Last July, when discussions were at a standstill between Dassault Aviation and Airbus DS on the subject of industrial sharing around the first pillar of the SCAF program, Eric Trappier, the CEO of the French aircraft manufacturer, undertook a media offensive in order to present the alternatives for France if the European combat aircraft program were to collapse.
The solution then proposed by Dassault was then based on the design of a major evolution of the Rafale F5, a kind of Super-Rafale, associated with a medium combat drone of the Loyal Wingman type derived from the technological achievements of the nEUROn program.
A month later, in an article published on Meta-defense, we presented several arguments in favor of such a comparable approach, based on a dedicated electronic warfare version of the Rafale as well as a Loyal Wingman derived from the Neuron, both being considered essential in the years to come, whether the SCAF program comes to a standstill, or not.
Obviously, the Ministry of the Armed Forces, as well as the staffs of the Air and Space Force and the National Navy, had also conducted a comparable reasoning.
Indeed, within the framework of the Military Programming Law 2024-2030, it was quickly admitted thatit was now essential to equip the Rafale, in its future versions, with capabilities to suppress enemy anti-aircraft defenses, represented by the English acronym SEAD.
The air war in Ukraine demonstrated, if need be, the threat that modern anti-aircraft systems represent today for those who intend to obtain air superiority, and above all for whom, like France and the whole of the Western armed forces, entrusted its air forces with much of its own firepower.
The SEAD capabilities that will equip the Rafale in the years to come, partly on the F4 standard and fully on the F5 standard, will most likely be based on the development of new anti-radiation air-to-ground munitions capable of raising a radar beam to destroy it. the transmitter.
The device will also pack powerful jammers that will allow a Rafale not only to protect itself, but also other allied devices operating in the area and not having electronic warfare systems as efficient as its own SPECTRA, such as less advanced fighters, drones and helicopters.
The Rafale thus endowed, which will equip the French air forces during the next decade, will thus be relatively close to the dedicated version imagined in the August article of Meta-Defense. On the other hand, nothing indicated so far that a Loyal Wingman type combat drone would be developed to support the Rafale. It is now done!
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