PICTURE: Raptor snapshots by the Rafale

rafale F22.jpgAt LIMA 2011 air show in Malaysia, Dassault released a set of imagery from an apparent engagement between the Rafale and the Lockheed Martin F-22. One of the images have been released before, and it came from the sort-of-friendly fighter jet show-down in November 2009 at Al Dhafra AB, United Arab Emirates.

The imagery was released as part of a plug for the Rafale’s infrared search and track sensor, called the Thales front sector optronics system. 

These are desperate times for Dassault’s fighter programme. The manufacturing house that produced the Mirage and Rafale fighter series has lost a series of competitions, including most recently in Switzerland. Defense Minister Gerard Longuet warned yesterday that the Rafale line will be closed in the absence of export orders. That may seem like merely stating the obvious, but the timing of Longuet’s statement makes it a warning. India is rumoured to be set to announce tomorrow the outcome of the competition for the medium multi-rote combat aircraft (MMRCA), with only the Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon still in the running. 

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