Dassault Rafale

Dassault Rafale C 113-GN 135 French AF

The Rafale A technology demonstrator made its maiden flight from his test-base Istres on July 4, 1986, and is the lead into the three operational versions, Rafale B biplace, Rafale C (chasse), for the French Air Force and the Rafale M (maritime) for the French Navy.

The Rafale is an extended multi-role combat aircraft featuring small radar-signature, and capable of performing an extremely wide range of missions night or day in all weather conditions. Using a single basic platform for all variants, Rafale is designed to be compatible with all current and planned armaments.

In addition to high combat performance, the Rafale C would have a low landing speed and STOL abilities, and the Rafale M would be capable of operating from the nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle aircraft-carrier.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1–2
  • Length: 15.27 m (50.1 ft)
  • Wingspan: 10.80 m (35.4 ft)
  • Height: 5.34 m (17.5 ft)
  • Wing area: 45.7 m² (492 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 9,500 kg (C), 9,770 kg (B), 10,196 kg (M) ()
  • Max takeoff weight: 24,500 kg (C/D), 22,200 kg (M)  (54,000 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2× Snecma M88-2 turbofans
    • Dry thrust: 50.04 kN (11,250 lbf) each
    • Thrust with afterburner: 75.62 kN (17,000 lbf) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed:
    • High altitude: Mach 2 (2,390 km/h, 1,290 knots)Low altitude: 1,390 km/h, 750 knots
  • Range: 3,700+ km (2,000+ nmi)
  • Combat radius: 1,852+ km (1,000+ nmi) on penetration mission
  • Service ceiling: 16,800 m (55,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 304.8+ m/s (1,000+ ft/s)
  • Wing loading: 326 kg/m² (83 1/3 lb/ft²)
  • Thrust/weight: 1.13

Weapons for the Rafale:

  • All versions of Rafale are fitted with the Giat Industries DEFA 791B 30-mm cannon, witch fires 2500 rounds per minute.
  • Rafale is fitted with 14 hard points (13 on the Rafale M) Five of these are designed for external tanks and heavy ordnance.
  • Mica interception, BVR combat and self-defense missile (IR and EM versions)
  • The future AASM range of modular air-to-ground missiles
  • The 1985lb ASMP nuclear cruise missile
  • The Scalp/Storm-Shadow/Black Shaheen family of long-range stand-off missiles
  • Matra Apache Sub-monition dispenser weapons.
  • Anti-ship missiles (Exocet and future ANF supersonic Anti-ship missile)
  • Matra BLG 1000 laser-guided bomb

Variants

Rafale AA technology demonstrator that first flew in 1986. It has now been retired.Rafale DDassault used this designation (D for discret or stealthy) in the early 1990s for the production versions for the Armée de l’Air, to emphasise the new semi-stealthy features they had added to the design.Rafale BThis is the two-seater version for the Armée de l’Air; delivered to EC 330 in 2004.Rafale CThis is the single-seat version for the Armée de l’Air; delivered to EC 330 in June 2004.Rafale M

This is the carrier-borne version for the Aéronavale, which entered service in 2002. The Rafale M weighs about 500 kg (1,100 lb) more than the Rafale C. Very similar to the Rafale C in appearance, the M differs in the following respects:

  • Strengthened to withstand the rigors of carrier-based aviation
  • Stronger landing gear
  • Longer nose gear leg to provide a more nose-up attitude for catapult launches
  • Deleted front centre pylon (to give space for the longer gear)
  • Large stinger-type tailhook between the engines
  • Built-in power operated boarding ladder
  • Carrier microwave landing system
  • “Telemir” inertial reference platform that can receive updates from the carrier systems.

Rafale Test-Fleet:

Type Registration Configuration first-flight
Rafale A F-ZWRE single seat  July 4th,1986
Rafale C C01 single seat May 19th,1991
Rafale B B01  dual April 30th, 1993
Rafale M  M01 / F-ZWVM single seat December 12th,1991
Rafale M M02 dual November 8th, 1993

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