MMRCA 2.0 :Dassault Rafale F4 for IAF?
The Dassault Rafale is a French Twin-Engine,Canard Delta wing,Mulitrole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation for wide range of short and long-range missions, including ground and sea attacks, reconnaissance, high-accuracy strikes and nuclear strike deterrence.
Dassault Aviation announced on 22 March last year that French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has authorised development of the new RAFALE F4 standard.
Dassault underlying philosophy of the RAFALE programme is continuous development through a succession of standards to adapt the aircraft to changing operational and technical needs. A first version of the new F4 standard could be in evidence as early as 2023, the company stated, following the F3-R standard, currently scheduled for qualification in 2018 and that India will be getting.
India’s Rafale will deploy the in-development BrahMos NG missile in either a twin or single weapon load-out when the system is ready from 2021. The MBDA Scalp and BrahMos will provide planners with unique subsonic/supersonic stand-off attack options available to no other air force in the world. The Rafale deal also includes assurances for coding extensions to other in-development Indian weapon systems, including the Astra BVRAAM.
The Indian Rafale will sport the fully internal SPECTRA electronic warfare system, billed as the ‘cornerstone of the Rafale’s outstanding survivability against the latest airborne and ground threats’.
Rafale also makes extensive use of radar-absorbent material (RAM) in the form of paints and other materials. RAM forms a saw-toothed pattern on the wing and canard trailing edges, for instance. The aircraft is designed to, so that its untreated radar signature is concentrated in a few strong “spikes,” which are then suppressed by the selective use of RAM.
The Rafale is equipped with an RBE2 passive electronically scanned radar developed by Thales, which has look-down and shoot-down capabilities and it can track up to eight targets simultaneously and provides threat identfications and prioritisation.
Active electronic scanning makes it possible to switch radar modes quickly, thereby enabling operational functions to run simultaneously.
In short, the Rafale can carry a wide range of weapons, and perform air to air, air to ground, and air to sea combat well.
INDIA’S CASE of F4 RAFALES:
India is not going to place an order for next set of 110 jets before the end of 2020, if the recent Boeing statement that India will take two years to complete the trials of various aircrafts and vetting of the offers, is to be taken at face value. The current order of 36 aircrafts will be completed by middle of 2022. And from next year i.e. 2023 India can have delivery of Rafale F4 standard. Possible France has begun to work eagerly on F4 standard with Indian order in sight. Any future enhancements can be taken as part of the offer. By 2025 Rafale 5th tranche will be fully ready. If current order and delivery schedule is to go by, even that fits the bill perfectly.
What F4 standard will have :
The Standard F4 will include a whole new generation of sensors and weapons helping boost the fighter’s already fearsome air-to-air and air-to-surface capabilities.Additional radar functionalities will be introduced for the detection of threats in challenging environments, notably a Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) mode.
Rafale F4 will also upgrade Scalp stealth cruise missiles of the Scalp / Storm Shadow family and improved and heavier Hammer (Highly Agile, Modular Munition Extended Range) precision weapons. The Mica family of air-to-air missiles will be upgraded too, to guarantee operational relevance against a whole range of emerging threats. With all these improvements on the horizon, the battle-hardened Rafale will remain a lethal combat tool for the foreseeable future.
Rafale F4 will also include weapon integration modifications to include new variants of air/air Mica, Scalp and the nuclear cruise missile ASMP-A (currently deployed exclusively on Mirage 2000N). However, due to the relatively short span of the program, it is likely to focus mainly on capabilities based on software and limited hardware upgrades.
More powerful engines will be installed from current Snecma M-88 that produce 75kN of thrust each. Likely new capabilities would mean Rafale will be further made stealthier
Upgrades could include cockpit redesign or introduction of low-observability modifications to better position this 4.5 generation fighter against modern and future fighters.
Source:- Bharat Rakshak