The RAFALE has successfully completed its first test flights in a new heavily-armed configuration, comprising six air-to-ground precision AASM Hammer missiles, four medium and long range air-to-air missiles from the MICA family, two very long range METEOR missiles, as well as three 2,000 liter fuel tanks.
This preliminary work, self-funded by Dassault Aviation are conducted in collaboration with the Direction Générale de l’Armement (the French Defense Procurement Agency) and will eventually lead to a complete clearance of the flight envelope.
By increasing the capabilities of its fourteen hard points, including eight under the wings, the RAFALE is the only fighter aircraft in the world capable of carrying 1.5 times its own weight. Its “omnirole” capability responds to the needs of countries requiring, at a controlled cost, an operational and versatile tool capable of fulfilling all missions more effectively, whilst mobilizing fewer resources. Two RAFALE aircraft represent the same potential as six MIRAGE 2000 class aircraft.
This new configuration, unmatched in the versatility and firepower it represents, has been made possible thanks to the open architecture of the aircraft designed from the outset to perform all of the missions previously assigned to seven different types of aircraft in France. As a veritable “force booster”, the RAFALE is a tool for rationalizing armies.
This new development, which combines great autonomy with the versatility of the weapons system, demonstrates the power and operational superiority of the RAFALE, which already has a unique range of configurations, including the unique ability to strike deeply, with two Scalp cruise missiles and three 2,000 liter fuel tanks, as used by the French armed forces during Operation Harmattan in Libya in 2011.
Thanks to this new technical performance, Dassault Aviation is again demonstrating, a few days after being awarded the contract for the F3-R standard by the French Minister for Defense, Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, that the RAFALE is part of a continuous improvement process to meet users’ requirements.
Source: Dassault Aviation
Date: Jan 24, 2014