Rafale Air Supremacy Explained | First Batch of Rafale Fighters Reach India
The Dassault Rafale, literally meaning in French “gust of wind”, and “burst of fire” in a more military sense) is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a good range of weapons, the Rafale is meant to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and deterrence missions. The Rafale is mentioned as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault.
In the late 1970s, the French Air Force and Navy were seeking to exchange and consolidate their current fleets of aircraft. In order to scale back development costs and boost prospective sales, France entered into an appointment with UK, Germany, Italy and Spain to supply an agile multi-purpose fighter, the Eurofighter Typhoon. Subsequent disagreements over workshare and differing requirements led to France’s pursuit of its own development programme. Dassault built a technology demonstrator which first flew in July 1986 as a part of an eight-year flight-test programme, paving the way for the go-ahead of the project. The Rafale is distinct from other European fighters of its era therein it’s almost entirely built by one country, involving most of France’s major defence contractors, such as Dassault, Thales and Safran.
Many of the aircraft’s avionics and features, such as direct voice input, the RBE2 AA active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and the optronique secteur frontal infra-red search and track (IRST) sensor, were domestically developed and produced for the Rafale programme. Originally scheduled to enter service in 1996, the Rafale suffered significant delays thanks to post-Cold War budget cuts and changes in priorities. The aircraft is out there in three main variants: Rafale C single-seat land-based version, Rafale B twin-seat land-based version, and Rafale M single-seat carrier-based version.
Introduced in 2001, the Rafale is being produced for both the French Air Force and for carrier-based operations within the French Navy. The Rafale has been marketed for export to many countries, and was selected for purchase by the Indian Air Force, the Egyptian Air Force, and therefore the Qatar Air Force. The Rafale has been utilized in combat over Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria. Several upgrades to the weapons and avionics of the Rafale are planned to be introduced by 2018
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