Dassault Rafale - Variants, Characteristics, Armament and Performance

Dassault Rafale Family - French Engineering at its Finest

Hello there ^^

This thread is about the Dassault Rafale, a French multi-role jet fighter of the 4th (+ / ++) generation.
I want to summarize the different variants and standards of the Rafale, as well as you to share knowledge, informations and some sources with each other.


I’ll say it before it happens; I’ve an eye on this thread and wont hesitate to inform the Forum Moderation, if the discussion leads to the same result as in the EFT thread.

Keep your insults and personal problems in the DMs or elsewhere, this forum is not the place for that.


Dedicated MICA thread:
The "Silent Killer" Missile - MBDA MICA - Performance and Discussion Thread (WIP)

Last Update : 2nd Dec 2023

  • Graphic added for hardpoints and known armament options, fixed minor errors

General Story

In 1977, the Armée de l’air took up the idea of a modern fighter aircraft, now to be put into service after 1990, under the project title Avion de Combat Tactique (ACT). The aim was to build on the ACF project and adopt the design as a twin-engine delta aircraft with fly-by-wire control. A year later, the Marine Nationale launched the Avion de Combat Marine (ACM) project to finally replace the F-8E(FN). In 1979 there was talk for the first time about merging the two French projects and the projects from Great Britain and Germany into one European project. All three companies involved – Dassault, MBB and BAe – each developed their own design for this European project. In 1983 the EAP (Experimental Aircraft Program) prototype was presented, developed under the auspices of BAe and combining BAe’s ACA (Agile Combat Aircraft) design with MBB’s TKF90 design. Dassault, on the other hand, presented its own revised design in 1983 based on the ACT and ACM under the name Avion de Combat eXpérimental (ACX). Although the inability to agree on a design was already evidence of significant differences, two cooperation agreements for the development of a European Fighter Aircraft (EFA) were signed in late 1983 and late 1984 between Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy and Spain. By this point, a few basic principles had been agreed upon: Canard delta design, two engines and Fly-by-Wire (FBW) control.
Despite this, it was still not possible to agree on uniform specifications or on the division of labor. France wanted a smaller, cheaper, multi-role fighter with strong short-takeoff capabilities that would be better suited to operations from the relatively small French carriers and should have better export prospects, while Germany and Great Britain wanted a fighter that was as capable and agile as possible. In August 1985, the negotiations finally failed, whereupon the French Defense Minister at the time, Charles Hernu, announced that France would withdraw from the EFA program and develop the ACX on its own until it was ready for series production. The remaining four nations developed the EFA into today’s Eurofighter. After the decision in 1987 to further develop the Rafale A into a series aircraft, the contract for development with an industrial consortium was signed on April 21, 1988. In addition to Dassault, this consisted of Thomson-CSF (today Thales Group) and Snecma (today Safran). For further testing, four near-series prototypes were built, which were equipped with extensive test instrumentation. The first to take off was the only Rafale C 01 airforce single-seat aircraft - a second prototype of the airforce single-seater was canceled - on May 19, 1991. On December 12, 1991 and November 8, 1993, respectively, the two naval single-seater prototypes Rafale M 01 and M 02 flew for the first time. On April 30, 1993, the only airforce two-seater, the prototype Rafale B 01, took off for its maiden flight. In 1993 the first prototype of the RBE2 radar, which had been developed since 1989, was delivered.
In 1997, the flight test program ended and series production began. On December 4, 1998, the first series aircraft took off for its maiden flight, the two-seater B 301, in the presence of then Defense Minister Alain Richard. A cruise missile of the type SCALP-EG was tested for the first time in 1999 with a test firing on the Rafale.

Rafale Models:

  • Rafale A (Demonstrator)
  • Rafale B (2 Seater, production)
  • Rafale C (1 Seater, land based, production)
  • Rafale M (1 Seater, navalized, production)
  • Rafale DM (Rafale B, Egypt)
  • Rafale EM (Rafale C, Egypt)
  • Rafale DH (Rafale B, India)
  • Rafale EH (Rafale C, India)
  • Rafale DQ (Rafale B, Qatar)
  • Rafale EQ (Rafale C, Qatar)
  • Rafale N (Cancelled, proposed missile-only fighter version)
  • Rafale R (Cancelled, proposed dedicated reconnaince version)

Standards-List and Differences / Changes

All standards can technically applied to any model of the Rafale, but not all were used on all models.

-F.1-

  • LF.1 - (Exclusive to Rafale M)
    Lacked: Air-to-Ground armament and OFS - limited to (2x) Matra Magic II and (4x) MICA EM

  • F.1 - (Exclusive to Rafale M)
    Added: OFS, GIAT 30M791B

  • F.1 - (F.1 Late) - (Exclusive to Rafale M)
    SNECMA M88-2E4 replaced the older M88-2E1

-F.2-

  • F.2.1 - (F.2 Early)
    Added: MICA IR, Air-to-Ground and Air-to-Sea radar modes, SCALP-EG, MIDS/L16 and SNECMA M88-2E4

  • F.2.2 - (F.2 Late)
    Added: AASM-IIR, AASM-GPS, SPECTRA update - GBU support (buddy lasing required)

-F.3-

  • F.3 - (F.3 Early)
    Added: Air-to-Surface radar mode, LAM for MICA, AM39, ASMP-A, AREOS Recco-NG pod (side note: no TGP)
    Lacked: DDM and OFS

  • F.3 - (F.3 Late) **
    DDM and OFS system re-added

  • F.3.2
    Added: Gun A2G mode*, DAMOCLES (-NG) - GBU-12, GBU-22

  • F.3.3
    Added: Full LGB support - GBU-24 integrated

  • F.3-4+ - (F.3R / F.4 ready)
    Added: Modernized SPECTRA system; MWS-NG, OFS-IT, DDM-NG, RBE2-AA plug & play

  • F.3R
    (F.3-4+) Added: RBE2-AA, MBDA Meteor missile, TALIOS pod, AN/AAQ-33 Sniper compability, AM39 Block II Mod. 2, AASM-L, Mk.81 / 82 / 83 bombs, GBU-16

-F.4-

  • F.4.1
    Added: AASM-1000, Scorpion HMCS, new and larger side displays in cockpit, new SAR and GMTI/T Radar modes, major Electronics updates (incl. new FHD video recorder, new underwing Jammers), LAM for Meteor, new IRST and improved dection, tracking and firing capabilities, SP3 modification allowing two additional MICA missiles serially used and towed Decoy “X-Guard” now technically possible
    Side note: Four Meteor + four MICA is not possible as off now due technical limitations as off today, two Meteor + six MICA is the best missile config available

  • F.4.2
    Planned additions: MICA NG, Networking updates, Software / Cypersecruity improvements, MIDS/L16 Block 2, automatic landing assistant (Rafale M)

-F.5 ‘Super Rafale’-

  • F.5
    In development - Fixed planned additions: RBE2-XG, new TGP, MBDA Meteor MLU, AASF, major EW suit updates, new cruise-missile

*Unconfirmed
**F.3 Late is unconfirmed so far, we can assume that all F.3 Early were just modernized to an higher standard later on, way after the financial issues and F.3.2 introduction
***Unofficial designation

The Demonstrator, Prototypes and Pre-Production

This section contains the very well known demonstrator Rafale A, as well as the first pre-production prototypes and testbeds of the Rafale B, C and M. Most of the pre-productions builts lacked main features like SPECTRA, MIDS, OFS and DDM. In thier early days, they also lacked the RBE2 (PESA) Radar as it wasn´t ready in this time frame. Thier excact capabilities and armament is unclear, however, some except the Rafale A were upgraded to the actual production standards, were the Rafale C 01 became the only C with F.1 (Early) standard ever built (later used as first F.3 / F.3R and Sail Point 3 mod. testbed), or were used for other proposes later on.

Rafale A Demonstrator

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After leaving the EFA program, Dassault developed the ACX into an airworthy demonstrator in a relatively short time, which was named Rafale A and was intended to demonstrate the feasibility of the project. After the public presentation in December 1985, the first flight took place in July 1986 at the air force base in Istres, with F404-GE-400 engines from the US manufacturer General Electric. In February 1987, then French President François Mitterrand announced the procurement of a production aircraft based on the Rafale A demonstrator for both the Armée de l’air and the Aviation navale. The test program continued: Mach 2 was reached for the first time in March 1987, carrier landings on the Clemenceau in April 1987 and on the Foch in July 1988 were simulated. In 1990, one of the Rafale A’s two engines was replaced by the M88-1 engine developed by Snecma since 1986, which was used for the first time in February 1990. After more than 860 flights, the Rafale A was retired on January 24, 1994. However, since the Rafale A is only a demonstrator, it did not have any weapons; two demonstrator Matra Magic II and four MICA training samples were ever used it, mainly for testing aerodynamics - it was also the only Rafale with dedicated airbrakes.

Rafale B 01 / C 01

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After the decision in 1987 to develop the Rafale A into a series aircraft, the contract for development with an industrial consortium was signed on April 21, 1988. In addition to Dassault, this consisted of Thomson-CSF and Snecma. For further testing, four near-series prototypes were built, which were equipped with extensive test instrumentation. The first to take off was the only Rafale C 01 single-seat aircraft - a second prototype of the single-seater was canceled - on May 19, 1991. On December 12, 1991 and November 8, 1993, respectively, the two naval single-seater prototypes Rafale M 01 and M 02 flew for the first time. On April 30, 1993, the only two-seater, the prototype Rafale B 01, took off for its maiden flight.
In the summer of 1992, the M 01 was moved to the US Naval Air Station Lakehurst to test catapult launches on the test catapult there - the French carriers use American catapult technology. In April of the following year, the first real porter operation finally took place on the Foch. In 1993 the first prototype of the RBE2 radar, which had been developed since 1989, was delivered. In addition, the first weapon tests with the cannon and the Magic II were carried out in March of that year. Two years later a MICA EM was fired from a Rafale for the first time and in 1996 the first shot at a moving target followed with a Matra Magic II. Also from 1996 the M88-1 engines were replaced by the production variant M88-2E1 and that Defense system SPECTRA integrated. Tests with particularly heavy loads (three 2000 l auxiliary tanks, four air-to-air missiles and two Apache), real-world tests with SPECTRA, multi-target air-to-air missile firing and integration of the production configuration of the RBE2 followed during 1997.

Rafale M 01 / M 02

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In the Navy in particular, there were concerns about the availability of an adequate fighter aircraft: the F-8 Crusader had already been procured in the mid-1960s and could not be kept in service until 1993, while the Rafale would not be available until 1998 at the earliest . The Navy would therefore have preferred the procurement of the quickly available US McDonnell Douglas F/A-18. However, this raised fears that a corresponding reduction in the number of units on the Rafale would make this project too expensive. Instead, therefore, some of the F-8 Crusaders and the Dassault Super Étendard were subjected to life extension and modernization. The F-8 could thus be used until 1999, which, however, still led to a gap of around two years in which hardly any fighter aircraft were available.
The French Navy has a special version of the Rafale called the Rafale M (for Marine), due to the specificity of the operations being conducted from an aircraft carrier. Two prototypes of this version, the Rafale M 01 and M 02, were ordered on December 6, 1988. The M 01 made its maiden flight on December 12, 1991. In a gray livery it is almost identical to the Rafale C 01. The first 39 catapult launch tests and four initial simulated runway tests were conducted from 8 July to 23 September 1992 in the United States at the Naval Air Warfare Center in Lakehurst, then carried by the Patuxent River in Maryland. These test bases have a track equipped with a catapult identical to those used on American aircraft carriers and allow catapult launches to be simulated from the ground. Two more heavy load test campaigns are conducted in January and March 1993 in the United States.
On April 19, 1993 on the Foch, Yves Kerhervé performed the first landing of a Rafale M and the next day the first catapult launch of a Rafale M was performed, the Foch being fitted with a mini-springboard to launch its im Comparison to compensate for shorter length to future aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.
On November 8, 1993, Éric Gérard, himself a test pilot for the Dassault Navy and in the following years a Rafale presentation pilot at air shows, made the maiden flight of the second M 02 prototype at the Istres base. The following year, the prototypes M 01 and M 02 conducted the first tests on the aircraft carrier Foch.
The landing tests will then be carried out in France at the Istres base with “touchdowns” on the aircraft carrier Foch, which is 50 km south of Marseille.
In 1996, after a two-year trial period, the French government, which decided to sell the Foch aircraft carrier to Brazil, requested the postponement of the delivery of the first Rafales, all destined for the French Navy, with the first receptions in 2000 from 1998 as previously planned.
The M 02 resumed its landing and catapult tests in June 1999, henceforth on the new aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle itself during a test phase a few days before the delivery of the first production Rafale.

The Production Variants

Rafale B

The Rafale B is the tandem seat version of the Family. The two seats were covered by a one-piece canopy that hinged open to the right. The Rafale B is fully equipped with operational kit, with the control layout for the front and back seats made as similar as possible to ensure maximum operational flexibility. It has an empty weight about 350 kilograms greater than the Rafale C, and less internal fuel capacity.
It was originally seen primarily as a conversion trainer, to be purchased in small quantities. It was believed that improvements in aircraft avionics would allow the pilot of the single-seat Rafale C to perform all operational missions. However, the Gulf War in 1991 suggested to the AA that strike and reconnaissance missions often required two aircrew, and so the service then increased the proportion of two-seaters in their buy.

Available Standards
All standards can technically applied to any model of the Rafale, but not all were used on all models. List might be incomplete due to upgrade history that is difficult to track.

  • B 01 Prototypes
  • B 301 (Testbed)
  • F.1 (only three built, one B 01 upgraded to F.1, four in total)
  • F.1 (Late)
  • F.2.2
  • F.3 (Early)
  • F.3 (Late)
  • F.3.3
  • F.3-4+
  • F.3R
  • F.4.1

Armament
The armament evolves by every Standard.

  • GIAT 30M791B w/ 125 rounds and 2.500 RPM
  • From F.1:
    • Matra Magic II, MICA EM
  • From F.2.2:
    • MICA IR
    • SCALP-EG, AASM-IIR, AASM-GPS
  • From F.3:
    • AM39 Block 1
  • From F.3.3:
    • GBU-12, GBU-22, GBU-24
  • From F.3R:
    • MBDA Meteor
    • AASM-L, AM39 Block II Mod. 2, Mk.81 / 82 / 83, GBU-16
  • From F.4.1:
    • AASM-1000

Rafale C

The Rafale C defines a baseline configuration for the Rafale family. The remarks below apply to the Rafale C, and are followed by descriptions of the other variants and their differences from the Rafale C.
It also features much more use of composite materials than the Rafale A, which reduced both the aircraft’s RCS and weight. It was relatively small for a twin-engine fighter, with an empty weight about 1,360 kilograms greater than that of a single-engine F-16C, and a maximum take-off weight about 4,535 kilograms greater.

Available Standards
All standards can technically applied to any model of the Rafale, but not all were used on all models. List might be incomplete due to upgrade history that is difficult to track.

  • C 01 Prototype (Later testbed without SPECTRA and OFS)
  • F.2.1
  • F.2.2
  • F.3 (Early)
  • F.3 (Late)
  • F.3.3
  • F.3-4+
  • F.3R
  • F.4.1

Armament
The armament evolves by every Standard.

  • From F.1:
    • Matra Magic II, MICA EM
  • From F.2.1:
    • MICA IR
    • SCALP-EG
  • From F.3:
    • AM39 Block 1, AASM-IIR, AASM-GPS
  • From F.3.3:
    • GBU-12, GBU-22, GBU-24
  • From F.3R:
    • MBDA Meteor
    • AASM-L, AM39 Block II Mod. 2, Mk.81 / 82 / 83, GBU-16
  • From F.4.1:
    • AASM-1000

Rafale M

The Rafale M is very similar to the Rafale C, the only really visible differences being taller, longer nose gear with catapult attachment fixtures, and fit of a stinger-type arresting hook under the tail. The longer nose gear, which gave the Rafale M a nose-up attitude on the ground , required removal of the front centerline stores pylon.
The Rafale C and B actually did have a runway arresting hook, but it was much less prominent. The Rafale M required a much more formidable hook since a carrier jet snags the cable at full throttle in case the landing is a “bolter”, and the aircraft has to come around for another try. Other changes to the Rafale M included a stronger airframe and main gear to withstand “smackdown” landings on carriers; a built-in, power-operated pilot boarding ladder; a carrier microwave landing system that made landings much easier than with earlier French carrier aircraft; and a “TELEMIR” inertial navigation system that could obtain position reference data from the carrier. The modifications to the Rafale M added about 500 kilograms to its empty weight relative to the Rafale C.
In the interests of commonality with other Rafale variants, the Rafale M does not have folding wings.

Available Standards
All standards can technically applied to any model of the Rafale, but not all were used on all models. List might be incomplete due to upgrade history that is difficult to track.

  • M 01 Prototype
  • M 02 Prototype
  • LF.1
  • F.1
  • F.1 (Late)
  • F.2.2
  • F.3.3
  • F.3R
  • F.4.1

Armament
The armament evolves by every Standard.

  • GIAT 30M791B w/ 125 rounds and 2.500 RPM
  • From LF.1:
    • Matra Magic II, MICA EM
  • From F.1:
    • GIAT 30M791B
  • From F.2.1:
    • MICA IR
    • SCALP-EG
  • From F.3:
    • AM39 Block 1, AASM-IIR, AASM-GPS
  • From F.3.3:
    • GBU-12, GBU-22, GBU-24
  • From F.3R:
    • MBDA Meteor
    • AASM-L, AM39 Block II Mod. 2, Mk.81 / 82 / 83, GBU-16
  • From F.4.1:
    • AASM-1000

Specifications, Features and Internal

Engines

The Rafale A demonstrator was powered by two General Electric F404-GE-400 engines, as the planned French in-house development was not yet available. This unit, which is almost half a meter longer at around 4 m and around 15% heavier than the later series engine, made the Rafale A significantly larger than later series models. Since the demonstrator still lacked a large part of the military equipment, the F404, which had an output of 48.9 kN without and 78.7 kN with afterburner, already had a good thrust-to-weight ratio of 1.04, despite the larger and heavier airframe and engines.
Since 1986, SNECMA has been working on the M88 engine, which was tested in the M88-1 version on the Rafale A from 1990 and has also been available in the production version M88-2E1 since 1996. With a power of 50 kN and an afterburner power of 75 kN, it corresponds to the performance class of the F404, but is smaller and lighter to allow the required small dimensions of the Rafale. The M88 features a redundant all-digital electronic control system that increases engine efficiency. In order to facilitate maintenance and the replacement of individual components, the engine is made up of 21 modules. Changing an entire engine can be done within an hour.
The two M88-2E1 give the Rafale a 1.04 thrust-to-weight ratio at normal takeoff weight. Dassault also states that with a supersonic-optimized 1250-liter auxiliary tank and four air-to-air missiles, the Rafale is supercruise-capable, meaning it can reach supersonic speeds without afterburners. The modernized M88-2E4 is very similar to the M88-2E1, but features a lower fuel consumption and is the current default engine for all Rafale in service.
Between 2004 and 2007, the M88 ECO (now known as M88-3) program explored the potential for future improvements. On the one hand, attempts were made to reduce operating costs, which meant extending maintenance intervals, extending service life and reducing fuel consumption. On the other hand, the increase in performance to around 60 kN dry and 90 kN wet by increasing the air throughput to 72 kg/s was tested. Despite the approximately 20% increase in performance, the specific fuel consumption would remain the same.

SPECTRA Self-Defence System

SPECTRA, which stands for either “Système de Protection et d’Évitement des Conduites de Tir du Rafale” in French or “Self-Protection Equipment Countering Threats to Rafale Aircraft in English”, is the Rafale’s self-defense system. It is a system for electronic warfare and is used in particular to take electronic countermeasures.
Three RWR and LWR (laser warning receivers) each, each with a coverage of 120°, as well as two infrared sensors for detecting approaching missiles (MAWS) are available to detect possible dangers. Two of the radar warning receivers, which operate in a frequency range from 2 to 40 GHz, are located near the engine intakes, the third is mounted at the rear in a container at the top of the vertical stabilizer. Two of the laser warning devices are located at the height of the cockpit root, the third is housed in the container on the vertical tail. This also contains the two infrared warning sensors of the type DDM. If a threat is detected, the sensors can locate it with an accuracy of 1° using interferometry. It is also compared with the system’s database and prioritized based on the threat. Finally, countermeasures are suggested to the pilot. Two jammers are attached between the canards and the fuselage as well as one in the rear, between the engines and vertical stabilizer. In the wing root at the rear there are four launchers for decoys. SPECTRA is controlled by a computer that includes three processors and is housed in the container between the engines, as the rear Jammer.
From F.4.1 onwards two more double-sided jammers are available; these are additionally attached to the MICA rails on the SP3 pylons.
Utilizing sensor fusion technology, the Rafale fighter jet can generate precise tracking data for its missiles. This cutting-edge system includes a comprehensive array of 360° passive IR sensors, enabling the Rafale to autonomously launch MICA missiles at threats within the sensors’ range. This independent targeting capability allows the Rafale to engage targets without relying on support from fellow aircraft.

Stealth Capabilities

The Rafale’s surface is made up of approximately 75% composite materials, accounting for almost 30% of the aircraft’s total weight; Compared to the Mirage 2000, the Rafale uses 7% more composite materials. Taking all unconventional materials into account, the proportion rises to 50% for the production Rafale versus just 30% for the demonstrator Rafale A. Titanium is used for parts potentially subject to impact, such as the slats and canard aircraft. The nozzles are also constructed by superplastic forming and diffusion bonding. The wings, elevators, rudder and about 50% of the outer skin are made of carbon fiber, while most of the fuselage is made of aluminum-lithium alloy. Portions of the hull also use thermoplastic composites. Finally, the nose, which houses the radar, is made of Kevlar.
The Rafale is a semi-stealth aircraft, with the delta wing configuration and canard aircraft not being the optimal configuration in terms of camouflage as the weapon mounts are only placed on the outside. However, measures have been taken to reduce the Rafale’s radar signature - the extensive use of composite materials being the first of these measures - and to reduce its effective radar area. The air intakes were also placed in such a way that a direct view of the engines is impossible, as the compressor blades are a major source of radar reflectivity. In addition to composite materials, materials that absorb radar waves have also been used; the canopy is thus covered with a thin layer of gold. Eventually, measures were taken, undisclosed by Snecma, to reduce the engines infrared signature.

The Cockpit

The cockpit, which is traditionally relatively small on Dassault aircraft, is based on that of the F-16 and is designed for good ergonomics, a large field of vision and the lowest possible workload for the pilot. The teardrop-shaped glass hood by Saint-Gobain Sully guarantees an almost 360° all-round view, at least in the Rafale C single-seater fighter version.
The instrumentation is designed as a glass cockpit. The information is therefore mainly presented on a CTH 3022 head-up display with a field of view of 30 × 22° and a head-level display (HLD) arranged directly below. The latter is a very high mounted, 10 by 10 inch color liquid crystal display with a resolution of 1000×1000 pixels and focusing at infinity to switch between HUD and HLD without having to refocus your eyes be able. In addition, to the left and right of the main display are two smaller, conventionally mounted 12.7 × 12.7 cm multi-purpose color liquid crystal screens with a resolution of 500 × 500 pixels. With both, the pilot can largely freely determine which content is to be displayed. Usually, however, one is used for navigation and the other for armament.
The controls work according to the HOTAS or 3M principle (Hands On Throttle And Stick or Mains sur Manche et Manettes); the pilot should be able to fly the machine without having to let go of the stick. Accordingly, the machine is primarily controlled via a sidestick on the right and a similarly joystick-like thrust lever on the left. There are 13 switches on the sidestick, while there are 24 switches on the throttle.
The two small touchscreens below the left multi-purpose display, which are used to select various functions such as radios, are rather unusual. The two multi-purpose displays are also designed as touch screens. In order to operate these, the pilots wear special silk-lined leather gloves without seams on their fingertips. Below the right multipurpose display are two other small displays that show basic parameters for navigation. A voice control (Direct Voice Input, DVI) was also developed, which understands around 300 different commands and has a recognition probability of 95% on the first try.

Scorpion HMCS for F.4.1 and later Standards

For the first time in series production in French fighter jets, the F.4.1 standard uses HMCS with an unmodified HGU-55/P helmet. The HMCS system “SCORPION” from the manufacturer THALES will be used, combined with the HOBIT (Hybrid Optical-based Inertial Tracker) system. In short, with the HOBIT system, specially coded points are attached to the cockpit glass above which the pilot sits, which are recorded by a 240hz refresh rate tracker on the helmet. This system allows high and almost latency-free head tracking, which also leads to very high accuracy when aiming with HMS (Helmet-Mounted-Sight).
However, the image of a Targeting or FLIR pod can also be streamed live onto the 26x20° full color and high-resolution SVGA display of the Scorpion HMCS, as well as live information about the battle and the surrounding area. For the pilot’s QOL, the information is color coded, e.g. hostiles are marked with a red square with an “H” in the middle, unknown objects are white, allies green and neutral blue, even with a 360° all-round view.
The system is also compatible with NVG devices.

Scorpion HMCS

OFS and OFS-IT

The Optronique Secteur Frontal is a passive, mobile optical reconnaissance system that has been available since the F.2 standard. It consists of a Safran infrared sensor (IRST) on the right and a Thales Combat Identification Unit (CIU) on the left. The IRST, which works in two different wavelengths, is used to locate and track targets without using radar, which is relatively easy to locate. In addition to being more difficult to locate, electro-optical location also has the advantage of significantly higher resistance to interference. The CIU consists of a camera coupled with a laser rangefinder and is primarily used for reliable visual identification, which is of considerable importance given today’s mostly strict rules of engagement to avoid friendly fire. Alternatively, however, it can also be used for target tracking.
The range of the IRST is around 100 km, that of the CIU around 40 km. However, the actual range of the CIU is highly dependent on the size of the target and the weather conditions, while in the case of the IRST the heat dissipation of the target determines the range. An improved version of the OFS (OFS-IT) is used in F.3-4+ standard onwards.

Optronique-Secteur-Frontal components

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RBE2 - PESA and AESA - Radar-System(s)

Probably the most important sensor is the RBE2 radar. RBE2 stands for Radar à balayage électronique 2 plans, which roughly means radar with electronic beam steering on two planes.
Technically, it is a radar with passive electronic beam steering (Passive Electronically Scanned Array, PESA) in its first variant. Compared to conventional radar, this technology makes it possible to track and engage a larger number of targets. However, it does not come close to the performance of systems with active electronic beam steering. In particular, no increase in range can be achieved, which is why the range of the RBE2 at around 100 km only roughly corresponds to that of the Mirage 2000. However, with up to 40 targets that can be tracked at once and up to eight targets that can be engaged at once, the RBE2 is far more flexible.
The RBE2 devices fitted to the Rafale M in the standard F1 could only be used for dogfights. If no identification can be made with IFF, a function called non-cooperative target recognition is also available, with which aircraft types stored in a database can be recognized based on their radar signature.
The F.3-4+ standards introduced the new RBE-2AA (Antenna Actife) which features an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antenna. This has increased range, improved resolution in SAR mode, and increased reliability. The RBE2-AA consists of around 1000 combined transmitter and receiver modules based on gallium arsenide semiconductors.
An official development order was issued in 2004. Two years later, test operations could begin with a prototype and in 2010 testing of the series standard began.

AASM “HAMMER” - Armement Air-Sol Modulaire

In the late 1990s, the French armed forces wanted weapons that could strike at long ranges so that the shooter would not be exposed. They also want weather-independent and particularly precise guidance in order to avoid “collateral damage”. In 2010, as part of the Upstream Study Program (PEA) notified in 2008, named “DASIGL” (air-to-ground inertia GPS laser armament demonstrator), the laser version was first fired at the DGA Missile Testing Center in Biscarrosse. The first delivery took place in December 2012.
The Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range (short “HAMMER”) modular air-to-surface armament is a family of guided bombs designed and manufactured by Safran Electronics.
The AASM includes a guidance kit and a range increase kit, each mounted in front of and behind a conventional 250 - 1000 kg bomb (HAMMER V1) or BLU-126 (HAMMER V4). There are three types of Guide Kits that can be used depending on the goal and conditions of use (listed below). This interference-resistant armament enables the AASM to simultaneously carry out very high-precision air-to-ground attacks on fixed and mobile multi-targets and at long ranges (75 km at high altitude). Users currently include France, Egypt, India, Morocco and Qatar.
Note: All three versions include INS (Internal Navigation System).

AASM-GPS

  • The AASM-GPS is the basic version. It features a hybrid guidance system, both GPS and inertial. The coordinates of the target are integrated into the weapon’s computers, which then remain autonomous during its flight in “fire and forget” mode.

AASM-IIR

  • The AASM-IIR has an additional infrared sensor. This only works in the final phase and allows overcoming coordinate errors by recalibrating before impact thanks to a model of the target previously introduced into the weapon and image processing algorithms. This version has metric accuracy.

AASM-L

  • The AASM-L has an additional vertically arriving laser sensor. It works when the target is illuminated with a laser designator and can destroy static or moving targets up to 80 km/h (tanks, ships, etc.) with an accuracy of less than a meter. Sometimes also referred as AASM-LAS.

Customer Specific Enhancements

As with car dealers, Dassault Rafale buyers can also have their “own” configuration put together. In addition to Greece and soon Indonesia, Croatia and the United Arab Emirates who use or ordered F.3R or F.4 standard Rafale, Qatar, Egypt and India have set their own standards for their Rafale. However, these do not differ much from the F.3R standard, which, however, serves as the basis for the so-called SOP (Standard of Preparation).
The changes of all three nations apply mainly to pods, 3rd party avionics with e.g. the Israeli TARGO-II Helmet mounted display (India, Qatar, Greece), AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING G4 targeting pod (India) and other changes / additions in the armament, such as the indian SPICE 1000 and future planned testing and addition of the israeli Python-5.
However, not all changes are known, there could be more we are not aware of, incl. more future plans.

Rafale Hardpoints and known Armament options (as off 02/Dec/23)

grafik

*excl. Armament of 3rd party modifications


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Here’s what I could find for the armament of the Rafale
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if added i hope its modeled correctly

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I wonder Rafale F1 & Rafale M LF1 standard fitted with Thales RBE2 passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar only ?

All Standards use RBE2, F.3R is the first one with RBE2-AA (AESA).

@WreckingAres283 So since Rafale F1, LF1, F2 & F3 basic equipped with Thales RBE2 passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar

Added suggestion links

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Actually thinking of grinding France next since Im done with Japan. My only issue is that they will lack gen 5s if we reach that level of course but the Rafale is 😍

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Rafale F.4 with MICA NG and Meteors should be plenty enough to deal with Gen 5s in the future, up until it goes against UK F-35s with Meteors if that ever even happens (probably not).

What about J-20 with long range PL-15+ missiles?

The biggest issue with that plane is that it has a proper missile that can shoot at the Rafale before being detected.

Rafales may have to rely on detecting missile launch, using rwr, and etc. while trying to close the distance against it. The only saving grace is the fact that there’s only 4 of them at a time on a plane so the J-20 simply can’t spam them and has to be selective with them when he shoots them.

PL-10 has a very high pK, I think the Rafale would prefer to try to use standoff munitions like MICA-IR NG than get really close to the J-20.

This is not off-topic, please stop false flagging my posts.

I mean, it wouldn’t be smart at all to get within PL-10s range if you can use all your missiles in BVR and then run away to rearm. Why give in for a CQC if you can afford not to?

Some people think it would be smarter to dogfight because the J-20 has no gun. In reality, they (China) are confident that two PL-10s is far more than sufficient to handle CQC engagements if needed for the J-20.

This is not off-topic, please stop false flagging my posts.

It would depend on some things I’d think. Dual band flares exist and so do planes with reduced IR. Dual band flares are advertised to flare even the most flare resistant missiles today. We’d have to see how Gaijin implements things. Dual band flares got passed to Gaijin recently.

Take J-20 / Chinese missiles discussion elsewhere plz, its off-topic.

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So you guess gaijin consider next step new fighter aircraft toptier start Rafale M LF1 ?

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Added most pictures and adjusted the formatting a bit

Likely, but it really depends on what is already in-game and what is coming along with it as counterpart. Its too early to speculate about this, also given that the MICA is by far too strong for now.