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30 novembre 2014 7 30 /11 /novembre /2014 07:55
France Studies Nuclear Missile Replacement

Replacement Weapon: A Rafale flies with the air-sol moyenne portée-améliorée nuclear missile. The successor to the missile has been dubbed the ASN4G. (French Defense Ministry)

 

Nov. 29, 2014 - By PIERRE TRAN – Defense News

 

PARIS — France has launched studies for an airborne nuclear-tipped missile to replace the current weapon, with the focus on stealth and hypersonic technology on the next-generation atomic arms, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

 

The Air Force flies the Dassault Mirage 2000N and Rafale F3 fighters armed with the air-sol moyenne portée-améliorée (ASMP-A) nuclear missile, respectively on the Gascogne and La Fayette squadrons. These are the airborne systems in addition to the four ballistic nuclear missile submarines.

 

“The studies for the successor to the ASMP-A missile, dubbed ASN4G, have already begun,” Le Drian told a high-level conference on the French nuclear deterrent on Nov. 20. ASN4G is understood to refer to air-sol nucléaire fourth-generation, an industry executive said.

 

The sensitivity of the deterrent was such that the conference organizer showed an extended video clip of a training mission that obscured an ASMP-A missile carried under the fuselage of a Rafale. A special edition of specialist magazine Air & Cosmos carried a cover picture of a weapon marked ASMP-A under a Rafale. The published pictures are understood to have been adapted by the Air Force to avoid giving too much detail. Air & Cosmos was not available for comment.

 

Copies of the magazine were distributed at the conference.

 

“The daring concepts, for example, based on stealth and hypersonic technologies, at the forefront of technological development, will be explored,” Le Drian said.

 

The projects are key to overcoming the enemy’s interdiction and also for the domestic industrial and technology base, he said.

 

“The choice of the future weapon system, comprising the ASN4G missile and a platform to be decided, is therefore a major issue for the services,” he said. The project is closely tied to the future format of the Air Force, he said.

 

Work began in the summer on the ASMP-A, intended to allow the air-breathing missile to defeat future air defense systems out to 2035, Le Drian said. The work consists of design and development studies for the mid-life upgrade, a source said.

 

Chief of the Air Staff Gen. Denis Mercier previously gave a glimpse of the technology studies on the future airborne weapon, which will call for a choice between stealth or speed.

 

A stealth study and one on hypersonic speed are underway for the successor to the ASMP-A, Mercier told the defense committee of the lower-house National Assembly in April. The hypersonic weapon might be capable of Mach 7 or 8, he said.

 

MBDA is prime contractor on the ASMP-A.

 

Mercier told the parliamentarians he preferred the hypersonic missile.

 

“It’s the second solution that I prefer,” he said. Mastery of the hypersonic is already a given factor, he said. The U.S., Russia, China, India are looking at the hypersonic technology as they consider a modernization of the airborne nuclear element, with experimental work conducted, he said.

 

On the future platform carrying the atomic weapon, a choice had to be made on the architecture and performance of the missile, he said. Two options are under study: a new generation fighter, and a bomber.

 

“The challenge is to select a system able to penetrate defense systems which will be deployed in 20 to 50 years,” he said. The work was also important for the industrial base, he said.

 

Anti-missile defense has made much progress against ballistic and cruise weapons, he said.

 

The work on the stealth or hypersonic missile technology will influence development of the future aircraft. For instance, if a hypersonic missile were capable of flying at Mach 7 and were 20 meters long, the aircraft would need to be a large plane, such an Airbus A400M, rather than a fighter such as the Rafale.

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8 octobre 2014 3 08 /10 /octobre /2014 07:56
Rafale Marine F3 - photo Dassault Aviation - P. Dhaud

Rafale Marine F3 - photo Dassault Aviation - P. Dhaud

 

Saint-Cloud, le 7/10/2014 : Dassault Aviation

 

Vendredi 3 octobre, l’usine Dassault Aviation de Mérignac a livré à la Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) le Rafale M10, premier exemplaire d’une tranche de dix Rafale Marine rétrofités.

 

Ces dix Rafale (M1 à M10) ont été produits à partir de la fin des années 90 pour remplacer les F-8 Crusader qui assuraient la protection aérienne du groupe aéronaval depuis 1964. Ce remplacement ne pouvant attendre la mise en service des standards polyvalents F2 et F3, les dix Rafale Marine furent dotés d’un standard basique, dit F1, limité aux seules missions de supériorité et de défense aérienne.

 

Tous les autres Rafale de la Marine (et de l’armée de l’Air) sont actuellement au standard F3. Ceux qui avaient été produits au standard F2 ont été transformés facilement en F3. Le passage de F1 à F3 est plus complexe et nécessite un programme spécifique. Un marché de rétrofit a donc été conclu en 2009 qui associe Dassault Aviation, Thales, MBDA, Sagem, le Service Industriel de l’Aéronautique (SIAé) et la Marine nationale.

 

Le passage du standard F1 au standard F3 suppose les modifications suivantes :

  • Nouveaux calculateurs électroniques modulaires,
  • Nouveaux écrans cockpit,
  • Changement des câblages électriques de l’avion,
  • Mise à hauteur du système de contre-mesure Spectra,
  • Evolution du radar RBE2 PESA (interchangeable avec la nouvelle antenne AESA),
  • Evolution des pylônes d’emport d’armement.

La livraison des Rafale Marine rétrofités s’étalera jusqu’en 2017.

Le standard F3 confère au Rafale (Marine et Air) une polyvalence totale qui lui permet d’accomplir les missions suivantes :

  • interception et combat air-air avec canon de 30 mm et missiles Mica IR/EM (+ missiles Meteor à partir de 2018).
  • appui au sol avec canon de 30 mm, bombes guidées laser GBU-12/24, bombes guidées Hammer.
  • frappes dans la profondeur avec missiles de croisière Scalp.
  • attaque à la mer avec missile Exocet AM39 Block 2 et autres armements air-surface.
  • reconnaissance tactique et stratégique en temps réel avec nacelle Areos.
  • ravitaillement en vol d’un Rafale à un autre (« buddy-buddy »).
  • dissuasion nucléaire avec missile ASMP-A.

 

Sur les 180 Rafale commandés par la France à ce jour, 133 ont été livrés. Facteur d’optimisation et de rationalisation des forces françaises, le Rafale a été conçu pour remplacer peu à peu sept types d’avions de combat de générations précédentes. Selon le Livre Blanc sur la Défense et la Sécurité Nationale (2013), il y aura à terme 225 avions de combat dans l’armée de l’Air et dans la Marine, contre près de 700 dans les années 90.

 

La flotte Rafale totalise actuellement 120 000 heures de vol, dont 16 000 en opérations. Depuis mi-2013, les Rafale de série sont dotés du radar à antenne active RBE2 AESA de Thales. Depuis son entrée en service, le Rafale a été utilisé sur tous les théâtres d’opération : Afghanistan, Libye, Mali, Centre-Afrique et Irak.

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7 octobre 2014 2 07 /10 /octobre /2014 20:55
photo Dassault Aviation - P. Dhaudphoto Dassault Aviation - P. Dhaud

photo Dassault Aviation - P. Dhaud

 

SAINT-CLOUD, France, Oct. 7 By Richard Tomkins   (UPI)

 

The French government has received the first of 10 Rafale F1 naval jets upgraded by Dassault Aviation for expanded mission capabilities.

 

Dassault said the remaining aircraft will be delivered to DGA, the French armaments procurement agency, by 2017.

 

Upgrading of the aircraft involved full disassembly and outfitting with new modular electronic computers, new cockpit screens, a change to electrical wiring, installation of an enhanced Spectra counter-measures system, changes to weapon store stations and changes to the RBE2 PESA radar.

 

"The operational advantage provided by the F3 standard results in a variety of new missions achievable after the upgrade," DGA said. "In addition to air defense, ground attack and in-flight refueling, F3 standard Rafale Marines are capable of anti-ship attack, reconnaissance, laser designation and autonomous illumination, and nuclear strike."

 

The contract for upgrade is worth about $301 million. Working on the program with Dassault Aviation are Service Industriel de l'Aéronautique, the Ministry of Defense's aircraft workshops, Thales, MBDA and Sagem.

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