French Military News Thread


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French Navy set to test novel landing craft design


The French Navy is set to begin an evaluation of a novel variable-draught landing craft known as the L-Cat, to assess its suitability as a potential future expeditionary watercraft. ...
That's an interesting new design. A little transformer out there.
 

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New radar could boost Rafale's export prospects

French industry is pinning its hopes for reviving the flagging export fortunes of the Dassault Rafale fighter on the entry into production this month of Europe's first active electronically scanned array radar.
[...]
Thales will start delivering AESA RBE-2 radars to the French air force from 2010 under a €200 million ($256 million) contract covering final development and the initial production of up to four units. Chaltiel expects the French defence ministry to award a full series production contract worth "several hundreds of millions of euros" for the RBE-2 in 2009, to equip the French military's fourth tranche of Rafales, expected to number around 60 aircraft.
[...]
Swapping out the Rafale's passive electronically steered antenna and replacing it with the active antenna takes "less than one hour", says Chaltiel, although France is yet to commit to a retrofit of its existing Rafale fleet. The AESA radar face improves detection range by "about 40% compared with previous technologies of radar", says Chaltiel.

Meanwhile, the Rafale's ability to shoot down an enemy aircraft using only passive detection was demonstrated for the first time in October, says Chaltiel. Two aircraft flew "several miles apart", the first using electronic support measures to monitor the target and communicate its track via Link 16 datalink to the second Rafale.

The second aircraft also passively tracked the target using its infrared search and track system and was able to achieve a lock-on by sending "a few pulses" from its laser rangefinder. The enemy aircraft was then "shot down" using an MBDA "Mica-type" air-to-air missile with an active seeker that became effective at a range of around 18km (10nm), says Chaltiel.
[...]
Thales says that the integration of the RBE-2 positions the Rafale as the only fighter in its class to be equipped with active arrays for both its radar and electronic warfare suite.
Finally, europe gets it's own fighter AESA airborne.
This passive engagement part is also interesting, although using a laser range finder is not really passive.
 

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More news on the evolution of the Rafale:
I wonder what exactly would make the F4 a "true 5th gen aircraft"?
Also, the UAE is building up a really capable airforce. Block60 F-16 and modern Rafale jets.

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Dassault-UAE May Have Rafale Deal This Year

By PIERRE TRAN - Published: 3 May 2010 17:16

PARIS - Discussions between France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on a prospective next-generation Rafale strike fighter are taking longer than expected but Paris hopes an agreement can be reached on a "common core" aircraft by the end of the year, a French official said May 3.

An agreement reached by "the end of 2010" would open the way for delivery of the more capable Rafale model in 2014 and a flying operational life in 2015, said the official, who is familiar with the negotiations.

The talks on cooperation also mean the French Air Force and Navy could get an advanced F4 version of the Rafale earlier than planned. The F3 standard is just entering service and is expected to fly until 2018-20.

The F4 model would be a true "fifth-generation" aircraft, the official said.

[...]

The main additional capabilities under discussion with the UAE include an active electronically scanned array radar, advanced electronic warfare and frontal sector optronics gear, and a nine ton thrust version of the M88 engine. ...
 

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