The Dassault Rafale is considered one of the most powerful jets that ever existed. Originating from France, this fighter jet had its first-ever flight way back in 1986, on June 4, 1986, to be exact. However, it was finally introduced in 2001. Since then, this twin-jet aircraft has been executing all kinds of combat missions. Hence, to know more about it, here are the top 9 facts about the Dassault Rafale fighter jet.
1. FOURTH GENERATION FIGHTER JET
The Dassault Rafale is capable of performing sea and ground attacks. In 2004, it began service with the French Navy. After that, the jet joined the French Airforce in 2006. The aircraft played a role in operations in Mali, Libya, Syria, Riad, Egypt, Afghanistan, and other nations.
In the entire Military Factory, there are a total of 46 4th generation fighter aircraft, and it includes the Dassault Rafale. Being a 4th generation fighter jet is a feature that makes this jet extremely lethal. This type of aircraft is known for its impeccable maneuver features. Also, it has a pulse-Doppler radar, and this system is for detecting targets.
Another dangerous feature of these jets is their impressive combat radius. A combat radius is a distance the aircraft can reach from its airbase. DNA India reveals that Rafale’s combat radius is about 3,700 km wide.
2. THE POWER OF DASSAULT RAFALE
As mentioned earlier, the Dassault Rafale is considered one of the most powerful fighter jets worldwide. IndiaTVNews claims that, according to some experts, it may replace about seven different fighter aircraft. Also known as the Force Multiplier, these jets are more than capable of carrying out wide-range missions.
DNA India also expressed that the power of an aircraft depends on both its sensory and technological capabilities. The weapons it uses also determine how powerful they are. The news outlet further states that the Rafale is a more modern and extremely powerful aircraft.
3. THE BEST AIRCRAFT
India chose the Dassault Rafale over the American and European options during the Military Trade Media event. Vikramjit S. Chopra, the Managing Editor of Vayu Aerospace and Defense Review, told Second Line of Defense, “Basically the Indians and the Indian Air Force absolutely love Dassault as a company. They love the Mirage 2000s, and it is our best aircraft. The technical ability of the plane and the way it has performed in the Indian Air Force has been a plus.”
In May of 2015, Qatar purchased a total of 24 Rafale Jets from France. In this transaction, President Francois Hollande and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani agreed to pay about 6.3 billion euros. Included in this budget is the training of Qatari intelligence officers. Hence, in February 2019, the first-ever Rafale jet was delivered to the Qatari Emiri Air Force.
4. COLD-WEATHER TEST
Another notable event for the Rafale jet is its cold-weather test. It was conducted in Finland in January 2019 that lasted for a week. This test program included engine run-up tests and taxiing on the flight line and a few flights. During this time, the Rafale combat aircraft received its F4-standard development contract, improving the aircraft’s combat capabilities.
5. DASSAULT RAFALE PURCHASES
A Market Screener article, published on December 15 of 2020, unfolded the deal between Greece and France. Accordingly, Greece aims to boost its armed forces by introducing new arms, jets, and frigates. For this reason, Greece plans on purchasing 18 of these fighter jets.
Qatar and Greece are not the only nations that plan on securing Dassault Rafales. The Aviation National News said that Indonesia has plans on obtaining 48 Dassault Rafales. The French La Tribune newspaper also revealed that Indonesia’s special forces’ former head was already interested in the aircraft during October 2020. That’s why the defense minister was hopeful of signing the agreement before the year ended.
6. DASSAULT RAFALE DEVELOPMENTS
Dassault Aviation, the French aerospace company, glossed over some developments for the fighter jet in 2000. In the model they released, the jet fighter is equipped with conformal fuel tanks (CFT). Compared to external drop tanks, conformal fuel tanks have a lesser aerodynamic penalty. After that, Dassault Aviation confirmed the tanks in 2001. A FlightGlobal article also described Dassault Rafales to have 1,150-litre conformal fuel tanks.
7. AIRCRAFT COMPARISON
At this point, let’s compare the Dassault Rafale to other fighter jets, starting with the F-16. America delivered the Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft to Pakistan just fairly recently. Also, India received Dassault Rafales from France. Let’s discuss the difference.
Like the Dassault Rafale, the F-16 is also a fourth-generation fighter jet. You can find that the warplane is the “newest and the most advanced F-16 production configuration on the official Lockheed Martin website.” This jet is amazingly capable of lasting 50% longer than previous F-16 aircraft. In regards to speed, it can fly at about 2,400 km per hour.
On the other hand, performing anti-nuclear strikes, in-depth operations, and anti-ship strikes are some of the abilities of what the Dassault Rafale can do. A multilayer vehicle that flies with two engines, the Dassault Rafale’s speed is 2222 km per hour at high altitude.
While the F-16 is faster than the Dassault Rafale, the latter has a higher ceiling feature. F-16 jets have a ceiling ability of 254 meters per second, and the Rafale has 300 meters per second. Furthermore, the number of targets the Dassault can hit is higher than the F-16. Dassault Rafales can hit 40 targets at a 100 km radius, while the latter can hit just 20 at a radius of 84 km.
8. IMPECCABLE FEATURES
Business Insider India published a report on their website explaining why the Dassault Rafales is better than other Indian aircraft. They expressed that “When compared with the air power of Pakistan and many other South Asian countries, Rafale will lift India’s competence significantly though comparing with China’s air strength will be a long way to go.” Their article proceeds to enumerate the most prominent traits of Dassault Rafales.
The sophisticated and highly customized features are the strengths of the Dassault Rafales. Pilots enjoy both the targeting systems and convenient helmet-mounted sights. Besides that, the fast shoot-off of the weapons is also highly beneficial for them. The Dassault Rafales also have smoother take-offs from high-altitude airbases.
9. AIRCRAFT DRAWBACKS
One main disadvantage of the Dassault Rafale is the inefficient production rate. According to Skies, only 10- 15 jets are produced annually. Hence, it leads to a rough estimate of about 1 Dassault Rafale being manufactured in a month. As a result of the low production, purchasing one jet is very expensive. The French Ministry of Defense allegedly suggested a unit cost of 101. 1 million Euros. It’s about 123,186,505.59 USD. However, some sources claim that the jet costs about 115 million USD.
Furthermore, its operational cost is 18,000 USD per hour. To give you more understanding of this jet’s high price, the Lockheed Martin F-35 is estimated to be about 79.17 million USD. Going a bit higher, the F-117 Nighthawk is 101.7 million USD; the Chengdu J-20 Black Eagle costs about 110 million USD, and the F-22 Raptor is about 152 million USD. Nevertheless, the Dassault Rafale is a fierce and powerful jet.
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