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a10av8or1971


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#2969 2008-08-08 13:52 GMT-5 hours    




8/7/2008 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFPN) -- Approximately 20 French air force aircrews, 60 maintainers and support personnel and four Rafale aircraft visited the base here to participate in an exercise July 28 to Aug. 8.

The major coalition exercise here provided a unique opportunity for the French Rafale pilots and Luke's F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots to familiarize themselves with combined operations.

Pilots from both countries took advantage of the opportunity to fly in an aircraft they were not accustomed to operating, and they got to see first-hand the capabilities of the other country's aircraft.

"It was an amazing opportunity," said Capt. Matt Spears, an F-16 pilot with the 309th Fighter Squadron here. "I was impressed with the capabilities of the aircraft."

The Rafale is a twin-engine aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of short- and long-range missions, including ground and sea attack, air defense and reconnaissance. The F-16 is a single-engine, compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. The F-16 also has the ability to fly more than 500 miles deliver its weapons with superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy aircraft and return to its starting point.

The U.S. and French air force partnership is not limited to aircraft exercises, but also the entire spectrum of interoperable maintenance and proficiency training, logistics and sustainment of these aircraft.

The maintainers and support crews also had the chance to interact with the other country's aircraft and crews. French support personnel received a tour of Luke's engine shop during their visit.

French military have been fighting alongside American forces in Afghanistan since October 2001 and continue to play a supportive role today.

"Every U.S. and French Airman who took part in this deployment is better for the experience", said Col. Kurt Neubauer, 56th Fighter Wing commander. "Training with the French air force provided us the invaluable opportunity to learn from each other's operational experience, improve our combat skills and strengthen the bond of friendship between our great air forces and our great countries."

"The French visit provided an excellent opportunity to strengthen our social relationship and enhance future relations," said Lt. Col. Peter Bilodeau, 309th Fighter Squadron commander. "There should be as many combined operations as possible before there are lessons learned in combat."

The French airmen shared the same view of working and training together and reiterated the fact that France has been a long time ally of the U.S.

"The cooperation between France and the U.S. goes all the way back to World War I," said Col. Philippe Poireault, French air force detachment commander. "This was an extraordinary opportunity for both the French and U.S. to learn from each other, and we look forward to strengthening that relationship."

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#2972 2008-08-08 14:38 GMT-5 hours    
Did the USAF pilots lend a critique of the Rafale? I think the Rafale is a very underrated machine.

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#2973 2008-08-08 14:56 GMT-5 hours    
Recently , the USAF invited some Rafale F2s to do some advanced dogfighting against some F-16s Blk 52 .
It was a one v one confrontation repeated multiple times . The drill did last 3 days . The French and the Americans pilots had to find each other in a big portion of sky (100x100 km/square), then close in and go dogfighting .

The French Airforce only released the results of the first day :
6-2 in favor of the Rafale .
It has been on the French news on the main TV channel TF1 .
Video :
h*tp://videos.tf1.fr/video/news/0,,3931177,00-contre-rafale-vrai-faux-combat-.html

Quick translation of the video (the good bits):
French pilot : " we 're going to separate in the zone and then try to find each other , one Rafale and one F-16 , then go do WVR . We feel that the USAF is very curious about the Rafale and we think that they know what they are up against , so I think that we 're going to bluff them "
Second French Pilot talk :
" It went well , the F-16s were very cool to fight against and we managed to shootdown them from time to time , it was good "

Commentator :
"The Americans admit that they have been impressed by the French fighter "

The USAF pilot :
" The Rafale is an aircraft with unique capabilities which can be flown in a very aggressive manner , more than the F-16 . But you know , the most important is the capabilities of the pilot (!)"
*****************
I think that sums up a lot , BUT I remind you that the Rafale pilots are not allowed to use active jamming during drills with Allies (SPECTRA and OSF have only been used to find the opponent).
It also shows that the APG-68(v9) radar (with a quoted range of 300km )doesn 't give an adge to the Falcon against the PESA RBE2 and the "discret" RCS of the Rafale .
It also shows that MICA is a very good dogfighting missile and does its job and it also shows that Rafale is more manoeuvrable than the F-16 Blk52 (which is the best dogfighther that the USAF has) .

I dare to say that if SPECTRA was used to its full extent (active jamming), the result would have been 6-0 .

http://www.strategypage.com/militaryforums/6-52874.aspx

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#2980 2008-08-08 17:37 GMT-5 hours    
I wouldn't consider the Rafale and the F-16C Block 52 to be equal counterparts. Maybe if it were the F/A-18E/F vs the Rafale, there would be a closer Margin. Perhaps even the F-15E...

Heck, get'em low, under 5,000', and nail them with the GAU-8.

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#3018 2008-08-13 17:45 GMT-5 hours    
Comparing the F-16 and Rafale are like comparing apples to oranges. The F-16 was designed as a lightweight,lowcost(in comparison to a F-15), dual role fighter. Rafale is an air superiority fighter. It should be compared to F-15's, F-18's and the like. It also should be noted that if the F-16 was deployed in a air to air role, it would most likely have AWACS support.

Troy

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#3025 2008-08-14 14:17 GMT-5 hours    
Did the French bring their E-3F's along for the exercise?

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#3027 2008-08-14 18:37 GMT-5 hours    
No, The USAF didn't bring it's F-15's or F-22 either. Which brings us back to the point that the F-16 isn't an air superiority fighter, not to mention getting old and not quite top of the line as it used to be.

Troy

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