According to the Dassault aviation company, Rafale aircraft uses an electronic scanning radar developed by Thales named the RBE2 radar which allows "unprecedented levels" of "situational awareness" with early detection and tracking of multiple targets.
With its superior beam agility and its enormous computing power, the RBE2 offers outstanding performance that cannot be replicated by mechanical scanning radars, the company says.
The company had fitted the Active Electronically Scanned Array” (AESA) RBE2 radar in the Rafale for the first time in October 2012.
The radar has the ability to track targets in, or out of the search domain in all weather and in severe jamming environments.
It also generates real-time generation of high-resolution 2D ground maps for navigation updates and detection, identification and designation of ground targets and tracks multiple naval targets.
The RBE2-AESA is also fully compatible with long-range METEOR air-to-air missiles.
Rafale equipped with Front Sector Optronics
Dassault says the “Front Sector Optronics” (FSO) system is fully integrated into the aircraft while operating in the optronic wavelengths, it is immune to radar jamming and it provides covert long-range detection and identification.
It also allows high-resolution angular tracking and laser range-finding for air, sea and ground targets.
The SPECTRA internal “Electronic Warfare” (EW) system is fully integrated with other systems in the aircraft provides multi-spectral threat warning capability against hostile radars, missiles and lasers.
The SPCTRA system carries out reliable long-range detection, identification and localisation of threats, allowing the pilot to instantly select the most effective defensive measures based on combinations of radar jamming, infrared or radar decoying.
The angular localisation performance of the SPECTRA sensors makes it possible to accurately locate ground threats.
Full day and night surveillance
SPECTRA also includes a new generation missile warning system that offers increased detection performance against threats.
Also the Rover (“Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver”) allows aircrews and forward air controllers on the ground to share videos or images of the target which allows prevention of collateral damage and gives the aircraft decisive advantage in peacekeeping operations.
The new Talios targeting and laser designator pod ensures Rafale's full day and night surveillance and laser designation capability with metric precision.
The IR sensor of the Talios pod high-resolution new generation TV sensor. The AREOS pod is fitted with a data link which allows high resolution images to be transmitted back to military decision-makers in real-time.
According to the company, implementation of the “multi-sensor data fusion” into the Rafale translates into accurate, reliable and strong tracks, establishing consolidated track files and refining primary information provided by the sensors.
Rafale F4 standard
The MDPU (Modular Data Processing Unit) allows seamless integration of new weapons and new capabilities to maintain the warfighting relevance of the Rafale.
In 2017, the French Ministry for Defense had authorized the start of the development of the new Rafale F4 standard. In 2023, the first version of the F4 standard will follow the F3R standard, according to the company.
Air-to-air missiles during very low altitude penetration
With a service ceiling of 50,000 feet, the Rafale combat aircraft can reach maximum speeds of 750 knots.
It can carry out both air-to-ground strikes, as well as air-to-air attacks and interceptions during the same sortie. The jet is capable of performing several actions at the same time, such as firing air-to-air missiles during a very low altitude penetration phase, giving it outstanding survivability.
The mission system of the Rafale has the potential to integrate a variety of current and future armaments.