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“Omnirole” Rafale Steals Lead Over Eurofighter Typhoon in Libyan Operations

Bl[i]tZ

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While NATO forces fielded the Dassault Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon in the UN-mandated war against Gaddafi’s forces in Libya, details emerging from briefings by the U.K. and French air forces about the use of their respective fighters tell that the Rafale was the primary attack plane while the Eurofighter Typhoon provided intelligence through its targeting pods.

With the Libyan hostilities over, the Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon face off one another in an estimated $11 billion tender for India’s Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) acquisition, the price bids for which are scheduled to be opened in the first week of November.

The Rafale, which is yet to receive an international order, has never come so close to finding a foreign customer. The Dassault fighter made the shortlist along with the Eurofighter Typhoon after a nearly two year evaluation of European, American and Russian fighters.

No sooner than NATO announced a no-fly zone over the Rebel stronghold of Benghazi in Libya earlier this year, French Rafale and Mirage 2000 jets zoomed across the Mediterranean sea attacking Libyan ground-based military targets, a move which many critics say was prompted to exhibit the French jet’s fighting capabilities to potential customers.

Later at the Paris Air show in June 2011, French Air Force officials briefed the media about what the Rafale jets did in Libya. “The Omnirole” capabilities of the Rafale, meaning air-to-air, air-to-ground and intelligence gathering were used during missions. The Rafales had to scan the skies for fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters besides anti-aircraft missiles of Gaddafi’s forces and attack them during the same mission. Often the mission profile had to be modified during an operation as fresh intelligence emerged of the enemy’s offensive assets.

The Rafale armaments for the Libyan operations included two infrared and two active radar radio frequency MBDA Mica air-to-air missiles mounted on the wingtips and wing root of the plane. The IR seekers on the missiles act as stealthy sensors. For ground attack, there were four Raytheon GBU-12 Paveway 2 laser-guided bombs. French pilots have dropped more than 100 GBU-12 weapons in Libya, officers said. A Thales Damocles laser targeting pod under the wing allows the pilot to achieve precise targeting. A Nexter 30mm canon is fitted on the Rafale for close ground attack.


On different missions the Rafales also carried the Sagem Smart Bomb Unit with GPS/INS guidance. The guided propelled bomb has a 60-kilometer range.

The French Air Force also fired 10 MBDA Scalp cruise missiles in deep strike missions, an Air Force officer had said during the briefing. In contrast, the UK Air Force deployed the Typhoon in a supporting role to its older generation aircraft, the Tornado. In a briefing about the Libyan operations, the UK's Commander of Joint Operations (CJO), Air Marshal Sir Stuart Peach last week explained that the “complimentary way” in which the Typhoons worked alongside the Tornados, using their targeting pods to create additional intelligence and reconnaissance, “was very important”. The Tornados carried British-designed and British-built Brimstone missiles, which proved to be a world class weapon system, the Air Marshal was quoted as saying in a U.K MoD release. The Brimstone missile have been offered to India as part of the MMRCA weapons package.

In separate briefings, U.K. officials have been quoted as saying that the Typhoon flew 600 combat missions but surprisingly details of its offensive role in terms of enemy targets engaged have not been forthcoming. A briefing was given to top Indian Air Force officials last month about the weapons used by the Eurofighter Tornado and Typhoon. Reports of the briefing tell that MBDA Brimstone air-to-surface missiles were launched from RAF's Tornado GR4 fighters. In addition Storm Shadow missiles were fired from Tornado GR4s to destroy radar stations and anti-aircraft batteries. There has been no mention of what weapons the Typhoon carried.

A Dassault executive who did not wish to be identified said that the Eurofighter Typhoon which is clearly not meant for a multi-mission role played at best a supporting role in the Libyan operations.

“Omnirole” Rafale Steals Lead Over Eurofighter Typhoon in Libyan Operations : Defense news
 

pmukherjee

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I prefer it being called a multirole fighter. Where did this term 'Omnirole' come from? Though basically both mean the same things, but it seems to be an effort to give the Rafale's multirole capabilities an exclusiveness.
 

sancho

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If India goes for Rafale then it should seriously think about adding Brimstone missile to Rafale. Even French air-force is planning to use thins on their Rafale.

France zeroes in on lightweight weapon for Rafale

Better idea would be to ask for integration of Indian Sudharshan LGB kits and HELINA missiles as soon as they are available, which are comparable to Paveway and Brimstone, but cheaper. It would reduce the operational costs and gives "any" Rafale customer cost-effective alternatives.
 

sancho

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GURU DUTT

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tvsram1992

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I prefer it being called a multirole fighter. Where did this term 'Omnirole' come from? Though basically both mean the same things, but it seems to be an effort to give the Rafale's multirole capabilities an exclusiveness.
Rafale has better payload,range than any other fighter in its category.
 

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