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Gaines M, 10-Jun-1989. Rafale - Dassault's New Dawn, Flight International

Gaines M, 10-Jun-1989. Rafale - Dassault's New Dawn, Flight International

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Published by: Foro Militar General on Aug 21, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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The 1990s are set to be exciting times, with
fourth generation of jet fighters
for orders.
Mike Gaines
Dassault's entrant, the
with a cutaway drawing
John Marsden.
assault's Rafale is more than just afighter programme. On Rafale reststhe future of France as an aerospace technology leader, and theaircraft means more to the French than doesany similar programme in the free world.In recent defence budget wranglings withPresident Mitterrand, Defence Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement has stood his ground onRafale, on which depends France's independence in defence, as well as its position as aleader in aerospace and defence technology.The industry employs about 300,000, andlast year made profits of FFr34 billion ($5billion), ranking third in arms exports.It is axiomatic, then, that France cannotafford for Rafale to be less than successful.Unlike Israel's recent sad experience with theLavi, however, France is at least the mistressof her own destiny.Although France is at present going solowith the Rafale, the
Groupment d'interetcommune,
formed to develop the aircraft, iscalled Avion
de Combat Europeen,
or ACE.Dassault's ACE partners are Snecma(engines), Thomson-CSF and ElectroniqueSerge Dassault (radar), and Matra (missiles).The Rafale development programme will costFFr40 billion ($6 billion), of which theGovernment will pay 75 per cent and ACEthe remainder.The Rafale A technology demonstratormade its maiden flight in 1986, and is thelead into the two operational versions, RafaleD
=stealth) for the French Air Forceand the Rafale M
for the FrenchNavy. At present the Air Force requires 250Rafales, including some 20 two-seat trainers.They will replace Mirage UIEs, Mirage F.lCs,and, later, Mirage 2000s in the air-to-air role,and Mirage Vs, JaguarAs,and Mirage F.lCRsin the air-to-ground mission.The French Navy's current requirement isfor 86 Rafale Ms, including six to eight two-seat trainers, to replace the ageing VoughtF-8FN Crusaders in the air-superiority roleand the Super Etendards in the strike/attack/reconnaissance roles.With Rafale A, Dassault set out to demonstrate that it could meet broad requirements.The aircraft has to be compact and light (8-5tonnes) with, a high thrust-to-weight ratio,80
high agility, and exceptional stores capacityin terms of size, weight carried, and diversityof use. It has to have reduced radar andinfrared signatures.In addition to high combat performance,the Air Force aircraft would have a low landing speed and STOL abilities, and the Navyvariant would be capable of operating fromthe present Clemenceau class of aircraft carri
as well as from the future nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle class, with theirlarger flightdecks.The weapon system must be multirole,with inflight reconfiguration from air-to-air toair-to-ground. It must be useable in an all-weather, all-altitude harsh electronic environment over land or sea, with simultaneousmulti-target engagement.The radar specified must be capable ofsimultaneous detection of ground and
Left and above
The naturally unstableRafale combines carefree high-agilitymanoeuvring and high thrust-to-weightratio
(right) with low
approach speed (top)
targets from a low or high viewpoint, bothover land and sea, and must also be capableof use in the terrain-following/terrain-avoidance modes as necessary. The electronic countermeasures suite must cover all ofthe threat's frequency range for air, ground,and naval emitters. The weapons would be ofa variety corresponding to the type's multi-role function.The broad-brush engine specificationcalled for a light, advanced-technologypowerplant of compact design, combininghigh power, low specific fuel consumption,control flexibility, and economic and easymaintenance.Dassault's long experience with deltas andcanard deltas stood the company in goodstead when it came to designing the Rafale.Both the Mirage 4000 and the Mirage IIINGhad close-coupled canards to destabilise thefly-by-wire aircraft and enhance manoeuvrability. The later Mirage 2000 was effectively
Underneath view showing wingtip MatraMagic air-to-air missiles and four MatraMica medium range missiles: alsogenerator-cooling air intakes and ventralsuck-in doors.1 Pitothead2 Sideways-hingeinghydraulicallyactuated radome (Kevlar)3 Thomson-CSF RDX lookdown/shootdown radar4 Forward electronic racks (temperaturecontrolled)5 Angle-of-attack transmitter6 Pressure heads (each side,staggered, electrically heated)7 Outside temperature probe8 Total temperature probe9 Forward pressure bulkhead10 Fully shrouded instrument panel (seecockpit detail)11 Headup display (HUD)12 Sidestick flying control lever13 Engine power control lever14 Rudder pedals with toe-brakes15 Boarding ladder attachment points16 One-piece cockpit canopy(counterbalanced}17 Canopy emergency ground release18 Anti-detonation chords (ADC)19 Martin-Baker MK.FIOX zero-zeroejection seat20 Rear avionic compartment housinginertial navigation and flight controlcomputers (temperature controlled)21 Cockpit air conditioning andpressurisation bay (boot strap system)22 Primary and secondary heat exchangers23 Heat exchanger exhaust outlet grill24 Turbocompressors and water separators25 Air ducts from engine bleed HP systemto conditioning pack26 Generator "ram-air" in to pressurisationsystem via pre-cooler27 Primary air turbo generator28 Fin/fuselage attachment fittings (twobolts each)29 Two-spar fin torsion box covered withintegrally stiffened carbon reinforcedplastic skin panels30 Detachable fin-tip housing UHF aerial(Aramid fibre)31 VOR aerial (both sides)32 Leading edge (Aramid fibre)33 Rudder hydraulic servo actuator(electrically controlled)34 Carbon reinforced plastic rudder (nohoneycomb)35 Brake chute housing and fairing36 Airbrake panel and hydraulic actuator37 Fuselage integral multi-fuel tanks38 Fuselage tanks interconnecting transferpipe and venting system39 Detachable fuselage spine panels(aluminium lithium)40 Canard foreplane "active control" -tinteracts with wing41 Carbon reinforced plastic panels,titanium spar and leading edge, withAramid fibre tip42 Hydraulic actuator, electrically control43 Engine semi-ventral air intake44 Boundary air layer splitter plate (spillduct behind)45 Ventral suck-in door (opens at highangl*of attack) »46 Engine air intake fuselage duct(aluminium lithium)47 Machined-titanium fuselage frames48 Diffusion-bonded fuselage intercostatsand longerons -t49 Stainless steel engine heat shroud50 General Electric F404-GE-400 turbofanengines51 Airframe-mounted auxiliary enginegearbox (AMAD) mounted forward of
engine, shaft driven52 Engine afterburner53 Variable-diameter exhaust nozzle54 Nozzle acuating jacks (three,pneumatic) -^55 Full authority digital engine control unit(FADEC)

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