The French Navy successfully tested the Dassault Rafale’s RBE2 active electronically-scanned array radar (AESA). The French Navy tested the platform during close air support and intelligence (CAS) and surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) for missions over Iraq.
The French Navy along with the Air Force has order 180 of these radars. Delivery is expected by the end of 2010. The Rafale aircraft employs a range of weapons including the Magic, Sidewinder, Mica, AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, and ASRAAM missiles.
The radar has the capability to track up to 40 aircraft and successfully engage eight of enemy aircraft during air-to-air combat operations.
The Rafale aircraft is being used and operated by the Navy’s nuclear powered aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle.
The Rafale is considered a twin-jet combat aircraft that can do a wide variety of short and long range missions including sea attacks, ground attacks, and nuclear strike deterrence.
The radar is useful for air defense, deep low-level penetration, strike missions, and sea skimming attacks. In terms of air defense, it has very long track and detection ranges, automatic sorting of different tracked targets, and can individually identify targets fully independent of search volume. In terms of deep low-level penetration, the radar is automatic detects terrain to aid in following and avoidance. For strike missions, the radar can read updates en route to target area situations and has high resolution imagery modes (SAR) designations. And lastly, the radar can track multiple objects during sea skimming attacks.
In terms of technical features, the radar has an antenna block, an active transmit, and a programmable signal processor and data processor.
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