Britain’s Royal Air Force and the French Air and Space Force are conducting exercises with their front-line fighters, the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale, involving them in “air battles” in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Royal PA Typhoons from Cyprus’ 903 Expeditionary Air Wing participated in an exercise with French multi-role Rafale fighters, flown by part of the French Air and Space Force based in the Middle East. Carrying out a bilateral air combat exercise- air over the Eastern Mediterranean, the fighters were supported by aerial refueling from a British Voyager, which was also operating with the 903rd Expeditionary Squadron.”
“The aircraft performed rare and highly valuable one-on-one Dissimilar Air Combat Training, often referred to as dogfighting. The British Voyager extended the fighter’s flight time and thus extended the opportunity education to further improve cognitive proficiency,” a statement from Britain’s Royal Highness said.
According to the squadron commander, the newest exercise was based on previous missions conducted in December 2021, with the ultimate goal of enhancing interoperability.
“In addition to some valuable flights, the operation sends a very resounding strategic message that we remain in the Eastern Mediterranean as a valuable member of the mission against Islamic State and other NATO operations, ready and able to work seamlessly with our many allies in the region, ” he added.
General Lanni of the French PA called the exercises between the two air forces a “strategic area that illustrates the engagement possibilities” of the two armed forces, “which are based on strong interoperability and respect and adherence to international law.”
Both jets are front line fighters of their respective PAs and have been candidates for India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) programme.
They are twin-engine aircraft with a Delta wing arrangement, with an aerodynamically unstable design that gives them excellent agility in the air.
The Typhoon is powered by two Eurojet-200o engines, while the Rafale is powered by the Safran M-88 engines. Both can provide aircraft with continuous supersonic flight capability.
The Eurofighter Typhoon was first introduced in 2003. About 570 units have been built so far, at a cost per aircraft of around $117 million. The fighter comes in a single or two-seater version. The empty plane weighs 11 tons, while it can take off with a maximum weight of 23.5 tons.
The Eurofighter can fly at a maximum speed of 2,494 kilometers per hour, while it has a flight range of 3,781 km and a combat range of 1,388 km. The fighter has a climb at rate of 318 meters per second, while it can reach a maximum altitude of 20 kilometers . The jet comes with 13 weapon bays and an additional 27mm gun.
On the other hand, the Rafale was unveiled in 2011. About 175 fighters are operated by the French PA and many other nations around the world.
Today, the unit cost of the newest version is $83 million. The jet comes in a single and two-seater version, while it weighs 10.6 tons. It can take off with a maximum gross weight of 24.5 tons.
The maximum speed of the Rafale is 2,222 km/h, while it has a flight range of 3,701 km. The combat range is 1,852 km, the rate of climb is 305 meters per second, while the aircraft can fly at a maximum altitude of 15.24 km. It has 14 gun emplacements and a 30mm autocannon.
The Typhoon can perform a 30-degree instantaneous maneuver and a 23-degree sustained maneuver, while the Rafale comes with a 30-degree instantaneous maneuver and a 24-degree sustained maneuver.
Both jets have the ability to regain power quickly with the help of faster climb rates.
The Rafale has better supersonic agility and post-stall agility (in which the pilot lets the aircraft perform a “free fall”). In terms of Angle of Attack (AoA), the Rafale can have an angle of attack between 100 and 110 degrees. The Typhoon features the limited angle of 70 degrees.
But with the Leading Edge Root Extensions (LERX), the Typhoon can reach a 100-degree angle of attack. With this extension, the “roots” of the aircraft’s wings meet the main body of the fighter. This extension was introduced as part of the jet’s aerodynamic modification kit.
The newer Tranche 4 versions of the Typhoon feature the Captor-E AESA radar, with air-to-air and air-to-surface capabilities. Both aircraft carry the Meteor non-line-of-sight missile, with a range exceeding 100 kilometers and possibly up to 150.
Both fighters are highly capable and are the aerial flagships of their respective air forces. They are quite similar in terms of armament and formation, which is why the outcome of a dogfight between a Rafale and a Eurofighter within line of sight is judged more than anything by the skills of the pilots at that particular moment in time.