Affordable Air Power

The RAFALE is the right-sized twin-engine fighter which reconciles mission effectiveness with affordability.

With its controlled operating costs, it is the right solution to achieve uncompromised air superiority within the limits of today’s constrained defence budgets.

The demonstrated mission effectiveness of the RAFALE enables modern air forces to carry out all their missions in today’s format: two Omnirole RAFALE can do the strike, escort and post-strike assessment work of five legacy fighters.

Thanks to its outstanding reliability, the RAFALE has lower maintenance costs. For all its service life, the RAFALE does not have to leave its operational base for maintenance purposes.
It does away with costly and time-consuming airframe and engine depot level inspections required on other types of fighter Aircraft, with “shop replaceable units” (SRUs) the only items to be shipped for maintenance/repair.

A case in point is the modular M88 engine, made up of 21 modules: all maintenance and repair can be done by returning nothing more than modules or discrete parts to the depot or to the manufacturer. No balancing procedure and no run-up check are necessary before returning the engine to service.

Failure-prone systems have been eliminated early on in the design process:

  • there is no airbrake
  • the air intakes have no moving parts
  • the ac generators do not have any constant speed drive (CSD)
  • and the refuelling probe is fixed in order to avoid any deployment or retraction problem.

This results in reduced spares inventory and less ground support equipment.

Another source of reduction of the required spares inventory comes from the constant standardisation approach during the design phase,

  • The same part number is used at various locations on the airframe: this is made possible with precision airframe manufacturing which allows to suppress fitting and boresighting operations when installing airframe components.
  • Left-hand and right-hand parts are identical wherever applicable (i.e. foreplanes, FCS actuators).
  • Miscellaneous parts such as screws and electronic modules have also been included into the standardisation effort.

The required spares inventory is further reduced by adapting the troubleshooting procedures to allow the exchange of electronic circuit boards within “line replaceable units” (LRUs), rather than exchanging the LRUs : this applies to the RBE2 radar, the SPECTRA EW suite, the MDPU mission computer and to other equipment as well.

Special attention has been paid to accessibility issues : for instance, the side-opening canopy facilitates
the replacement of the ejection seat, so that two technicians can perform its removal in 10 minutes only.

No heavy test equipment is needed around the RAFALE on the flight line : All checks at this level can be run by maintenance technicians on the Aircraft itself.

No test bench is needed for the M88 engine, a remarkable first in fighter Aircraft maintenance.

Based on significant experience in corrosion protection for carrier-based Aircraft (Super-Etendard) and maritime patrol Aircraft (ATL 1/ATL 2), DASSAULT AVIATION has developed new advanced corrosion protection processes which help drive down the cost of maintenance of the RAFALE : corrosion issues discovered during maintenance being the perfect “show stopper” which exceeds spending targets and delays the return of Aircraft to service in the most unpredictable way.

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