Specifications of the Rafale-M, The Only Non-US Fighter To Ever Take Off From a US Aircraft Carrier

Specifications of the Rafale-M, The Only Non-US Fighter To Ever Take Off From a US Aircraft Carrier
French Rafale M Takes Off on US aircraft carrier

International Military - Dassault Rafale series fighter aircraft is one of the mainstays of Dassault Aviation. As Dassault's official page on the Rafale states, this aircraft is a new form of the technology.

Quoted from Dassault Aviation, the lessons learned from recent conflicts in which air power was used can be summarized into four overarching expectations about weapons systems by political decision makers. These include versatility, interoperability, flexibility (General Douhet should smile down from Heaven on that one), and viability.

Quoted from 19fortyfive.com, Dassault is currently building three variants. The three variants include the Air Force one-seat Rafale-C, the Air Force two-seat Rafale-B, and the Navy's single-seat Rafale-M. All variants share the same twin engine and canard delta wings.

There was also the demonstrator variant Rafale A which made its maiden flight on July 4, 1986, followed by the Rafale-C on May 4, 1991. The M variant had an empty weight of 10,600 kilograms (23,400 pounds). This exceeds the Rafale-C which weighs about 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds). This is due to the extra upgrades required for carrier operations.

These upgraded features include a reinforced fuselage. This includes longer nose teeth to support a higher nose stance. The aircraft is 15.27 meters (50.1 ft) long, 5.34 meters (17.5 ft) high and has a wingspan of 10.80 meters (35.4 ft).

It also has a maximum airspeed of Mach 1.8 (1,912 kph/1,188 mph/1,032 knots). Armament consists of a single GIAT 30/M791 30 mm (1.2 in) automatic gun with 125 rounds and 13 hardpoints with an ordnance capacity of 9,500 kg (20,900 lb). These include the Magic II air-to-air missile, the GBU-12 Paveway II and Mk 82 bombs, and the famous Exocet anti-ship missile.

The Rafale-M is the only non-US designed fighter aircraft permitted to operate from the decks of US aircraft carriers. This was as demonstrated in 2008 during a joint French-American Navy exercise involving the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Quoted from Dvidshub, a French navy F-2 Rafale-M fighter was launched from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt on July 20.

This happened during the combined qualification of the French and American carriers. The event also marked the first integrated US and French carrier qualification aboard a US carrier.

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