India received a new batches of Rafale fighters a few days ago, and Egypt also signed a second Rafale purchase agreement with France
by Dung Tran
The Rafale is a twin-engine multirole fighter with a delta wing design. This is the most advanced 4++ generation fighter and is currently the most interested countries in the world; Although the price is not cheap. Rafale is equipped with advanced radar and weapons, capable of carrying out missions of suppression, interception, reconnaissance, air support, deep attack on enemy territory, anti-ship and nuclear deterrence.
The Rafale was developed as a competitor to the European Typhoon fighter. France withdrew from the Typhoon fighter program of Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, due to differences in defence strategies. Then France developed its own fighter. The first Rafale prototype was launched in July 1986.
The Rafale is different from other European fighters, as it is almost entirely built by a single country, France, with the main defence contractors being French companies such as Dassault, Thales and Safran. The avionics, such as the RBE2AA active phased array radar, the Infrared search and track (IRST) sensors, and control software, are both developed and manufactured in France.
The Su-35 is the latest product of the Flanker family, based on the Su-27. The Su-35 is a temporary transition plan, before the Russian military is fully equipped with Su-57 fifth-generation fighter. Basically, the Su-35 was originally designed for export, with a completely new cockpit, advanced weapons control systems and thrust vectoring engines; but it was finally put into service with the Russian Air Force in 2009.
The Su-35 is a twin-engine multirole fighter, equipped with the Irbis-E Passive electronically scanned array radar (PESA) which is the core of the weapons control system. This radar can detect aerial targets 400 km away, can track 30 targets at the same time and attack 8 of them. However, there are doubts about the performance of the Irbis-E radar. The Su-35 is classified as a 4++ generation fighter, but the performance of the avionics system is rated as inferior to that of its competitors. It is the only type of the 4++ generation, not equipped with active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.
Su-35 experienced real combat in the Syrian battlefield. It performed a number of bombing missions, however its main mission was to escort the Su-30SM and other aircraft. Compared to Rafale, the Su-35 was born later and still needs to accumulate enough combat experience. The Su-35 can use a variety of air weapons, including cruise missiles, anti-ship missiles and anti-radiation missiles. But the important thing is that Rafale can carry nuclear weapons; In this respect, the French fighter has the advantage.
When the Air Force chooses a fighter, reliability is also an important factor. Russian fighters are relatively reliable, but French fighters have more advanced technology and better weapons. Therefore, for India and Egypt, which are in possession of the Su-30, their best choice is the French Rafale. This can help diversify the two countries’ weapons and strategic allies.