The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault.
The cockpit has hands-on throttle and stick control (HOTAS). The cockpit is equipped with a heads-up, wide-angle holographic display from Thales Avionique, which provides aircraft control data, mission data and firing cues.
A collimated, multi-image head-level display presents tactical situation and sensor data, while two touch-screen lateral displays show the aircraft system parameters and mission data.
The pilot also has a helmet-mounted sight and display. A CCD camera and on-board recorder records the image of the head-up display throughout the mission.
Rafale can carry payloads of more than 9t on 14 hardpoints for the air force version, with 13 for the naval version. The range of weapons includes: Mica, Magic, Sidewinder, ASRAAM and AMRAAM air-to-air missiles; Apache, AS30L, ALARM, HARM, Maverick and PGM100 air-to-ground missiles and Exocet / AM39, Penguin 3 and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.
For a strategic mission the Rafale can deliver the MBDA (formerly Aerospatiale) ASMP stand-off nuclear missile. In December 2004, the MBDA Storm Shadow / Scalp EG stand-off cruise missile was qualified on the Rafale.
In September 2005, the first flight of the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM beyond visual range air-to-air missile was conducted on a Rafale fighter. In December 2005, successful flight trials were carried out from the Charles de Gaulle of the range of Rafale’s weapon systems – Exocet, Scalp-EG, Mica, ASMP-A (to replace the ASMP) and Meteor missiles.
In April 2007, the Rafale carried out the first firing of the Sagem AASM precision-guided bomb, which has both GPS / inertial guidance and, optionally, imaging infrared terminal guidance. Rafale have been equipped with the AASM from 2008. Rafale can carry six AASM missiles, with each aiming to hit the target with 10m accuracy.
The Rafale has a twin gun pod and a Nexter (formerly Giat) 30mm DEFA 791B cannon, which can fire 2,500 rounds a minute. The Rafale is equipped with laser designation pods for laser guidance of air-to-ground missiles.
The Rafale is powered by two M88-2 engines from SNECMA, each providing a thrust of 75kN. The aircraft is equipped for buddy-buddy refuelling with a flight refuelling hose reel and drogue pack. The first M88 engine was delivered in 1996. It is a twin-shaft bypass turbofan engine principally suitable for low-altitude penetration and high-altitude interception missions.
The M88 incorporates the latest technologies such as single-piece bladed compressor disks (blisks), an on-polluting combustion chamber, single-crystal high-pressure turbine blades, powder metallurgy disks, ceramic coatings and composite materials.
The M88 engine comprises a three-stage LP compressor with inlet guide vane, an annular combustion chamber, single-stage cooled HP turbine, single-stage cooled LP turbine, radial A/B chamber, variable-section convergent flap-type nozzle and full authority digital engine control (FADEC).
Messier-Dowty provides ‘jumper’ landing gear, designed to spring-out when the aircraft is catapulted by the nose gear strut.
Article originally Appeared on Airforce Technology