UAE missile demands and more Rafale v. Raptor rumors

The United Arab Emirates has dropped a bombshell on France’s Dassault, according to this UPI story today. Before it agrees to buy 60 Rafale fighters, the UAE wants Dassault to integrate Boeing’s standoff land attack missile-expanded response (SLAM-ER), instead of the MBDA AM-39 Exocet. Sacre bleu!  And so continues the most tortuous contract negotiations since Boeing offered to lease 100 767s to the US Air Force.

Meanwhile, back in Paris, the Armee de l’Air leaks to French newsweekly Air & Cosmos, providing a few more tidbits about what happened between the Raptor and the Rafale at the Al Dhafra exercise late last year. According to Air & Cosmos’ sources, the USAF requested only two training sorties between the F-22 and the Rafale of three engagements each, with one-on-one combat within visual range. [In other words, the USAF says, "If you don't turn on your Spectra system, we won't turn on our ALR-94."]

In those six engagements, the F-22 scored one gun kill, but the other five dogfights ended in a draw, Air & Cosmos says. Another sources tells the magazine the F-22 scored two gun kills, with four nulls.

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26 Responses to UAE missile demands and more Rafale v. Raptor rumors

  1. Robert 17 February, 2010 at 6:20 am #

    Very interesting.

    SLAM-ER integration shouldn’t be too much of a trouble, given Rafale’s clean underside & open architecture.

    F22 v Rafale in WVR. 4-5/6 draws? Not bad for the Dassault jet. Note that neither fighter sports their HMD yet.

    Great report, Stephen, as always.

  2. irtusk 17 February, 2010 at 7:38 am #

    If they want long range attack, why not just get Su-30MKI with BrahMos?

    > @thedewline wishes Chuck Yeager, conqueror of sound, a very happy 87th birthday

    too bad he still gets credit for this when he clearly wasn’t the first

  3. Stephen Trimble 17 February, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    irtusk — If you have evidence, please share. I looked into this a while ago. There were F-86s already in service, and they can break the speed of sound in a dive. But no one seems to have come forward with any persuasive evidence proving that anybody did before Yeager. You’d think given the stakes that the evidence would have showed up by now. But I’m willing to listen if somebody’s got the goods.

  4. aeroxavier 17 February, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    rafale and f-22 don’t have use their technology but just their performance . the f-22 was conceved for air suprematy and the rafale for all type of fight.
    f-35 would be inferior of the f-22 but if the rafale was appro equal this is bad for the f-35.
    and american don’t will see spectra capabilities in their furtiv design(just for say he was furtiv and better and give one superiority of it)
    but all radar and missile progress but the form of the f-22 was make in 20 years and today (or tomorrow) furtiv jet was not really furtiv.

  5. mike j 17 February, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    irtusk, Stephen;

    Here’s a pretty good article that ran in Air & Space Jan ’99 regarding who got the mach first:

    http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/mach.html

  6. Robert 17 February, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    Going supersonic means two things: breaching the sudden spike in transonic DRAG and maintaining controlled flight through the sudden rearward SHIFT of center of pressure also at transonic speed.

    Pre-X1 jets featuring round noses and conventional elevators were ineffective, if not outright dangerous, going from subsonic to transonic. Captain Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager was the first man to reach supersonic speed in CONTROLLED LEVEL flight, thanks to invention of pointy nose and one-piece horizontal stabilizer [on top of the rocket engine, featured in Bell X-1].

    The challenges and the attempts are further described in details in “Yeager: An Autobiography.”

  7. Gary Williams 17 February, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    mike, j
    Good link, very interesting. I think Yeager will always be officially credited with being the first owing to the lack of measured and recorded data (radar, flight recordings) surrounding George Welch’s flights. But I think the article is well researched and its highly probable that Welch was the first.

  8. mike j 17 February, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    Robert-

    The point about “controlled level flight” is what still makes Yeager the winner, far as I’m concerned. Joe Kittinger jumped out of a balloon gondola at 100-something thousand feet broke Mach 1 without a plane, IIRC.

    Yeager’s autobiography also mentions him warning NA and Welch about the F-100A before Welch died flying it.

  9. irtusk 17 February, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    > Captain Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager was the first man to reach supersonic speed in CONTROLLED LEVEL flight

    that’s a nice and laudable achievement, but the first man to go supersonic (break the sound barrier) remains Welch

    > Joe Kittinger jumped out of a balloon gondola at 100-something thousand feet broke Mach 1 without a plane, IIRC.

    regardless of whether he actually broke Mach 1, that was long after Welch and Yeager

  10. Robert 17 February, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    @Mike J

    Thought that’s what i said. Going supersonic diving (adrenaline) vs. doing the same straight & level or even with slight nose-up (tech breakthrough) are vastly different ventures.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/faster-than-the-speed-of-sound-the-man-who-falls-to-earth-1877875.html

  11. Robert 17 February, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    “a nice and laudable achievement”

    Well, apparently entertainment wins.

  12. irtusk 17 February, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    > Going supersonic means two things: breaching the sudden spike in transonic DRAG and maintaining controlled flight through the sudden rearward SHIFT of center of pressure also at transonic speed.

    going supersonic means one thing and one thing only: going faster than the speed of sound

    > Captain Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager was the first man to reach supersonic speed in CONTROLLED LEVEL flight

    That’s a nice achievement, and one worthy of note

    But the fact remains that Welch is the first to go supersonic.

    > The point about “controlled level flight” is what still makes Yeager the winner, far as I’m concerned.

    Well they’re both winners! Everyone’s a winner!

    But they won different things

    Welch: First to go supersonic
    Yeager: First to go supersonic in ‘controlled level flight’

    > Joe Kittinger jumped out of a balloon gondola at 100-something thousand feet broke Mach 1 without a plane

    If he truly did go supersonic and he had jumped say 15 years earlier, then he would have had the honor of being the first to go supersonic.

    But he didn’t

  13. Airpower 17 February, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    The SLAM-ER/Exocet report is incoherent nonsense – they are two totally different weapons.

    The writer clearly has no understanding of the subject or the here-and-now in the UAE, and fails to understand what Black Shaheen already gives the UAEAF.

    The UAE wants Rafales with the 9-tonne engine to carry a three-missile heavy strike loadout for the bespoke MBDA weapon it already has – a capability which it will never get from the US.

    SLAM-ER, a dead-end weapon on its way out with the US Navy, does not even come close close. Of all the things France and the UAE are still talking about regarding Rafale, this ain’t one.

  14. mike j 17 February, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    Robert- I was agreeing with you, sorry I didn’t make it clear.

    irtusk- How do we know there wasn’t someone else that busted the mach before either of them, but didn’t know it or live through it? That’s just a BS rhetorical question on my part, granted, but the only reality that matters here is the one you can prove. Welch certainly could have DIVED the XP-86 through Mach 1, and most likely did. But they only measured Yeager’s flight, and his aircraft did it under it’s own power, too. The anecdote about Kittinger was just to point out that you don’t really even need a plane if you’re just using gravity.

  15. mike j 17 February, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    This link about Kittinger’s jump is authoritative:

    http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/aerodynamics/q0243.shtml

    He did not break Mach 1, but could have if he’d been just about a mile higher.

  16. Stephen Trimble 17 February, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    Thanks for setting me straight, Airpower! That’s actually the second report I’ve seen that says that, but I think it’s possible they were both written by the same author. I wonder if it’s a case of ignorance, or someone with an agenda.

  17. EG 17 February, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

    Perhaps (And I am not saying they are.) Dassault is using the same PR firm used by Marcel Bloch prior to May 1940.

  18. Robert 17 February, 2010 at 8:35 pm #

    UAE has a growing need/taste for stand-off A/G weapons. Tehran’s nuclear ambition is making a lot of people nervous.

    Abu Dhabi also has the tendency to go a tab beyond whatever is in the market at the time; it’s a strategic move (deterrence via ‘one of the kind combo’).

  19. EG 17 February, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

    Robert,
    It certainly never hurts to be a little better off when it comes to muntions.

  20. Phaid 17 February, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    The problem is that the Black Shaheen is nowhere near as capable as the SLAM-ER. Black Shaheen is a range restricted version of SCALP EG. It has no midcourse update capability, and it must be programmed on the ground so it has no capability against targets of opportunity. It also cannot engage moving targets. SLAM-ER meanwhile can do all of those things.

    The reason the comparison to Exocet is relevant is because, even if the UAE decided to use Black Shaheen with its Rafales, it would need Exocet for anti shipping. SLAM-ER can do both jobs.

  21. Phaid 17 February, 2010 at 11:10 pm #

    The fault in the story is that it does not paint the complete picture, not that it is wrong. As I said above, SLAM-ER is definitely a more capable weapon, and even though the UAE has their Black Shaheen missiles they would still need Exocet for an anti-ship capability. SLAM-ER has the same or better range performance than the UAE’s existing missiles, but also an antiship and anti moving target capabilty that they do not have now.

  22. Airpower 19 February, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    SLAM-ER is not a better weapon than Black Shaheen, it is merely a different weapon. It is also a weapon on an end-of-life trajectory with no further development potential.

    OK, SLAM-ER can do moving targets but is that what the UAE needs? Might a heavyweight, strategic-class stand-off weapon be a bit more relevant given the notional threat (and need for deterrence)?

    Is Black Shaheen range limited? Well that’s what they had to say to make the sale, but is it actually true? And range limited from what? SCALP-EG will go a very, very long way…It is a highly effective, combat-proven weapon that works (I’m looking at you JASSM).

    SLAM-ER is the weapon you get when you are not allowed to have anything better. The UAE is not that sort of customer.

    Remember that the US prohibited the UAE from integrating Black Shaheen on its Block 60s because of its capability level – another good reason for the UAE to stick with France as a supplier. Also, with the UAE and MBDA now establishing major industrial partnerships I would bet that the UAE will be in the middle of a Black Shaheen MLU (in parallel with Storm Shadow and SCALP-EG) that will add datalink and other nice-to-have features – all on a weapon under full national control.

    Integrating SLAM-ER on Rafale makes no sense whatsoever. As the UAE, asking for it makes even less.

    (and the UAE already has Exocets).

  23. Saberhagen 19 February, 2010 at 8:48 pm #

    @Airpower

    “It is also a weapon on an end-of-life trajectory with no further development potential.” –> proof please?

    “OK, SLAM-ER can do moving targets but is that what the UAE needs?” –> then how you can tell exactly what they want or need? Of course you dont.

    The funny thing is among all the big words you used to praise your Black Shaheen, I saw no fact but just opinions.

  24. aeroxavier 22 February, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    exocet mm40 was going to equip french ship.he have one better range (more than 180km against 70km max).
    that can be one commercial pressure for have the top of the top (airplane,weapons,systems…)

  25. Michael 7 August, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    If true that UAE wishes to replace AM 39 EXOCET with Boeing SLAM-ER before agreeing on a RAFALE purchase it must know that the former is basically a very specialized ant-ship missile with only some (limited) coastal land – attack capability.
    It would seem that SCALP / STORM SHADOW is more the equivalent of the said US missile.

    m

  26. michael 15 October, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    Soon,I will endeavour to objectively examine why from 2015 onwards Rafale will probably be in a position to give Raptor F-22A a fight fot its money in WVR & BVR combat.
    (In ground attack it is already no-contest because the former is already an operational nuclear strike fighter / bomber)

    m

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