HomeIndian Air Force RafaleBREAKING: IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a...

BREAKING: IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR

Source : Indian Defence Analysis

BREAKING: IAF Rafales flew long range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR
An Indian Air Force Dassault Rafale fighter jet (File Photo)

BREAKING: IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR

As per an Indian Air Force tweet just few hours ago today, Four IAF Dassault Rafales flew a long-range mission for over six hours into the IOR. The aircraft “fought” their way through a large force engagement en route to their Weapon Release Point.

Now let’s try to understand this in little more detail. Indian Force has 2 squadrons of Rafale.  The first one is No. 17 Squadron (Golden Arrows) stationed at the Ambala Air Force Station as part of the Western Air Command. The second one is No. 101 Squadron (Falcons) based at the Hasimara Air Force Station. The mission undertaken could be from either of these squadrons which has significant arial distance to IOR. The Indian Air Force would have designated the target location in IOR where the Rafale fighter jets have to release the weapon payload. In their way to the designated target the Rafale would have been engaged with other Indian Air Force fighter jets and their numbers are larger than 4 Rafales undertaking the mission. These 4 Rafales have either neutralised or evaded the large air force engagement en route to reach to their target. Since the mission was a long endurance one -almost 6 hours, Rafale has undergone inflight refuelling as well.

In summary, the Rafales have been used for long range anti-ship missions in Indian Oceans region evading or neutralising various threats in between. This is a remarkable feast of the fighter as it shows the long-range performance, unmatched air superiority and versatility of the fighter jet. It’s also a clear indicator that the Rafales are the best fighter jet at present in the IAF inventory.

Indian Rafale F3R: Most advance operational version

The Indian Air force Rafales are also the most advance Rafale operational. The Indian Rafale comes with 13 India specific enhancements. These changes include Full Authority Digital Engine (FADEC) to aid the Jets engine to operate in extreme temperatures, Doppler Weather Radar which informs the pilot the weather ahead, integration of the Indian navigation system with SIGMA, Extra Filtered Oxygen Generation, integration of Spice 1000 Smart Bomb & Astra missile, Enhanced SPECTRA EW Suit, Quad Pack Ejectors for stand-off weapons & X-Guard Fibre Optic Towed Decoy. These were 10 major changes specific to India apart from that there quite a few minor upgrades more powerful radio altimeter, radar warning receiver, low band jammer, flight data recorder, high-altitude engine start-up, synthetic aperture radar, ground moving target indicator and tracking, infrared search and track, helmet-mounted display, missile approach warning systems and very high-frequency range decoys.

 

SPECTRA – Self-Protection Equipment Countering Threats to Rafale Aircraft

The feature of Rafale which makes it such a potent fighter and distinctly ahead of many fighters of its generation is its SPECTRA – Self-Protection Equipment Countering Threats to Rafale Aircraft. It is termed as the cornerstone of the Rafale’s outstanding survivability against the latest airborne and ground threats. It provides long-range detection, identification and accurate localisation of infrared homing, radio frequency and laser threats. The system incorporates radar warning receiver, laser warning and Missile Approach Warning for threat detection plus a phased array radar jammer and a decoy dispenser for threat countering.

Rafale has 3 radar detectors with 120-degree coverage against air inlets and at the top of the fin. It has 3 laser warning detector – 2 under cockpit and one at the top of fin with 120-degree coverage. Rafale also have 2 infrared missiles launch detectors (DDM) at the top of fin. DDM has been designed to provide the Rafale fighter self-protection system (Spectra) with an advanced Missile Warning System covering most of the sphere around the aircraft. In particular it provides the capability to detect Manpad missiles by detecting their burning engines. These capability enables Rafale to have multi-spectral threat warning against hostile radars, missiles and lasers. Apart from this it also provides superior situational awareness to the fighter jet. Spectra has capability to perform Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) and Electronic Signal Intelligence (ELINT) mission. This is achieved via: 3 jammers, 4 top ejection decoy launchers and 2 straw lances. Spectra has accuracy of less than 1 degree and a large database for identifying the received signal and launch corresponding counter measure systems for it. Spectra also includes a dedicated management unit for data fusion and reaction decision.

In Libya, the Rafales were independently able to perform without the support of dedicated Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) platforms. In an exercise conducted by Egyptian Air Force, Rafale was able to jam the SU-35 BAR phased array radar from 100km.

With the help of Spectra’s Active cancellation technology, Rafale can deceive the radars by giving false echo returns. In Active cancellation technology, the mirror image of the incoming wave (received from adversary radar) is produced and they both cancel each other out. Interesting part is that, if we use sufficiently fast computer and a sufficiently strong emitter, the fighter jet can stand right in front of the radar and it won’t see a thing. This technology was proven in an exercise MACE XIII in Slovakia. The India specific SPECTRA upgrade in F3R also includes Low- Medium and High band apertures to deal with low observable aircraft which means it provides Rafale with capability to detect stealth fighters like Chinese J-20.

Radar Cross Section (RCS)

The Rafale’s low-visibility features are quite classified, which means it can give the enemy a nasty surprise in an actual combat scenario. It has a radar cross section of 1m2 but can achieve the frontal Radar Cross of 0.06m2 using spectra EW system with weapon load. The successor of SPECTRA is DEDRIA for F3R which can further bring down its RCS to 0.006m2, even against modern frequency hopping AESA radars. The S-duct intakes, serrated edges & an exhaust channel cooler contributes significantly in reducing its Radar cross section.

Terrain Following function

The next feature we are going to talk about will make Rafale invincible against any fighter jet in the world in the mountainous region especially across the LAC. The terrain-following function integrated with the Rafale’s flight control system flies the aircraft closer to the ground or the sea than would be reasonable for the crew flying in manual mode — and it does so with a demonstrated safety level even in blind weather. Be it S400 or any other radar, it would be extremely difficult to detect rafale at such low height from such long range.

RADAR

The AESA RBE2 brings the Rafale a number of other key operational benefits such as Extended range capabilities supporting low-observable target detection and full use of new weapon systems such as the Meteor Air-to-Air missile, Higher reliability for reduced maintenance and lower through-life support costs, Greater waveform agility for SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) imaging and improved resistance to jamming.

Rafale Weapons

Rafale is integrated with arrays of weapons which further makes the fighter jet deadly in its class. These are:

1. Meteor – ramjet powered BVR missile with range in excess of 150 km.
2. Scalp or Storm Shadow – long-range air-to-ground standoff cruise missile with range in excess of 300 kms.
3. The HAMMER (standing for Highly Agile and Manoeuvrable Munition Extended Range) modular, rocket-boosted air-to-ground precision guided weapon series, fitted with INS/GPS or INS/GPS/IIR (imaging infra-red) guidance kits, or with the upcoming INS/GPS/laser guidance
4. The other weapons include: AM39 EXOCET anti-ship missile, Laser-guided bombs with different warheads from 500lbs to 2,000 lbs and a 30 mm internal cannon capable of firing 2500 rounds/min.

The cherry on the cake is the TALIOS pod which is a new generation multi-function targeting pod. It features HD sensors (IR and TV) with outstanding long-range capabilities to strike from Close Air Support to stand off distances. It also has a powerful laser which provides the aircraft with both stand-off range and tactical capacity. It is compatible with laser guided weapons, INS/GPS guided missiles and imagery-guided weapons. It can also perform day/night visual airborne target identification. IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IAF Rafales flew long-range mission and fought their way through a large force engagement over IOR IgMp

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