Airborne Awesomosity

Dassault’s Canarded Killer


In the mid-1970s, France’s air force and navy both wanted to upgrade their fighter jets. Instead of developing their own, they decided to team up with several other European countries to help share costs. Nobody could agree on requirements, how much of the plane would be built in what country, and what color the needles on the gages should be. So, France wound up going it alone. The result is the Dassault Rafale, which has the distinction of being one of the few European aircraft developed and built almost completely in a single country. It’s decidedly French, and quite beautiful.

Hit the jump to watch a video.

[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″][/youtube]

[Image Credit: Joseph Quan]

  • ramLlama

    I was just reading about this a few days ago on the old Encyclopedia of Wiki! A very nice modern design, and decidely french, like you say.

    Do you know what that handle-bar like thing protruding to the right of the cockpit is? It looks like an unsightly blemish on a high-performance aircraft, so I am sure it has good reason to be there.

    Also, those canards are the coolest thing ever.

    • FЯeeMan

      Normally, I would say that would be a pitot tube, however those are much smaller and don't have an eyeball on them.

      My guess is that it's for FLIR, or some other optical sensor to aid in tracking bogeys.

      Of course, with all the nice Wiki references, I could have probably looked that up to find out exactly, but that would have required actual reading which would interfere with my not doing work on a Friday afternoon…

    • BS Simon

      I believe you are referring to the In-flight Refueling Probe. Most European air forces use a Probe and Drogue system for their fighters.

  • B72

    The size ratio between intake and exhaust seems odd to me. Somehow I was expecting a larger intake, not smaller.

    • Vairship

      Combustion makes the air hotter, therefore more voluminous. Hence small intake, big exhaust.

      • B72

        If you kept the exhaust smaller you would get a higher gas exit velocity.I don't know the optimum ratio of intake to exhaust areas, but this plane appears to have a smaller intake than many others. Of course it's really hard to tell without seeing it in person, so I could just be blowing hot air…

  • FЯeeMan

    Wait. I just watched (some) of that video. The French still use a "Follow Me" car? The last time I saw one of those was in a Richard Scarry book!

    /extensive google image searching brought back fantastic memories, but no image of the follow me car.

    • jalopjackie

      Richard Scarry! There's a name that brings back fond childhood memories.

      I loved reading his "What Do People Do All Day" book.

      (As a side-note, Amazon still sells it, for about $8, and on Prime too. So tempting.)