Why the Rafale F5 will be more attractive than the F-35 in 2030 and beyond? Part 2/2

If you Rafale F5 will be able to rely on new capabilities and performances specific to the device, it will also benefit from a renewed operational, industrial and commercial environment, to potentially give it the upper hand over competing offers, and in particular the Lockheed-Martin F -35 Lightning II, from 2030.

For nearly two decades now, international competitions between the hunter Rafale from the French Dassault Aviation, and the F-35 from the American Lockheed-Martin, have systematically turned in favor of the latter, to the point that the American aircraft is now becoming a real standard for the European air forces, to the chagrin of aircraft manufacturers on the old continent.

But the new version of Rafale, designated F5, which is due to enter service from 2030, could profoundly change the operational and commercial balance of power between these two aircraft for the years and decades to come.

In the first part of this article, we studied two criteria of this evolution, the transformation of Rafale in Air Combat System with the F5 version on the one hand, and the arrival of the Neuron and Remote Carrier combat drones on the other, erasing the strengths of the F-35A while exacerbating those of the French fighter.

Rafale French and American F35A at the waiting point Fighter aviation | Defense Analysis | Nuclear weapons

In this second part, we will address 3 other major areas that will influence this balance of power: the new capabilities and new munitions of the Rafale F5; the appearance of the Club Rafale and the emergence of a new French commercial and industrial strategy, and finally the influence of the increase in F-35 ownership costs on future competitions.

3- The new capabilities and new ammunition of the Rafale F5

Besides the drones themselves, the Rafale F5 will be equipped with new munitions and new capabilities, which will allow it to overcome certain relative weaknesses compared to the F-35. This is particularly the case in the field of suppression of enemy anti-aircraft defenses, to which it is common to refer by the acronym SEAD which, as we have echoed several times since 2018, represented a significant gap in the operational panoply of the Rafale so far.

If the composition of this capacity which will be endowed Rafale F5 has not yet been officially presented, we can assume that it will be based on the joint use of radar jammers in addition to the self-defense systems of the aircraft, to give it the possibility of encompassing other devices in its protective bubble, as well as one or more anti-radiation munitions, designed to raise the adversary's radar beam to destroy it.

Le Rafale F5 will have new ammunition
The FMC must replace the SCALP cruise missile which equips the Rafale of the Air and Space Force and Naval Aeronautics today

Le Rafale F5 will also be designed to implement the new Franco-British missiles FMC (Future Cruise Missile) and FMAN (Future Anti-Ship Missile) which will respectively replace the SCALP/Storm Shadow cruise missiles on the one hand, and AM39 Exocet the other.

These two long-range precision munitions, currently under development, will feature advanced features, such as stealth or hypersonic speed, to challenge modern air defense systems such as jamming and decoy systems, and will give the device of highly advanced long-range strike capabilities in the decades to come.

The device will also be equipped with a pod merging the capabilities of the Talios target designation pods and the RECO NG reconnaissance pod into a single piece of equipment, giving the hunter an air-to-ground, air-to-surface and even air tactical vision. -air of high precision, and thus multiple operational options while remaining in non-emitive mode.

Finally, the Rafale F5 will be designed to implement the new nuclear-charged ASN4G hypersonic cruise missile, which must replace the ASMPA within the two squadrons of the Air and Space Force and the flotillas of the French Navy forming the air component of the French deterrent. However, this capability, although critical for French defense, will probably have very little influence on the international market.

BAT 120LG e1686663176399 Fighter aircraft | Defense Analysis | Nuclear weapons
The BAT-120LG is a precision hover light bomb suitable for lower intensity theaters to avoid collateral damage, but also for high intensity engagements to saturate enemy defenses

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