fuel fraction is higher so it can sustain a longer dogfight (0.33 vs 0.29 for the Raptor; of course the Su-27 variants are even higher here)

      Another advantage might be that the Rafale has a 30mm rotary cannon versus the 20mm Gattling gun on the F-22 and that it is a smaller target.

      But the real decider here is going to be pilot quality. Who flies more? Is the training realistic?

      Like

      • Nuno Gomes said

        Chris,the fuel fraction of the F-22 is not real…Eric Palmer discovered that a few years back…i cant remenber the numbers but the official doc. stated the F-22 carried x amount of fuel…but the doc.supplied by the USAF to their fire fighting teams stated that the fuel carried by the Raptor was much more than the official number…something to think about…
        The problem with the Raptor vs the Rafale is that the F-22 has the decision on engaging or not the Rafale…the Rafale does not have that option…the Raptor is faster and has an higher celling…the rafale might end up shooting uphill…
        The Raptor pilot can run away…the Rafale cant…
        Oh…and some Raptor pilots were also quoted stating that that thing can supercruise at Mach 1,78…the official number of Mach 1,6 behing an understatement.
        So…i dont like the fact that the Raptor is an «Hangar Queen»
        -i dont like its price
        -i dont like its Rickson Gracie features 🙂
        -I still belive in the words of Sir Bill Gunston that the USAF should be looking at a solution for the ATF problem in the size of an F-5 or F-16(he wrote that in 1984 and claimed that the big solution prefered by the USAF would be overpriced and late …talk about a profect)

        Like

        • picard578 said

          “The problem with the Raptor vs the Rafale is that the F-22 has the decision on engaging or not the Rafale…the Rafale does not have that option…the Raptor is faster and has an higher celling…the rafale might end up shooting uphill…”

          Indeed. But problem for the F-22 is that Rafale has overall better situational awareness thanks to its passive sensors and SPECTRA suite, and will detect the F-22 before it is detected itself. That, and 8:1 force advantage (2:1 in number of aircraft procured, 4:1 in sortie rate).

          “Oh…and some Raptor pilots were also quoted stating that that thing can supercruise at Mach 1,78…the official number of Mach 1,6 behing an understatement.”

          F-22 can supercruise at Mach 1,5 for certain, while Stevenson gives it Mach 1,71-1,75.

          At Mach 1,5 and 40k feet, F-22 can cover 315 nm while spending half of its fuel. Rafale should be able to cover 298 km or 160 nm while spending half of its fuel at Mach 1,4 based on sea level dry thrust fuel consumption, but more likely value for 40k feet is 418 km or 224 nm.

          “-I still belive in the words of Sir Bill Gunston that the USAF should be looking at a solution for the ATF problem in the size of an F-5 or F-16(he wrote that in 1984 and claimed that the big solution prefered by the USAF would be overpriced and late …talk about a profect)”

          Indeed. John Boyd and Pierre Sprey argued the same thing, and even proposed such an aircraft (go to links > Comparing fighters from F-86 to the F-18, and somewhere in the last few pages should be description of what that aircraft would have been like).

          Like

      • Chris said

        Link?

        A search of Palmer brought up nothing:
        https://www.google.com/search?q=eric+palmer+f-22+%22fuel+fraction%22+site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Felpdefensenews.blogspot.ca%2F&oe=utf-8&rls=Palemoon%3Aen-US&client=palemoon&oq=eric+palmer+f-22+%22fuel+fraction%22+site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Felpdefensenews.blogspot.ca%2F&gs_l=heirloom-serp.3…82503.82966.0.83159.3.2.0.1.0.0.104.196.1j1.2.0….0…1ac.1.34.heirloom-serp..3.0.0.FNZEIMRKLik

        But for now I will quote the 0.29 unless you have hard numbers to suggest otherwise. .29 is from Everest Riccioni’s F-22 claims.

        The issue is that with a low fuel fraction, the F-22 may be faster, but it will not be able to sustain that for very long. It’s not just about maximum speed, it’s about being able to sustain that cruise for long, especially when looking for an opportunity to “bounce” an opponent.

        As far as hangar queen, that’s a huge problem. If it really is 40 hours of maintenance per hour of flight versus say, 8 for the Rafale, that means that if you have 1,000 F-22s versus 1,000 Rafales, the Rafales will be able to sustain 5x as many sorties.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          “But for now I will quote the 0.29 unless you have hard numbers to suggest otherwise. .29 is from Everest Riccioni’s F-22 claims.”

          With weight creep, it might be closer to the 0,28.

          “If it really is 40 hours of maintenance per hour of flight”

          45, IIRC.

          Like

    • picard578 said

      “Still, arguing that the Rafale is superior to the F22 because it did once, is a bit of an overstatment.
      Even french pilots assessed they had been beaten at least 4 times, although they seemed to believe the (US imposed) ROE were made to the F22 advantage.”

      Actually, quote states 4 draws and 1 F-22 victory out of 6 engagements.

      Like

      • vyse said

        There have been several versions of what happened during ATLC 2009, which is confusing. However, I think you are right, (you have logic of mathematics with you) but I’m puzzled about why the french captain did not publicly claim victory on the sixth engagement. They all have their prideness after all.
        And they did not refrain to tell the world about them beating the Typhoons in Solenzara, despite it triggered some diplomatic tensions with UK.

        So why not brag about shooting a Raptor? When France struggle to sell the bird… I find it strange.

        Like

      • picard578 said

        The quote itself would have been clear enough (unless it was a mistake, I did find claims that both aircraft were “below the deck” when it happened, so that kill could have been counted as draw, in which case it would be 1 F-22 victory, 1 Rafale victory counted as draw and 4 draws – such situation could easily create contradictory statements you noted).

        I adressed it here, and there is a video of one of engagements:
        https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/on-rafale-vs-f-22-bfm/

        Like

    • vyse said

      “That quote never made much sense to me. Unless the Mirage can carry only two AASMs (I’ve seen pictures of it with six of them).”

      -I’ve seen it too, it’s not operational configuration. (Low range, heavily degradated aerodynamics, one pass needed for each bomb). Actually I’ve been told even 2000D is not qualified for operational use of AASM, 2000N was supposed to get it integrated. And I find no information it has been done.

      If you go this way I can find you pics of Rafales with:

      -6x AASM
      -3x 2000L tank
      -4x MICA
      -2x Meteor

      But that’s not operational configuration either.

      Back to real stuff:

      On october 24th this year, two Rafales delivered 6 AASM bombs each resulting in 12 ISIL buildings destroyed. Target were designated by Rafales, which also ensured their own protection as usual, thanks to a couple of MICAs and SPECTRA. they were carrying three 2000L tanks each.

      To achieve same mission, albeit with reduced total firepower,lower range and without EW capacity, french Air force would indeed need 6 Mirages 2000D. (which also means need for 6 aditional co-pilots)

      Typical 2000D configuration (as seen in Lybia, and likely to be seen in Irak in the next few days) for self designated laser guided ammunition is as follow:

      -Damocles Pod
      -2x 250kg bombs on a Rafaut’s dual bomb adaptor mounted on ventral position
      -2x 2000L external tanks
      -2x AtA missile (magic 2 or mica)

      “They’ll actually save money by reducing the number of fighter types in operation.”

      -Sure. The aditional cost for six times more pilots (pay + formation & training), more technician (same again), structural expensions to allow for six times more fighters and countless logistical struggles of such a ridiculously oversized fleet, would be totally cancelled by saves from reduced diversity. That makes no doubt.

      Like

  10. Chris said

    Big problem here is that people do not want to think for themselves.

    To an extent, people “want” to believe the lies. That may sound odd, but that is human psychology for you. Otherwise, weapons like the F-35 would never exist. Of course, a lot of bad things in history would not have happened had humans thought them through rather than blindly obeyed.

    Like

    • Nuno Gomes said

      Chris,your google fu is weak my son…mine is powerfull 🙂
      http://elpdefensenews.blogspot.pt/2014/04/f-22-radius.html
      Oh , and do you want to see the USAF firefighting teams document? http://www.f-16.net/forum/download/file.php?id=13699&t=1
      This is the problem with some forums…people make this their religion…here is pure hate against the F-35.At F-16.net they praise the JSF like a God…
      The F-22 is the aircraft that the USAF should be buying not the F-35…
      The problem with the JSF is that it is a cold war idea for battlefield interdition in central Europe.It is obsolete right now…
      My idea of a perfect USAF would be:
      500 F-22
      500 F-15s
      1000 F-16s
      300 A-10s
      Around 200 light attack aircraft(Scorpion or Super Tucano)
      The F-22s would have IRST and side looking AESA
      Around 100 F-15 would be F-15 G wild weasel with the EW suite of the Growler
      The new build F-16s would have IRST and the F-110-132 GE engine…some would have CFTs outher would be «clean»
      All the A-10s would be send to Boeing to be rebuild…new engines(a modern version of the TF engine or a non-AB version of the F-404/414),MWS…the Brimstone missile would be cleared for the A-10…
      This is only for tacair…bombers and transports is anouther discussion for anouther day…

      Like

      • picard578 said

        “The problem with the JSF is that it is a cold war idea for battlefield interdition in central Europe.It is obsolete right now…”

        Precisely. It is a tactical bomber for high-threat environments, and it is an adequate platform for such scenarios as long as other aircraft are avaliable to provide air cover… well, it *would* be adequate if it weren’t for high price and low sortie rate, this way it can only be used for surgical strikes against high-value targets and F-22 is better at that, but both were made in mind with fighting the USSR, which no longer exists.

        “My idea of a perfect USAF would be: (snip)”

        You have too few A-10s and light attack aircraft (since they’re the only ones capable of undertaking the CAS).

        Like

      • Chris said

        That actually is not what I am looking for. Those give me combat radius and fuel mass. Not necessarily fuel fraction, which involves takeoff mass.

        Between generations, there’s been a huge creep in mass. F-15 to F-22. So that somewhat cancels out the larger fuel capacity. No doubt the F-22 has better aerodynamics, and a better operational radius. It is a newer aircraft after all. The problem is, the F-15 was never great in this regard to begin with. No supercruise and low combat radius. That’s one of the things the defense reform faction aggressively pushed – high fuel fractions.

        Breguet’s Equation is what reigns supreme here.

        Like

      • Duviel Rodriguez said

        500 F-22
        500 F-15s
        1000 F-16s
        300 A-10s
        Around 200 light attack aircraft(Scorpion or Super Tucano)
        The F-22s would have IRST and side looking AESA
        Around 100 F-15 would be F-15 G wild weasel with the EW suite of the Growler
        The new build F-16s would have IRST and the F-110-132 GE engine.

        Not bad Nuno G. but I would do this instead:

        Tactically speaking (only talking USAF and not taking real world budget issues into account) and staying with your 2,500 aircraft number I would do this:

        F-22A Raptor: 900

        F-22E Strike Raptor: 800

        F-22G SEAD: 300

        A-10: 350

        AT-6: 150

        I would try to make F-22A lighter by keeping only necessary air to air avionics. Needs APG-77 (Also serves as jamming pod and RWR along with AN/ALR-94), AN/AAR-56 infrared and ultraviolet Missile Launch Detector), HMCS to add HOBS capability along with AIM-9X, Frontal and rear facing IRST and Data-Link. That’s about it.

        F-22E would be F-22 airframe with much of F-35 avionics/sensor/software fit. It would have APG-77, 81, or 82 (also gives air-to-air capability if needed), DAS, Upgraded EOTS, AN/ASQ-239 EW suite, and compatibility to carry weapons like Paveway, Storm Shadow, JASSM, Etc.

        F-22G would basically add the Growlers EW/EA pods and AARGM capability. Basically a Growler on F-22 airframe.

        For A-10 and AT-6 (other than what they already have) I might try to add something like a Sniper XR, EOTS, and possibly a DAS type system if workable.
        For A-10 added armor (maybe use of composites developed for Abrams) would be a need. If you could upgrade engine to add more thrust without consuming more fuel that would be nice too.

        A-10 would be used for dash in-dash out low-level CAS when fighting a capable foe. Mostly its original role. Although could be used for COIN too. Otherwise it might go unused.

        AT-6 would be mostly for CAS for COIN role and on SOC type stuff. Only limited use against capable military foe.

        Taking budget into account, I would keep the F-22’s (187) and F-15E’s (218) I already have. (upgrade F-15 airframes for added flight hours and add some upgraded avionics/targeting pods). I would dump F-15C’s and keep about 400 F-16’s optimized for air-to-air. I would buy (maybe 150-200) some added Reapers to use for EW/EA role. Or I would buy 100-150 Growlers like Navy has. I would also keep most of the A-10’s (250-300) and maybe buy some AT-6’s (50-100) to supplement AC-130’s in COIN.

        Ps. I am using mostly US equipment because we are talking USAF. I am not saying that Russian or EU equipment is not good too.

        Like

  11. Chris said

    There is one other reason why I think that it should remain F-35 vs Rafale versus F-22 vs Rafale.

    There’s only about ~175 F-22s in total. Granted, France is only planning to get 286 Rafale aircraft, but it is a smaller nation, and as a percent of GDP also spends less on military. In other words, the F-35 (which is planned to build a couple of thousand, but the death spiral will reduce that I’m sure), is going to be the main fighter of the US. The Rafale will be the main fighter of France.

    There have been efforts to push the Rafale elsewhere, although export success is limited.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/dassault-aviation-ramps-up-cf-18-replacement-pitch-1.2507029

    The point is, that the cost and other problems associated with the F-22 mean that not enough will be purchased as to make the decisive difference needed.

    Like

  12. Amazing stuff. Pitch rates, thrust to weight ratio, canard deflection, speed, wing-loading… and the fans lap it up. Not one solitary mention of the EODAS or the F-35’s imaging HMDS. And only one reference to the DAS in the comments, by Chris who’s convinced that its meant for ground attack and therefore inferior to the SPECTRA.

    Like

    • picard578 said

      “Amazing stuff. Pitch rates, thrust to weight ratio, canard deflection, speed, wing-loading… and the fans lap it up. Not one solitary mention of the EODAS or the F-35’s imaging HMDS. And only one reference to the DAS in the comments, by Chris who’s convinced that its meant for ground attack and therefore inferior to the SPECTRA.”

      Nice to know that you don’t know. This is about dogfight performance, a.k.a. visual-range maneuvering combat. EODAS is a missile warning system, just like Rafale’s DDM (almost identical in fact, except DDM uses two fish-eye IR cameras instead of six “classical” cameras), and F-35s imaging HMDS doesn’t work.

      And to both you and Chris…

      System………..Rafale…………..F-35
      IRST……………OSF……………..EOTS
      MAWS…………DDM…………….EODAS
      EWS/SPS…….SPECTRA……..Barracuda

      Like

      • And you’re saying that the EODAS is merely a MAWS? Like the AN/AAR-56?

        So the fact that the EODAS tracks every aircraft (friendly, neutral and hostile) 360 degrees around the aircraft, and then projects DAS imagery directly onto the pilots visor allowing him to carry out off-boresight launches in any direction (regardless of cockpit visibility), has no impact on a dogfight a.k.a. visual-range maneuvering combat?

        Also, couple of other things –

        1. The OSF’s IRST was a disappointment. The OSF-IT omitted the IR channel altogether. Some Rafale F3s supposedly were even delivered without the OSF.

        2. The Rafale F3R will employ the PDL-NG for IRST i.e. same mid-wave solution as the F-35’s EOTS. (Meanwhile Rafael & LM are working on 5th gen LDPs.)

        3. The F-35 employs the Aim-9X Blk 2 with a two-way data-link and a IIR seeker with 180 deg FoV, superior in both respects to the MICA (120 deg FoV).

        Like

        • picard578 said

          “So the fact that the EODAS tracks every aircraft (friendly, neutral and hostile) 360 degrees around the aircraft, and then projects DAS imagery directly onto the pilots visor allowing him to carry out off-boresight launches in any direction (regardless of cockpit visibility), has no impact on a dogfight a.k.a. visual-range maneuvering combat?”

          Both EODAS and DDM are basically wide-FoV IRSTs, and have *technological* ability to do that. Fact is, however, that data is – in present form – used solely for missile warning. Wether or when either Rafale or the F-35 will get HMD capable of projecting image recorded by their missile warners is another issue, but neither has that capability *right now*.

          “1. The OSF’s IRST was a disappointment. The OSF-IT omitted the IR channel altogether. Some Rafale F3s supposedly were even delivered without the OSF.”
          “2. The Rafale F3R will employ the PDL-NG for IRST i.e. same mid-wave solution as the F-35’s EOTS.”

          OSF-IT has detection range of 85 km, albeit only on a clear day. As for the IRST being a disappointment, I found claims of “obsolescence and performance issues”… first part isn’t a tactical problem considering that most systems used on Western fighters are technologically obsolete (F-22s onboard computers, for one) but is certainly part of a reason for not including it in new Rafales (components were too expensive to manufacture again and weren’t avaliable in the market any more), as for performance issues, I only found reliable complaints about mechanical reliability, though it may have range issues as well. OSF-IT however has a near-IR option; it still will limit the detection range compared to true IRST like PIRATE.

          EOTS is a single-channel, single-band SNIPER pod derivative. Its air-to-air mode is same as that on certain targeting pods, but wavelength range is fundamentally different and it limits air-to-air capability.

          “3. The F-35 employs the Aim-9X Blk 2 with a two-way data-link and a IIR seeker with 180 deg FoV, superior in both respects to the MICA (120 deg FoV).”

          True, but the missile itself is screwed up by the F-35 having to carry it internally if it wants to pretend it’s stealthy.

          Like

      • Xplane said

        ….

        Also, couple of other things –

        1. The OSF’s IRST was a disappointment. The OSF-IT omitted the IR channel altogether. Some Rafale F3s supposedly were even delivered without the OSF.

        2. The Rafale F3R will employ the PDL-NG for IRST i.e. same mid-wave solution as the F-35’s EOTS. (Meanwhile Rafael & LM are working on 5th gen LDPs.)

        3. The F-35 employs the Aim-9X Blk 2 with a two-way data-link and a IIR seeker with 180 deg FoV, superior in both respects to the MICA (120 deg FoV).

        1. No. It worked very well in any past and present conflicts. The new generation uses new sensors for an improved capacity, OSF is still there, just different. F3R (2018), in EW capacity, is mostly comparable to what F-35 promises.

        2. No. Every IR sensor will be employed, and 5th, 6th, 7th, why not 10th gen? Only technical facts, please.

        3. Meteor is included in F3R. Two way datalink is only usefull in some precise tactical warfare but it brings some new security issues (and Meteor is also available with 2W/Dlink but France did not choose this option).

        Like

      • Xplane,

        1. The Rafale has not engaged in any air-to-air combat to date, so touting the OSF’s combat record in ‘conflicts’ is pointless. The OSF-IT only has a TV channel (no IR channel). It cannot function as an IRST.

        2. With the IR channel omitted in the OSF, the Rafale will be forced to rely on the PDL-NG (right now it depends on feeds from the MICA’s IR seeker).

        With respect to technical facts; the Damocles is 3rd gen, the Litening G4 and Sniper XR are 4th gen. Feel free to compare their respective resolutions, if you still have doubts.

        3. The Meteor isn’t a dog-fighting missile. With respect to the subject of the article, fact still remains the MICA will be thoroughly outperformed by Aim-9X.

        Like

      • vyse said

        Also, to Jerrick Kant:

        “1. The OSF’s IRST was a disappointment. The OSF-IT omitted the IR channel altogether. Some Rafale F3s supposedly were even delivered without the OSF.”

        It seems there was no rush to implement IR sensor on revised OSF because, thanks to sensor fusion, the Rafale uses the MICA IR head as an IR channel.
        It is also using DDMNG’s IR, as well as Damocles’s and RECO NG’s when equiped.

        Like

      • Vyse,

        – The MICA’s seeker is not a proper substitute for an IRST. Like most missile seekers, its designed to be cheap and expendable.
        – The DDM-NG is a very inefficient solution for long range (or even medium range) IRST functions; the aircraft’s direction of flight is at the edge of the fisheye sensor’s FoV.
        – The Reco NG is big, bulky, expensive, and therefore carried rarely. Similar downside as the DDM-NG i.e. a side-ways looking sensor.

        The Rafale will use the PDL-NG on its auxiliary hardpoint for IRST, rather than any of these solutions.

        Like

      • Both EODAS and DDM are basically wide-FoV IRSTs, and have *technological* ability to do that. Fact is, however, that data is – in present form – used solely for missile warning. Wether or when either Rafale or the F-35 will get HMD capable of projecting image recorded by their missile warners is another issue, but neither has that capability *right now*.

        What are you talking about? The Rafale will have an upgraded MAWS by 2018 with other potential application solely on paper.

        The F-35’s EODAS in contrast already carries out air-to-air tracking and weapons cueing, and sending imagery to the HMDS. The Helmet had issues with jitter and latency but they’ve been addressed in the Gen 3 helmet, the first of which was delivered in July this year.

        OSF-IT has detection range of 85 km, albeit only on a clear day. As for the IRST being a disappointment, I found claims of “obsolescence and performance issues”… first part isn’t a tactical problem considering that most systems used on Western fighters are technologically obsolete (F-22s onboard computers, for one) but is certainly part of a reason for not including it in new Rafales (components were too expensive to manufacture again and weren’t avaliable in the market any more), as for performance issues, I only found reliable complaints about mechanical reliability, though it may have range issues as well. OSF-IT however has a near-IR option; it still will limit the detection range compared to true IRST like PIRATE.

        The original OSF had problems with performance. The OSF-IT doesn’t have an IR channel, i.e. it cannot function as an IRST. So what is that range for?

        EOTS is a single-channel, single-band SNIPER pod derivative. Its air-to-air mode is same as that on certain targeting pods, but wavelength range is fundamentally different and it limits air-to-air capability.

        The Rafale uses the MICA as an IRST currently, and will use the PDL-NG/Talios pod for IRST applications in the future. Exact same mid-wave solution as the F-35.

        The difference being that it’ll only catch up to the Sniper XR performance in 2018. Meanwhile, LM & NG/Rafael are developing 5th gen LDPs, whose tech will be incorporated in the F-35’s EOTS tech refreshes.

        True, but the missile itself is screwed up by the F-35 having to carry it internally if it wants to pretend it’s stealthy.
        The whole article you’ve written is about dogfighting. In actual combat, the F-35 pilot will remain radar silent, get tracking information from an off-board source (like a wingman), shoot, kill and bug out without coming to any merges.

        But if we’re theoretically pitting it against a Rafale in WVR combat, then its only far to equip it with SRAAMs. And with a pair of Aim-9Xs, the DAS plus its imaging HMDS, it’ll dominate any generic dogfight against the Rafale.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          “What are you talking about? The Rafale will have an upgraded MAWS by 2018 with other potential application solely on paper.”

          Existing MAWS already uses imaging IR sensors to provide a 360* missile warning, which is precisely what I said. And “other potential application solely on paper”, how is that different from the F-35?

          “The F-35′s EODAS in contrast already carries out air-to-air tracking and weapons cueing, and sending imagery to the HMDS. The Helmet had issues with jitter and latency but they’ve been addressed in the Gen 3 helmet, the first of which was delivered in July this year.”

          http://www.defesanet.com.br/rafale/noticia/10893/Shooting-Down-an-Aggressor-on-My-Six–Vive-la-difference-/
          >>During our assessments, we performed BVR and WVR engagements with the Mirage 2000 C RDI (analyzed in more detail in Part 3 of this test), where we had the opportunity to confirm the combination of the sensibility of SPECTRA EW with the all-aspect launching and target acquisition of MICA IR. This allowed us to designate the target from any source (EM / IR / Laser Threat Detection – Electromagnetic Threat Detection / Infrared / Laser), when the security bubble around the Rafale was invad-ed, and to execute the missile launch “over the shoulder.” Over the shoulder means that a MICA can be fired at a target located at position six o’clock (behind the aircraft) without changing flight direction.<<

          "So what is that range for?"

          Detection range for optical sensors is typically given vs fighter aircraft.

          "The Rafale uses the MICA as an IRST currently, and will use the PDL-NG/Talios pod for IRST applications in the future. Exact same mid-wave solution as the F-35."

          These are all temporary solutions until new IRST is developed. F-35s solution is permanent.

          "The whole article you’ve written is about dogfighting."

          It is. But weapons loadouts will be selected prior to the mission, and noone sane will allow the F-35 to get anywhere near enemy's visual range. It may not, however, be avoidable, due to the F-35s low cruise speed and large IR signature.

          " In actual combat, the F-35 pilot will remain radar silent, get tracking information from an off-board source (like a wingman), shoot, kill and bug out without coming to any merges."

          Shoot and miss, more likely, assuming it manages to get targeting info (there is lot of EM crap around in the air during the war, from radar emissions to jamming, so performance of radars, RWRs and communication systems *will* degrade. More info you have to transfer, more vulnerable to the EM interference it is. It is unlikely the F-35 pilot will dare to get within missile's effective range (no more than 30 km against a maneuvering target for AIM-120D).

          Like

      • Vyse,

        It seems there was no rush to implement IR sensor on revised OSF because, thanks to sensor fusion, the Rafale uses the MICA IR head as an IR channel.
        It is also using DDMNG’s IR, as well as Damocles’s and RECO NG’s when equiped.

        1. The MICA’s seeker is intended and designed to be cheap and expendable. Its fine as a stop-gap solution but nothing more.

        2. The Reco NG is huge, heavy, expensive piece of kit of which only limited numbers are available – only 20 ordered. Its for strategic rather than tactical missions.

        3. The DDM-NG’s fisheye cannot be pointed towards the nose (which is already at the edge of its FoV) and focused for increased range.

        Ultimately, the Rafale will rely on the Talios pod to do the job.

        Like

      • Existing MAWS already uses imaging IR sensors to provide a 360* missile warning, which is precisely what I said. And “other potential application solely on paper”, how is that different from the F-35?
        The F-35 delivers the DAS imagery on the pilot’s HMDS visor. The Rafale does not. Hence, different.

        http://www.defesanet.com.br/rafale/noticia/10893/Shooting-Down-an-Aggressor-on-My-Six–Vive-la-difference-/
        The SPECTRA coverage extends to the rear (against active/radiating targets). No one is disputing that. Doesn’t change the fact that so far the EODAS is the only system that carries out IR tracking and weapons cueing in the air space around a fighter jet.

        Detection range for optical sensors is typically given vs fighter aircraft.

        By ‘for’ I mean for which system, not against which target. That is, to say is the 80km range you quoted for the OSF’s TV sensor, because the OSF-IT at least doesn’t have an IR channel.

        These are all temporary solutions until new IRST is developed. F-35s solution is permanent.
        There’s no new IRST on the horizon. The OSF-NG exists only on paper, and is not included in the Rafale F3R configuration.

        It is. But weapons loadouts will be selected prior to the mission, and noone sane will allow the F-35 to get anywhere near enemy’s visual range. It may not, however, be avoidable, due to the F-35s low cruise speed and large IR signature.
        For the purposes of the debate – one Rafale with 2 MICAs against an F-35 with 2 Aim-9Xs, the F-35 comes out on top. Something, most of the fans of the fans on the thread, are either unaware of, or unwilling to accept.

        Shoot and miss, more likely, assuming it manages to get targeting info (there is lot of EM crap around in the air during the war, from radar emissions to jamming, so performance of radars, RWRs and communication systems *will* degrade. More info you have to transfer, more vulnerable to the EM interference it is. It is unlikely the F-35 pilot will dare to get within missile’s effective range (no more than 30 km against a maneuvering target for AIM-120D).
        Unfortunately, you’ve produced zero real evidence to support those rather unique thoughts. You’re clearly going about this backwards – you’ve first come a conclusion (radar = useless) and now you’re trying to fit the facts to it (Aim-120D effective range = 30km), to make the IR sensor more competitive.

        If radars could actually be degraded to the extent you’re suggesting, France wouldn’t have been upgrading the Rafale’s radar and every air force would be retiring their AWACS.

        Like

      • picard578 said

        “The F-35 delivers the DAS imagery on the pilot’s HMDS visor.”

        Not as of now.

        “The SPECTRA coverage extends to the rear (against active/radiating targets). No one is disputing that. Doesn’t change the fact that so far the EODAS is the only system that carries out IR tracking and weapons cueing in the air space around a fighter jet.”

        http://www.defesanet.com.br/rafale/noticia/10893/Shooting-Down-an-Aggressor-on-My-Six%E2%80%93Vive-la-difference-/
        >>This allowed us to designate the target from any source (EM / IR / Laser Threat Detection – Electromagnetic Threat Detection / Infrared / Laser), when the security bubble around the Rafale was invad-ed, and to execute the missile launch “over the shoulder.” Over the shoulder means that a MICA can be fired at a target located at position six o’clock (behind the aircraft) without changing flight direction.<<

        In other words, Rafale can use either RWR, MAWS or LWR for targeting.

        "By ‘for’ I mean for which system, not against which target. That is, to say is the 80km range you quoted for the OSF’s TV sensor, because the OSF-IT at least doesn’t have an IR channel."

        TV channel.

        "There’s no new IRST on the horizon. The OSF-NG exists only on paper, and is not included in the Rafale F3R configuration."

        OSF-NG exists only on paper… you mean like most of the F-35s capabilities? Last time I checked, F-35s "spherical SA" was useless because of the lag, and aircraft itself was limited to 18* AoA and Mach 0,9.

        "For the purposes of the debate – one Rafale with 2 MICAs against an F-35 with 2 Aim-9Xs, the F-35 comes out on top. "

        It doesn't. It won't loose as often as it would, but it will still loose more often than win. Weapons matter but so does the airframe.

        "Unfortunately, you’ve produced zero real evidence to support those rather unique thoughts."

        They are not unique, and I don't want to repeat what I have already explained and proven in other articles.

        "You’re clearly going about this backwards – you’ve first come a conclusion (radar = useless) and now you’re trying to fit the facts to it (Aim-120D effective range = 30km), to make the IR sensor more competitive."

        Wrong. As a matter of fact, my favorite fighter aircraft was at first the F-15 and then (after 2005 or so) the F-22, because I honestly believed all the hype about radar-based BVR combat and stealth. It was only after I started researching things by myself, as I learned more about military aviation and in particular history of aerial warfare, that I changed my positions. I came to conclusion that radar combat is useless *against competent opponent* because all evidence points that way. You'd do well to start learning ASAP, I'll suggest a few articles for a start but you better do your own research.
        http://www.airpower.au.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1983/sep-oct/lind.html
        http://www.pogo.org/our-work/straus-military-reform-project/military-reform/2013/reforming-americas-overhyped-airpower.html
        http://www.codeonemagazine.com/article.html?item_id=37
        http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/feature/135080/f_35-reality-check-10-years-on-(part-1).html
        http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj98/fal98/hammond.html

        http://pogoarchives.org/labyrinth/11/09.pdf
        http://pogoarchives.org/labyrinth/11/10.pdf
        Highby, Promise and reality of the BVR combat

        https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/04/27/usefulness-of-bvr-combat/
        https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/why-gulf-wars-cannot-be-used-as-a-basis-for-estimating-effectiveness-of-beyond-visual-range-combat/
        https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/air-to-air-weapons-effectiveness/
        https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/evading-air-to-air-missile/
        https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/value-of-stealth-aircraft/
        https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/symmetric-and-assymetric-counters/
        https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/quality-versus-quantity-fallacy/

        Longest-ranged kill in a Desert Storm was at 29 km, against an unaware nonmaneuvering target. Longest ranged recorded kill, IIRC, wasn't much further away. And even that was against a non-maneuvering target.

        If enemy maneuvers, effective range is reduced to one half. If enemy turns away, engagement range is reduced to one quarter. Intercepts are preferably done in a tail chase (to reduce likelyhood of detection and to give more time for identification and lock-on). So, AIM-120D engagement range is 180/4 = 45 kilometers and effective range is 22,5 km. If target is at low altitude (attack aircraft), then range gets reduced to 1/5th – so AIM-120D engagement range is 9 km and effective range is 4,5 km at close to sea level. (This assumes that both aircraft cruise at the same speed; every 100 kts of speed difference modifies the range by 5-25%).

        These are the facts, and regardless of what you think, I draw my conclusions from facts.

        "If radars could actually be degraded to the extent you’re suggesting, France wouldn’t have been upgrading the Rafale’s radar and every air force would be retiring their AWACS."

        Except radars can be degraded to even greater extent, in ECR-90 trials its detection range was cut to less than 9 kilometers through combination of Soviet stealth techniques and standoff jamming. It will be more difficult against AESA radars, but not impossible.

        Like

      • Not as of now.

        Yes, as of now. That’s been the case ever since the helmet was introduced. Wherever did you read otherwise?

        In other words, Rafale can use either RWR, MAWS or LWR for targeting.

        The Rafale hasn’t even gotten the DDM-NG as yet. The article is probably referring to the (now out-of-production) OSF.

        TV channel.

        80km for a TV channel? That would require a very tight focus; it would have extremely small FoV at that range. Adequate for a BVR launch perhaps, but the OSF itself will have to be initially cued by another source (like the SPECTRA).

        OSF-NG exists only on paper… you mean like most of the F-35s capabilities? Last time I checked, F-35s “spherical SA” was useless because of the lag, and aircraft itself was limited to 18* AoA and Mach 0,9.

        You’re being disingenuous and I think you know that.

        1. The DAS had no lag AFAIK, the issue was with the helmet. And fixes for the jitter and lag were implemented in the Gen 2 helmet itself – an IMU for the jitter, software patch for the lag. The new Gen 3 helmet delivered in July, addresses the remaining issues with night vision. It’ll be fielded with the LRIP 7 batch aircraft.

        2. The aircraft has been tested to 50* AoA and past Mach 1.6. The current flight limitations are merely a precaution, and the test aircraft are still operating without them. The F-35C couldn’t have carried out its recent successful carrier trials with a 18* AoA limitation.

        3. I’m perfectly willing to factor in Rafale capabilities/weapons/equipment that are still under development like the DDM-NG, Meteor & PDL-NG. It doesn’t have an HMS either, but I’ll grant that a simple one can be installed without that much fuss. The OSF-NG in contrast, is actually on paper – no development contract has been signed for it. It therefore does not factor into the Rafale’s capability matrix.

        It doesn’t. It won’t loose as often as it would, but it will still loose more often than win. Weapons matter but so does the airframe.

        The airframe will never be as maneuverable as a missile. And in the F-35’s case, the pilot doesn’t need to point his nose to get a shot off. (Actually, most modern fighters equipped with an HMS have that option, though none of them take it as far as the Rafale.)

        They are not unique, and I don’t want to repeat what I have already explained and proven in other articles.

        How are your thoughts not unique? Let me put another way. You’ve studied your history and you’ve penned down your thoughts, but with all due respect, what actual technical data have you accessed?

        Most modern air forces, aircraft and missile manufacturers have invested gobs of money in highly sophisticated facilities to test their equipment. The US has some of the largest and most advanced EW ranges in the world, fields every conceivable type of radar & EO kit and has an entire fleet of drones based on fighters; the QF-4 succeeded the QF-106, and will soon be replaced by the QF-16.

        You’re saying they got it wrong. Could be. They’re not infallible. But then you’re also saying that Russia and China got it wrong, as both are investing (quite heavily) in stealth (which according to you is a lie). Extending from that Japan, India, South Korea & Turkey are all wrong as they’re all also investing in stealth fighters. As are the other dozen or so AFs which have or are going to order F-35s. Then we come to the Rafale equipped France, the four nation Eurofighter consortium; UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden & Brazil. All of them have invested in AESA tech to boost their radar capabilities, which according to you is a huge and expensive waste of money.

        So in effect, pretty much everyone is wrong and you’re right. You can see why most people would be skeptical. And even if your argument is correct, how are your thoughts on the matter not unique (seeing as no one else seems to share them)?

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      • Xplane said

        DDM-NG is onboard since mid 2012. It’s easy to compare the old one and the new one, you just have to LOOK at the pictures. I would have joined some URL to show you but now I’m not even sure you would use it. Sorry.

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      • Wrong. Rafale can do 9 g at Mach 0,6 sustained while even modern dogfighting missiles do 60-90 g at Mach 2,5. Since turn radius is square of speed, missile will have at least 1,74 times as large turn radius as Rafale. And keep in mind that Rafale’s pilot will not be doing a sustained turn if he’s shot at.

        Except that missile doesn’t have to match the aircraft’s turn-radius. Its not following the same trajectory. Its the turn rate rate than the turn radius that’s the definitive element. The advantage of approaching from a (relatively) long range and a higher speed is that a few degrees course correction (calculated based on IIR tracking) will take it to where the aircraft will be at the point of impact. For every hard maneuver that the aircraft makes, the missile makes a minute correction.

        The rule of thumb as they say is the missile needs to have five times the aircraft’s G-limit. Not an issue for most modern WVR missiles. Less so for the Aim-9X and IRIS-T.

        Designed to, yes, successful at it? Sometimes. But most kills (and *all* BVR kills) happened when target was unaware that it was being attacked and had no active countermeasures. Good luck with that against fighters with modern MAWS.

        All those were by stereotypical ‘dumb’ missiles. The F-86 could pull over 7Gs. The F-16 could sustain 9Gs, 35 years ago. There hasn’t been any huge leap in fighter jet performance since then. Just incremental improvements. The new generation of missiles on the other hand are not only far more nimble, they’re equipped with IIR seekers that are far ‘smarter’ in terms of maximize their energy state and pk against targets engaging in evasive maneuvering.

        Not to mention, while the target is trying barrel rolls, beaming maneuvers, jinxing etc, it is for all intents and purposes out of the game, while his opponent is cueing his second missile and getting in position for a gun kill (just in case).

        In many-on-many fights, it is simply a good way to commit suicide. You loose to much energy for no gain in instantaneous turn rate, and F-35 is in especially bad position since it cannot regain energy quickly enough. Rafale can achieve maximum aerodynamic angle of attack of 110*, yet in operational service it is limited to 32* – because 32* is the AoA at which maximum lift, and thus maximum turn rate, is achieved.

        1. In one-on-one fights, the Mirage and MiG-29 both had a huge advantage over the F-16, in that they could end the engagement in a single pass, thanks to their exceptional nose pointing ability. Over a long drawn out fight, the F-16’s superior energy retention came into play, but a good pilot would never let it get that far.

        2. In many-on-many fights i.e. a furball the single most critical aspect is IFF. And that’s where the F-35’s EODAS & helmet are absolutely invaluable. Every friendly is tracked, distinguished from enemies, and displayed on the pilot’s visor. Their all linked with with the MADL, and the targeted aircraft distributed among the shooters. Plus friendly kills is less of an issue, with the Aim-9X relaying its sensor feed to the DAS and getting course corrections/abort commands from it.

        With its slow cruise speed, bad instantaneous turn rate and acceleration, and inferior transient performance… doubtful.

        Corner speed is pretty low for most fighters. Instantaneous turn rate for the F-35 is better than the F-16 and judging from its AoA limit will likely be close to the very effective SH. Acceleration and transient (transonic) performance is less impressive but more important from exfil point-of-view rather than fighting itself. But, important nonetheless I’ll admit.

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      • DDM-NG is onboard since mid 2012. It’s easy to compare the old one and the new one, you just have to LOOK at the pictures. I would have joined some URL to show you but now I’m not even sure you would use it. Sorry.

        Sorry, I’ll amend that. Every Rafale since June 2013 (F3.04 iteration) has been equipped with the DDM-NG (I assumed they’d replace the NG bit with a number after it entered service).

        http://defense-update.com/20140127_rafale_omnirole_configuration.html#.VGeZ61WUcdQ

        ________

        However, the article in question was written in May 2013. More important, Dassault hasn’t advertised the DDM-NG as a system tested for missile cueing, referring instead to its potential applications. This is in contrast to the SPECTRA, where it out and out says that it can used to make a missile shot at BVR ranges.

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      • picard578 said

        “The Rafale hasn’t even gotten the DDM-NG as yet. The article is probably referring to the (now out-of-production) OSF.”

        It is not referring to the OSF, that is as clear as the sun. OSF only covers the frontal section of the aircraft.

        “80km for a TV channel? That would require a very tight focus; it would have extremely small FoV at that range. Adequate for a BVR launch perhaps, but the OSF itself will have to be initially cued by another source (like the SPECTRA).”

        Indeed. But TV channel’s primary purpose is identification, it is not a general-purpose sensor like IRST. Of course, that would require Rafale pilot to either use his own radar or hope that the enemy is thick enough or unlucky enough to use his radar.

        “1. The DAS had no lag AFAIK, the issue was with the helmet. And fixes for the jitter and lag were implemented in the Gen 2 helmet itself – an IMU for the jitter, software patch for the lag. The new Gen 3 helmet delivered in July, addresses the remaining issues with night vision. It’ll be fielded with the LRIP 7 batch aircraft.”

        From what I found, issue was that data received from the DAS could not be processed fast enough. Wether it’s solely an issue of helmet… we’ll see once the F-35 gets deployed in combat – processing countryside on a sunny day is quite different from processing a heavily-defended downtown in a middle of the war.

        “2. The aircraft has been tested to 50* AoA and past Mach 1.6.”

        I know that. But fact is, as they are, F-35s operational AoA limit is low. Even if it wasn’t, operational AoA probably won’t be greater than 30-some degrees (Rafale’s AoA limit is 32* yet it can reach >100*; Gripen’s AoA limit is 25* with upper operational limit of 50*, and it can also reach 100*, and I also heard it mentioned that both the F-16 and the F-15 could reach cca 100* as well, but I’m not sure how reliable that is).

        “The airframe will never be as maneuverable as a missile.”

        No, it will be more maneuverable due to different operational characteristics and design emphasis.

        “You’ve studied your history and you’ve penned down your thoughts, but with all due respect, what actual technical data have you accessed?”

        Actual data being? I’ve read military histories (and you *can’t* even begin to think about analyzng a weapon system without that, no matter how much other data you have), few tactical manuals (air combat maneuvering for the most part), general specifications, quite a few scientific documents – aerodynamics mostly but also about radar, stealth/counter-stealth, IR sensors, weapons, drones – as well as a test and an R&D report here and there.

        “Most modern air forces, aircraft and missile manufacturers have invested gobs of money in highly sophisticated facilities to test their equipment. The US has some of the largest and most advanced EW ranges in the world, fields every conceivable type of radar & EO kit and has an entire fleet of drones based on fighters; the QF-4 succeeded the QF-106, and will soon be replaced by the QF-16.”

        And a problem right there. 1 g and/or +-50 KIA can make quite a big difference in aerial combat. Most if not all missile tests nowadays are against QF-4, which has 50% greater turn radius than the F-15 (itself hardly an agile aircraft compared to more modern fighters*), and even QF-16 will be weighted down by necessary equipment added. None of them are anywhere as agile as modern fighters, and UAV always has inferior OODA loop compared to a manned fighter, even if operator is sitting right there, whereas drone can’t really compare. In other words, missile Pk based on testing is unrealistically optimistic, even if UAVs/drones used were equipped with modern onboard jammers.

        Further, I have seen few graphs and videos of tests, and all of them (that can be determined) show target aircraft in a steady state sustained turn. This leaves more than enough time for missile to adapt. And for this very reason pilots never use sustained turns to avoid missiles, but rather a combination of maximum acceleration, maximum turn and transient performance (in particular, quick rolls). Which means that probability of kill might be an order of magnitude worse than what is achieved in tests, at very least.

        *F-15 has a 9g corner speed of 385 kts for instantaneous turn and a 5 g corner speed of 425 kts for sustained turn at combat weight. Rafale has a 9 g corner speed of 350 kts for sustained turn at combat weight. F-4 has a 7,5 g corner speed of 425 kts for instantaneous turn. So…

        v^2 / r = a
        a / G = g

        v = speed of aircraft in turn
        r = radius of turn
        a = acceleration due to turn
        G = acceleration due to gravity (9,81 m/s2)
        g = g loading in turn

        385 kts = 198,1 m/s
        425 kts = 218,6 m/s
        350 kts = 180,1 m/s

        IRIS-T can achieve 60 g at Mach 3, which at 30.000 ft would be 1.767 kts or 909,3 m/s.
        AIM-120 can achieve 40 g at Mach 4, which at 30.000 ft would be 1.212,4 m/s

        Thus turn radius is:
        Rafale (sustained): 367,38 m
        F-15 (instantaneous): 444,49 m
        F-15 (sustained): 958,59 m
        F-4 (instantaneous): 649,72 m
        IRIS-T (instantaneous): 1.404,73 m
        AIM-120 (instantaneous): 3.745,96 m

        It can be seen that the F-4s sustained turn radius is almost certain to be greater than 1.400 meters. Far greater in fact, due to its draggy airframe and low thrust-to-weight ratio compared to modern fighters (0,86 at combat takeoff weight, worse than Gripen). Now, for fun… F-35 can pull 4,6 g sustained, most likely (an estimate I found) at M 0,85 or above at 20.000 ft, which translates into >269 m/s, for a turn radius of >=1.604 m. In other words, F-35 has sustained turn performance similar to the F-4 (assuming that figures I found for the F-35 are correct, which is a big if except for the g value).

        These values don’t really correspond (missile ones are for sea level, while values I used for aircraft are typically at 20-40k feet, which leads to lower turn rate and larger turn radius – in other words, differences between actual turn performance of aircraft and missiles will be far greater), but they should give you an idea – of both missile performance relative to aircraft, and of aircrafts’ relative performance (and how illogical is it to base missile performance versus Rafale on performance of that same missile versus F-4 drone).

        Just a speculation on my part, but 5 times the g rule probably comes from v^2, since typical WVR missile can achieve Mach 2,5 and typical cruise speed is cca Mach 1, then square difference gives a factor of 5, which corresponds to the rule that missile needs to pull number of gs that is g(m) = [v(m)/v(a)]^2 * g(a). Now consider that missile will rarely be fired from an ideal position, and that if it flies an intercept path – which indeed does reduce turn capability necessary to hit a target in a sustained turn – and aircraft changes direction of the turn, missile is in far worse position than it would be if it had flown chase path; this means that it has to pull more g than it would normally have to, maybe (depending on relative positions) even more than it would have to match aircraft’s turn capability.

        Now, we have turn radius. Turn circumference would be:
        Rafale (sustained): 2.308 m
        F-15 (instantaneous): 2.792,8 m
        F-15 (sustained): 6.023 m
        F-4 (instantaneous): 4.082 m
        F-35 (sustained): 10.078 m
        IRIS-T (instantaneous): 8.826 m
        AIM-120 (instantaneous): 23.537 m

        Combine this with speed and we get turn times:
        Rafale (sustained): 12,82 s
        F-15 (instantaneous): 14,1 s
        F-15 (sustained): 27,55 s
        F-4 (instantaneous): 18,67 s
        F-35 (sustained): 37,47 s
        IRIS-T (instantaneous): 9,71 s
        AIM-120 (instantaneous): 19,41 s

        Thus turn rates are:
        Rafale (sustained): 28 deg/s
        F-15 (instantaneous): 25,5 deg/s
        F-15 (sustained): 13,1 deg/s
        F-4 (instantaneous): 19,3 deg/s
        F-35 (sustained): 9,6 deg/s
        IRIS-T (instantaneous): 37,1 deg/s
        AIM-120 (instantantaneous): 18,5 deg/s

        So IRIS-T is almost certain to kill in ideal conditions, and quite dangerous even if launch conditions are less than ideal. AIM-120 on the other hand has very low chance of hitting a modern fighter if latter is trying to avoid getting shot.

        “So in effect, pretty much everyone is wrong and you’re right.”

        French pilots are taught to rely primarly on OSF and SPECTRA in air-to-air combat, radar is primarly for air to ground*. So not *everyone* got it wrong, but even if literally everyone follows the same paradigm, it doesn’t mean that said paradigm is correct. Humans are a cattle, if you know anything about psychology of mass it is easy to understand why: someone makes an observation based on incomplete data, or has an agenda. Observation is naturally incorrect, but some people will accept it without thinking or little thinking, because it is easier. Other people, who as yet don’t have the opinion on that subject, will join in because it is easier than thinking and searching for data by themselves. As they join, more people will see them joining and will not want to “miss the train”, so to speak, and so will follow without any independent consideration. This effect will then quickly snowball until majority come to believe the wrong thing. In terms of stealth aircraft, US were the first to build and utilize stealth aircraft. Once they did that, they made quite a propaganda campaign showing the F-117 as the invulnerable, invisible aircraft. Helped by the huge media establishment in the West as well as aircraft’s rather unusual shape which quickly captured imagination, campaign was extremely successful – and the US came to believe it themselves.

        It is far less common for a good idea to be immediately accepted than for a bad one. Of course, said effect can happen for a good idea as well, or may not happen at all, but that happens rarely because a) it is far easier to come up with a bad idea than with a good one and b) people do have a herd mentality, as well as ego, which means that anyone who thinks differently typically isn’t given consideration. It hurts to be wrong and even more to have it shown by someone else. Combine that with the effect described previously, and you have massive numbers of people accepting a bad idea and sticking to it beyond any reason. So if you want to arrive at a correct answer, ignore what others think, and start from the beginning – in history of military aviation that would be World War I, in general history of warfare it would be conflicts between groups of apes in prehistoric forrests, and in history of organized warfare it would be fighting between cavemen.

        *see here:
        http://www.dassault-aviation.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2012/08/Fox_Three_nr_6.pdf
        “For example, even with the radar in an air-to-surface mode, the FSO is fully capable of detecting and tracking hostile interceptors, and the pilot can instantly engage an emerging threat.”
        “Silent intercepts can be conducted with the radar switched off, the FSO and the Spectra system then becoming the main sensors.”

        “And even if your argument is correct, how are your thoughts on the matter not unique (seeing as no one else seems to share them)?”

        French Air Force seems to share many of them (see above), as does the Russian Air Force (they had IR sensors in their aircraft for quite some time), and there are a few other people.

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      • picard578 said

        “Except that missile doesn’t have to match the aircraft’s turn-radius. Its not following the same trajectory.”

        That is why standard approach is to turn side towards the missile so as to force it to pull lead, and then turn into it.

        “For every hard maneuver that the aircraft makes, the missile makes a minute correction.”

        Depends on timing and distance.

        “The rule of thumb as they say is the missile needs to have five times the aircraft’s G-limit. Not an issue for most modern WVR missiles.”

        The rule of thumb, yes. But in many situations it has to pull more, and in some it doesn’t.

        “All those were by stereotypical ‘dumb’ missiles. The F-86 could pull over 7Gs. The F-16 could sustain 9Gs, 35 years ago. All those were by stereotypical ‘dumb’ missiles. The F-86 could pull over 7Gs. The F-16 could sustain 9Gs, 35 years ago. There hasn’t been any huge leap in fighter jet performance since then. Just incremental improvements. The new generation of missiles on the other hand are not only far more nimble, they’re equipped with IIR seekers that are far ‘smarter’ in terms of maximize their energy state and pk against targets engaging in evasive maneuvering.”

        Corner speed and transient performance matter as much as raw turning ability. These are the areas where there have been leaps.

        “1. In one-on-one fights, the Mirage and MiG-29 both had a huge advantage over the F-16, in that they could end the engagement in a single pass, thanks to their exceptional nose pointing ability. Over a long drawn out fight, the F-16′s superior energy retention came into play, but a good pilot would never let it get that far.”

        Indeed, but:
        1) fights are almost never one on one
        2) Rafale and Gripen also have excellent nose pointing ability, likely better than the F-35s, thanks to their close coupled canards

        “2. In many-on-many fights i.e. a furball the single most critical aspect is IFF. And that’s where the F-35′s EODAS & helmet are absolutely invaluable. Every friendly is tracked, distinguished from enemies, and displayed on the pilot’s visor. Their all linked with with the MADL, and the targeted aircraft distributed among the shooters. Plus friendly kills is less of an issue, with the Aim-9X relaying its sensor feed to the DAS and getting course corrections/abort commands from it.”

        Assuming it works. But what if there is heavy jamming, so F-35 can’t get IFF signals, and links are down? That is quite likely to happen, actually.

        “Corner speed is pretty low for most fighters.”

        Cruise speed and corner speeds are two completely different things. You want to have high cruise speed because no matter the sensors carried, attacks from the rear are most dangerous. If you can cruise faster than the enemy can, you can limit or prevent rear quadrant attacks. Of course, once dogfight starts or if you are attacked you want to drop down to corner speed, which means a series of maximum g turns – that is where canard-delta configuration is excellent at, it can give you high lift-to-drag ratio when you want it while still being capable of producing huge induced drag when needed.

        “Instantaneous turn rate for the F-35 is better than the F-16”

        Possible but unlikely. Besides, F-16’s instantaneous turn rate isn’t that high compared to Eurocanards or the F-22. F-16 has 26 deg/s instantaneous turn rate while Rafale has 32-35 deg/s instantaneous and 28 deg/s sustained turn rate. And 2 deg/s turn rate disadvantage can be an insurmountable obstacle if you don’t have some other advantages such as transient performance.

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      • It is not referring to the OSF, that is as clear as the sun. OSF only covers the frontal section of the aircraft.

        -The journalist says that the Rafale can use any source for target designation including IR/EM/Laser. He does not say that all three were used to carry out the over-the-shoulder launch.

        – The over-the-shoulder launch is chalked up to the sensitivity of the SPECTRA.

        If the baseline DDM could be employed for independent weapons cueing, we’d have heard it advertised in Dassault/Thales literature.

        Indeed. But TV channel’s primary purpose is identification, it is not a general-purpose sensor like IRST. Of course, that would require Rafale pilot to either use his own radar or hope that the enemy is thick enough or unlucky enough to use his radar.

        With the IRST absent, the Rafale F3 pilot has no passive scan options beyond the short range MICA, until the Talios pod becomes available. And that’ll be a MWIR sensor like the EOTS.

        From what I found, issue was that data received from the DAS could not be processed fast enough. Wether it’s solely an issue of helmet… we’ll see once the F-35 gets deployed in combat – processing countryside on a sunny day is quite different from processing a heavily-defended downtown in a middle of the war.

        The processing is done by the ICP that fields truly massive amounts of computing power. The issue was with the helmet and that’s been addressed with the Gen 3 model. Fact is, the helmet is meeting its requirements and it’ll continue to do so in all environments.

        I know that. But fact is, as they are, F-35s operational AoA limit is low. Even if it wasn’t, operational AoA probably won’t be greater than 30-some degrees (Rafale’s AoA limit is 32* yet it can reach >100*; Gripen’s AoA limit is 25* with upper operational limit of 50*, and it can also reach 100*, and I also heard it mentioned that both the F-16 and the F-15 could reach cca 100* as well, but I’m not sure how reliable that is).

        50 degrees is the operational AoA limit. The aircraft been pushed well past that limit in post-stall tests.

        No, it will be more maneuverable due to different operational characteristics and design emphasis.

        Its performance is only incrementally better than that achieved by the F-16A and Mirage 2000 in the mid-80s.

        Actual data being? I’ve read military histories (and you *can’t* even begin to think about analyzng a weapon system without that, no matter how much other data you have), few tactical manuals (air combat maneuvering for the most part), general specifications, quite a few scientific documents – aerodynamics mostly but also about radar, stealth/counter-stealth, IR sensors, weapons, drones – as well as a test and an R&D report here and there.

        Actual data being EM diagrams for the Aim-120D and Meteor with range factored in. Ranges for IRST systems in a variety of real world conditions. Ranges for IR seekers in a variety of real world conditions. False-alarm rates for both. Actual PD radar ranges in jamming conditions. Same for PESA and AESAs.

        And a problem right there. 1 g and/or +-50 KIA can make quite a big difference in aerial combat. Most if not all missile tests nowadays are against QF-4, which has 50% greater turn radius than the F-15 (itself hardly an agile aircraft compared to more modern fighters*), and even QF-16 will be weighted down by necessary equipment added. None of them are anywhere as agile as modern fighters, and UAV always has inferior OODA loop compared to a manned fighter, even if operator is sitting right there, whereas drone can’t really compare. In other words, missile Pk based on testing is unrealistically optimistic, even if UAVs/drones used were equipped with modern onboard jammers.

        First of all, grant that the folks designing the missile, those designing the drone, those designing the jammers and those involved in testing are aware of the limitations of their equipment and the need for working around that.

        Second, its not just fighter-sized drones that are involved but also smaller ones like the BQM-74 & BQM-167. They can out-turn any fighter jet, at its corner speed no less.

        Third, the QF-16 is not weighed down by necessary equipment. Its performance comfortably replicates that of a combat configured F-16A.

        Fourth, the OODA loop is not a concern in the least, because these tests are carried out over and tracked by the weapons range. The UAV pilot can receive the updates in the same time-frame and to the same extent as a pilot in the cockpit, allowing him to replicate every standard evasion maneuver in a clinical fashion.

        And finally, I don’t think you appreciate the scale and extent of the weapons testing process. The 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group carries out over 300 air to air missiles tests every year as a part of the Combat Archer program. Its hard to believe that despite such a rigorous testing effort, they never figured out the ‘truths’ that you write about on your blog.

        Further, I have seen few graphs and videos of tests, and all of them (that can be determined) show target aircraft in a steady state sustained turn. This leaves more than enough time for missile to adapt. And for this very reason pilots never use sustained turns to avoid missiles, but rather a combination of maximum acceleration, maximum turn and transient performance (in particular, quick rolls). Which means that probability of kill might be an order of magnitude worse than what is achieved in tests, at very least.

        ^ This is my point. You’re basing your analysis on a ‘few graphs and videos’. On the other hand, the countries and air forces that are investing in the weaponry have no such limitations.

        These values don’t really correspond (missile ones are for sea level, while values I used for aircraft are typically at 20-40k feet, which leads to lower turn rate and larger turn radius – in other words, differences between actual turn performance of aircraft and missiles will be far greater), but they should give you an idea – of both missile performance relative to aircraft, and of aircrafts’ relative performance (and how illogical is it to base missile performance versus Rafale on performance of that same missile versus F-4 drone).

        Your basic premise viz. the aircraft with a smaller turn radius will outmaneuver a missile with a larger one, is flawed. The whole paradigm changed with the introduction of the IIR seeker. The modern WVR missile does not aim for where the aircraft is but where it will be. Any aircraft in a sustained turn, will find the missile waiting at the very end of that arc.

        Nor does the missile have to do a great deal of maneuvering to do that. At a range of 5 km (just 6 seconds flight time), the missile only has to course correct by about 30 deg to hit a target that’s moving at near Mach 1 across its FoV (which will take about 0.5 sec).

        The pilot’s best shot with an incoming WVR missile is to try a hard ‘break’ at the last moment to put him out of the kill radius before the missile can compensate. It’ll need to be perfectly timed. Two seconds late and the missile hits. Too seconds too fast, and the missile compensates and nails him anyway.

        French pilots are taught to rely primarly on OSF and SPECTRA in air-to-air combat, radar is primarly for air to ground*.

        Rafale F3 & F3R pilots don’t have an IRST. Nor do Mirage pilots for that matter. The SPECTRA works only against radiating targets. Every ‘silent’ hostile in the vicinity is invisible to a French pilot employing such tactics.

        So not *everyone* got it wrong, but even if literally everyone follows the same paradigm, it doesn’t mean that said paradigm is correct. Humans are a cattle, if you know anything about psychology of mass it is easy to understand why: someone makes an observation based on incomplete data, or has an agenda.

        Do the two dozen major air forces named have incomplete data? Do they have an agenda? Are they all simply cattle?

        “For example, even with the radar in an air-to-surface mode, the FSO is fully capable of detecting and tracking hostile interceptors, and the pilot can instantly engage an emerging threat.”
        “Silent intercepts can be conducted with the radar switched off, the FSO and the Spectra system then becoming the main sensors.”

        Like I said before, the OSF is now limited to a TV channel on the F3. And if you’re referring to the older F2 aircraft; the radar described is a PESA (which it seems functions just fine in an air-to-surface role).

        French Air Force seems to share many of them (see above), as does the Russian Air Force (they had IR sensors in their aircraft for quite some time), and there are a few other people.

        I was referring to your theory about stealth being a lie and all future air warfare taking place in the IR spectrum with the EM spectrum being a complete liability. The French have shelved the OSF-NG project for now, while ordering a substantial number of AESA radars. The Russians have a three antenna AESA ‘complex’ on the PAK FA, an aircraft designed to be LO in the EM spectrum. Its the same for most major air forces.

        Assuming it works. But what if there is heavy jamming, so F-35 can’t get IFF signals, and links are down? That is quite likely to happen, actually.

        The MADL is a highly directional data-link. It operates line-of-sight. IFF signals are not necessary with the DAS tracking and identifying all aircraft around the aircraft, a capability unaffected by jamming. Besides which jamming in a furball will be extremely hard to achieve with most jammers having a forward facing alignment and a limited FoV.

        That incidently is another downside of the Rafale. It depends on the Link 16 for comms which doesn’t gel with its Emcon concept.

        Like

    • vyse said

      “one Rafale with 2 MICAs against an F-35 with 2 Aim-9Xs, the F-35 comes out on top. Something, most of the fans of the fans on the thread, are either unaware of, or unwilling to accept.”

      Considering (any) missile Pk in real engagement, I would not bet much on two Aim-9Xs getting a kill on a highly maneuvrable Rafale with its EW suite, unless the shooting plane has taken decisive advantage of position in a dogfight. Which in case of F35 sounds not credible at all.

      Like

      • 1. The Aim-9X employs an IIR seeker (as does the MICA for what its worth), so the Rafale’s EW suite is pretty feeble against it (limited to popping flares).

        2. You’ve watched too much Top Gun, if you think modern dogfights are about long drawn out maneuvering. The Aim-9X pulls upto 80Gs at Mach 2 and can turn 180 deg in under 3 seconds.

        3. As far as its Pk is concerned, its got a seeker with a 180 deg FoV (compared to only 120 deg on the MICA). And just as importantly, it maximizes its pk through course corrections from the EODAS transmitted through a 2-way data-link.

        Like

      • vyse said

        “1. The Aim-9X employs an IIR seeker (as does the MICA for what its worth), so the Rafale’s EW suite is pretty feeble against it (limited to popping flares).”

        -Point taken.

        “2. You’ve watched too much Top Gun, if you think modern dogfights are about long drawn out maneuvering. The Aim-9X pulls upto 80Gs at Mach 2 and can turn 180 deg in under 3 seconds.”

        -Basic laws of physics makes it harder for a missile to hit a fighter than for a fighter to avoid a missile. As it is all about exploiting available energy to either cross trajectory or avoid crossing trajectory, depending on which side of the missile you are. Missile are just so limited in energy (in comparison to an aircraft), that they hardly can take advantage of their kinetic ability if the target is not cooperative and is efficient in its reactions.
        It’s not just my opinion but the observation of statistics up to now.
        Picard’s thread about air to air weapon is worth a read, since you’re here:

        https://defenseissues.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/air-to-air-weapons-effectiveness/

        By the way, I’ve never liked the film Top Gun (seen it as a kid and just remembered the bike scene), nor am I that much facinated about the dogfight side of fighter aircraft. But if you believe that dogfight is a thing of the past, or that technology has revolutioned everything in dogfighting, maybe you’re the one watching too much Sci-Fi 😉

        “3. As far as its Pk is concerned, its got a seeker with a 180 deg FoV (compared to only 120 deg on the MICA). And just as importantly, it maximizes its pk through course corrections from the EODAS transmitted through a 2-way data-link.”

        -Which makes it a very dangerous missile indeed… if shot from a competitive fighter.

        I’m still standing on the position that to get a decent probability of kill against capable modern fighter it will need to be launched from optimal situation (Position and direction of shooter relative to target, relative speed of both, relative altitude…)
        And in that regard the F35 looks lame. I struggle to imagine it getting into a correct position, especially against the Rafale, which has superior agility, is smaller, lighter, faster, has better wing loading, higher fuel fraction, less drag, higher AoA and so and so on…

        See, my point is that technology is not re-designing the wheel anyway. Dynamic properties of a flying object are still much more linked to its kinetic and aerodinamic intrinsic qualities than its electronics. How much of a raw deficit in its ability to fly can a fighter balance through usage of technologic gimmicks is a question for the F35 to answear indeed…

        Like

      • Basic laws of physics makes it harder for a missile to hit a fighter than for a fighter to avoid a missile.

        The fighter does 9Gs at Mach 1. The missiles does 80Gs at Mach 2. The basic laws of physics are in the missile’s favour.

        As it is all about exploiting available energy to either cross trajectory or avoid crossing trajectory, depending on which side of the missile you are. Missile are just so limited in energy (in comparison to an aircraft), that they hardly can take advantage of their kinetic ability if the target is not cooperative and is efficient in its reactions.

        The target is rarely cooperative. The missiles are designed to kill it regardless.

        But if you believe that dogfight is a thing of the past, or that technology has revolutioned everything in dogfighting, maybe you’re the one watching too much Sci-Fi

        Modern WVR missiles are in a whole new generation when it comes to maneuverability and seeker coverage vis a vis its predecessors. In contrast, modern aircraft are only incrementally more maneuverable than older aircraft.

        Which makes it a very dangerous missile indeed… if shot from a competitive fighter.

        Its dangerous missiles fired from any fighter but much more dangerous when fired from the F-35A who’s pilot isn’t limited by cockpit visibility and for whom weapons cueing is carried out by the DAS. Also, the aircraft itself has a max AoA of 50 degrees, translating into excellent nose-pointing ability.

        I’m still standing on the position that to get a decent probability of kill against capable modern fighter it will need to be launched from optimal situation (Position and direction of shooter relative to target, relative speed of both, relative altitude…)

        The vastly majority of air-to-air kills have been registered when the opponent wasn’t even aware of his impending doom. Modern MAWS have made that less likely, but the fact still remains the entity shooting first is far more likely to survive the engagement, especially given the performance of modern dogfighting missiles and HMDs. And in a fight involving it, that entity will be the F-35.

        See, my point is that technology is not re-designing the wheel anyway. Dynamic properties of a flying object are still much more linked to its kinetic and aerodinamic intrinsic qualities than its electronics. How much of a raw deficit in its ability to fly can a fighter balance through usage of technologic gimmicks is a question for the F35 to answear indeed…

        The DAS isn’t a technological ‘gimmick’, nor is the VSI-built HMDS. As for raw performance, again – 80Gs. And you can’t barrel-roll out of its seeker field either, with the seeker track supplemented by DAS updates.

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        • picard578 said

          A few mistakes:

          “The fighter does 9Gs at Mach 1. The missiles does 80Gs at Mach 2. The basic laws of physics are in the missile’s favour.”

          Wrong. Rafale can do 9 g at Mach 0,6 sustained while even modern dogfighting missiles do 60-90 g at Mach 2,5. Since turn radius is square of speed, missile will have at least 1,74 times as large turn radius as Rafale. And keep in mind that Rafale’s pilot will not be doing a sustained turn if he’s shot at.

          “The target is rarely cooperative. The missiles are designed to kill it regardless.”

          Designed to, yes, successful at it? Sometimes. But most kills (and *all* BVR kills) happened when target was unaware that it was being attacked and had no active countermeasures. Good luck with that against fighters with modern MAWS.

          “Also, the aircraft itself has a max AoA of 50 degrees, translating into excellent nose-pointing ability.”

          In many-on-many fights, it is simply a good way to commit suicide. You loose to much energy for no gain in instantaneous turn rate, and F-35 is in especially bad position since it cannot regain energy quickly enough. Rafale can achieve maximum aerodynamic angle of attack of 110*, yet in operational service it is limited to 32* – because 32* is the AoA at which maximum lift, and thus maximum turn rate, is achieved.

          “And in a fight involving it, that entity will be the F-35.”

          With its slow cruise speed, bad instantaneous turn rate and acceleration, and inferior transient performance… doubtful.

          Like

      • vyse said

        “As for raw performance, again – 80Gs.”

        -You’re talking about the missile again. Yet the phrase you answear to (the one you quoted yourself above) is about the fighter.

        I never said the idea of a Rafale being shot down by an Aim-9X (or other capable missile) is ridiculous. I said the F-35 is not the credible launcher, because of its severe performance limitations.

        The only two parts of my post you didn’t quote are the one reminding you about the AtA weapons having poor result VS expectations, and the one reminding you about the F-35 being a fighter with poor flying performance.

        It seems you try everything to veer the discussion off the F-35 being a dog as a fighter (no pun intended), with awfull characteristics on everything that hugely matters for a fighter aircraft, to focus only on pretended capacity of mainly unproven equipement/weapon combo. That, about a fighter which is yet to enter operational service.

        At first I enjoyed seing someone who is critisizing the Rafale, because it is on some sort of pedestal here, and its downsides are rarely discussed. But the more you post the less objective you seems and your posts start to look as propaganda. (repeating again and again same doctrine about technological unproved features while ignoring/downplaying everything as important as basic performance, payload, all aspect stealth, efficiency, maintenance, sortie rate, etc…) This rethoric is like selling a Tata Nano twice the price of a Ford Focus by repeating you integrated a better GPS, a connected tablet and a good sound system in it.

        Sorry but I don’t buy it.

        Like

      • I never said the idea of a Rafale being shot down by an Aim-9X (or other capable missile) is ridiculous. I said the F-35 is not the credible launcher, because of its severe performance limitations.

        Once the missile is launched, the launch platform’s performance is irrelevant. And in the F-35’s case, the launch will happen the instant the enemy is tracked, which in turn will happen the instant its detected. The pilot will pitch the nose it its direction and follow it up with a second shot against the now evading fighter. And finally, attempt a gun kill if the target isn’t dead yet, or exfil on afterburners depending on the situation. The F-35 pilot retains the initiative through out.

        The only two parts of my post you didn’t quote are the one reminding you about the AtA weapons having poor result VS expectations, and the one reminding you about the F-35 being a fighter with poor flying performance.

        I didn’t quote it because you’d explicitly phrased that as your personal opinion. Since you posted no evidence to support that argument, I assumed you didn’t want to pursue the point. I also had know idea how to rebut, ‘the F-35 looks lame’.

        It seems you try everything to veer the discussion off the F-35 being a dog as a fighter (no pun intended), with awfull characteristics on everything that hugely matters for a fighter aircraft, to focus only on pretended capacity of mainly unproven equipement/weapon combo. That, about a fighter which is yet to enter operational service.

        ‘Unproven’ would be the Rafale’s equipment/weapon combo as well. They’ve (fortunately) been no wars recently to test the equipment and settle our petty debates. And in terms of performance, the F-35A is a fairly decent mesh of the F-16 and SH. Its got the acceleration of the former (in the subsonic regime) and the high AoA performance of the latter. Not inspiring, but fairly decent.

        At first I enjoyed seing someone who is critisizing the Rafale, because it is on some sort of pedestal here, and its downsides are rarely discussed. But the more you post the less objective you seems and your posts start to look as propaganda. (repeating again and again same doctrine about technological unproved features while ignoring/downplaying everything as important as basic performance, payload, all aspect stealth, efficiency, maintenance, sortie rate, etc…)

        Propaganda? Really? I apologize for interrupting the love-fest, and I’ll leave you to it if you like.

        “basic performance, payload, all aspect stealth, efficiency, maintenance, sortie rate, etc…”

        Basic performance is decent. If you load them both up externally, the F-35 will have a payload comparable to the Rafale, while featuring greater reserve power and still a lower RCS (albeit to a non-LO level). In terms of stealth, the F-35 is reportedly better than the F-22 (the Rafale in contrast has very limited first-day strike capabilities, against a foe that can saturate the airspace with AWACS and high power AESA equipped fighters). Maintenance & sortie rates; work in progress – it’ll still be at least two years before benchmarks are met.
        _______

        To round that up; APG-81>RBE-2AA. HMDS>Topsight. EOTS=Talios>Damocles. DAS>DDM-NG. (Most people would put the Barracuda over the SPECTRA but I’ll leave that out.) Aim-9X>MICA. SDB>AASM. The Rafale has better acc. and STR. The F-35 has VLO capability.

        This rethoric is like selling a Tata Nano twice the price of a Ford Focus by repeating you integrated a better GPS, a connected tablet and a good sound system in it.

        So the F-35 is akin to the Tata Nano is it? Its been ordered in the hundreds by ten countries with more in line. The Rafale is yet to score its first export order after 14 years of operation (its predecessor i.e. the Mirage still managed to do a lot better). You may have your analogy backwards.

        Like

      • vyse said

        “Once the missile is launched, the launch platform’s performance is irrelevant.”

        -No it isn’t.
        Kinetic energy of fighter is partially transfered to the missile at launch. Distance, attitude and altitude of the launch platform also makes critical differences to the missile rate of succes.
        This has been proven over more than fifty years of AtA engagements involving missiles.

        All your rethoric is based on skipping that fact, as well as the fact the F-35 having inferior flying abilities than almost all modern fighters it may encounter, as well as the fact it has a terribly hot engine, which is sollicited extensively thanks to draggy aero inherited for radar stealth requirements.

        What is the point of having efficient RCS if you’re “clear as the Sun” in IR spectrum as a drawback? What the point of being able to throw a missile 90° off-bore if it is greatly reducing it’s probability of success? (unless it’s a deffensive mesure, but in your rethoric the F-35 is the dominent FTSFTK plane which takes the initiative.) And then how do you hope to mount a surprise on a fighter with great awarness like the Rafale? With low cruise speed and inferior fuel fraction how is it going to reach the engagement zone in the first time?

        “Propaganda? Really? I apologize for interrupting the love-fest, and I’ll leave you to it if you like.”

        -First I must apologise for taking that finger-pointing stance. (your “Top Gun” comment was quite arrogant though)

        But you are displaying a pretty good level of specific knowledge, in deep contrast with your apparent misjudging (or downplaying / twisting) of the known basics, which means it is probably intentional. Now this is the signature of either a propagandist (the one enforcing the doctrine), or of an apologist (one already turned by a doctrine and now feeling the need to spread it). Both are seen (at least by me) as dishonnest interlocutors.
        However I understand we are all putting some wheels on that sort of grass while defending our views, so again I apologize for the accusation.

        Besides, I’m not selling Rafales (or any other plane), so I’m not feeling as a Rafale lover. (I’m actually facinated by all warbirds, including even F-35, despite I think it’s a bad fighter resulting from wrong compromises).It’s true this site is looking like a Gripen and/or Rafale lovefest at times, but main difference with proliferating fanboys websites is the points made (at least by Picard578) are objectively defended with hard numbers, thorough, detailed and documented analysis.
        I learnt a great amount of things here; and certainly evolved my approach of warbirds, at least.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          “What the point of being able to throw a missile 90° off-bore if it is greatly reducing it’s probability of success?”

          There is some point – you want to point your nose at the target, but in many-on-many fights you should never sustain a turn for more than 90 degrees. If you can’t point your nose at target in that time, roll, pull up and go looking for another one. Reason is that as long as you are occupied with shooting down the enemy, you don’t really have time to worry about other aircraft nearby, which means that you are in danger (and it doesn’t really matter how good your SA is). Of course, it must be weighted – you don’t carry unlimited ordnance, after all – and maneuverability is absolutely crucial for avoiding said unseen opponent (or unseen missiles), so saying that HOBS capability and 360* situational awareness negate need for high maneuverability is illogical (akin to saying that having a wheelchair and eyes negates need for having legs).

          That is why I hold that sustained turns are almost to completely irrelevant for fighter aircraft. Transient performance, acceleration and instantaneous turn capability carry the day when it comes to maneuvering.

          “With low cruise speed and inferior fuel fraction how is it going to reach the engagement zone in the first time?”

          F-35 actually has higher fuel fraction than Rafale, but will burn fuel in dogfight at quite prodigious rate.

          Like

  13. Xplane said

    1. So, how could it be a disappointment? Every test in real situation has been a success anyway.
    2. Nothing is omitted. Do different is not ommit. You compare with another system and you should not and, btw, Damocles is replaced in F3R by Talios.
    3. Well, even within close comparition betwin missiles, i’m not quite shure about which platform is the winner if you consider every fight element.

    Like

    • 1. If it weren’t a disappointment it wouldn’t have been omitted.

      2. They’re not ‘doing different’. The IR channel has been omitted altogether from the OSF. Yes, the Damocles is being replaced with the PDL-NG/Talios, I said as much in my last post. All the same, Thales will be delivering a 4th gen pod in 2018 – nearly ten years after Rafael, and 13 years after Lockheed Martin, both of whom are developing 5th gen LDPs now.

      3. Consider whatever fight elements you like, the Aim-9X beats the MICA in WVR combat. Turns tighter, wider seeker FoV and sends back and receives updates through the 2-way data-link to increase its kill-probability.

      Like

    • 1. Its a disappointment as an IRST because the IR channel wasn’t even retained in the OSF-IT.

      2. Do ‘different’ doesn’t change the fact that the OSF-IT doesn’t have an IRST function (unlike the PIRATE for eg.). The Talios pod in 2018, will have performance only comparable to the Sniper XR and Litening G4 which went into service in 2005 and 2009 respective. Their 5th gen replacements are already under development.

      3. In every ‘fight element’ within WVR combat, the Aim-9X with its wider FoV, tighter turn performance and 2-way data-link trumps the MICA-IR.

      Like

  14. Xplane said

    It looks like you need to convince yourself but just have a look around on this site and others, escape when you find a fanboy circle, read a lot and you’ll reach another conclusion about Rafale. I’m not saying it’s a God miracle plane, just that it does exactly what it was done for, it does it very well.
    To compare with F-35 or Typhoon, I’m just waiting for them to be ready.

    Like

    • I’ve read plenty about the Rafale, believe me. Yet its downsides cannot be overlooked… well they’re rarely mentioned on this site, but are still very real.

      Small radar. No IRST. No VLO capability. Low rate of production. High cost. Expensive munitions. Zero confirmed exports.

      The upside is a high-end EW suite.
      __________

      With regard to the EF & F-35 – the EF is already ready and fully multi-role with the P2E software complement while the F-35 will IOC next year. If we want to compare them at full spec, that’ll happen in 2018, when the Rafale F3R, EF P3E and the F-35’s Block 3F entering service.

      Like

      • Xplane said

        I’m sure you did hesitate to formulate the only upside you found…

        Like

      • picard578 said

        Small radar isn’t really a downside. Optical suite could be better, but is better than none (F-22) or AtG-oriented (F-35). Stealth is a lie – Rafale is more stealthy in IR spectrum than any Western aircraft except maybe Gripen, while radar stealth isn’t terribly useful, especially not once it outstrips any realistical IR stealth. Which in F-22 and F-35 it has, by a large margin. Low rate of production was a conscious choice on part of France and Dassault to keep the production line busy while export orders are being found. Cost is high, but still lower than that of any modern fighter barring Gripen, F-16 and F-18.

        Like

      • Small radar isn’t really a downside. Optical suite could be better, but is better than none (F-22) or AtG-oriented (F-35).

        The radar’s disappointment performance reportedly played a role in Singapore rejecting it. Optical suite is current worse than the F-35 (non-existent IRST), but will catch up with the PDL-NG’s fielding. However, the F-35 will continue to have an advantage at closer ranges; DAS v DDM-NG

        Stealth is a lie – Rafale is more stealthy in IR spectrum than any Western aircraft except maybe Gripen, while radar stealth isn’t terribly useful, especially not once it outstrips any realistical IR stealth.

        Rafale stealthier than the F-35 in the IR spectrum? Prove it.

        With respect to radar stealth, most of the world has a different opinion; F-22, F-35, PAK FA, J-20, J-31, ATD-X, KF-X, AMCA… plus B-2, PAK DA, H-20… plus X-45, X-47, Avenger, Neuron, Taranis, Barracuda, Skat, 601-S family, all of which incorporate LO/VLO capability in the EM spectrum.

        Low rate of production was a conscious choice on part of France and Dassault to keep the production line busy while export orders are being found. Cost is high, but still lower than that of any modern fighter barring Gripen, F-16 and F-18.

        F-15E, MiG-29/35, Su-30, Su-35, J-10, J-11. The only fighters more expensive than the Rafale are the Eurofighter and F-35. And the F-35 is looking set to beat the Rafale on acquisition cost as its production ramps up.

        Just as importantly, the French munition complement to the Rafale is staggeringly expensive. The MICAs are priced at $2.75 million each (2012 contract with India) and the AASMs at an eye-popping $500,000 each (albeit including R&D costs). The SCALP-EG is likely to have similarly high costs.

        Like

      • picard578 said

        “The radar’s disappointment performance reportedly played a role in Singapore rejecting it.”

        I meant in tactical terms, not in terms of exports.

        “However, the F-35 will continue to have an advantage at closer ranges; DAS v DDM-NG”

        Assuming that its helmet works.

        “Rafale stealthier than the F-35 in the IR spectrum? Prove it.”

        It’s quite easy to see if you know a little about both aircraft.
        1) M88-2 has an additional cooling channel beyond the one normally present. This cooling channel extends around the entire casing and the engine nozzle. You can clearly see it here:

        As a result, not only is the engine casing cooled beyond what it would normally be (reducing temperature of the part of the airframe where engines are) but the exhaust plume also gets surrounded by the (relatively) cool air. Outer set of the nozzles also hides the inner set and part of the afterburning plume from most angles. Since F-135 has no such channel, engine will heat more, airframe around the engine will heat more and the exhaust plume will be far more visible.
        2) M88-2s inlet temperature is 2.871 F, while the F135s is 3.600 F.
        3) As a part of the weight reduction measures, F-35s skin was made thinner. This means that greater amount of heat from the engine (and avionics, though they aren’t anywhere as major source) gets through the skin.
        4) Rafale has a total thrust of 9.953 kgf dry and 15.077 kgf afterburner, while the F-35 has a total thrust of 12.700 kgf dry and 19.500 kgf afterburner. That is 28-29% more thrust, and consequently greater engine IR signature.
        5) Rafale has a thrust-to-weight ratio of 1,2 in combat configuration while the F-35 has a thrust-to-weight ratio of 1,07 in combat configuration. Rafale also has a superior aerodynamic configuration, as discussed in the article (higher wing sweep gives less drag in cruise while drag increase during maneuvers is offset by lower AoA required for same lift-to-weight ratio due to presence of close coupled canards and lower wing loading, which combined with delayed stall gives a major improvement in lift-to-drag ratio. Rafale also has thinner and more aerodynamic body). As a result, Rafale does not have to use its full thrust to match the F-35 in either cruise conditions or maneuvering combat, thus additionally reducing its IR signature compared to the F-35s.
        6) F-35 has greater frontal crossection, which results in greater drag and thus more aerodynamic heating and more thrust necessary.
        7) For all disadvantages of the twin engined configuration, it does have an advantage in IR signature – same amount of thrust results in faster cooling in the air compared to a single engined configuration because of greater ratio of surface to the plume’s volume. Combine that with F-35s greater thrust and it is clear that the F-35 will leave behind it a far wider and longer exhaust plume, and thus longer and wider trail of hot air. This advantage can be offset by the typically superior aerodynamics of single-engined fighters, but in this case it is the F-35 that has inferior aerodynamic configuration. See the point just before this one.

        “With respect to radar stealth, most of the world has a different opinion; F-22, F-35, PAK FA, J-20, J-31, ATD-X, KF-X, AMCA… plus B-2, PAK DA, H-20… plus X-45, X-47, Avenger, Neuron, Taranis, Barracuda, Skat, 601-S family, all of which incorporate LO/VLO capability in the EM spectrum.”

        Most of the world also believed that battleships are a decisive naval force even in 1940, most of the world believed that cavalry is a most important military arm until 1914 (and many continued to believe it until 1939), most of the world believed that World War I will be the last major war (“The war to end all wars”), most of the world disregarded maneuvering combat as outdated before Vietnam happened… what “most of the world” believes is no measure of what is correct.

        “F-15E, MiG-29/35, Su-30, Su-35, J-10, J-11. The only fighters more expensive than the Rafale are the Eurofighter and F-35. And the F-35 is looking set to beat the Rafale on acquisition cost as its production ramps up.”

        F-35 will never beat Rafale on cost grounds. As for fighters you have listed, you are correct, but the F-15E is essentially a bomber while others are not produced in Western acqusition and production system.

        “Just as importantly, the French munition complement to the Rafale is staggeringly expensive. ”

        Yes, I know. Which is why I’d like Rafale to integrate IRIS-T, ASRAAM and maybe Meteor ASAP.

        Like

      • Xplane said

        Well, I think we should compare weapon prices in all areas. French weapons can be used many times without firing, about 50 times for AASM and are dedicated to the “omnirole” Rafale caracteristic. What about US ones?

        Like

      • I meant in tactical terms, not in terms of exports.

        Singapore or France, the customers still want a longer ranged radar. Like I mentioned before, you’re viewed aren’t shared by any of them.

        Assuming that its helmet works.

        Helmet works.

        It’s quite easy to see if you know a little about both aircraft.

        Actually I do know a little about both aircraft, but I was waiting to see if you’d mention the respective bypass ratios of the two engines involved. Nor did you mention the fact that the F-35 employs a liquid cooling system similar to the one on the F-22 to lower the temperature of the airframe’s leading edges using jet fuel as a coolant. Finally, no mention of the F-35’s exhaust; developed from the F-16’s LOAN concept for low observability in both the EM and IR spectrums.

        Most of the world also believed that battleships are a decisive naval force even in 1940, most of the world believed that cavalry is a most important military arm until 1914 (and many continued to believe it until 1939), most of the world believed that World War I will be the last major war (“The war to end all wars”), most of the world disregarded maneuvering combat as outdated before Vietnam happened… what “most of the world” believes is no measure of what is correct.

        Difference is that everyone of those entities is staffed by officers who’ve studied the history of warfare, the evolution of military technology, and recognize the advantage & applications of disruptive tech. In addition to which they have the actual resources to test out IR sensors and compare them to radars. The fact that everyone of them has reached the same conclusion, suggests that the technical data from such testing doesn’t support your PoV.

        F-35 will never beat Rafale on cost grounds. As for fighters you have listed, you are correct, but the F-15E is essentially a bomber while others are not produced in Western acqusition and production system.

        APG-82. IRST-21. JHMCS. 9G airframe. High TWR. Most people don’t consider it ‘essentially a bomber’, anymore than the F-15C was.

        The Rafale is being built at 11 units per year, while the F-35’s production rate will rise to 160 units per year at FRP. That’s a huge disparity in the economies of scale involved. The F-35’s fly-away cost in 2018 will be $75 mil at current day prices, and they’re trying to depress than further to <$70M. Its operating cost is much higher yes, that'll again be offset against it cheaper weapons.

        Yes, I know. Which is why I’d like Rafale to integrate IRIS-T, ASRAAM and maybe Meteor ASAP.

        Unfortunately, there’s little financial incentive for that.

        Like

      • picard578 said

        “Singapore or France, the customers still want a longer ranged radar. Like I mentioned before, you’re viewed aren’t shared by any of them”

        Which means jack all.

        “Actually I do know a little about both aircraft, but I was waiting to see if you’d mention the respective bypass ratios of the two engines involved.”

        And? Having best bypass ratio etc. means little if aircraft has low thrust-to-weight and thrust-to-drag ratios. Besides, M88 has a bypass ratio of 0,3:1 and TWR of 8,5:1 compared to the F-135s bypass ratio of 0,57:1 and TWR of 11:1. In other words, M88 has superior bypass ratio and inferior TWR, but latter is countered by Rafale being a twin-engined aircraft.

        “Nor did you mention the fact that the F-35 employs a liquid cooling system similar to the one on the F-22 to lower the temperature of the airframe’s leading edges using jet fuel as a coolant.”

        Yes, and increasing possibility of an aircraft blowing up when hit. Rafale also had treatment for IR signature reduction but I don’t have any data.

        ” Finally, no mention of the F-35′s exhaust; developed from the F-16′s LOAN concept for low observability in both the EM and IR spectrums.”

        Then show me its IR signature reduction mechanisms.

        “Difference is that everyone of those entities is staffed by officers who’ve studied the history of warfare”

        I wouldn’t bet on it, seeing that the same officers that insisted on stealth strike fighter also insist on retiring the A-10.

        “The Rafale is being built at 11 units per year, while the F-35′s production rate will rise to 160 units per year at FRP. That’s a huge disparity in the economies of scale involved. ”

        Rafale can be built at far higher rate but rate is kept low so as to give France more time to secure exports. F-35 doesn’t have such problems. As for economics of scale, can you show me one example of a modern fighter aircraft where flyaway cost dropped significantly thanks to it?

        “The F-35′s fly-away cost in 2018 will be $75 mil at current day prices, and they’re trying to depress than further to <$70M."

        Unlikely.

        Like

      • Which means jack all.

        Which means that the radar’s range is considered valuable by most AFs (including the AdlA), and which puts the Rafale with its undersized radar at a disadvantage vis a vis its peers.

        And? Having best bypass ratio etc. means little if aircraft has low thrust-to-weight and thrust-to-drag ratios. Besides, M88 has a bypass ratio of 0,3:1 and TWR of 8,5:1 compared to the F-135s bypass ratio of 0,57:1 and TWR of 11:1. In other words, M88 has superior bypass ratio and inferior TWR, but latter is countered by Rafale being a twin-engined aircraft.

        TWR & drag and all that is tangential. We’re were discussing the IR signature here. And the problem is that you compared the inlet temperature of the two aircraft and total thrust, but made no effort at all to factor in the bypass ratio into your analysis.

        Yes, and increasing possibility of an aircraft blowing up when hit.

        It reduces the chance of being hit, by lowering the aircraft’s IR signature. And with the air pressure and wind velocity at the leading edges, the amount of fuel used as a coolant will simply not ignite.

        Rafale also had treatment for IR signature reduction but I don’t have any data.

        You stated quite unambiguously that the Rafale is stealthier than ‘any Western aircraft’ in the IR spectrum.

        Then show me its IR signature reduction mechanisms.

        I didn’t design it. I’m not privy to the technical specifics of its working. That said –
        __________

        The classified “sawtooth” features that ring the nozzle help consolidate the exhaust into a so-called “spike” signature, while other secret techniques have been employed to combat and minimize the engine heat signature.

        “We had to deal with that, and we dealt with that,” O’Bryan said, declining to offer details.

        The F-35 meets or exceeds the services’ infrared signature specifications. Many of the standard fighter engine features such as a big afterburner spray bar assembly and related piping are missing from the F-35. The F135 power plant, built by Pratt & Whitney, is truly a “stealth engine,” he said.

        http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2012/November%202012/1112fighter.aspx/url
        __________

        I wouldn’t bet on it, seeing that the same officers that insisted on stealth strike fighter also insist on retiring the A-10.

        You sound pretty contemptuous of them. In any case, retaining or retiring the A-10 is not an ‘obvious’ choice. If it were, there would be several countries lining up to buy the retiring A-10s. Israel, India & South Korea for starters. The USAF doesn’t feel a single role aircraft, useful in permissible environments, is an efficient use of its resources. So be it. Unless you want to make it an issue, its not relevant to our debate here.

        Rafale can be built at far higher rate but rate is kept low so as to give France more time to secure exports. F-35 doesn’t have such problems. As for economics of scale, can you show me one example of a modern fighter aircraft where flyaway cost dropped significantly thanks to it?

        The reasons may be whatever, fact still remains its production rate is very low and its cost is thus much higher than it could have been.

        As for the economic aspect – compare the costs of the F-16 and Mirage 2000. The cost differential was primarily because of the huge difference in the scale of production.

        Unlikely.

        The flyaway cost has already fallen from $250M for the LRIP 1, to $108M for the LRIP 8. It needs to fall just another $20 mil in four years, to achieve its target in TY dollars. What remains to be seen is, by how much can they beat that figure.

        Like

  15. Xplane said

    It seems that you have more informations on the Rafale than the Rafale’s builder itself…

    You maybe did read a lot about this plane but I guess there were only a few sources. You should try to access to technical data sheets instead of pointing “No IRST” and “small radar” threads in fan blogs.

    In almost all you are writing here, there is no evidence, no clue, only opinion, so please let me know were exactly are reported all those disappointments about Rafale. OSF is a very precise optical thing and it was a little bit fragile for French Navy ‘s needs but in term of capacity, they neither complaigned. Now it’s different but still very usefull.

    So, repeating a thousand times something wrong doesn’t make it true.

    Once more, I’m waiting for true comparition when F-35 and Typhoon are ready. That means when i see them over Irak or Syria or in any else conflict.

    And, btw, French weapons are too expensive? Well buy American, Rafale is 100% NATO compatible and it is dropping Raytheon stuff just now.

    Like

    • You maybe did read a lot about this plane but I guess there were only a few sources. You should try to access to technical data sheets instead of pointing “No IRST” and “small radar” threads in fan blogs.

      Have you accessed the technical sheets. Everything I’ve stated is plain fact.

      – The OSF-IT does NOT have an IR channel (look it up, its widely known). The MICA is being used as a makeshift solution (the IR feeds are not sensor-fused).

      – The radar antenna is the smallest of its kind on contemporary aircraft. The RBE PESA had a range of just under 100km against a fighter sized target (3 sq.m). That reportedly increased by 50-100% on the RBE-2AA. 180km is the figure doing the rounds. Decent, but far from impressive.

      And, btw, French weapons are too expensive? Well buy American, Rafale is 100% NATO compatible and it is dropping Raytheon stuff just now.

      Who’s going to foot the bill for its integration? The customer? If so, then for limited order US weapons may end up equally expensive.

      Like

      • Xplane said

        Why don’t you want to understand that even changed, IRST still exist in another conception model?
        Why don’t you want to understand that the radar size is not the key point of efficiency?

        Everything is not available on the net, for sure, but you may find datas by other ways. For instance, if you want to know more about RBE2 AESA, you should googlyse: Thales Searchmaster.

        Like

      • 1. IRST:

        – The current IRST ‘conception model’ exists as a makeshift MICA IR sensor feed. Its limitations are obvious.
        – It’ll be replaced on the Rafale F3R with the Talios pod. Which is no better in terms of performance than the F-35’s Sniper XR based EOTS (same MWIR solution). Except that the latter’s feeds are sensor fused in the ICP, while the former (i.e. Talios) feeds may not be.

        2. Radar

        – Radar’s size is one of the key determinants of its power and therefore its range.
        – As far as sophistication is concerned, there’s no evidence to suggest that its better than its US equivalents.
        – In some critical respects, the APG-81 has proven to be superior to the APG-77 & APG-79 (particularly with respect to EW).

        3. Thales Searchmaster?

        – The first Raytheon fighter AESA was operationalized way back in 2000. Since then, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman have delivered nearly two thousand fighter AESAs. And they have another three thousand to go.

        That’s without going their offerings of modular AESA solutions.

        (Thales has delivered around a dozen fighter AESAs to date from an order totaling 60 units.)

        Like

      • Xplane said

        Ok. So best radars are Russian thanks to their size and best weapons are chinese thanks to their number?

        Like

      • – Russian may not be ‘the best’, but they are certainly among the longest ranged ones.

        – If the Chinese had has a weapon operational years before the competition, it would be reasonable to assert that they enjoy a technological lead in that segment. [Though to be fair, it ought to be mentioned that the first fighter AESA was in fact fielded by Japan not the US.]

        Like

  16. stormshadow said

    Jerrick Kant: You forget to mention a few strongs points of the rafale.

    – 100km vs 3 sqm target for RBE2 PESA is the TRACKING range at low altitude. The detection range for a hight altitude target is much higher. The RBE2 AESA has a detection range of more than 200km vs fighter according to Thales CEO.

    – MICA IR has way more range than Aim-9X or ASRAM or IRIS-T. It’s a true BVR missile, the only western IR BVR missile. And IR missile have much better Pk than radar guide missile as demonstrated by history.

    – Rafale has top notch sensor fusion. Every pilot French or from other country praise that point.

    – Rafale has the best aerodynamic by far combine with good TWR give him the best flight performance of any fighter.

    – Rafale has the lowest RCS except F22/F35/B2.

    – AASM are much faster than SDB so much better for CAS or SEAD/DEAD where you need speed and have much more explosives. And AASM 125 witch still has more explosive than SDB can reach a range of more than 100km.

    – Rafale has more payload/range than F35 (but with a higher RCS) because it can carry 3/4 metric ton of weapon at more than 1000 Nm and back. That equal to a F15E while rafale is only 10t class fighter. And rafale can fly very low, at night/bad weather at a speed > 600kts to avoid SAM. F35 can’t do that.

    – Damocles is quite good with a great range but lack resolution needed for CAS mission especially when you have to hit target spread among civilians. But for others mission it’s quite good. And it’s part of the data fusion as the MICA IR.

    Now I do agree that rafale lack a few key point like HMDS/IRST/Hight resolution LDP/two way data-link for METEOR/Satcom data-link/decent anti-ship missile (Exocet block 3 has poor range and speed).

    Like

  17. Connie lingus said

    Let’s not forget that the French will likely surrender to an invasion from Malta and the rest of us will bail them out yet again

    Like

    • picard578 said

      LOL!

      Like

    • Duviel said

      I did get a laugh but, lets not forget the French have a long military history and have usually been known for fighting prowess not surrendering.

      WWII was an anomoly. The BEF would have had to surrender too if not for having an island to retreat to. Russia would have been overcome in 1941 if not for deep territory. Performance in WWII was poor but, lets look at whole picture before picking on the French.

      Like

  18. Duviel said

    F-35 is a precision strike fighter (I beleive the worlds most capable at this) that can penetrate and operate in heavy Integrated air defense airspace due to LPI radar, integrated EW suite, 360 situational awareness (due to various sensors and processing power). Processing power also allows high fusion. Etc.

    F-35 is not an air to air fighter (although radar, helmet, situational awareness and off-boresight capabilities make it survivable in air to air).

    F-35 is also not a true CAS aircraft.

    Biggest problem with F-35 (other than cost) is that they are trying to make it into something it is not so they can sell more of them.

    Like

    • picard578 said

      Entirely correct. F-35 is a Harrier replacement, but USAF and Lockheed Martin are trying to push it as F-16/A-10 replacement as well (mostly because USAF absolutely hates both F-16 and A-10, but sad thing is, people are buying into propaganda).

      I’m going to do an article about F-35s ground attack performance someday, when I get the time. Unlike its air-to-air performance, when it comes to low-level strike missions F-35 doesn’t really have anything to be ashamed of.

      Like

      • Duviel said

        F-16 ended up being used for so many different tasks. F-35 can fill most of f-16 roles. The only thing that F-16 can do better than F-35 is WVR dogfighting. Not counting cost and maintenance/support issues in this statement.

        F-35 cannot replace the role that A-10 fills (CAS) and should not fill the role of F-15 (air superiority).

        Harrier (in US service) is used for CAS mostly. I think best AV-8 replacement (other than updated A-10) would actually be an AT-6/Super Tucano type.

        I would cancel F-35B first of all types.

        Tactically speaking (If we have to buy American) I would cancel whole F-35 program and replace F-35A with updated F-22 with added F-35 ground attack avionics for Airforce. Combination of Super Hornet and AT-6C for Navy and Marines to replace F-35B/C.

        Taking cost into account (but not taking political reality into account) I would replace F-35A & C buys with Gripen versions (I can buy more Gripens for same cost and maybe assemble in US) and F-35B with AT-6 (again, you can get many more AT-6 for same cost). You can than add some of the avionics developed for F-35 as you block update Gripen.

        F-22 & F-35 are not second to any in what they do. It is the cost that makes it a poor choice. I would take 2000 Gripen NG over 1000 F-35/F-22.

        This is all Defense Budget calculas cause, when you really look at it from purely economic reference. It matters little what cost if the expenditure is going into domestic firms with domestic employees. Problem would be that very few big firms are trully domestic anymore so there would be leakage. The real coast is the $ that does not go back into hands of US Citizens (Leaks out) not full stated cost.

        In pure military look, cost also matters less than ease/speed of manufacturing. No one cares about cost when at war. You build what your industry can output regardless of paper costs.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          “F-16 ended up being used for so many different tasks. F-35 can fill most of f-16 roles. The only thing that F-16 can do better than F-35 is WVR dogfighting.”

          Which is the only thing F-16 was actually designed for. All other roles are basically taped on with duct tape, so small wonder an aircraft that was intended as jack-of-all-trades from the outset can do them better.

          “Harrier (in US service) is used for CAS mostly. I think best AV-8 replacement (other than updated A-10) would actually be an AT-6/Super Tucano type.”

          Possible. Prop aircraft may well have lower takeoff distance than the F-35.

          “F-22 & F-35 are not second to any in what they do.”

          I’d say that Rafale, Gripen NG and possibly Typhoon are actually better at general air superiority than the F-22. Remember, you still need VID for reliable IFF, and F-22 has no IRST, nor does it have IR BVRAAM. F-22 is actually a highly-specific design optimized for shooting down Soviet aircraft deep within USSR airspace… in such conditions all-aspect radar stealth and supercruise were crucial to minimize exposure to SAMs, and IFF wasn’t a problem because everything you could see on radar past certain distance was hostile. For that mission, F-22 is indeed second to none, but how likely is it to get employed in that way?

          Eurocanards meanwhile were designed to shoot down Soviet fighters in all-out war over the battlefront. In such conditions, VID would be the rule of the day, which combined with massive jamming going on means a lot of WVR. Hence less emphasis on range, no emphasis at all on all-aspect RCS reduction and large emphasis on dogfighting performance.

          “In pure military look, cost also matters less than ease/speed of manufacturing. No one cares about cost when at war. You build what your industry can output regardless of paper costs.”

          Aye, but costly things are typically more costly because they are harder to manufacture.

          Like

        • Duviel Rodriguez said

          F-16 was a nice design I agree. It ended up filling so many needs because they bought so many of them and needed them to fill un-filled roles. I think they got roles wrong with F-15 & F-16. They should have reversed roles.

          We differ on F-22 air superiority chareacteristics to need for radar, stealth, and TVC. If it was just you and me I would bow to your superior knowledge in this area but this argument goes further than you and me. F-22 is lacking certain tools that were never added (possibly due to cost and realization that the problem it was designed to solve was no longer a real problem). HMCS, IRST would be needed to really make F-22 fulfil potential.

          Thanks for the specifics, always enjoy reading your explanations.

          Like

        • picard578 said

          “I think they got roles wrong with F-15 & F-16. They should have reversed roles. ”

          In the end they kinda did realize their mistake (F-15E), but the decision to turn the F-16 into multirole fighter and not the F-15 was a political one. USAF could never accept that their baby (F-15) can be outdone by a cheap single-engined “toy”.

          Fun fact: F-16A actually has larger combat radius than the F-15A (F-16A: 925 km on internal fuel and 6 AAM).

          ” If it was just you and me I would bow to your superior knowledge in this area but this argument goes further than you and me.”

          It always does go further. But you shouldn’t “bow” to anyone’s “superior knowledge”. More knowledge does not prevent people from making mistakes, and everybody has a bias. I am biased towards simpler solutions due to my knowledge of military history, and I believe that I am correct in my assessments, but I can never be 100% certain. Anybody who says he is 100% certain… well… just see this quote:

          Charles Bukowski — ‘The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.’

          If everyone thinks the same, it means that nobody thinks at all. Noone knows everything, and differences in knowledge, experiences and personalities means that different people will fill up gaps in knowledge in different ways… and it is in large part a subconscious process, to which noone is immune. Doctor of science can make mistakes just like any old lady that’s busy selling cabbage on a plaza… I often have an impression that my dead grandmother had more sense than most politicians and economists I’ve heard… can’t really comment on other vocations.

          Problem is that people tend to have too much respect for various “authorities”… normally, respect is fine, but not if it leads you to blindly accepting somebody else’s opinions. One thing that never failed to make me angry was when I got an impression that someone is just repeating something they’ve read in brochures… USAFs websites, Lockheed Martin’s / Eurofighter’s / etc. presentations… doesn’t matter.

          I have my opinions, but they are just that: opinions, based on *interpretation* of facts. And one more thing here: people tend to try to sell interpretations as facts, and facts themselves are often hidden, misreported or warped.

          Like

        • Duviel said

          Thanks for the words. Always feel lucky when I am able to participate in inteligent dialogue.

          Like

  19. Duviel Rodriguez said

    I am not siding with Picard, Xplane, Vyse, or Kant. But, I think Kant is correct in saying that most on this blog (including Picard) have a love fest going on with Rafale and French equipment and rarely mention the downsides.

    Same can be said about other sites that have love fests going on with F-22 and/or F-35.

    And, APA has a love fest going on with Russian/Chinese equipment. APA is mostly talking up the enemy to trump-up defense spending in west.

    Like

    • picard578 said

      “rarely mention the downsides.”

      As far as air superiority goes, it doesn’t have many (except for size, cost, maintenance, fuel usage, overly complex design and the fact it’s multirole… sounds like a lot, but compare it with other fighters out there – only Gripen has less downsides than Rafale). Other roles I tend to ignore, as it can’t do CAS, and is one of better choices in SEAD/DEAD anyway.

      That being said, yes, I do have a love fest going on with Rafale. Only question is how justified it is.

      Like

      • Duviel Rodriguez said

        Bias is hard to avoid in most things. As long as you are aware and admit your bias thats usually all you can ask of anyone.

        I have my own biases. But, in this blog I have no problem. I usually find others to point out my bias.

        If I were on some other blog where F-22 is the love child I would have to be more careful because noone there would call me out.

        Cheers!

        Like

    • Xplane said

      The answer to an exaggerated attack is often exaggerated too.
      The Rafale has been mocked, belittled for years on most forums and blogs, except here, while this aircraft has many qualities and quite a few flaws. For my part, I was only answering, point by point, when I could, to the general bashing but now this bird is sold to 3 countries, 4 soon, so I have no need to defend it any more. Finally, as regard France, the French and the “Cheese eater surrender Monkeys” it made me laugh though I m French because I love The Simpson but I find it appalling that this be taken as an argument. Just have a look on the French military history and you would be surprised. They won much more than they failed in battles and wars.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Duviel Rodriguez said

        Yes, I agree that the reaction can be dictated by the original action. As a casual reader of this blog I would enjoy a little more balance. Thats why I’m glad (regardless of agreement) to have guys like Kant participating.

        That was a good argument from my view. Both sides defended their perspectives well.

        One point though. If you are using measure of how many air arms are buying the aircraft than you would say F-35 must be pretty awesome.

        Many in this blog have argued that winning procerement competitions means nothing. I for one beleive it means something. Although I agree with Picard in some ways and take procurement competition results with a grain of salt.

        Like

        • Xplane said

          As said and repeated by Picard, the sale of weapons is at first and before any a political gesture. It is necessary to be conscious of it not to base itself any more on the commercial performance to compare military equipments. The United States are the first military power, and by far, it is thus normal to consider the advantage of an alliance with the first power when a choice must be made between two or several solutions.
          As regards F-35, it is a plane which will be doubtless very appreciated by her users because they will have between hands a jewel of technology. Having said that, I ask myself questions on the enormous sums invested by US for the upgrade of F-Teens. Recently, $7bn were awarded to the improvement of a part only of the F-15. The radars of F-16 are going to be changed soon and Navy continues to buy second generation F-18. My reading of it, it is that F-35 will not be sufficient. It does not mean that she will be bad or useless but just that she cannot fill the missions which were entrusted to her in the initial specifications. For US, it will not raise major problem, they will remain the first military air power but for other buyers of the F-35, I have a doubt.

          Like

        • Duviel Rodriguez said

          You make a good point. many of the buyers of the F-35 will need an aircraft that can fill all their needs becuase they donot have resources that USAF, Navy, Marine air arms combined.

          I have mentioned in previous post that I beleive based on my analysis that F-35 will be possibly worlds most capable precision strike fighter in a few years but it is not highly capable in air to air and cannot do what I call real CAS.

          Other airforces need a plane that can do all 3. Unless they (for NATO members) are counting on allies to cover their defeceits.

          Like

  20. Duviel Rodriguez said

    Even USAF is putting a lot of Air to Air responsibility on F-35. And, if they retire A-10 CAS will be an issue. Even For US.

    Like

    • picard578 said

      “Even USAF is putting a lot of Air to Air responsibility on F-35.”

      It’s less because they think it can do it and more because they don’t have a choice.

      Like

      • Duviel Rodriguez said

        They have a choice.

        They just choose to be influenced by LM and their $$$$.

        Most of these people already make good money but its not enough.

        Its not just $$. Its also that LM (and others too) buys their friends and coleagues and plays golf with them, buys them dinner, etc.

        They make it hard for these top DoD officialls to say no to their “ideas”. Many of the executives pushing designs onto DoD are guys who used to work or serve with the top DoD officials. Its an old friends network.

        F-35 is going to be a boost to US economy. A lot of exports and foreign cash coming into US for the F-35. Eventhough many of the export planes are going to be “manufactured” oversees, the parts come mostly from US companies. BAE is producing some componenets too.

        High tech military industry is one of the few sectors that still produce top pay manufacturing & engineering jobs in US.

        Government expenditures are mostly a redistribution of income. As long as the expenditures stay whithin the country.

        Other than foreign expenditures most government expenditures go to either the rich firms that get government contracts or to the unemployed who get access to welfare programs. Someone like myself who invested in my education and work 50+ hours weekly I pay a bunch of taxes but get very little back. My taxes go mostly to those a lot more succesful than me or to those a lot lazier than me, with some exceptions.

        I’m not stating my position on taxes, government spending, or welfare (although I will say that I am for smaller government), just stating the facts.

        Like

        • picard578 said

          “Many of the executives pushing designs onto DoD are guys who used to work or serve with the top DoD officials. Its an old friends network. ”

          Yes, revolving door system. Work in DoD > work in a cotractor > lobbying for a ctractor in DoD.

          “F-35 is going to be a boost to US economy.”

          To US defense industry, yes, but not necessarily economy as a whole. Spending that money on infrastructure and education would be a better boost for the economy.

          “Government expenditures are mostly a redistribution of income.”

          And mostly towards those who don’t need that income (how much does LM’s CEO make in a year?)

          Like

        • Duviel Rodriguez said

          “Spending that money on infrastructure and education would be a better boost for the economy”

          Better for the people yes. I totally agree. And although not better for current economic cycle it would be better for economy long-term.

          Everything has positives and negatives but yes I agree with you.

          And mostly towards those who don’t need that income (how much does LM’s CEO make in a year?)

          like I said, the ones who benefit from big government expenditures are the very rich and the poor.

          My educated opinion Picard based on lots of experience is that roughly 80% of “the poor” are only poor because of their own stupid decisions and lack of hard work.

          The other 20% have just been very unlucky and dealt really bad cards in life. those cases usually have to do with health related issues. Or with temporary poverty due to some things going bad or refugees. Government budgets are just way out of control. I say cut it to minimum and let the people keep their earned money. and you better work and produce becuase government is not going to support you.

          Like

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