Dassault Rafale is one of the finest airframes to have ever entered in service which effectively combines 21st Century Technology and a 4.5 Generation Airframe to effectively nullify the limitations posed by 5th Generation Airframes and to give an aircraft that is well affordable and possess many 5th Generation Features with an effective trade-off between stealth and other capabilities. Rafale is unique in the sense of being “Omnirole” which makes it an aircraft to cater to any demands: Air Superiority, Close Air Support, Air Interdiction, Nuclear deterrence, Naval Strike and more. This has led the Dassault to present Rafale as a 5th generation fighter. Here I will discuss some 10 mind-blowing facts about Rafales and what makes it so awesome a fighter :
A. Dassault Rafale is the only Fighter Aircraft to possess a Targeting Pod which provides Color Imagery!
TALIOS Multifunctional Targeting Pod features permanent pod view which allows the pilot to keep an eye on the battle scenario and zoom into his target while it can slew his targeting pod to friendlies in the area at the same time. This gives Rafale’s targeting capability an edge over its adversaries, which enters into the aircraft’s database giving a tactical situation display
B. “Man-Machine Interface” (MMI) of Rafale:
Rafale features a unique “Man-Machine Interface” (MMI) which integrates Hands on Throttle and Stick ( HOTAS ) to Touch Screens allowing the pilot an unhindered performance in adverse conditions as systems resources are managed via left and right touch screens. Head-Up display and Head-Level display are utilized for Short-Term and Medium/Long-Term Engagements respectively. This gives the Rafale, an “Omnirole” capability with a wide field of view beefing up its overall capabilities.
C. Air Intakes of Rafales :
Rafale Air-Intakes is a tradeoff between Side Intakes and Ventral Air takes for better Attack Capabilities. F-22 “Raptor” features Side Intakes while Eurofighter Typhoon features Ventral Air takes. Ventral Intakes allow better flow of air during high Angles of Attack, increasing the drag as a result. Rafale’s trade-off between Side and Ventral Air takes allows a beefed up fuselage and better load carrying capacity giving it a traditional edge over other contemporaries, though at an expense of Air-to-Air Capabilities, which would have been resolved if Rafale used more powerful engines.
D. Stealth of Rafale:
Rafale has been designed with Low Observable ( LO ) Features which has been estimated between 0.05 to 0.1-meter square Radar Cross Section which is equal to that of a “Sparrow”. Rafale combines up Electronic Warfare means, Terrain Following System, Active Cancellation and design features to achieve the considerable amount of stealth required for a 4.5 Generation Aircraft. Rafale extensively utilizes composite materials and Radar Absorbent Material along with suppression of “Radar” waves by Spikes to prevent any considerable amount of detection.
E. Flight Control System:
Rafale features an advanced quadruple redundant Fly-By-Wire Flight Control System controlled by one Analogue Channel and three Digital Channels giving maximum reliability over other platforms. Rafale’s digital FCS has not encountered a single accident in over one million flight hours giving Rafale, a stupendous reliability and maximum preciseness.
F. Optoelectronics of Rafale:
Rafale’s Optronique Secteur Frontal consists of two sensors with an Infra-Red Detector on the left, used as FLIR which can detect air targets up to 100 kilometers, and a TV/IR Sensor featuring a laser rangefinder which can identify a target up to 40 kilometers. This gives Rafale an edge in Passive Electro-Optical Detection System over Stealth Aircraft also like during ATLC 2009 when French Rafales scored an air-to-air kill in Within Visual Range against F-22, thanks to its Optronique Secteur Frontal.
G. Net-Centric Capability of Rafale:
Rafale features a net-centric capability due to its open architecture and data fusion software which allows the Rafale to enter into the Battlespace with a highly secure data link allowing the Rafale to exchange information with other aerial and ground assets through “Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver” in real time, building up a coherent mode of compatibility among other assets deployed in the combat multiplying the effectiveness.
H. Active Cancellation:
Rafale’s SPECTRA Electronic Warfare Suite possesses a feature called “Active Cancellation”, which works by detecting a radar signal and generating a radiation field with the same amplitude and frequency but the opposite phase. This kind of field could be generated by passing current through this antenna. This gives Rafale, a considerable amount of stealth characteristics as it can be used to suppress radar signals in addition to an LPI (Low Probability of Intercept) Radar, Rafale possess, which denies any considerable tracing of Rafale’s radio waves and any subsequent tracking and jamming. With a GaN-Based SPECTRA Suite, the stealth of Rafale is expected to increase manifold almost comparable to a 5th Generation Aircraft.
I. Can carry more than twice of its own weight!
Rafale’s beefed up airframe and intakes, allow it to carry some 2.5 times its own empty weight, carrying a mix of different weapon system for both Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground Roles. For Air-to-Air, it can carry METEOR, MICA, MAGIC-II Missiles while for Air-to-Ground Role it can carry APACHE, Storm Shadow and Hammer Missiles. It can also be armed for the anti-shipping role with Exocet Block 2 Anti-Ship Missile and for Nuclear Deterrence with an ASMP-A nuclear missile. Rafale being a tradeoff in air-to-air capabilities with better payload capability, allows it to perform multiple jobs single-handedly effectively making it “Omnirole”.
J. Fighter Sphere Tablet:
Rafale features a Fighter Sphere Tablet, which allows the pilot to efficiently collect all the information on an Electronic Media device rather than on a paper. The Fighter Sphere Tablet consists of a manual, navigation maps, performance calculations software and more giving the pilot a more stress-free and redundant error-free flight period.
K. Multi-Sensor Data Fusion:
Rafale features a Multi-Sensor Data Fusion with a “Modular Data Processing Unit” (MDPU) at its core which connects 19 Line-Replaceable Unit in Rafale multiplying the processing power up to 50 times giving an unprecedented advantage to Rafale in terms of weapons integration and battlescape grasping. This, in turn, leads to less work-load on the pilot, more reliable outputs and increased situational awareness.
Harsh B Mishra is a writer on DefenceLover, he also loves to write on Quora. You can follow him on Quora for more interesting knowledge about special forces.
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