The Dassault Rafale also known simply as Rafale is one of best known fighter jets built by the French. The name literally means burst of fire and the machine is a twin-engine fighter aircraft that was designed and manufactured by Dassault Aviation. The fighter jet is meant to display air supremacy and in-depth as well as anti-ship strikes and missions for nuclear deterrance. The aircraft is meant to have many roles in warfare.
Unlike other European fighter jets, the Rafale is distinct because it’s built entirely by one single country. This is about as big a deal as winning a jackpot at Lucky Nugget Casino NZ. Rafale was first unveiled in 2001 and has ever since become a part of the French Air Force having been used in combats in Afghanistan, Mali, Syria, Libya and Iraq. The jet has become so popular that it has been exported across the world to the Air Forces of nations like India, Egypt and Qatar.
Role in France
France’s air force is known to have 152 of these fighter jets with an additional 28 to come in soon. Even the French Navy has a few of these jets with about 10 of them aboard the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. Its popularity is so immense that it has become the most preferred aircraft for buyers across the world with the close contender being Typhoon by Eurofighter.
The Rafale cockpit houses a hands-on throttle and stick control also known as HOTAS. It’s also got a wide-angle display and the avionics are supplied by Thales Avionique. It gives all necessary data regarding aircraft control and firing cues. The fighter pilot gets a helmet-mounted sight and there is a camera and on-board recorder that records the display while the mission is being carried out.
The Rafale has twin M88-2 engines that have a thrust of 75kN each. It also has the facility for a buddy-buddy refuelling. Some of the cutting edge technology that they’ve used includes single-piece bladed compressor disks and single-crystal turbine blades as well as ceramic coatings which is why it’s so popular that even countries like India decided to import them. However, the deal did run into some controversy which is elaborated upon in this article here.
The Rafale (Air Force version) is known to carry payloads of more than 9t. And the naval version can carry 13t. The weapons are across the range of Sidewinder, Apache, Harpoon, ALARM, PGM100, Magic and Mica. It can carry anti-ship and air-to-air missiles and the SCALP missile can shoot targets on land over 300 kms away. It can even aim at eight different targets at the same time. It’s got a twin gun pod as well as a 30mm cannon which can fire over 2500 rounds in a minute. The bird is also equipped with technology that enables laser guidance for missiles.
These are probably just some of the reasons why the Dassault Rafale is one of the most prolific fighter jets in the world today.