On the national territory, the Rafale Marine participates in air safety as part of the permanent security programme. The qualities of the Rafale Marine make it possible to fully ensure its participation in the safety of the national airspace and in flight assistance missions. The Rafale was also involved in the special operations deployed during high-risk events.
Used on board the aircraft carrier, the Rafale gives it excellent flexibility of use due to its ability to land with a large quantity of un-fired ammunition or fuel. Its range of action, its safety of use (twin-engine), its stability in the approach phase and the fact of being able to “clear” the aircraft, given its large reserve of oil on landing, towards a field at great distance in the event of technical difficulties or extreme weather conditions, lead to a tactical use of the Charles de Gaulle close to that of its big American cousins.
Characteristics of the Rafale M
Wingspan: 10.90 meters
Wing area: 46 m²
Length: 15.27 meters
Height: 5.34 meters
– empty: 10,196 kg
– maximum: 24,000 kg
Maximum speed: Mach 1.6 (1290 knots)
Approach speed: 120 knots
Patrol time: 2 hours without in-flight refueling
Ceiling: 50,000 feet
Coverable distance: 1,000 nautical miles
2 SNECMA M 88-2 reactors with 7.5 tons of thrust
Armament in air defense mission:
– 30 mm DEFA 791 barrel.
– MICA air-to-air missiles with electromagnetic guidance and infrared guidance
– In the near future: METEOR missile
Entered into service in 2002, the Rafale Marine, today at the F3 standard, is the most modern combat aircraft in service in France. It is a multipurpose aircraft with a long-range intervention capability with in-flight refueling, an adaptable tool intended for a wide variety of missions:
• air defense and superiority
• penetration and attack on the ground in all weathers
• mothership capacity
• sea attack in all weathers and from a safe distance
• tactical and strategic reconnaissance
• nuclear deterrence
Thanks to the freedom of the seas and the mobility conferred by an aircraft carrier, the Rafale Marine represents a major power projection tool. Its naval platform being able to overcome borders and travel up to 1000 km / d, it allows it to operate anywhere in the world, at low notice, freeing itself from diplomatic or geographic constraints.
The French Navy has 40 Rafale Marine.
The Rafale Marine to the F3 standard experienced its first operational deployment during the Agapanthe 2010 mission then during Operation Harmattan off Libya where, with the modernized Super Étendard of the 17F flotilla, they fully contributed to nearly 1 400 war missions, 4000 flight hours for the Air Group on board the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.
On September 19, 2011, the 11F flotilla sailed on Rafale Marine, thus representing a new milestone in the rise of the Rafale in the Navy.
On the Rafale, the “HOTAS” concept has been taken to a high level: the pilot has on the stick and on the throttle a total of 37 controls which allow him, without releasing either , to control the entire weapon system, all the sensors and the autopilot. In aerial combat, the Rafale Marine pilot can count on the aircraft’s extraordinary maneuverability, due in large part to digital flight controls and exceptional engine power.
During the catapult, the airplane’s autopilot exercises full control of the machine, the pilot gradually regaining control from an altitude of around 100m. The presence of two engines is an additional guarantee of safety, the pilot having the possibility of returning to land on the boat in the event of loss of an engine during take-off. Same safety during the landing, where the autopilot allows the aircraft to automatically maintain the angle of attack, the pilot having only to concentrate on the trajectory.
Armament in air / ground mission:
– 30 mm DEFA 791 barrel.
– Laser-guided bombs.
– Propelled bomb with GPS or Infra Red AASM guidance (Modular Air Ground Armament).
– SCALP – EG cruise missile
– AM 39 anti-ship missile.
– ASMP-A missile.
Electronic and optronic equipment
– RBE-2 radar
– OSF optronic sensor.
– EMTI system.
– L16 tactical data link
– Spectra electronic countermeasures system.
– Damocles laser designation pod.
– New generation reconnaissance pod.
Sources: © French Navy
Rights: Ministry of the Armed Forces
Livery: Marine Nationale