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I P A R I S 9 9

and accordingly adjusts the flight envelope.


Gust alleviation is also provided up to 800kt
(l,480km/h).
LOW OBSERVABILITY
"Survivability is a basic requirement of any
combat aircraft," says Revellin-Falcoz. "And
low observability is just one of them. When you
design an aircraftyou obviously do the bestyou
can for low observability in terms of radar cross
section, infrared signature, noise and so on." He
adds: "Operationally, you can you can also con-
trol the aircraft's trajectory in such a way as to
present the minimum angle to the enemy." This
refers partly to the Rafale's terrain-following
capability (see RBE2 phased array radar
description, P92) and partly to the techniques
for flying the aircraft developed by the French
air force. In the fully developed F3 Rafale, the
radar will be capable of terrain following capa-
bility at the same time as it scans the sky for
potential threats. "We have already demon-
strated this," he says, adding that it is a unique
feature which gives the Rafale true multirole
air-to-air/air-to-ground capability. "No aircraft
in the world today or coming soon has this capa-
bility", he claims.
The Rafale is also equipped with the Spectra
electronic warfare/self-defence system
(described on P93). It is this combination of low
observability and what Revellin-Falcoz calls
"intelligentuse of electronic warfare" that is the
key to its ability to survive.
He admits that achieving true integration of
the system that provide the Rafale's multirole
ability is not easy. "But you only have to look at
what we've done in the past on the Mirage Fl,
2000-5 and now the 2000-9, to believe that
Dassault is no stranger to highly complex inte-
gration tasks."
ARMAMENTS
The Rafale is equipped with 14 hardpoints (13
on the Rafale M), five of which are designed for
external tanks and heavy ordnance. Total load
capacity is more than 9t. All versions of the air-
craft are equipped with the Giat Industries Defa
791 30mm cannon, firing 2,500 rounds per
minute.
Its principal air-to-air missile is the Matra
BAe Dynamics Mica, equipped with the
Dassault Electronique (now Thomson-CSF
Detexis) AD4A active electromagnetic seeker,
and later the infrared seeker still under devel-
opment. It is the first true fire-and-forget mis-
sile to enter service in France, and the
electromagnetic version is already
7
in service
aboard Mirage 2000-5s for the French air force
and export.
The Mica has four firing modes: long-range
("more than 60km", says Matra BAe
Dynamics), multi-target interception (combin-
ing inertial guidance, in-flight target updating
and infrared or electromagnetic terminal guid-
ance); medium-range, multi-target intercep-
tion; close combat and self-defence.
j |UALIFICATION of the basic Snecma
M88-2 was completed in early 1996,
with the first production engine delivered
at the end of the same year.
The M88-2 has a thrust-to-weight ratio
of 8.5, producing ll,250/16,8501b of
dry/afterburner thrust (50/75kN). The
engine has proved extremely reliable in
flight tests to-date, by early May building
up 6,200 flight hours on the Rafale, giving
a total of 16,400h, including test bench
running. "It is now ready for entry into
operational service," says Jean Massot,
M88 general manager.
Development took place under a fixed
(unrevealed) price contract. The engine
features state of the art technologies found
also in its contemporaries, including sin-
gle-crystal high-pressure turbine blades,
powder metallurgy discs and full authori-
ty digital engine controls. Unrestricted
operation throughout the flight envelope
has been demonstrated, as has "extremely
fast throttle response, low observability
and multimission flexibility".
Construction is based around 21 mod-
ules, interchangeable without the need for
recalibration or balancing, along with a
number of line replaceable units.
Snecma is developing the M88-2 Stage
4, which has the same thrust as the stan-
dard M88-2, but incorporates improve-
ments aimed at extending the service life
of the engine and reducing fuel consump-
tion, which Massot says "will also reduce
operating costs significantly". Another
benefit will be to improve the duration of
the low-level penetration missions.
The changes include the introduction
of three-dimensional high-pressure (IIP)
compressor and turbine blades, blisks
(one-piece blades and discs) improved
thermal coatings on the HP turbine, and
advanced cooling channels for the com-
bustion chamber. The Stage 4 develop-
ment will be ready in early 2001 and the
modifications will be retrofitted to the
M88-2. It will power the 48 Rafales
ordered in the Government's multi-year
procurement plan.
A further development, the M88-3,
rated at 9.5t thrust, still awaits funding,
but has been benchtested on a privately
funded demonstrator. "We are proposing
the M88-3 to the French government for
the future standard of the Rafale in the
early 2000s and to prospective export cus-
tomers", says Massot.
TheM88-3 features a new LP compres-
sor with higher mass flow (from 65kg/s in
the -2 to 73.4kg/s). A new variable stator
vane stage has been introduced, permit-
ting the engine to operate at optimum
conditions through a much wider range,
reducing part-power-specific fuel
consumption and providing more opera-
tional flexibility to suit the Rafale's multi-
mission role. The development comes out
of Snecma's CENTOR LP compressor
research programme and from other
exploratory developments carried out by
Snecma in recent years. Orders for the
M88-2 stand at 42 engines, plus modules
and spares, with a further order for 96
units (for the 48 Rafales) expected at the
Paris air show.
Developments of the M88 will give 9.5t thrust in afterburner, yielding thrust-to-weight ration close to 10.1
90 FLIGHT INTERNATIONAL 9 - 15 June 1999