Rafale beats F-35 & F-22 in Flight International

Photo: Dassault

Flight International test pilot — and former Red Arrows team leader — Peter Collins (above right) gives the Dassault Rafale a ringing endorsement in this week’s magazine. “If I had to gointo combat, on any mission, against anyone, I would, without question,choose the Rafale,” Collins concludes in his six-page flight test report published in our Dubai Air Show preview issue.

Read the full article here.

Collins’ report is timely because the Rafale appears to be nearing the end of a two-decade-old search for an export customer. If all goes perfectly well for Dassault, Brazil, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates could all be signed up as customers by the end of November (although that’s still a big ‘if’.)

If you want to cut to the chase, here’s is the text from the last page of the excellent report.

It is worth remembering that stealth-optimised, or fifth-generation fighters such as the Lockheed F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighterare not only likely to be hugely expensive, but they can only preservetheir stealth characteristics by carrying a very limited weapons loadin their internal weapon bays.

Therefore, in the current andpredicted financial defence climate, it could well be that so-calledfourth-generation fighters will remain the aircraft of choice for mostnations – perhaps even including the UK.

Moreover, the factthat the Rafale is the only European fighter in production that iscarrier-capable gives it, in my opinion, a distinct advantage in anyfuture export “fly-off” competition as a single combat type that canequip a country’s air force and naval air arm.

In answer to myown evaluation objectives, it was obvious the Rafale has earned itsomnirole definition, even though I barely scratched the surface of itssensor and weapon capabilities. The aircraft has an incredible level ofperformance befitting a fourth-generation type, and despite flying ahighly complex and demanding evaluation sortie, I felt completely athome in the aircraft and retained full situational awareness. If itcould keep me safe, it would also do the same for young first-touristpilots coping with tactical operations.

The classic definitionsof aircraft combat roles really do not do justice to this aircraft; theRafale is Europe’s force-multiplying “war-fighter” par excellence. Itis simply the best and most complete combat aircraft that I have everflown. Its operational deployments speak for themselves. If I had to gointo combat, on any mission, against anyone, I would, without question,choose the Rafale.


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156 Responses to Rafale beats F-35 & F-22 in Flight International

  1. Solomon 9 November, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    Forget the F-22 and F-35…what does he have to say about the Typhoon vs. the Rafale. Once again when you get right down to it all we have is another European taking an opportunity to bash an American product. I’m not impressed and only slightly disappointed.

  2. Sven Ortmann 9 November, 2009 at 3:20 pm #

    Think twice; might this story be related to the “only half as many F-35 for the new carriers” problem?

  3. A. Physicist 9 November, 2009 at 3:44 pm #

    Not terribly surprising that Collins likes the Rafale. It’s a beautiful, highly aerobatic plane — light and nimble — and he’s a former Red Arrow who is presumably used to flying Hawks. Note that every hint of praise is qualified with “of all the planes I’ve flown,” and that the runner-up is a Mirage 2000. But combat pilots need to get over this notion that a thrill ride experience is of most interest during operations. Even an F-35 can watch you playfully execute a sustained 5g climbing turn, unnoticed, as it sends simulated AMRAAMs up a Rafale’s tailpipe.

    The Rafale is an excellent, cheap, and versatile complement to a 5th generation fighter and will do very well in low-tech conflicts like Afghanistan, but let’s be honest here: it’s apples to oranges when air-to-air enters the argument.

  4. Jeb 9 November, 2009 at 5:05 pm #

    I’m left wondering what is an operational air-to-air warload for the Rafale? More than eight AAMs? The F-22 carries six AMRAAMs and two AIM-9s plus gun…that’s hardly limited. The F-35 doesn’t have as much internal carriage but it can also carry external missile loads and jettison the pylons if desired after firing the missiles. I’m sure the Rafale is a great jet, but on those points, the comparison seems rather specious.

  5. Jeremy 9 November, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

    This article is a good article but I want to hear that he has flown the competition. Only a handful of pilots have flown the F-35. So I take that argument lightly. To think this plane is better than an F-22A because it can land on a carrier is suspect.

    So when Mr. Collins writes an article stating he has just flown the Rafale, F-35, F-22A, F/A-18E/F, F-15E/SE, Gripen, SU-27/3X and Typhoon AND now he thinks the Rafale is the best aircraft, his justification will hold more weight. If I drove a Honda Accord for a living and got to drive a McLaren once, hell yea that Mclaren would be the best car I had ever driven.

  6. Dave 9 November, 2009 at 5:20 pm #

    It sounds like he’s on their payroll or something- is he? More of an advertisement for Dassault than a actual hard objective review frankly- add to which he seems to take their company line with regard to taking shots at other airframes- particularly US-built machines (standard operating procedure for the French). Interestingly, not that he doesn’t throw at the much more expensive but conceptually similar Typhoon despite that fact it a direct competitor… So perhaps he’s not pimping for Dassualt per se, but rather just European manufacturers in general.

    I’d like to know what his operational background is other than flying airshow displays with the Red Arrows- which counts for very little in terms useful experience. That would include which combat aircraft he’s flown operationally and if he has any actual combat experience i.e. CAS or strike missions over the Iraq or Afghanistan. Also I’d like to know if he worked for Dassault prior to this gig at Flight.

    Also the F-15E carries 24000lbs of weapons i.e. 11 tons, not 9.5 tons- so not exactly equivalent. So he either got that directly from Dassualt’s brochure or he’s being intentionally disingenuous. Either way is problematic.

  7. Eric 9 November, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

    A SA20 will put a quick end to his ringing endorsement. This guy is obviously a bit punchy in the head to make such an asinine comment. In a one V one scenario with either the F22 or the F35 at the hands of a average pilot, the Rafale will not last 10 minutes.

  8. Arne 9 November, 2009 at 6:56 pm #

    Why SA20 Take SA21 and it will put a quick end to F35 too. F22 may survive. Very low rcs is on it´s way to loose it´s advantedge. Missiles have to be handled offensive in the future.

  9. alloycowboy 9 November, 2009 at 7:52 pm #

    It’s seems a little hasity to write off the F-35 and F-22 when Mr. Collins hasn’t flown ethier of those aircraft.

  10. Royce 9 November, 2009 at 8:14 pm #

    I read some of Collins’ other flight tests for the magazines, and he generally closes with something positive about the aircraft he’s flying. I don’t think his word is conclusive, particularly if he doesn’t have substantial operational experience in competing types.

  11. br_dlf 9 November, 2009 at 9:02 pm #

    He has something positive to say about an European aircraft. Wauw. Unheard of. So obviously he must be in pay of Dassault or otherwise be biased. Of course this is never the case with people singing the praise of an aircraft that has not shown serious performance yet outside the powerpoint regime.

    If the Rafale is really as good in comparison with the JSF remains to be seen. But I would not be surprised if performances (F4+ version) would turn out to be a close match. French aircraft tend to be quite underestimated in general (as the same BTW for the Swedisch aircraft). If there is no significant difference in combat effectiveness -my 2 cents based on what I have seen so far is that the JSF will probabily be somewhat better in the bombing penetration role (of heavily defended area’s) but considerably worse in the a2a role- there is no justification for the JSF price tag.

    Have no fear Solomon. Even if the Rafale outperforms the JSF (and turns out to be cheaper) most airforces in western Europe (let alone Autralia) will still opt for the JSF. They are too freaking afraid that they won’t be seen as a ‘primary and loyal’ partner of the USAF. Because of this political and mental dependency they will swallow costs and (possibly) the mediocre performance and in the end need to hurdle under the USAF wings because they will not be able to operate by themselves anymore.

    Would be funny (not really) if the USAF buys considerably less JSF’s and closes the gap with updated legacy aircraft (new build, updated F15′s and F16′s) as a more cost effective solution to maintain combat effectiveness. It would prove the French and the Swedes have a point. But of course that is too outrageous to even suggest.

  12. Manfred von Richthofen 9 November, 2009 at 9:07 pm #

    Hold your horses man! The F-35 still got all to prove. And even ahead of this massive testing the F-35 is designed to be just as agile as a F-16, not worse/not better. Thats it’s agility performance for starters. It’s got aces in its sleeve with the LO, but even that will be challanged in 10-20 years time when finally in action. I do think the SAAB Gripen NG has every chance to show its dogfighting skill against any of the afore mentioned opponents. Geopolotical alliances and blocking of transfer of technology might bully it out of Brazil & India, but who knows. The dude abaides as Mr Lebowski puts it…

  13. Andrew 9 November, 2009 at 9:10 pm #

    Yeah, but what else has he flown to provide a valid comparison against? He doesn’t say…

  14. Dave 9 November, 2009 at 11:54 pm #

    Peter Collins is said to have 6,600 flying hours to his credit and flown 68 different types of aircraft including Lightning, Harrier and Hawk and remember he’s evaluating the Rafale against set criteria. He is Flight Internationals test pilot and obviously enjoyed the ride.

  15. John 10 November, 2009 at 12:40 am #

    I do think that if blue was a european or french tint, you would deny it’s color, wouldn’t you? Check Luke AFB pilots comments about Rafale, very, very, very interesting…

  16. SMSgt Mac 10 November, 2009 at 4:31 am #

    C’mon guys, lighten up and have some fun!
    I’m certain Mr. Collins’ views are sincere. As a full-fledged Golden Arm his expert opinion must carry some weight. Of course, I’m also certain that we can find any number of ‘equal and opposite’ test pilots whose opinions would involve favoring other aircraft.
    I believe when it comes to fighters, one size does not fit all. The Rafale has to be a contender for any nation with a driving need to protect it’s own territory and has a significant IADS and C3I capability into which they can integrate a relatively large number of chosen fighter aircraft.
    The Rafale has to be a serious contender if that same nation is not expected to fight against a well-trained fifth generation foe. In that case, the Rafale would be what the French call a “target”.

  17. syntaxerror9 10 November, 2009 at 4:56 am #

    Be fair play guys!
    Collins is not a sunday pilot.

  18. Charles de Gaulle 10 November, 2009 at 9:37 am #

    Already one RN carrier sunk by the JSF… Now wait: the “special relationship” is still on the move. When will the second carrier be sunk?

    We know… “Better dead than blue!”

    Only a distinguish gentleman like Peter Collins can ignore those militant arguments.


  19. James 10 November, 2009 at 12:29 pm #

    “Also I’d like to know if he worked for Dassault prior to this gig at Flight.”

    Dave, and you, for who do you work ? Don’t be jealous, the Rafale is simply the best. Either way, it’s not difficult, since the F-22 hasn’t proved anything and that the F-35 doesn’t yet exist (and perhaps will never exist).

  20. Test engineer 10 November, 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    Did Mr. Collins fly on Eurofighter , F22 or F35?

    I’m not surprised that Rafale pleased him but to know exactly performance level including taking in account RCS or ECM features (which are secret data) needs more than simple opinion of a test pilot.
    It is clear that Rafale may have chance to compete with F35 if its roadmap is quickly funded and its LO+ECM combo give it right stealth performance (Rafale ECM seems without any equivalent for a fighter).

    I would like to know if Mr.Collins flew on Eurofighter.

  21. BDF 10 November, 2009 at 2:28 pm #

    “Either way, it’s not difficult, since the F-22 hasn’t proved anything and that the F-35 doesn’t yet exist (and perhaps will never exist).”

    How exactly has the Squall “proven” itself more than the F-22? Dropped a couple bombs on the Taliban? He might have an argument in the context of the current wars in southwest Asia but when talking about executing an integrated air campaign against denied airspace the Squall is not an F-22 or F-35 equivalent; not even close. Period. Dot. Further his reasoning, i.e. limit carriage //in a stealth configuration\\ ignores the fact that the Squall can’t carry much more on any realistic mission set. He also is ignoring the problems they’ve had with some of the avionics (radar, OSF). Specious indeed. It’s a good jet, but F-22 or F-35 it is not; or a Typhoon for that matter

  22. Ben 10 November, 2009 at 2:46 pm #

    I think M. Collins did a very good description of the Rafale. And i’m not surprised by his conclusion because Dassault always developed good airplanes.

    For fans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ol74hOJtWOA&feature=related

    (Its not a Rafale)

  23. gemini 10 November, 2009 at 2:58 pm #

    Ben dit donc ça cause pas mal sur notre joujou.
    Quand je lis que le F35 est superieur au rafale ,il faut redescendre sur terre ,cet avion n’a rien prouvé pour le moment a part le fait d’avoir pris les budgets de recherche et developpement europeens.
    Le Typhoon a l’air d’etre un superbe avion de defense aerienne mais quid du bonbardement?

  24. Stephen Trimble 10 November, 2009 at 3:05 pm #

    Peter, to our knowledge, has not flown the EF2000, F-22 or F-35.

  25. Jeb 10 November, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    So ultimately, it just comes down to these statements:

    “It is simply the best and most complete combat aircraft that I have ever flown. Its operational deployments speak for themselves. If I had to go into combat, on any mission, against anyone, I would, without question, choose the Rafale.”

    Does this mean the Rafale beats the 5th gens in any measurable sense other than cost? I don’t believe that it does. It just means that of the jets he has flown (which I think we’ve determined does not include any 5th gens), he’d fly the Rafale, and some believe that that’s a questionable judgement call. I’m willing to accept that.

    And Trimble, in proper journalistic fashion, managed to cull an inflammatory headline from it. :) I’m willing to accept that too.

  26. Stephen Trimble 10 November, 2009 at 3:53 pm #

    Thanks, Jeb, but I think I should be offended! ;)

    The headline I believe is justified by his statement that he would choose the Rafale, bar none, over any aircraft, for any combat situation. He clearly prefers the Rafale over the F-22/F-35-class, whether he’s enjoyed the opportunity to fly them or not.

  27. Sven Ortmann 10 November, 2009 at 4:04 pm #

    The Rafale has several advantages over both F-35 and F-22. It’s unreasonable to be certain about the superiority of either F-22/35 or Rafale, but it’s not unreasonable to think that the Rafale might be superior.

    The concepts are very different and the USAF fans tend to look only at the talking points they were supplied with by the Anglo-American world’s sources.

  28. Jeb 10 November, 2009 at 4:10 pm #

    Perhaps, but still…we’re always conditioned to prefer the known over the unknown, and I think it’s worth noting that nowhere does Collins actually say the Rafale is better than the F-22/35, just that he’d choose the Rafale as it’s the best *he’s ever flown*. That’s a key distinction, wouldn’t you agree.

  29. Stephen Trimble 10 November, 2009 at 4:13 pm #

    Nope: “If I had to go into combat, on any mission, against anyone, I would, without question, choose the Rafale.”

  30. Jeb 10 November, 2009 at 4:22 pm #

    Yep. And if I had to go on a road trip to Vegas this weekend, I’d prefer to go in a 2011 Corvette Grand Sport, even though a Mercedes-Benz E-class diesel would be more comfortable and get better mileage while matching the time I’d take in transit. But I like the way the Corvette looks and drives and it’s comfortable enough for me.

    Does that make you question my judgement? Maybe it should. Does it make me wrong? No, not at all.

  31. aeroxavier 10 November, 2009 at 4:29 pm #

    f-22 was closed

    f-35 have big very big prob but USA say no ,for not lose partner .USA have reduced by 2 the number of plane for all us force and usaf have commanded only 267 for the the first 4 model of this plane (usaf have preview 2378 for thir 4).all partner was suspicious for the future of the program.USM will reduced the number of their carier (nimitz class), british will envisaged alternative , netherland to.

    eurofighter: every partner of this plane say the advantage of this plane compared of the rafale.the price of prod is the first argument but today the rafale make small cost . GB don’t have deployed this plane in afghanistan but they have deployed it in falkland for the replacement of tornados (these tornado who was remplaced go to afgh). eurofighter is one aircraft for dogfight not for bombing.the 3rd tranch of that plane who was commanded recently is just one luck because GB have take it (if they say no , the production of typhoon was lose or take seriously damage.

    rafale: USA make all of possible for blocked export market for the rafale (morocco for example). some people say rafale is one old plane but this is not really . the development was long but today he was ready . USA don’t will make one dogfight with it for what? USA say every of possible for sell his planes. make fake rumors against the rafale and after that some guys say the rafale was compared of x fighter and was similar of one old f-16 (but who have making this test?) every say the f-22 was better than all aircraft but where people take information ? USA or the result of one war in the sky? paper? USA media?

    don’t know all of the USA say in defense that was one part of they power

  32. Dave 10 November, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    “Dave, and you, for who do you work ? Don’t be jealous, the Rafale is simply the best. Either way, it’s not difficult, since the F-22 hasn’t proved anything and that the F-35 doesn’t yet exist (and perhaps will never exist).”

    Myself. ‘Simply the best’- what do you base that on? French nationality? European pride? Thus far your track record for winning real shooting wars has proven to be highly dubious. And really what has the Rafale proven? So very little, it can show up in the AOR an then burn a lot of Kerosene- so very useful… The very fact that you guys need to throw stones at other aircraft exposes just how weak your position really is. Inferiority complex much?

    And to address ‘jealous’- I don’t have a dog in the hunt, so could give a damn personally- but I expect a certain level of objectivity from a reviewer. If the same reviewer had made the same sweeping flowery BS statements about the Raptor, JSF, Typhoon, F/A-18E/F et al without providing any operational background or real hard objective justications I’d have call him out for that too. It’s pity you’re too limited to overcome your petty insecurities that you’d never understand that. How pathetic…

  33. Grim Reaper 10 November, 2009 at 5:41 pm #

    Ah some Americans are so arrogant, nothing can be any good if it’s made outside America. Rafale and Typhoon just don’t compare with the mighty US products, the F-22 and the as yet unfinished, unproven F-35 whose development program is years behind in testing, rapidly increasing in cost and sinking into the quicksand whilst LM try and find a way to keep on selling it.

    The US Navy in an article in Air Forces Monthly last year refused to lets it’s F-18s go 1 on 1 against Rafale, now that is saying something. So called 4.5 generation fighters (Rafale/Typhoon) walk all over F-15/F-18/F-16 in air combat-no contest as has been remarked upon in various articles.

    In air dominance the F-22 is king, no contest, and as for the F-35, it does not stand comparison, it’s a bomber, a limited payload, short range LO bomber, or strike aircraft if you will.

    Rafale carries out all the roles demanded of diverse air warfare, but it’s main domain is air to air.

    Peter Collins is a very experienced pilot, but I believe I am right in saying, that the last pure fighter he flew operationally was the English Electric Lightning, blessed with great performance and hampered with short range, poor radar and IR missiles only. It was a fighter pilots aircraft, all who flew it loved it so I believe the article reflected his fighter pilots enthusiasm for a very good fighter aircraft.
    He has flown the F-35 simulator which you can find in this magazines archive.

    So all you Euro canard critics should not laugh too soon, across the pond we make very fine fine aircraft. At least we can afford to buy them.

  34. julien 10 November, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    Well if the F22 and F35 where so impressive and above rafale and typhon why then speaking so much about that…

  35. Paxwax 10 November, 2009 at 6:45 pm #

    “How exactly has the Squall “proven” itself more than the F-22? Dropped a couple bombs on the Taliban?”

    Well, he also performed very well in Red Flag 08, according even to USAF. Not to mention quite a lot of other european/world exercises, including against italian eurofighters.

    Second, “dropping a couple of bombs on the taliban” still requires an unprecedented level of integration just to be able to operate with NATO standards. And it’s out of question to drop a bomb more than 10m away from the scheduled impact point, in this war. Also it requires to be able to operate far from your bases and preferably from the sea (the Rafale used to operate from a french carrier, in the indian ocean) : apart from Super Hornet and Rafale, no western 4th gen jet can do that. Finally, you have to fly a long time over very high mountainous terrain, which is a definite drawback for any single engined jet (such as Gripen).

    The JSF certainly performed nowhere, since it hasn’t flown yet. As for the F-22, the staggering difference of price with the rafale leaves it out of any competition the Rafale will ever enter, not to mention it’s banned from export by the US. Anyway, I think the only cases a F-22 ever would better a Rafale is air-to-air combat against another high tech opponent, or stealthy reconnaissance flights. And even that, only if the nation operating the F-22s has almost unlimited funds : flying them is also extremely costly.

  36. Mia92 10 November, 2009 at 7:08 pm #

    Les Français, si vous ne maîtrisez pas l’anglais, postez en Français. Au moins les francophones (à défaut de francophiles) comprendront.

    It is useless to argue about the F22 superiority since this thing will most certainly never be used in combat. The US focus on stealth has gone to far, since due to passive radar technology, stealth advantage is limited in high density EM environments. It is nowadays quite easy to detect and track a B2 flying over any country equiped with a cell phone network. Since nearly all countries have a cell phone network…. But stealth is still an advantage : the detection equipment is still ground based, will not be airborne before long, and not afordable by anyone.

    This US ideological focus on stealth has had an advantage: make Dassault, the french air force, and “DGA” think a lot about the right stealth balance for the Rafale. At the end of the 80′s, during some Le Bourget flight demo, they discovered that some US planes RCS were at least 10 times smaller than M 2000 RCS. This gave way to the Rafale D project (D = discret) which induced some delay in the overall Rafale program but not much, since french intel services were quite good at getting hold of US coating technology (this is why no US stealth plane has been parked in Le Bourget since ther 80′s , to avoid that another french minister give a pat to a plane before washing is hands with the proper solvents :-) ).

    Rafale gained a good enough stealth capability, on another hand, the Rafale :
    - was to cover all french and navy air force combat needs with one platform
    - was launched on a french basis only to avoid all the infernal compromises which have lead to the Typhoon II
    - was designed to keep the unit cost afordable
    the Rafale is clearly one of very best solution for realistic air warfare today.

    A pity it is french, but perfection is not of this world.

  37. Atomic Walrus 10 November, 2009 at 7:55 pm #

    The Rafale is a beautiful looking aircraft, like most French aircraft. However, history shows that the last world-beating French aircraft was probably the Nieuport 17. Dassault’s reputation has been based on the performance of the Mirage III in Israeli hands in 1967 – clear air performance in short-range desert operations isn’t a good indicator of how an aircraft will perform against a modern air defense network and a well-trained opponent. An interesting experiment would be to set a force of Rafales against a force of F-22s and F-35s supported by modern air defense systems, then let both sides play their game the way they want to play it. Barring an American war with France though, it isn’t going to happen.

  38. br_dlf 10 November, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    I did read up some comments of USAF pilots (Luke AFB). Based on their remarks it seems that the Rafale scored about 3 to 1 kill ratio against the block 52 F16. And this while both parties did not employ the full scale of available ECM’s. Assuming similar effectiveness of the ECM it may bring down the effectiveness of the Rafale a little (for all that matters it may boost it as well).

    Advertised is that the F16 block 52 has roughly a 1 to 1 kill ratio against modern Sukhoi aircraft. The JSF (on powerpoint) was boosted from a 4 to 1 to a 6 to 1 kill ratio. If I even buy the first number of the JSF (quite disputable at this point) it would mean that at best the JSF is twice as effective as the rafale in A2A combat. Having a price tag more than twice as big as the Rafale makes the JSF quite unimpressive. If the Rafale actually performs better than the shown numbers it means that they have a better a2a platform than the JSF is.

    As for the 6 to 1 kill ratio for the JSF as advertised. would that have been true it would mean the JSF is about as effective as the F22. It would have meant the F22 would have been killed from the onset. USAF however vigourly fought for the F22, meaning the F35 does not perform even close. Conclusion: the claim of a 6 to 1 kill ratio against modern oponents is just bull, even the USAF does not believe that.

    This means that the JSF has everything riding on a combination of Stealth and ‘situational awareness’. The first one may be considerably less effective in actual combat than advertised , especially if it comes at the expense of agility, the second assumption is not only purely theoretical. It is also questionable if the JSF will be better in this respect than oponents. Updating sensors and software is considerably easier and cheaper than modifying the airframe. Additionally these are the areas in which we will see Russians and Chines pick up quickly. Even if their equipement is ‘only’ 80% effective against modern western aircraft it does not bode well. If these aircraft manage to bring the (advertised) kill ratio of the JSF down to 2 against 1 it means that western airforces will not be able to sustain attrition losses against organised oponents. Combined with the fact that the Russians have superb AAM’s the thought of the implications do scare me.

    As to Atomic Walrus: If the F22 is part of the equation the Rafale will probably loose most if not all engagements. There is no question that in this role the F22 is the best we are going to see for a long time to come. But the F22 is build in few numbers. A more honest comparison is F35 against Rafale. Nobody has convinced me yet the JSF is going to have the upper hand in that confrontation. I expect the numbers getting worse for the JSF when more aircraft (numbers) enter a a2a engagement. A 1 to 1 engagement is considerably different from a 4 to 4 engagement. With aircraft covering your back agility is going to play a bigger role.

    We will not known till actual tests are performed (not powerpoint tests that is). But we are juggling all our eggs in just one flimsy basket.

  39. Un marin 10 November, 2009 at 9:47 pm #

    On discute sacrément et passionnément chez nos amis britanniques ! Je suis heureux de voir que notre Rafale fait des émules outre-Manche.
    Personnellement, je pense que nous avons l’UN des meilleurs avions du monde. LE meilleur n’existe pas ! Un jour ce sera un F35 qui sera abattu, le lendemain ce sera un Rafale… espérons que ça n’arrive pas ou peu. N’oublions pas la qualité des tactiques employées et celles des pilotes qui font une grande différence. Et bravo à nos amis brit’ pour leur blog.
    Very surprised to see such a huge and passionned discuss about our dear Rafale !
    I think that we have ONE among the best fighters in the world. But THE best doesn’t exist. Today a F35 is shot, tomorrow a Rafale will be shot. I hope it will never happen… Don’t forget that tactic and pilot’s quality is too important.
    And bravo zulu to our Brit’ friends for their blog.

  40. aeroxavier 10 November, 2009 at 10:01 pm #

    f-22: mort
    f-35: grave problemes de CONCEPTION d’argent et j’en passe
    eurofighter: en fin de vie et probleme chez eads
    gripen: un avion de conception americaine qui laisse penser logiquement qu’il est inferieur (il s’est vendu a l’export grace a des pots de vin..)
    f-18: bel avion mais si il est aux USA, mais a l’export il y aura tjrs moins chez les americains
    rafale: avion qui commence sa vie , qui a un grand potentiel mais fustiger et devaloriser par les anglos-saxons qui ont des prejuges bien etablis car croyant tout ce que l’on leur raconte , notamment que si l’avion n’est pas made in usa ben il est inferieur. aucune guerre n’a prouver que les USA possedent les meilleurs avions car a par bombarder des cibles qui ne possedent aucun moyen anti aerien

    les americains ont inventer le capitalisme d’aujourd’hui mais etrangement en matiere d’armement ils ne veulent pas voir de concurrents sinon ils lanceront une offre que l’acheteur potentiel ne pourra refuser mais en fin de compte l’acheteur sera perdant car chaque armement chaque equipement devra etre obligatoirement acheter aux usa et donc en cas de tensions …

  41. Grim Reaper 10 November, 2009 at 10:05 pm #

    Mia92, well said, I only wish that the Typhoon was just British, too many partners lead to too many disagreements and slow upgrade of capability.

    France has done well with it’s Air Force and Navy and has adopted the sensible way of having one fighter for all roles.

  42. Roberts 10 November, 2009 at 10:21 pm #

    This article is hugely technical with a phenomenal amount of new informations.

    Is Rafale the best combat aircraft?
    In an Air show point of view as Riat 2009
    it looks to be.

    For sure, it is Flight International that is the
    best aeronautical international magazine.

  43. gemini 10 November, 2009 at 10:40 pm #

    Le defaut du Rafale est d’etre Français pour Mister Mia92,je ne sais de quelle origine vous etes mais je suis fier d’etre Français et de voir le Rafale commencé a arriver a maturité m’enchante au plus haut point,ne serait ce que des gens comme vous ,qui ont la critique facile de voir(je l’espere un jour) qu’ils se trompent.
    Dites vous juste une chose Mister Mia 92 ,
    si le budget de developpement du Rafale etait egale a celui du F22 ,les Français auraient pu aussi bien faire croyez moi…..
    Tout les avions de chasse moderne possedent des + et des – ,le Rafale n’est surement pas le meilleur mais il se defends carrement bien dans chaque domaine a la difference d’autres qui font ce qui peuvent ………..

  44. Steeve Macfly 10 November, 2009 at 11:09 pm #

    Mia92, I think you’re wrong. I’m French and my English isn’t perfect but, I think it’s more respectful to speak in the langage of the website.

    So, for me, it’s impossible to compare Rafale and F22. They don’t play in the same world and with the same wallet.
    About the F35, it isn’t operationel for the moment.

    The Rafale isn’t bad in Air to Air. He carries 6 MICA (4 EM – 2 IR) which is very similar to the AMRAAM. He has L16 and front sector optronics. For the moement, his main weak point is the lack of helmet mounted display.

    If a test pilot from the great Royal Air Force says that the Rafale is a good one, I think we can believe him. English and French people doesn’t compliment each other easily…

  45. Petit Roux 10 November, 2009 at 11:20 pm #

    French navy experience : Rafale F1 vs F18-E/F after 4 min F18 is dead.

    it is simple

  46. JB 10 November, 2009 at 11:29 pm #

    It’s funny to see how much frustration has entered your mind after reading this particularly relevant and accurate report.

    I shall say nothing but “you probably are not a pilot, and you’ve just read a report written by a extremely experienced and trustful source, that one could definitely rely on, about how outstanding the Rafale is, and you’re so pissed off”.

    You throw no argument in your post, which is a pity. But what can you say anyway, if not “oops…”? Too bad.

  47. Atomic Walrus 10 November, 2009 at 11:37 pm #

    “French navy experience : Rafale F1 vs F18-E/F after 4 min F18 is dead.

    it is simple”

    4 minutes? That’s a pretty long dogfight. The F-18E/F is also not a particularly new airframe. F-22 vs. Mirage 2000 wouldn’t be especially pretty either.

  48. Alan 11 November, 2009 at 12:49 am #

    I think we tend to be a bit brainwashed by the powerful US marketing regarding F22 /F35 capabilities hence our bias. Let’s try to be a bit more open in our judgements and reckon that if Rafale has been successful during the tests, it may have some value i.e. it doesn’t come out of the blue. Most tests show Rafale has superior capabilities unless you introduce political/economical biases. Let’s just admit Rafale is the best if specialists/tests say so.
    An impressive show at RIAT 09:
    And as Robert says: ‘For sure, it is Flight International that is the best aeronautical international magazine.’

  49. Ash 11 November, 2009 at 1:16 am #

    Rafale it’s surely the better compromise between hight capability and price/Implementation.

  50. Jeb 11 November, 2009 at 1:30 am #

    I’m sorry, but that’s laughable. You cannot rely on an assessment of “best in the world” if you haven’t tested all contenders, and that includes F-22. Maybe Rafale should be considered “best of the rest”, but I imagine there are some Typhoon and maybe even Gripen NG pilots who’d contest that.

    As far as the F-35 goes, I’m hoping that it (a) survives its next few years of development and (b) doesn’t turn out to be a dog in the end. I think it was a tremendous error to end F-22 production in favor of the F-35 and the day it happened, I started waiting for the Sword of Damocles to appear over the F-35 program, which I think has happened recently.

  51. Test engineer 11 November, 2009 at 2:25 am #

    The basic point of the Rafale is not well understood even P Collins (who participated to JSF) almost mentionned it.
    In the nineties after the Rafale A aerodynamic demonstrator, Dassault had to made a choice:
    -Either go to passive stealth level of USA which imply having internal bay (and to accept price)
    -Or to carry external loads with a LO RCS and rely on active systems to achieve right level of survivability.

    Rough calculation show that having 0,001m² RCS of stealth need an internal bay but it increases by 50% empty mass of plane and so its engine and accordingly its airframe cost (and fuel consumption and so its life owning cost) .
    Alternative was to achieve saying a 0,1m² RCS ( illustrative) then improving to 0,01 m² maybe a decade later while taking opportunity of increased super computing power for RCS calculation and design, and compensate by state of the art and outstanding ECM active systems to get proper level of survivability.
    Moore law show that increase of the performance of computers per unit cost doubles every 24 months (and so improve active signature management systems).
    While a passive stealth relying airframe have fewer margin of improvement.

    What makes more sense?
    Adding 20 millions $ per airframe to achieve 0,001 m² RCS or invest in a 10 millions $ outstanding ECM system combined to a LO 0,1 m² RCS then less in the futur by incremental improvement?
    Plus some special ammunitions like AASM to extend survivability against state of the art air defense, or Mica IR for BVR passive intercept.
    For the systems, captors and datafusion Rafale follow 5th generation roadmap and approach.

    I consider that Rafale F4 will be probably a 5th generation aircraft since it is survivability which matters and not the way you achieve it.
    Maybe USA have done a system engineering mistake with F35 approach.Does F35 compromise still make sense since less than 200 F22 would support them instead of 700+?

    I think a problem of USA programs are the way they manage contractual relations between DoD and aircrafts manufacturers with rigid internal rules.
    In France Dassault define and proposed largely by itself what should be the design of Rafale and invested 25% of program cost itself.

  52. Solomon 11 November, 2009 at 5:37 am #

    What a bunch of nonsense. If you’re out to design an airshow airplane then the Rafale might be the cats meow…but when the F-22 and F-35 were designed it wasn’t with the thought of making an aviation writer smile or to wow a crowd at an airshow.

    The F-35 is clearly superior to the Rafale and only nationalistic hubris would cause someone to say anything different.

  53. mpgunner 11 November, 2009 at 7:38 am #


    Have any of you seen the article about the F-16 pilot who trains against the F22?

    The summary is: He flies and dies… again and again.

    The F22 is in a class all by itself. An amazing plane.

    All other existing plains are simply “targets”. The soviets are very good at making targers. Either planes or tanks.

  54. Charles de Beaumont 11 November, 2009 at 8:06 am #

    Who have nationalistic hubris M.Solomon ?
    Peter Collins ?
    The Luke Air Force Base’ pilots ?
    Or you ?
    Veritas odium parit

  55. Nicolas 11 November, 2009 at 9:24 am #

    “The F-35 is clearly superior to the Rafale”

    Why do you say that ? F35 is design to be protected by F22. Rafale is design to be alone.

  56. Petit Roux 11 November, 2009 at 9:34 am #

    it was not dog fight, but long range fight.

  57. Petit Roux 11 November, 2009 at 9:42 am #

    Since a long time, analysts said that the advanced evolution of the Rafale will be better and cheaper then the F-35.
    The Rafale is not stealth but it has a very big evolution potential, and it begins at a very high technologic level.

  58. Jason J Simonds 11 November, 2009 at 10:02 am #

    “The F-35 is clearly superior to the Rafale and only nationalistic hubris would cause someone to say anything different.”

    LoL – what a tool!

    Talk about shooting oneself in both feet.

  59. Un francais 11 November, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    En ce 11 novembre, fête des héros francais,
    Il est bon de lire ce compte rendu d’un britanique sur notre bébé !
    Vive la France !

    in this 11 november, day for french heroes,
    its nice to read this brit’comment about our flying baby !!
    Long life for France !

  60. Moktarama 11 November, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    “The F-35 is clearly superior to the Rafale and only nationalistic hubris would cause someone to say anything different.”

    I’m sure this argumentless assertion about a plane that does not even exist is why the JET inspections were soooo optimistic…

    The F35 has not even passed more than 3% of his flight tests today, and is supposed to have only 15% finished when 1st production plane will be delivered. I wouldn’t like to be the one that has to discover the 85 % that stays undiscovered in real combat situation… the BS about this plane is real only to anglo-saxons now, as israelis and dutches (and others like Japan) are seriouly asking themselves questions about a plane so tremendously costly, so not adaptable with their technologies, so full of BS-communication….

    And remember : the US defense exportation limitations are huge, wether it be for Gripen, F18, F35 (huge restrictions for the mighty F35) or even typhoon which all have american pieces in it. Thus making the Rafale the only plane of that ability to be transferred completely if France is OK (which tends to be the case if financial/strategic retributions are good, not like, say, any american plane) , giving full access to the plane for eventual modifications or local production. For countries attached to their sovereignty, it’s not a little thing in the balance.

    About the F22, not much to say, the plane seems really fantastic and will surely stay n°1 in air-to-air for a long time. But the production has ended, the maintenance costs are above the roof, and last but not least, the Air Force has less than 200 of them (which seems very very low for such a big country) . So comparing it with other planes makes absolutely no sense at all in a market situation, because F22 is simply not for sale (Japan would have preferred those over F35, even at their high price tag) .

  61. Jeremy Smith 11 November, 2009 at 2:28 pm #

    Soloman, you are a comedian! Best laugh i’ve had in ages, where cam i see you live??

  62. A french 11 November, 2009 at 3:44 pm #

    Good Work Collins,

    Now, nobody can continue to says that Rafale is not a good bird. Rafale is combat proven since 2001.

  63. Solomon 11 November, 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    Uh…if the Rafale is such a world beater then how come it hasn’t had any export orders???

  64. Solomon 11 November, 2009 at 4:43 pm #

    and the national hubris remark??? yeah it applies. every journal lists the F-35 as an international program not a US program but an international one. Tier 1 partners would be mighty upset to not have their contributions counted…as would the other partners.

    the F-35 has equal agility to the F-16 and has the added benefit of much more advanced avionics. it has an engine that is beyond big, its huge. its fuel load internally is greater than the F-16 plus some external tanks. it can carry a useful bomb load internally along with its sensors. nothing has to pickled off to get it into fighting configuration. it has stealth. but instead of hailing it for what its intended to be, the APA fanboys continue to attempt to degrade it. i don’t want what you’re smoking but i do want it tested.

  65. aeroxavier 11 November, 2009 at 4:53 pm #

    because american make all of possible for take this market.see morocco , they take old f-16 for one price who the USA was the looser but have the market.
    The export was start now and UAE,brasil, kuwait, switzerland, libya, india can take it .
    rafale have lose 3 or 4 market (not every day you can sell one plane) and US make stupid rumors of it

  66. br_dlf 11 November, 2009 at 5:33 pm #

    I see that for a change Sollie is comming up with arguments, and to my surprise quite fair arguments.

    As to why the Rafale has zill export orders. There may be a multiple of reasons, and many of them have little to do with military effectiveness. Most of them center around tow arguments. First of all the Rafale is expensive if compared to ohter aircraft on the market. I refer to F-16′s and F-18′s and Gripens in particular. This disadvantage may not apply in relation to the JSF. Second, a lot of smaller nations feel completely dependent on the USA and will buy US products no matter what because they cannot afford to be seen as ‘unloyal’ (at least in their perspective. I now of at least one case where a US diplomat stated literally and publicy that (the JSF participating) airforce could forget about a priviledge role in excersises etc. if they would opt for a non US aircraft. And of course there is always the possibility that the JSF will after all be a good and not too expensive aircraft. But the fact that even the IAF balks and waits tells that everyone now prefers to wait to see if the JSF actually delivers on promises. People are not as confident as they were not soo long ago. That does BTW not mean that defectors of the JSF will opt for the Rafale. THey may very well go for updated F16 F15 and F18 aircraft if only to satisfy their dependancy on the USA. Having said that I think that especially the upgrade F16 and F15 aircraft are still (after so many years) quite good and impressive aircraft and probably good enough for most roles, especially when enough F22′s are available in the battlefield to play the point of the needle.

    Then there is of course the hype of a cheap aircraft that is so magically much better than everything else. Now that the JSF is not cheap anymore the export market is evaporating and the JSF HAS to be much better than its competitors to justify its costs. We will see what happens in the USA.

    Equal agility compared to the F16 is not bad, but not impressive either. More advanced avionics? Maybe but I doubt if it is soo much better than what will be available on updated legacy aircraft and it may not make that big of a difference.

    The engine is indeed impressive (ane of the few things I actually admire on the JSF). But it is needed to overcome bad aerodynamics limitations (as a result of Stealth choices) and to compensate for limited agility. So you burn more fuel to get the same…. congratulations.

    The internal load is nice if you need only a small bomb run. If you need to move a lot of dirt you compromise stealth and have even more drag (= fuel burn). Fuel burn may very well become one of the (many?) Archillus heels of the JSF. Fuel is getting more expensive to start with and moving fuel around near battlefields is an expensive and hazardeous excersise. It pays military to be less dependent on big fuel consumption.

    Stealth is nice to have but you always must take into consideration at what expense. Is it really worth that what you have to sacrifice?

    Of course if the JSF performance turns out to be stellar and order of magnitudes better than anything else available till at least 2025 it is a great deal. Track record so far does not encourage me to think this will be the case and too many favourable assumptions must be made on effectiveness of complete new technology and concepts. It would not be the first time the USAF went into a fight based on wrong assumptions (see fe the F4 / Sparrow story).

  67. br_dlf 11 November, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    I might add a little remark towards Sollies comments on the partners.

    Outside the USA only the UK is tier 1 partner so it looks a bit weird to talk about multiple tier one partners. And of all ‘partners’ the JSF buy in the UK has been scaled back from 150 to50 (probably going to be arouind 66). And why? Statement from a UK rear admiral: because of the prohibitive costs of the aircraft.

    Then we have tier 2 partners: Holland and Italy. Holland seems to be ending up with a bone or two and desperately holds on hoping the program in the end brings ‘benefits’ for the industry against all odss and based on fluked arguments. Italy seems to be getting a decent workshare if only they are willing to pump in even more money to support their industry. In Italy the numbers hold but in Holland the JSF numbers to buy went from 144 to 85 to 57 now. What a great development.

    Tier 3 partners. Balking over costs and hoping against all odss to preserve a workshare in 6000 aircraft!!! Australia, Turkey, Norway and Denmark. Turkey and Norway seem to get a decent workshare. In Turkey somebody (I do not know if that is actually an official statement) says that instead of 100 Turkey may buy 120 aircraft. I wonder how they come up with the money. Norway and Denmark officially hold on tho intended numbers but it is public secret that these are going to be substantially less (because…. guess what….. substantially higer costs than promise). Canada scaled back to 65 JSF’s, Autralia is holding the line with 100 aircraft but I am curious where they are going to find the money. An unanswered question so far. Unofficially it is heard that Australia may scale back to 50 JSF aircraft.

    Israel is stalling. JSF seems to be less favourable than they initially thought and largely because of the great price without being sure if the JSF is actually delivering. On top of that there is the issue of building in their own equipment. Excactly that what gives the IAF extra punch and allows Israely industry to promote technology upgrades all over the world. A quite significant economical issue.

    Non tier nations like Singapore and Finland have stated interest but as long as JSF does not deliver that is rather gratuit.

    All tier nations act in terms of dependency so after all it is a US program. The international aspect is marketing rather than anything else. The only difference between say the succesfull F16 program and the JSF program is than the USA managed to make partners pay in advance. From political and economical point of view an impressive achievement, because it ties money and political dependency of its allies (many of which act rather like vazals than allies and are treated accordingly). But is says little about the eventual succes of the JSF.

    Seeing that the Rafale is judged as very good (and maybe even as good as the JSF in combat effectiveness) and was developed not only on a considerable smaller budget than the JSF but also partly funded by Dassault itself makes in my eyes the Rafale program more impressive than the JSF program.

  68. Moktarama 11 November, 2009 at 7:22 pm #

    @Solomon :

    You write “the F-35 has equal agility to the F-16 and has the added benefit of much more advanced avionics. ”

    From a strict aerodynamic perspective, that’s dubious. The F16 was quite a work of art in this area, and in the latest versions has quite advanced avionics. Rafale is in the same category, which maked it a good plane for dogfight (lower speed) by itself (as opposed to typhoons or F35, designed for M1.6-M2 combats as what I understand to aerodynamic) . Avionics can’t do better than aerodynamic laws.

    You write also : “it has an engine that is beyond big, its huge”

    Maybe, but the power to mass ratio is a big step forward in modern fighters. Again, not bad for long-range air-to-air (as stealth) but not good for a dogfight.

    In conclusion, the major problem about the F35 is : it’s not designed to do what it claims to do. It’s not a cheap F22, it’s a stealth bomber (means little payload) which can defend itself. And, one major point to this assertion seems to be that USA never intended it to be used without the F22 (international buyers know they do not have the full package : see japan trying to buy F22).

    Most of what you write about F35 is speculation (as with the pure-BS price) , as opposed to the hisorical facts of the program or the aerodynamic abilities of the prototypes (evolving from year to year : all problems still aren’t sold) .

    So, on the market : most of the countries begin to think that the F35 is too much of a risk to take (including huge price evolving up each month or so) , for a plane that is quite not as good and capable in every field of the air as the sellers claim it is or will be anytime soon (for a bit more than 15 years now) . And if you buy it, you’ll have very large technology restrictions, like for the Israelis not to be able to put their own electronics in it. And the plane, above all, is really late to come, has still many problems, some of those being not close to be solve for now (like, the large engine).

    Rafale seems, by the Collins standards, much more accurate to what its seller claims it is, as confirms the history of that program. And, mostly, it allows eventually large technology transfers as well as local manufacturing (as opposed to any american planes or even the Gripen).

  69. TucsonGeneral 11 November, 2009 at 7:26 pm #

    ha ha i can see that cheeky raf humor in mr collins article.rafale>f22/f35? ha ha ha ha ha ,i think from the comments it doesnt tranlate very well.ha ha ha

  70. Dave 11 November, 2009 at 7:57 pm #

    Do you have anything other than petty nationalistic assertions to offer? Didn’t think so…

  71. Solomon 12 November, 2009 at 1:16 am #

    a couple of points…

    the Israeli’s have finally put the paperwork in thru the FMS to actually buy 25 F-35B’s. look like the trip to Israel by LM was to push the sale…not to save it from cancellation.

    the F-35 and indeed all stealth aircraft look to have aspects of a lifting body inherent in their design. the idea that increased fuel consumption is automatic might be a misnomer. it is finding the sweet aerodynamic spot that is the difficult thing here and that might be in its optimized loiter profile. surely in that mission template its at its aerodynamic optimum.

    the idea that an airplane designed before the F/A-118E/F…the Rafale…is suddenly a 5th gen aircraft is beyond laughable. its an outright lie. you can stuff the avionics designed for the F-35 into all kinds of 4th gen fighters but they don’t have the computing power or the growth margin to properly utilize it. the helmet mounted cuing system, EODS all was designed for the F-35 and the advancements brought forward by that design are trickling back to the 4th gen fighters. the F-35 is advancing the state of the art. even the F-22 is benefiting from systems designed for the F-35.

    multinational relations. the F-35 is a multinational airplane. that’s the way of the future. the Rafale and Gripen will have shorter upgrade paths because even if they win future competitions they will still be limited in their production runs. the F-35 will be in the air arms of many airforces around the world. it will have a wide and varied base of users working on upgrading the airplane.

    face it people. its a winner. if you want an acrobatic airplane then their are a couple of prop jobs that do a better job than the Rafale. if you want a combat airplane, then my friend what you should get is the F-35.

  72. Alan 12 November, 2009 at 1:26 am #

    Jeb, we are talking about realities here, not (your) dreams. Need to be serious two minutes. The Rafale exists and has been in operation since 2001 in real conditions, so it has a track record, and there are quantitative and qualitative tests to prove it i.e. objective data. Grippen is not even operational yet – still a programme- and even on paper it has serious limitations compared to Rafale (this is objective data). F22 is not available etc. On paper or in theory anything can better than what you currently have around you, and in twenty years, thanks to tech progress, everyone would agree that planes will be better than existing ones. Unfortunately, we live in a real world, and at this point in time, Rafale does better than its competitors. You probably should have a look at tests made with the different planes recently.

  73. br_dlf 12 November, 2009 at 2:14 am #


    For a moment I thought you were actually comming up with arguments instead of just copying marketing speak.

    Seems I was too optimistic.

    Maybe the Israelies will indeed buy the JSF. With the USA paying for most of their stuff they may actually not have much of a choice. We will see. I have not seen anything yet.

    As for the rest of the arguments. The JSF burns fuel at prodigeous rates compared to the benchmark, the F16, period.

    International program? No more than the F16 was. The rest is marketing speak. Non US partners have nothing to want, no decision power whatsoever, so talking about ‘partnership’ sounds ‘funny’, not to say ‘insincere’.

    And excactly why is it laughable that the Rafale is a better aircraft than the F18 or the F16 (and maybe even in the class of the JSF or better)? Please elaborate with actual arguments instead of limiting yourself to ‘laughable’.

    That it is clear that the JSF is a winner remains to be seen. No data available to support that view yet. Chances are that it will go the same way as the F22 (death spiral) except it is not as superior as the F22.

  74. FighterFan 12 November, 2009 at 2:28 am #

    Stephen – does Mike Gerzanics still work for Flight?
    Suggestion: as an ex-USAF test pilot, maybe USAF would trust him in the cockpit of the single seat only F-22, and F-35 when its comes along, to give us a pilot-journalist’s perspective of these two jets…

    Worth a try?

  75. aeroxavier 12 November, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    don’t say if the rafale was designed (not developped) before the f-18 he was inferior.the prob is the US propaganda and you know it. you imagine USA in the number one everywhere but that’s not true. you read US classment and test and in the first place you see only US equipment. they will be the first for sale , and will prove their superiority. you can’t imagine the level of this manipulate of the USA (wikipedia,classment…).all english country follow that and know that.
    See the abram’s tank he was not better of other tank but american say that was the better of the better (tiger vs apache to)

  76. K.B. 12 November, 2009 at 7:26 pm #

    Despite this little Rafale vs. F22/35 war, the most interesting information in this text are those, that are not mentioned.

    Mr. Collins praised every little goody of the Rafale, but did not write anything about supercruise.

    The key sentence is in my oppinion the following:

    “Re-climbing to 25,000ft, the aircraft was put supersonic up to M1.2 in a shallow dive and then pulled back subsonic to M0.8 in a 4g turn with the throttle slammed closed.”

    It seems that a Rafale (with one supersonic fuel tank) has no supercruise performance.

  77. Solomon 13 November, 2009 at 7:50 am #


    its not marketing spin. the F-16 was made initially only with the thought of the USAF in mind. it turned into a multinational airplane. the F-35 is coming out the box with international development in mind.

    as far as the Israeli’s and there purchasing decision. its not that simple. they are offered and turn down equipment all the time. the latest example being the V-22. they turned it down and are going to wait for the CH-53K. to dismiss their decision to buy the F-35 is to ignore some unpleasant realities for the anti-F-35 crowd.

    the F-35 burns fuel at a prodigious rate? i don’t think so. if you compare it to the latest block with the engine that pumps out 30,000 pounds plus of thrust…if you compare it in combat configuration….if you add all the pods needed to allow it to successfully complete its mission, then you’ll find that the F-35 is in the same class but better.

    the F-35 is better because it adds a dimension that the other planes lack. stealth. either the Air Force was right in moving to a stealth force or someone needs to be castrated. i’ll say that they were right before i let you grab a knife.

  78. Bjørnar Bolsøy 13 November, 2009 at 8:48 am #

    br_dlf wrote:

    “As for the 6 to 1 kill ratio for the JSF as advertised. would that have been true it would mean the JSF is about as effective as the F22. It would have meant the F22 would have been killed from the onset. USAF however vigourly fought for the F22, meaning the F35 does not perform even close. Conclusion: the claim of a 6 to 1 kill ratio against modern oponents is just bull, even the USAF does not believe that.”

    The F-35′s estimated 6:1 loss-exchange ratio (LER) is real and is in fact a conservative estimate. As the program matures so is confidence in the F-35′s capabilities. According to Lockheed the TAC BRAWLER simulations (which by the way are USAF models) are based on a Block 3 revision against an anticipated advanced threat scenario in the 2015-2020 timeframe.

    B. Bolsøy

  79. mcfly0570 13 November, 2009 at 10:38 am #

    no, AFAIK the rafale doesn’t have surpercruise… it wasn’t considered as a needed feature at the time of its conception.

    btw, it’s been a long time since the fighters stopped looking for greater speeds (we have mach 2 class fighters since the ’50s), but, as it became apparent, you can’t run away from a missile

    What I find funny is all the guys bragging about the “fabulous” F-35, which exists operationnaly only on powerpoint (not unlike saddam’s weapons of mass destruction… remember Colin Powell trying to convince the whole world with a bunch of ppts?) so, when (IF) it becomes operational, we may eventually see what it really does, or does not…

    All the stealth (and supercruise for that matter) stuff makes me think of the “all missiles fighters” doctrines froml the late fifties (again?). Seems taht US officials spend their time looking for some “superweapon” that would be unbeatable, just to get smacked down by the reality of the sword/shield theory which has been around for centuries: you improve one, the other gets better to beat it.. then the first one get stronger, and the other one imrpoves again…

    take supercruise, for example: you go M1.6 in a stealthy plane… believing you’re on top of the game.. unbeatable, un reachable… and heated air around you (friction produces heat, enough to be seen by modern IR stuff) becomes a powerful IR beacon that will guide M5 missiles right up on you… tough luck…

  80. mcfly0570 13 November, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    Solomon, the F-16 was designed as a pure dogfighter and wasn’t even wanted by the USAF in the first place.. the little guys in charge (with plenty of stars on their shoulders) always wanted bigger and more powerful planes… like the F4 or the F15.

    You say that the F-35 was designed as internation project from the start… er, in fact, it was designed to drain international budget, but the US do what they want with it without much conideration for their, so-called, partners.

    it’s the US who decided which JSF will be built, alone. It’s the US that have decided to scrap the development of one of the two proposed engines (the one that UK would have partially built), alone. The source codes, key to all upgrades will be kept in the US, alone. that’s not international in my book.

    The only thing that was international is the cost sharing.. or at least was intended to be, and that’s why mosst “partners” pull out or try to minimize the cost they have to pay for waht will be, basically, a US plane, for the US services, and of which they’ll get some dowgraded version (in all aspects) which they can’t even be sure will outperform today’s F-16s (not to speak about more modern designs like the Rafales or Typhoons)

  81. br_dlf 13 November, 2009 at 7:08 pm #


    If the JSF had actually been sold headlines would be screaming victory all over. I have not seen that yet so I wonder where you get that ‘inside’ information that cannot be made public except by you.

    I am quite sure the JSF is eventually going to make a sale to Israel regardless if the JSF is going to be excellent or weather it sucks. It would be an extreme bad advertisement for LM if of all airforces with the most stringent needs and the most combat experience of all the IAF would not opt for the JSF. So either way LM and uncle Sam will go to great lengths pushing the JSF in Israel. If LM sells it because the JSF is good, kudo’s for the JSF. If it is bad uncle sam will defenitely ring the money pocket. Since a large part of the IDF budget is funded by the USA they will not have much of a choice if the USA actually pushes.

    I do not think the JSF is going to be a bad aircraft. Neither do I believe it is going to be stellar. The fact that ‘Brawler’ says it is good does not convince me. I know a thad too much about modelling that I accept the outcome of a simulation without knowing how the parameters were weighted (and those details are secret are they not?). Small differences in the kill chain assumptions can make a huge difference in the outcome.

    The issue in Israel focuses on a few matters that are quite important. Who pays for the (costly) certification of Isreals home bred weapons on the JSF. Does Israel actually gets acces to source code so that they can integrate their own equipment? The last is not a small issue because in the past Israel could capitalise on its electronic expertise to market fighter upgrades all over the world. Being denied this acces brings this lucrative market for Israel to a standstill. Since this is a big economical issue the Israelies will not walk lightly over this. So I expect the Israelies to drag if only to get a better negotiation position.

    Price still remains an issue even when uncle Sam pays (part of) the bill. Despite the fact that in Israel defense budgets are more lavish than anywhere in the world they too have constrains. And Israel needs much more than just the fighters and many of these needs are currently more urgent and competing for a slice of the budget (as in many other countries). All falls or stands with the question if LM is able to keep cost growth down. Since there is ‘no plan B’ as foolishly admitted by Gates I would not count on LM to suddenly be more cost effective. A monopolist does not have a true incentive to keep costs down (provided they actually can do that).

  82. Potard69 15 November, 2009 at 1:43 am #

    He guys, please be more pragmatic as North American are supposed to be!!!
    I’m French and from my side I’m considering the Rafale as a very well design fighter (more pleasant that the Typhoon as example), with most probably interesting capabilities, but I cannot compare with other fighters as I’m not a specialist…
    I’m not a pilot and it seems that most of you neither. I’m pleasantly surprised by Collin’s article and I prefer to trust professionals (Collin and US pilots form Luke AFB) rather than salomon and colleagues, which are mixing too much sensitivity in their pseudo-analysis…
    Finally, the Rafale seems a pretty good plane… I would imagine that if the comment on this French plane is made by English’s pilot (i.e. Mr Collin) it’s even most powerful… and fortunately, the US pilots (Luke AFB) are pragmatics!!!

  83. David 16 November, 2009 at 2:06 am #

    If you want real facts about the Rafale look up what the French were doing at Red flag when they could have shown what there precious Rafale could do they were sniffing around to see what technology everyone ellse had. Even the indians brought there new SU 30 MKI and showed what they could do, wich the F 22 proved its performance was huge leap beter.


    Subject: F-22 Dominates at Red Flag
    Phaid 2/24/2007 9:13:33 AM
    Some interesting quotes from the wrap-up

    “The thing denies your ability to put a weapons system on it, even when I can see it through the canopy,” said RAAF Squadron Leader Stephen Chappell, F-15 exchange pilot in the 65th AS. “It’s the most frustrated I’ve ever been.”

    “”We [even] tried to overload them with numbers and failed,” said Colonel Bruce. “It’s humbling to fly against the F-22.” This is a remarkable testimony because the Red Flag aggressor pilots are renowned for their skill and experience. Lt. Col. Dirk Smith, 94th Fighter Squadron commander, said the aggressor forces represent the most lethal threat friendly forces would ever face.”



    “My F-16 is still a formidable weapons system in its own right. But it is not even in the same league as an F-22,” Brenton says. “Technology keeps the F-22 a virtually undetectable and untouchable regime. It is fair to say that unless an F-22 driver makes a mistake, or has a critical system failure, I will always lose a fight against him. That is a good thing. As a nation, we want it this way. We also want him to be able to handle two, six or eight of us completely on his own.”

  84. mcfly0570 16 November, 2009 at 9:03 am #

    actually, the agressors are there to imitate certain tactics and systems, not to do their best to win, so, saying that if F-22 beat them it’s beacause they could not do anything while trying their best isn’t correct…

    their job is, to loose the confrontations, since they teach the participants to beat the tactics they may encounter against air forces that are considered potentially as hostiles (russian equipped, basically).

    as for “rafales only sniffing around”, seems to me that they wouldn’t have been flying a lot if that was the case… maybe the pilot didn’t want to praise that much rafales ECM suite as they did for the F-22s? or maybe they were just a bit angry the french didn’t need to show everything they’ve got (so the US sniffing planes didn’t get enought data)?

    basically, bashing the other side is quite common… it’s easier than trying to be better by own qualities… (just look at all comments about collins: “he’s been out of the game for too long to be competent” is the most often comment you hear from guys praising other types of aircraft). When the rafale made a few exercises against USN, it came out victorious, in basically all “export competitions”, it bettered the opposition, just to be smacked down by decision makers (politicians).

    That’s also why the positive comments on behalf of a UK test pilot are so unique… UK has its “own” fighter to sell, and usually, you don’t read much good on the french from UK side (a bit like you don’t read much good on UK from the french side either)…

  85. br_dlf 16 November, 2009 at 7:47 pm #


    No question that the F22 rules the sky and is better than anything else for some time to come, possibly even the next generation Russian and Chinese aircraft. This may be less relevant now since the F22 production line is about to close while having produced possibly quite insufficient numbers of aircraft for military needs.

    But when it comes to the JSF we look to an aircraft that does not have a number of features that do give the F22 an overwhelming advantage (all aspect Stealth, supercruise, very high operation ceiling, extreme high agility). And in fairness the Rafale should be compared to the JSF rather than the F22.

    What the F35 is going to be is still a guess but there are real concerns. Below an excerpt from an article that summarises on the concerns that surround the JSF hype.

    As for the statement that the JSF was originaly intended to be similar in a2a capabilities. Maybe that is not true anymore (I could accept that because somehow this hyped Cost As Independednt Variable has been abandonned long time ago helping to let the JSF price skyrocket) but I can recall an AW article in the farther past (around 2002) stating just that.


    The F-35’s explicit design goal has been stated as being the F-16’s equal in in air to air combat, at a time when the F-16’s future ability to survive in that arena is questioned. The question naturally arises: what special features give the F-35 a unique ability to prevail against the kind of advanced, upgraded 4.5 generation and better fighters that it can be expected to face between its induction, and a likely out of service date around 2050 or later?
    Classified simulations whose assumptions are shielded from the public may indeed demonstrate the attested results, but their foundations are outside any public scrutiny, and amount to a claim that must be taken on faith. That may not be very convincing in the political sphere. Especially since models of this type have been very wrong before, due to the well-known phenomenon of incorrect or missing assumptions producing results that don’t match the test of battle.

  86. theo 20 November, 2009 at 10:40 pm #

    THE F35 DOESNT EXIST……………………..


    Im french and not proud of being french! but i just see british and american are racist about us or jealous, and i can see it in your commentaries about or rafale!!!!!! you can say all what you want, but if europe is attaqued, you will be glad of having french rafale to defend you……

  87. Marcus Messalla 25 November, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

    “If I had to go into combat, on any mission, against anyone, I would, without question, choose the Rafale,”!
    The real issue is that to say that before to say that it would be better to have tested at least some comparable aircraft and that is not the case, as the “test pilot” has flown for Flight mostly civil business jets/trainers(5 articles written), and 4 military trainers, Aermacchi M311 & M346, KAI T-50 and Pilatus PC-21.

    If the Rafale is the first Combat jet he has flown since the Harrier in ’92 it is too simple to say that this is the best aircraft around.
    And if you read the article, please note that the Rafale descripted in the first part of the story is not what he flew and tested, but a much simpler version.
    And between me and you, 350 kt, full AB at =35 deg is not that impressive – at that angle the Eurofighter Typhoon will go Supersonic. Buffet at 4.5 g and dry power sustained 5g at 350 kts needing 10 deg nose down is equally less than startling. Test pilots could do as well in an F-15 20 years ago. The acceleration is approximately 10 sec to do 200-500. Good but so it should be for a twin engine fighter at that weight and altitude. Roll rates were clearly at 1 g – a better evaluation would have been at elevated g or AoA as a combat capability – noticeably missing in his test. Low speed and auto-recovery – fine. At 25 kft he went supersonic in a shallow dive – he does not say what power he used – if it used the after-burner, this is not great SEP.
    1 hr 25 with 5.3 t of fuel ( needing a centre line tank) and 500 kg landing with the profile described says the ac is not that different from the competition.
    The evaluation was rather cursory and the ending superlatives are more journalistic than real conclusions and recommendations. If he would risk his life in any combat situation based on the evidence of what he actually saw ……

  88. mcfly0570 26 November, 2009 at 9:46 am #

    funny to see arguments that are just copy-paste from another site (probably another author as well..).. don’t you have your own arguments Marcus?

    as for “he has to fly comaprable airfract…” ok, tell us, what “comparable aircraft”?

    typhoon? it doesn’t do A/G (work in progress, we’re told), no recce, no integrated ECM (uses pods), no buddy-buddy refueling, no naval operations.. in what is it comparable? air to air? ok, but that’s only one of the jobs the rafale does.

    F-22, same story: A/A only… it’s a killer in that areas, for sure, but if you have to do ground support, it’s simply a useless piecde of equipment.

    F-35: doesn’t exist yet… we’ll see how they compare in, what? 5-6 years at best?

    Gripen? smaller, lighter, shoter legs, much less capabilities overall…

    F-16? older generation, behind

    F-15? older generation, behind

    F-18? older generation, behind…

    F-18 E/F? supposedly more or less same generation, but still, it gets beaten when compared feature by feature

    Today, the rafale is the only fighter around to do, basically, everything that can be asked from such an aircraft…. actually, considering that it was developped from the beginning as naval AND ground based version, with the goal to remplace all other combat aircraft in service to date, and performing as expected in all roles until now, it can even be considered as the answer that McNamara was looking for (unsuccessfully) back in the 60′s, and that JSF is trying to do today, again… In that area, if any, the rafale is a unique aircraft, without any competition to this day.

  89. br_dlf 3 December, 2009 at 1:45 am #

    Well Marcus,

    If you show yourself to be proficient in aircraft performance paramenters and how to incorporate them into the actual aircraft performance you may want to consider that the EF was from the onset primarily an air defence optimised aircraft as where the Rafale was a multi role aircraft with emphasis on dirt moving and additionally carrier capable. Hence the EF has larger engines, larger wing area, larger basic weight (and is thus more expensive).

    Interestingly so the Rafale has a larger max take of weight according to official specs and can carry a larger combat lay out: somewhat more than 9tons against the EF about 8 something tons. This implies a larger wing loading at representative lay-out. For a similar optimised wing it means that the buffet onset starts earlier indeed. But hey…. you carry more load as well. Drop the excess weight and you should have a similar performance.

    And I wonder if the EF (which I do expect to perform better in the A2A role than the Rafale) can do the 350kts~35deg with external fuel store and bomb load out. THe Rafale was armed with two a2a missiles and 4 AASM’s and was carrying an external fuel store.

    It is also unlikely that without additional training Peter Collins would go to the edge of the flight envelope at his very first flight in the type.

    So it seems to me you are comparing apples with pears.

  90. Stuka 3 December, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    Before to make comment like the one published it would be better to have tried a range of new generation fighters, not only the Rafale.

    If I drive a Porsche as first fast car I would have the same sensation, but there are also Lamborghini and….Ferarri on the market.

    If you have flown only military trainers: Aermacchi M311 & M346, KAI T-50 and Pilatus PC-21, I understand that you will be so excited in flying a Rafale.

    Reading the article, it is important to note what is an actual part of the evaluation and what is ‘background’

    The Intro is basic history of the ac development and if appropriate In-service history. No issues on this section. ( note though the 2 year SW upgrade cycle!)

    The part titled Superb Performance & Cockpit Image. is classically a detailed aircraft description. It is always based on the published information – either manufacturer’s brochure for a new ac or the Aircraft manual for an in-service ac.

    Just remember this IS NOT WHAT HE FLEW & TESTED! Superb, any mission, Fully operational deployments proven net centric, vast array of data, massive C of G range etc, etc. Where he says ‘ the pilot can …..’ does mean he proved it or tried it. We can all write this stuff and do!

    Test Flight. Air-to-Air: Comparisons with the Mirage 2000 are probably quite dated. 350 kt, full AB at =35 deg is not that impressive – at that angle a Typhoon, for example, will go Supersonic. Note that he was initially only allowed to fly A/S FCS laws! Buffet at 4.5 g and dry power sustained 5g at 350 kts needing 10 deg nose down is equally less than startling – It we possible to do as well in an F-15. The acceleration is approximately 10 sec to do 200-500. Good but so it should be for a twin engine fighter at that weight and altitude. Roll rates were clearly at 1 g – a better evaluation would have been at elevated g or AoA as a combat capability – noticeably missing in his test. Low speed and auto-recovery – fine. At 25 kft he went SS in a shallow dive – he does not say what power he used – if it was AB, this is not great SEP. Then follows some close formation from an intercept. Very sketchy info, no comments on radar handling or what range the TV was used. He treats pitch sensitivity as an indication of how agile the ac is – bad TP analysis. The assessment of the AAR laws was cursory. Tail chase comments are similarly lacking – he could be comparing this to a Hawk and not another advanced ac.

    Air-to-Surface: His LL AP tests was using the GPWS as an input – he clearly did not see or use the radar for Terrain Avoidance or Terrain Following (mind you we could not even show him any TF). Note the Safety pilot did all the radar work using Single target track. The cuing of the TV by the RWR was a good trick if that is accurate data! the rest of the run is a pretty standard A/S attack run. I assume that all of the A/S run was in AP – what does that say about any Handling Qualities?

    Circuit and landing. Two approaches in Auto-throttle mode say little and he makes no mention at all of flight path stability and ability to rapidly correct a poor line up from decision height – both essential TP tests for approaches. ! hr 25 with 5.3 t of fuel ( needing a centre line tank) and 500 kg landing with the profile described says the ac is not that different from the competition.

    He is right in saying that he’ only scratched the surface of the sensor and weapon capabilities’. That explains his claim to be ‘fully at home in the ac retaining full situational awareness’

    The evaluation was rather cursory and the ending superlatives are more journalistic than real conclusions and recommendations.
    If he would risk his life in any combat situation based on the evidence of what he actually saw it would be….risky!

  91. Sam 10 December, 2009 at 8:11 am #

    It’s probably true. While I hate to admit it, what we once were we are no longer. Japan is about to produce a jet as we are incapable of producing one for export. The F-35 is as much if not more a British Engineered plane with us acting as the ‘colony’ picking up the tab. So much of our engineering a manufacturing base has been exported with high tech components assembled from ‘Chinese’ chips, while we still think we are number one, we don’t stop to think that our corporate culture has exported and outsourced so much of our core ability that we lack the ability to build a good ANYTHING anymore. At best we assemble parts made and engineered overseas. Boeing is more Chinese than American anymore We are the new 4th world economy, a step behind the developing world as they have our jobs and industries, all we have are inept corporate leadership and paved roads that like our industries are also going to pot.
    Got to hand it to the French they have been looking out for the French, to bad our CEO’s geeks and fat cats don’t do that here. But then if they did we would not be in the mess we are in would we? Heck we still think the world is flat, go figure.

  92. mcfly0570 17 December, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    Some news from a report leaked from french defense ministry:


    basically, during exercises in Uniteed Arab Emirates the Rafale did quite well. Confronting RAF typhoons 4vs4 in “degraded air-air scenario” (god knows what that means), the french won 4-0, and in repeating the exercise while “degrading the environment a bit more” (again, no idea what that meant), they still managed to outfly the RAF by 3-1.

    Finally, against the F-22, the rafale ended in F-22s sights only once

    The end of the article states that it managed outdo the competition in all aspect of missions, it detected SAM sites that went undetected by US F-16CJ aircraft, recognised targets visually (optronics system) up to 40km ahead (suppressing the need to get visual confirmation before firing), fired six AASMs against targets “several tens of km away” and three MICA missiles.

    Overall, it seems to have gained much praise in Emirati pilot’s eyes… (the guys that are supposed to fly whatever UAE ends up buying)

    That’s the pilot’s report that was submitted to the ministry, and, unless the guy was really high on something illegal, it seems that the aircraft is doing very well…

  93. Stephen Trimble 17 December, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    Great stuff, mcfly. I didn’t pick that up about the Rafale beating the F-22 at Al Dhafra, but I admit my French is pretty lousy. Those are some real fighting words. We may have a situation — shocker! — of conflicting pilot reports about who won and who lost a dogfight. But it does seem more likely now that they actually confronted each other.

  94. mcfly0570 17 December, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    er, the french pilot said, word by word:

    “The rafale faced the F-22 on several occasions, in limited to “visual contact” air to air scenario, and ended in F-22s HUD only once”

    He doesn’t clearly claim any victory over the F-22… what happened on other occasions where it didn’t end in F22s HUD, I don’t know

  95. br_dlf 21 December, 2009 at 4:30 pm #


    After reading the blog you mentioned (yes I also do speak and read french) I come to the conclusion that the Rafale was up to a2a engagements in the visual range only. There is clearly no statement about the BVR regime. That sounds logical because by all reports the F22 first strength is BVR. I have no reason to assume that the french pilot report was ‘inaccurate’ but the report is at odds with the statement that the F22 is so massively superior. It is clear that the Rafale never got a shot at the F22. But it is also clear that once its presence is known the F22 has a hard time catching the Rafale. This by itself is extremely worrying. It means that if for some reason the BVR engagement is less than 100% succesfull for whatever reason the F22 cannot be ensured of massive superiority anymore. All fine that nobody shoots down the F22, but if the F22 has such a hard time catching even a Rafale (which apparently is considerably better than people portray it) the F22 may have a hard time stopping a numerical superior force penetrating a defended space (tankers? AWACS? anyone?). Since the F35 does not have some important features that the F22 has (ceiling, supercruise, persistence and very high agility) this may be more so true for the F35 with the addition that the F35 may end up more often in the Rafales (Sukhois?) HUD’s than desirable. Proof of the pudding is in the eating and we will only know after real life fly off a2a excersises but the report should be a major worry for the western alliance which is banking so heavily on some futuristic unproven (and quite debatable) assumptions of the F35 operational concept. And we may very well find out only after all the money is spend, leaving us empty handed if we made the wrong choice.

  96. Wily B 23 December, 2009 at 1:19 am #

    “Collins’ report is timely because the Rafale appears to be nearing the end of a two-decade-old search for an export customer.” LOL 20 years an still no buyers.

    What actual air-to-air combat experience does Collins have? never heard of him. He’s a Europeon and seems to be biased. Lets see what the “Euro fighter’ can do in actual combat.Not impressed at all by someone with no actual combat experience

  97. vincent 23 December, 2009 at 3:43 am #

    great new for you

  98. mcfly0570 26 December, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    @ Wily B

    falklands campaign isn’t good enough for you I guess?

    6000 flying hours in various combat jets either? I guess you know better than him…

    seems that the one not knowing what’s he’s talking about is you, not Peter Collins…

  99. aeroxavier 26 December, 2009 at 6:35 pm #

    20 years of development yes but just some years he was ready, and have lose 3 market against american pressure.only few years he was on export.
    that’s not the f-35 who the ^plane was not here , have big difficult and his export market was only winning because this country will have good friendship with USA.
    don’t forgot brain of america was born in europe

  100. Leridan 29 December, 2009 at 12:35 am #

    The F-35 was never intended to be an air superiority fighter. It was designed as a complement to the 750 F-22 the USAF was supposed to get, a very capable SEAD strike aircraft with a secondary role as a missile truck relying on the sensor feeds of AWACS and F-22′s.

    The all-aspect stealth and high agitlity of the F-22 could therefore be dispensed with to reduce costs and get the numbers even the USAF couldn’t afford with the F-22 only because of its price tag.

    In the original concept, allied NATO or almost-NATO countries like Australia would use their F-35′s in coordination with USAF F-22′s and slaughter the opposing force – presumably, at the time, a resurrected Soviet Union or China.

    But the bottom line is the F-35 is NOT an air superiority fighter. A good comparison would be an F-105 on steroids with frontal stealth thrown in – important, but far from being the defining characteristic of AtA combat.

    So IMHO, its kill ratio – as announced by LM – against modern aircraft designed with AtA as a defining factor, like the Typhoon, Rafale or Su-27-35 is wildly optimistic.

    The fact that the Israelis, who actually expect to go up against opponents equipped with those aircraft at any time, are dragging their heels is telling.

  101. br_dlf 5 January, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

    @ Vincent,

    I am not sure what you intend to tell me. I am not pleased at all and extremely worried about the quite possible outcome; ‘the JSF being a mediocre aircraft (no true 5th generation capabilities compared to likely oponents) while having having a 5th generation (and prohibitive) price tag. Adding to it that we are spending enormeous amounts of money before we actually know what we buy, to the point we are out of options if things turn out to be worse than we thought and eroding our military options.

    The jury is still out but signs so far are not encouraging. Earlier on people said ’2008 is going to be a decisive year for the JSF, then it was 2009, now it is 2010. All the time the good news is postponed. Yep, the JSF managed to land international sales. A whole of 3 (possibly 4) aircraft to the UK and the Netherlands. These countries will not opt out. But their buying numbers (under current prices) will be less than currently on the books (about half or less). I would consider this like being very dark clouds over the program.

    And to the sideline there is the embarrasing situation of an actual performing aircraft (Rafale) and a lot of people seeing fit to bash Rafale and Gripen because they are unwilling to face the possibility that these aircraft may actually as good or better than the JSF (while most likely to be cheaper) and cannot stand the idea that anyone could be as good as the glorious USA.

    Maybe the JSF is going to be a succes after all. But why is it so bad if it turns out the Rafale (or Gripen) are also very good aircraft?

  102. br_dlf 9 January, 2010 at 1:46 am #

    Well Wily B,

    Put things into perspective. After 20 years (and IOC some years back!) the Rafale is actually showing performance and does have France as customer and indeed still no international customer (although the last may change in the next few months). The Rafale upgrades might even be about as good as the JSF. If that would turn out to be true it is absolutely damning for the USA industry and military because they have a more expensive product that comes many years later!

    The JSF current earliest IOC will be 2015 (and the JSF has still a lot to prove). IOC will not be in block 3 config. Including the SDD and initial fly of between LM and Boeing (JAST phase started in 1994) that means that the JSF was at least 20 years in development (and this may very well slide).

    And at this point there are a whole of 2 international customers who bought 3 aircraft and they are likely only able to afford about half the numbers they envisioned (provided thay want to eat the sticker shock). Even Australia (wants to buy a whopping 14 aircraft) and of all the Israely airforce so far did not sign anything yet. On top of that the current outlook is that even the USAF cannot fund the desired number of aircraft.

    So if you want to heylight the USA superiority you are achieving the opposite.

    Of course the good news may come ‘later’. It has been comming ‘later’ for years. And it is not quite impossible that the good news may be comming ‘later’ forever.

    A lot of those fancy JSF capabilities (provided that they actually work; the jury is still out) are postponed to ‘later’ block updates, and that is assuming that these block upgrades (past block 3) are actually funded. A big question so far and currently not budgetted for. Unpleasant surprises may very well be looming and so far JET and GOA have been considerably more accurate and reliable with their forecasts than LM or the JSF program office.

    With regards to the JSF Eric Palmer described (rightfully so) plan B of the USA as ‘sticking the fingers in the ears and loudly sing tralalalala’. You might have thought that LM (and DoD) learned lessons in the F22 program and improved design and management procedures. Especially since the JSF was supposed to be a cheaper and simpler design compared to the F22. But so far the JSF is following the same path as the F22 and the B2 with the difference that those aircraft can show excellent and impresive performance where the JSF may very well be ‘unimpressive’.

    As for ‘who is this guy’ who has anything positive to say about a European aircraft’…. If you accuse Peter Collins of being biased and not competent anyway simply because he is European or because he says something that sounds unpleasant to you I would say that you probably need to take a good look in the mirror.

  103. Col.Mark 9 January, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    Rafale is the best. It has the best avionics, full situational awareness. Red Flag results says for Rafale.

  104. bibi 11 January, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    Si il y a un pays au monde qui sait fabriquer des avions de combat, c’est bien la france ! L’angleterre fait de l’assemblage d’avions avec ses partenaires européens tandis que Dassault fabrique des avions de A à Z depuis fort longtemps …Le rafale est un exemple qui, je sais, gêne beaucoup Bae system avec tout le dénigrement contre le rafale depuis 15 ans et fait peur aux américains qui eux, savent mieux que quiconque, que le rafale est un danger pour la “pseudo” suprématie aérienne Us dans le monde sur un plan opérationnel…
    La RAF à terriblement perdu en crédibilité opérationnelle ces dernieres années et possêde des appreils comme le tornado qui n’est qu’un fer à repasser et le typhoon, vanté pour être le meilleur en air-air et que se prend 7 gifles d’affilées face au rafale et dans sa soi-disante spécialité ! Je comprends le malaise et le silence anglo-saxon en ce moment mais en même temps, ils ne récoltent que ce qu’ils ont semés à savoir, perdre du temps à dénigrer constamment le rafale !
    Le résultat est donc très mauvais pour le typhoon et pour le F22, face au client émirien et cela ne me surprends pas car à un moment donné, la désinformation ne suffit plus !

    Pour le brésil, les USA essaye de faire acheter au pays le grippen NG pour empêcher, coûte que coûte, le rafale de se vendre ! Le problême, c’est que le grippen NG n’existe pas encore et ça nous fait beaucoup rire en france car comme il n’existe pas, les américains pensent que les brésiliens se rabattrerons sur le F18 !

    Tout le monde se gargarise avec le F22 alors qu’il n’a jamais rien prouvé au combat et qu’il n’est même pas sur un théâtre d’opération, ni le typhoon d’ailleurs, ce qui n’est pas le cas du rafale qui se bat en afghanistan…De toute façon, le F22, il faut oublier donc que restera t-il aux américains ? Des F35 pas encore opérationnels et des vieux F15, F16 et F18…..
    Y’a un moment donné ou il faut voir la réalité en face et cesser les attaques pathétiques et sans fondement contre le rafale…

    Comptez sur la france pour sortir les crocs dans cette affaire et faire évoluer le rafale bien plus vite que la concurrence car elle, elle ne perd pas son temps à dénigrer le typhoon ou le F22, elle bosse sur ces avions pour mettre tout le monde d’accord face aux clients …

    Hello from france.

  105. br_dlf 11 January, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    @ Bibi

    Ici c’est un forum anglais. Vous etes bien venu ici mais quand vous voudrez ecrire voutre opinions ici il serait mieux d’ecrire dans la langue anglais, aux moin pour raisons de respect, et parceque ils sont becaupe des gents qui sont pas connu avec des langue etranger.

    Please reply in english next time. And don’t fall in the same trap as the JSF fanboys. Yep I think that the Rafale may turn out to be an exquisitive airplane and a serious contender against the more modern JSF aircraft, but you may be too tempted to underestimate the promising qualities of the gripen ng as well.

  106. bibi 12 January, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    ok mais jusqu’à preuve du contraire, on à encore le droit de parler français sur cette planête et je suis sûr que certains anglais font l’effort de parler français, n’est-ce pas ?

  107. br_dlf 12 January, 2010 at 11:21 pm #

    Come vous voulez. Mais je dois dire que ils ne sont beaucoup des personne ici qui comprendre assez Francais (aussi pour moi c’est ne pas facile). Donque, quand vous insister a communicer dans la langue francais a un fora anglais le seule que va passer est comme les anglais dire: ‘preaching for your own parish’. Je peut dire que le raison (entre quelques raisons) que La France est plus et plus competative dans le monde moderne est que l’industrie Francais est plus et plus pragmatique, aussi avec aprendre des langues etranger pour leur employees.

    Continuing in english; the objective of a forum seems to be is to voice opinions and to react on opinions. The general hope of the forum masters is that not only new views are put forward but maybe (as indeed occasionally shown) new information is brought to attention that might be relevant.

  108. bibi 14 January, 2010 at 9:07 am #

    France is not competitive because of his bad English ?… it’s a joke ? But it is not a problem because without a good english language, she is in better state than the British industry which she speaks about the angalis every day… A little seriousness please !

    The day or you will make combat aircraft from A to Z it is not for tomorrow and the typhoon is an example… Except for the finance, you do not have industry anymore in England without speaking about its care hospital worker which are a disaster so much that you come in france for make you look !

    So I hope that my English is understandable by your readers and you will note that French make efforts to speak english but how much of Anglo-Saxon make the effort to speak French? Not many…

    Fortunately Rafale messes it, English or American, he puts you slaps…

    Go are good losers for once !

    Hello from france.

    (and thanks for your answer in french, so, it’s not very clear and i think you say that france is competitive since she’s make effort to speak english with partners, that’s right ? )

  109. br_dlf 14 January, 2010 at 11:27 pm #

    I confirm that I am of opinion that the current upbeat of french business and industry has at least partly to do with the fact that French engineers and business men have made an (succesfull) effort using english in international communication as well. It does not matter if you have this great product (maybe even better product) to offer if clients have a hard time understanding what you can do for them. And after all ; client is king. As a matter of fact I noticed that on average (technical) french students speak english considerably better than (technical) german students.

    Do not underestimate the irrational emotion behind it. Having heard Norwegian and Dutch military pilots discuss the matter of new fighter planes they heyho the wonderfull American planes. When going deeper into the technical matters they usually admit that the Rafale (and possibly Gripen) is a true competitive plane to the JSF. But most of these pilots are trained in the USA, do not speak french and have a mental block. Even though they often (succesfully) communicate with french air personel (in english) they still are afraid that they will have to communicate in french. Their mistake maybe. But the emotional notion is that with the USA they can communicate while with france they can’t.

    Again; do not underestimate the importance. I know at least two examples in the airliner industry of airliners cannceling aircraft orders and going to the competitor because they were unhappy about the communication between themselves and the aircraft manufacturer while the cancellation had nothing to do with the technical or economical opinions of the airliner about the aircraft.

    As you may have noticed this does have practical implications in this discussion. The JSF fanboys have a considerable better PR (LM&Pentagon) machine to back them up. This gives the world quite possible a false impression that everyone agrees that the JSF has sunlight shining out of every orifice while the Rafale, the Gripen and the EF all do suck. And they seem to manage that without any proof of performance from the JSF so far. In fact they manage to do so even though more and more indications are available that the JSF may not be so great and the competitors may be quite serious alternatives.

  110. scarface 22 January, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    the main characteristic of f-22 and dof-35 stealth is its characteristic, usaf bets in these characteristics for its aerial superiority, these is not faster, does not carry more armaments and nor possesss greater autonomy, is only stealth, already rafale possesss wing in delta, what of the biggest maneuverability, takes of 16 missiles and bombs more or, f-22 possesss an advanced radar very even so and f-35 also possesss it, and more agile for the white defense and ataquede.

  111. dave 7 February, 2010 at 11:56 pm #

    peter collins must not be real familar with f-22,RECENTLY f-22 wins rafale in exercises in dubai as reported by FRENCH NEWS ARTICLE and FRENCH PILOTS.

  112. br_dlf 8 February, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    Well Dave,

    All true that the F22 did win the WVR contest (no words about the BVR contest). And this was so reported by the Rafale pilot. But you may want to read the fine prints as well. It says that the F22 had a hard time catching the Rafale. Given the fact that the F22 is an dedicated a2a platform (and has a design optimised like this) and the Rafale has been primarily optimised as a multi role platform that means that the Rafale is holding itself remarkably well in combat against presumably superior aircraft! Assuming the report is more or less accurate it means that the F22 will win but it will take the F22 much effort and time to do so. This implies the F22 pilot may have reason to worry if he encounters a numerical superior force.

    Given the fact that the F22 is at least 3 times as expensive as a Rafale class aircraft I can easily envision the scenario that the F22 encounters a 3 times larger force. Will be kept occupied by two aircraft and probably shoots down one maybe two of them but that it takes so much time the third one shoots down the supporting AWACS/AEW, tanker aircraft and other supporting assets so that the F22 has to retreat or even finds itself without fuel and may have to ditch in hostile area. All speculation at this point. Sound tactics will probably play a bigger role in the outcome (either way).

    A more justified comparison would be the Rafale agianst the so hyped JSF. Proof of the pudding is in the eating (and that will still be several years ahead of us) but given the current performance of the Rafale and that what is known about the JSF capabilities I would not be too surprised if the JSF would turn out to be a dudd in the a2a role compared to those Eurocanards.

    So I would think Mr. Collins remarks may not be so off the mark as you suggest.

  113. aeroxavier 8 February, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

    yeah that was the “scoop”, the f-22 was not so superior of others plane.
    but the probes is the f-35. this is one multi role like the rafale but was normally inferior of the f-22 (in the air to air fight sure). the price of the f-35 grow up every time and his performance and development was not hope what US will (R.Gates).

    personnaly, i think the f-35 would be similar of one rafale today but was equal or inferior of the rafale.
    the f-35 have better design , but that don’t make one plane.he was most expensive and not finished.
    the rafale can be better, was finished and with one lower price .

    today we need ask for what the rafale was in 4+ gen?
    he was not furtiv but radar evolued and can spot one f-22.

    But seriously the big problem was : the rafale is french, and some country in europe like GB who can buy this plane in the place of f-35 , can’t, because the consortium of eurofighter can’t imagine one of their member buy the supposed competitor

  114. JC 18 February, 2010 at 11:14 am #

    Interesting debate.

    What is surprising is that British find difficult that a French aircraft may be a good aircraft. Why this position, pure british prideness? If so, why did you slaughter your aircraft industry for buing US aircraft. The time is now over, since the Spitfire, the Hunter or the Harrier. Even the Harrier is now US made!
    British only may purchase “not us aircraft” by european cooperation, giving the Tornado or the Typhon. Now you dream of the F-35, as if it was British just because guys overseas are your former colonies, but with no regards for the price, the performances, and your real possibility to customise the aircraft. Please stop watching US soap operas, go back to reality.

    Europe is losing its capability to produce fighters, and one of the main target of the F-35 is to secure this. In this matter, the F-35 is so well performing that it has already sunk a brittish carrier… (not bad for a paper aicraft)

    Sweddish and SAAB, just managed to produce the Gripen (a real jewel) but with US component and she is for sure their last fighter.
    UK, Germany, Spain & Italia made the Eurofighter, not a bad air-defence figther but very expensive, with limited air-ground capabilities.
    France is the sole european country really challenging the US production with a well balance and hightly performing combat aircraft, that is the reason why US try to blocade any export sales. But we know, and everyone knows that Rafale, what ever its qualities, is to be the last french fighter.
    So if us europeans we whish to have in a futur a combat fighter not 100% US produced and controled, it will be better to stop bullshitting on each other.

    The russian are now rising the level of competition with the PAK-FA. Everyone knows that to challenge it the F-35 is not the answer. And certainly not the F-22, with only 180 aicraft produced…
    So, if Europeans whish an european aircraf to protect their sky in the years 2030-2060… It is time to work alltogether to demonstrate that we are still capable to produced top military aircaft.

  115. dave 20 February, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    well doc,french weekly air&cosmos,2010/1/29 page9
    translation:f-22 vs rafale,untouchable raptor
    while french aviators widely communicated about the “spanking” their rafales gave the british typhoons during the latest atlc exercise in the uae,few things were said about the confrontation between the dassault delta and the american f-22As
    present. during bvr engagements the american raptors didnt even bother to turn on their radars,thus staying invisible to the RBE2 and spectra while still precisely locating the french fighters electromagnetic emissions,therefore managing to fire
    amraams from stand-off distance.at least twice the F22As also came into close-range fight and every time ensured a “gun kill” WITHOUT MUCH DIFFICULTY.

  116. dave 20 February, 2010 at 6:12 am #

    WITHOUT MUCH DIFFUICULTY.french article states about f-22As taking out rafales.

  117. dave 20 February, 2010 at 6:22 am #

    further more,french pilot said spectra FAILED to locate raptors as spectra failed against f/18 super hornets in 2008 exercises.

  118. dave 20 February, 2010 at 6:41 am #

    also i remember 1980 (30 years ago)american newspapers questioning the ability of the some what new f-15 and the doubting thomasises comparing f-15 to migs.i think its fair to say having over 100 kills to 0 losses ,its proved to be an excellent fighter,granite its nearing the end of its service life.furthermore the same doubts about the new f-16(1980).i think the f-16 proved its worth with almost 5000 aircraft produced.

  119. dave 20 February, 2010 at 7:11 am #

    to the doubters,remember always add 1 or 2 years when new aircraft are going thru r&d for military or commercial aircraft(“airbus is not excluded either).and when new aircraft go thru their teething pains,watch the doubters pop out again saying”i told you it was going to be junk” or” why dont they stop making them” or” stop wasteing tax payers money”and so on.SO BOTTOM LINE F-15,F-16,F-18,F-22

  120. br_dlf 22 February, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    @ dave,

    These are interesting claims dave,

    As a starter you claim that Spectre did not find the F22. I may believe that. But then again all I read about was about engagements where both F22′s and Rafales ECM suites were turned off. So if you have a reference to substantiate your claim please share the link to this information.

    Another claim of yours is even more interesting. It is true that F16 (and other teen series) class aircraft were doing as designed. In fact they did do more than promised. But that was in a situation there were (multiple) competitors. We are now facing a virtual monopoly by a company that now has an extensive record of failing promises. And also the F16 class of aircraft designers and salespeople did not make stellar promises from the onset. They had a good and relevant demonstrator flying to prove their claims before the sales campaign took of. The JSF ‘prototype’ was hardly comparable. An empty shell mostly compared to the earlier program prototypes.

    Last claim is about the numbers to be sold. At the very least a premature statement form your side and given the unability to control costs (LM) and the budget constraints (USA & partners) the 2443 aircraft you mention (BTW it used to be substantially more!!!!!, Some 3000+ I believe) are at this point no more than marketing wishfull thinking.

    But of course you are free to have rosy dreams. And maybe against all odds your dreams will come out. You never know if some miracle will happen. For my part I just do not believe so much in unexpected spectacular miracles that defy historical records.

  121. aeroxavier 23 February, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    rafale vs f-22
    -radars off (for the 2 plane)
    -6 “dual” in dogfight, just one time f-22 can have the rafale for one fire.(5 “equalitey”)
    -f-22 and rafale have similar radar and weapons,but the US don’t will prove that and don’t will see one radar to catch the f-22 (because US says he was furtiv…)

    now the question is: for what we say f-22 was in 5th gen and rafale 4+? the rafale is multirole like the “future” f-35 and this plane was today one 5th gen. one response: USA gives that just for prove their superiority in basic brain who can only compare that

    f-35 have big prob (price and development), the number of plane previewd was fixed on the first price before probs.USA says that was not really for don’t lose partners

  122. Fenrir 23 April, 2010 at 4:05 am #

    aeroxavier i may be false but, you forgot to mention that the rafale did not turn on his ecm capabilites with is one of his primary capability.

    for all:
    the rafale was disign for beyong visal range interception (like all recent aircraft) but it will gain most of this capacity only with the F3 standart. as far as i kwown the F1 and F2 standart (witch actually equiped frensh force) are more based on self defence and bombing capabilty

    F3 standart as far as i know: the rafale is supposed to be equiped with the a new radar and the also new long range Meteor missile (actully the 2 are in test) in complément with the accually equiped medium & short range missile Mica. it can also be equipeted with the Damocles laser pod (also in test) for laser guidance bombing (up until now i think the laser guidance was done by a support mirage with an less efficient laser pod)

    I also know that new engine are in test: a version with more power for potetial export to EAU and a version with less consumption of fuel and less maitenance to be maid for france(come to think that the rafale will have a less maitenant cost than other aircraft when it will be fully deployed)

    undersand me (i am frensh) i don’t hope the rafale to be a better interceptor than the f-22 but i’m very pleased with his good result against the typhon (very good ratio) and f-22 (0-1 in favor of f-22 in 6 dogfights) witch are a lot more spécialised in air suprémacy.

    All that to said that the rafale is hightly evolvable (it was disign to be) and all the stuff about an aircraft than is totally ouclassed because the devellopement start in 1963 is forgive me “bullshit” because all the projets before 1984 were simply cancelled (due to pollitics) so like the other aircraft it take less than twenty year to fully devellope and test (the f-22 devellopement program start in the late 80′s for reference)

    i’d like to remember every one that the generation term is given by the us army they have undersatood that the rafale is a good machine. that’s proven by the comportement against the f-22 surely as good as JSF (probably better in a2a capability) with a lower price. that’s one reason why the rafale is classified only with a 4+ gen rather than a 5 gen (usa want to export the JSF), the other reason of this classification is that an european country would have had the first 5 gen fighter witch is very annoying for the propagande of usa “we are the best”, but for real if a 4 gen fighter can perform a 0-1 vs the f-22 in 6 dogfights wouldn’t that be very scary to you?

    the big difference for me is the focus on stealth and cruise speed from usa jet instead of the mutch lower stealth capability but with ECM and data link increased for the frensh one. we can see here the difference between the air doctrine of our army: usa want figther for surprise attack help with Awaks (with it you can to turn out active radar and use all the stealth capablity); France want figther/bomber witch can opérate without Awacs (we don’t have mutch) but are good operating with (see the L16 data link capability of the rafale)

    remember that frensh are friends and ally with usa since a long time now (like with the english our relation are more like: “i love you, me neither” but we all know that usa and france will never be at war against each other but rather in the same side) so i don’t think we will ever see JSF or F22 figthing against Rafale but rather they will probably fighting side by side. In my opinion it’s mush more usefull to have an ally with good équipment than the opposite.

    to finish i’m mush more worried about the capacity of the indo-russian T-50 (PAK-FA). We have a lot more chance our army have to face it, witch is suppose to be a multi-role fighter with the same cruise speed and stealth than F-22. this is worrying when we see where the russian usied to sell weapon. Not to mention the china-pakistan project (don’t remember the name)

    sorry for all that but there is so much to tell about our little rafale

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  127. Ari 13 October, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    he credits the Rafale with capabilities that are nothing short of ludicrious..Pay anyone 10.000€ and he will tell you anything The Super Hornet with its reduced RCS, advanced IDECM, AN/APG-79 ,the best fighter radar out there and leaps and bounds more capable than any other AESA around and with AIM-120C7/D is capable of beating the RAFALE or TYPHOON in any BVR type of engagement and far more efficient also in the fleet defender role….

  128. Bernard 31 October, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    Hi Guys,

    I am french and rather than falling into stupid nationalism behaviour. As we are all part of NATO, it would be great to build complementary aircrafts for the battle field. i think there is enough space in terms of military tactical demands to build aircrafts that are not competing with each other. The recent world history showed us we had to join strike force.

    By the way, we will only see what the F 35 is worth it in 2014 when it will be operate within the UMSC and also in 2015 in the Israeli army. Meanwhile Rafale 3 is used in the french Marine. By the way, i find it very late to replace the old F 16 !

    I would have had a comment about the F 35, if it would have been tested at the Red Flag against Rafale. I think it would have been very beneficial to do so. There is lots of things to learn from tactical point of view by highlighting the strong points of each aircraft.

  129. Robert F 8 November, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    So this man flew a existing operational aircraft and came away impressed. Good for Dassault.
    The competition in UAE shows F-22 to be superior, but not amazingly “a giant step ahead”.
    The F-22 costs six times more than Rafale.
    The JSF is the main focus of these comments. Has anyone seen a operational/production F-35? Has anyone seen a operational F-35 drop a bomb or shoot a missle? No. No person in the world has seen the final F-35 product. We do know it, based on Lockheed-Martin and USAF releases:
    1. cannot fly over 30-40 minutes without hardware and software problems.
    2. cannot fly its test mission profiles on internal fuel. It needs 2 A2A refuel to go to McDonalds.
    3. Cannot carry its stated internal Arms load.
    4. is not a stealth plane, Lock-mart calls it “stealthy” now. With external fuel or Arms it is 4th Generation.
    5. Is a maintenance nightmare.
    6. Now costs 4 times more than planned, nearly 3.5 times the cost of a proposed Rafale4+.
    7. We are fast tracking them to Israel, so they can work out the problems like they did on F-15&16.
    I do not envision F-22&35 ever fighting Rafale. But I can see 12 F-22 and 32 F-35 on a strike mission against 160 Chinese J-10s and it will not be pretty.

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  132. moryphius 3 January, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    robert your numbers are way off,
    f-35 SOLD to israel for 96 million u.s dollars each(2010 fly away cost).
    rafale m cost 90.5 million u.s dollars each(2008 fly away cost according to wikipedia).
    f-22 cost 138 million u.s dollars cost(fly away cost).

    and in just afew years the f-35′s production line will ramp up too over 200 f-35′s per year,so of course the f-35′s price will drop more, the only question is how much more….THE BOTTOM LINE IS THE F-35 AND THE RAFALE WILL BE VERY COMPARABLE IN PRICE(DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR).



  133. Vince 11 February, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    @ moryphius : no chance!

    anyone will buy the F35 : this virual plane/real ghost is definitely a dead-born fighter..

    Same player shoot again

  134. abew 4 April, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Funny how he’s trying to sell it when there is a serious lack of export orders for the Rafale. The Rafale doesn’t seem to have the export orders to back his claim up. It’s basically a carrier fighter which few countries need.

  135. Storks forever 24 May, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    Few facts :
    Rafale present RBE2 radar is not “top range”
    Noone knows exactly know SPECTRA real performances, so apart from radar low range, its very hard to estimate its exact BVR abilities
    Rafale present standard (in Lybia) is F3
    Expected next gen of Rafale would be close to UAE expectations, that is AESA radar and around 10 tons engines (both under qualification).
    Dutch quoted F35 and Rafale programs in 2006, with very similar quotes, far ahead of Typhoon.
    F35 navy is dead
    Rafale kicked every asses during ATLC except on F22 in BVR, tho i doubt about 40 miles shot efficiency.
    (btw they also spanked F16 52 at red flag)
    F35 seem to be a dramatic industrial failure, increasing costs, medium quality A2A abilities etc, just remain its A2G abilities…Meaning they’ll have to open traps to bomb thus losing their furtivity.
    Furtivity do not define F5 fighters : survivability, integration, supercruise (range)do.
    Typhoon is also a nice plane, although primarily designed for A2A, presenty it has better ability then Rafale in BVR due to better radar.
    Rafale “Marine” is operational, Typhoon one is just a powerpoint project.
    Facts talk better then opinins…

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