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What makes Dassaults Rafale fighter jet so special?



Indian Navy to buy Rafale M fighter plane after IAF?

What makes Dassaults Rafale fighter jet so special?  : Over the last decades, air forces have always been the first military component engaged in all crises or conflicts, from the Falklands to the Gulf, from Bosnia to Kosovo, from Afghanistan to Libya, and more recently Mali, the Central African Republic, Iraq and Syria.

Military aviation is undoubtedly the most strategic weapon today, both in terms of combat effectiveness and of critical technologies implemented.

In modern warfare, air dominance from day one is a must, so that air-to-ground and air-to-sea operations can be conducted safely and efficiently.


In the course of asymmetrical and counter-insurgency conflicts, the air arm also remains at the forefront of the military effort, its flexibility and firing power helping ensure that allied forces prevail.

The Rafale, a fully “Omnirole” fighter, is available in three variants:

  • the Rafale C single-seater operated from land bases,
  • the Rafale M single-seater for carrier operations,
  • the Rafale B two-seater flown from land bases.

All three variants share a common airframe and a common mission system, the differences between naval and land versions being mainly limited to the undercarriage and to the arresting hook.

Rafale fighter – courtesy : Dassault


When the Rafale programme was launched, the French Air Force and French Navy published a joint requirement for an omnirole aircraft that would have to replace the seven types of combat aircraft then in operation.

The new aircraft would have to be able to carry out a very wide range of missions:

  • Air-defense / air-superiority,
  • Anti-Access/Aera Denial,
  • Reconnaissance,
  • Close air support,
  • Dynamic Targeting,
  • Air-to-ground precision strike / interdiction,
  • Anti-ship attacks,
  • Nuclear deterrence,
  • buddy-buddy refuelling.


What makes the essential difference is the Rafale’s “multi-sensor data fusion” process running on data provided by all the sensors of the aircraft.

In essence, the “multi-sensor data fusion” concept implemented into the Rafale allows the pilot to act as a true “tactical decision maker”, rather than being only a sensor operator.

The core of these enhanced capabilities of the RAFALE lies in a “Modular Data Processing Unit” (MDPU) incorporating “commercial off the shelf” (COTS) elements. It is composed of up to 19 flight “line-replaceable units” (LRUs), with 18 of them individually providing 50 times the processing power of a typical mission computer employed in previous generation fighters.

The MDPU is the cornerstone of the upgradeability of the Rafale. It allows a seamless integration of new weapons and new capabilities to maintain the warfighting relevance of the Rafale over the years as tactical requirements evolve, and as the computer industry keeps rolling out new generations of processors and software.


The “multi-sensor data fusion” provides a link between the battlespace surrounding the aircraft and the pilot’s brain with its unique ability to grasp the outcome of tactical situations and make sensible decisions.

things on the computing power of the MDPU to process data from the RBE2-AESA radar, the “Front Sector Optronic” (FSO) system, the SPECTRA EW system, the IFF, the MICA infrared seekers, and the data link.

It is a full automated process carried out in three steps:

  1. Establishing consolidated track files and refining primary information provided by the sensors,
  2. Overcoming individual sensor limitations related to wavelength / frequency, field of regard, angular and distance resolution, etc, by sharing track information received from all the sensors,
  3. Assessing the confidence level of consolidated tracks, suppressing redundant track symbols and decluttering the displays.
First ferry of Indian Air Force Rafale to Ambala Air Force Station to integrate N°17 Squadron “Golden Arrows”
First ferry of Indian Air Force Rafale to Ambala Air Force Station to integrate N°17 Squadron “Golden Arrows”


The Rafale features a delta wing with close-coupled canards. In-house research in computational fluid dynamics has shown the specific benefits of close coupling between the wings and the canards: it ensures a wide range of centre of gravity positions for all flight conditions, as well as excellent handling throughout the whole flight envelope.

The close-coupled canards / delta wing configuration is key to the combat performance of the Rafale: even at high angle-of-attack, it remains fully agile, and its range performance in strike missions with heavy weapon loads is unmatched for such a compact design.

Read more : 12 things to know about Airbus A320 family

An advanced digital “Fly-by-Wire” (FBW) Flight Control System (FCS) provides for longitudinal stability and superior handling performance. The FCS is quadruple redundant with three digital channels and one separately designed analogue channel, with no mechanical back-up: design independence between channels is key to avoiding simultaneous anomalies on all channels.

Rafale fighter – courtesy : Dassault


The M88-2 is a new-generation turbofan engine offering a high thrust-to-weight ratio with easy maintainability, high despatch reliability and lower operating costs.

The M88-2 incorporates advanced technologies such as integrally bladed compressor disks (“blisks”), a low-pollution combustor with smoke-free emissions, single-crystal high-pressure turbine blades, ceramic coatings, and composite materials.

Read more : Is China’s COMAC C919 better than B737max and A319neo ?

The M88-2 power plant is rated at 10,971 lbs dry and 16,620 lbs with afterburner. It is equipped with redundant “Full Authority Digital Engine Control” (FADEC), which provides for carefree engine handling anywhere in the flight envelope: the throttle can be slammed from combat power to idle and back to combat power again, with less than three seconds from idle to full afterburner.


Launched in 2008, the M88 TCO (“Total Cost of Ownership”) programme was initiated to further improve engine durability and bring support costs down. Capitalizing on the ECO project, Safran Aircraft Engines was able to upgrade the high-pressure compressor and the high-pressure turbine of the M88-2: cooling is ameliorated and stronger components have been introduced, boosting durability by up to 50%. Life expectancy between overhaul has been considerably expanded for a number of modules, helping further minimise the impact of planned maintenance on engine availability.

Rafale fighter – courtesy : Dassault


Dassault Aviation has developed a very easy to use pilot interface (MMI), combining the “Hands on Throttle and Stick” (HOTAS) control concept with touch screens. It relies on a highly integrated suite of equipment with the following capabilities:

  • For short-term actions, head-up flying using a wide-field-of-view holographic “Head-up Display” (HUD),
  • For medium and long-term actions, analysis of the tactical situation as a whole (the “big picture”), using a multi-image “Head-Level Display” (HLD). The HLD picture is focused at the same distance as the HUD picture to allow for fast eye transitions between head-up and head-down displays and the external world’s view,
  • Management of system resources via the left and right color touch screens.

The comprehensive design of the cockpit provides for everything that aircrews can expect from an “OMNIROLE” fighter: a wide field of view at the front, on both sides, and at the rear, a superior agility, an increased G-protection with 29° tilted seats, and an efficient air conditioning system demonstrated under all climates.


Four batches of 13, 48, 59 and 60 aircraft have been ordered by the French MoD, totaling 132 aircraft for the French Air Force (63 Rafale B two-seaters and 69 Rafale C single-seaters) and 48 Rafale M naval single-seaters for the French Navy. Egypt, Qatar and India have signed contracts for respectively 24, 24 and 36 Rafales, bringing firm orders to 264 aircraft. By the end of April 2017, no less than 148 Rafales had been delivered to the Armée de l’Air and the French Navy while a further nine had been built for Egypt.

Capabilities are developed incrementally, and released in packages (“standards”). The first release (standard F1) featured only air-to-air capabilities. It became operational in 2004 with the French Navy on Rafales launched from the Charles de Gaulle nuclear aircraft-carrier during operation “Enduring Freedom”.


The second capability release (standard F2) entered service in the French Air Force and in the French Navy in 2006. It provided the Rafale with its true “Omnirole” capability for air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 or 2
  • Length: 15.27 m (50 ft 1 in)
  • Wingspan: 10.90 m (35 ft 9 in)
  • Height: 5.34 m (17 ft 6 in)
  • Wing area: 45.7 m2 (492 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 10,300 kg (22,708 lb) (B)

9,850 kilograms (21,720 lb) (C)10,600 kilograms (23,400 lb) (M)

  • Gross weight: 15,000 kg (33,069 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 24,500 kg (54,013 lb)
  • Fuel capacity: 4,700 kg (10,362 lb) internal for single-seater (C); 4,400 kg (9,700 lb) for two-seater (B)
  • Maximum fuel: (C): 16,550 l (4,370 US gal; 3,640 imp gal) (5,750 l (1,520 US gal; 1,260 imp gal) internal + 2,300 l (610 US gal; 510 imp gal) in 2x conformal tanks + 8,500 l (2,200 US gal; 1,900 imp gal) in 5 drop tanks)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Snecma M88-2 turbofans, 50.04 kN (11,250 lbf) thrust each dry, 75 kN (17,000 lbf) with afterburner


  • Maximum speed: 2,223 km/h (1,381 mph, 1,200 kn) / Mach 1.8 at high altitude

1,390 km/h, 860 mph, 750 kn / Mach 1.1 at low altitude

  • Supercruise: Mach 1.4
  • Combat range: 1,850 km (1,150 mi, 1,000 nmi) on penetration mission with three tanks (5,700 L), two SCALP-EG and two MICA AAMs.
  • Ferry range: 3,700 km (2,300 mi, 2,000 nmi) with 3 drop tanks
  • Service ceiling: 15,835 m (51,952 ft)
  • g limits: +9 −3.6 (+11 in emergencies)
  • Rate of climb: 304.8 m/s (60,000 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 328 kg/m2 (67 lb/sq ft)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.988 (100% fuel, 2 EM A2A missile, 2 IR A2A missile) version B

Source : Dassault Rafale



Etihad Airways successfully completes its inaugural flight to Beijing Daxing International Airport



Etihad Airways successfully completes its inaugural flight to Beijing Daxing International Airport

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), began its first scheduled flight between Abu Dhabi and Beijing Daxing Airport on March 28, 2023.

The inaugural flight EY888, operated using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, marked the move of regular flights from Abu Dhabi to Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX). Previously Etihad operated to Beijing Capital International Airport.

Etihad Airways adds flights to Shanghai to its route network(Opens in a new browser tab)

2023 also marks the 15th anniversary of Etihad Airways’ services in China and its Abu Dhabi-Beijing route. With the continuous consolidation and strengthening of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the UAE and China, political, economic, trade and cultural exchanges between the two countries have become more frequent. Etihad Airways maintains its unwavering support for and commitment to its Chinese partners and the China market, and its contribution to the growing bilateral relationship.

Etihad Airways’ first outbound flight will depart Beijing Daxing on March 30th, allowing travelers choosing Abu Dhabi as their destination or a stopover to explore the emirate’s breathtaking landscapes, thriving arts and culture scene, top shopping destinations, magnificent attractions and world-class events; or connecting passengers with access to more than 70 destinations via our Abu Dhabi hub.

Etihad will increase frequency to twice daily between Abu Dhabi and New York-JFK starting in April 2023.(Opens in a new browser tab)

Etihad Airways has recently added popular destinations such as Düsseldorf, Copenhagen and Lisbon, expanding Etihad Airways’ European network while providing travelers with more convenient travel and holiday options. Etihad’s Boeing 787 aircraft feature innovative, award-winning cabin designs and products, complemented by the airline’s acclaimed service and hospitality offerings

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Air India launches non-stop flight from Amritsar, Ahmedabad to London Gatwick



Air India launches non-stop flight from Amritsar, Ahmedabad to London Gatwick

Air India, India’s leading airline and a Star Alliance member inaugurated non-stop flights between Ahmedabad and London Gatwick, the UK’s second-largest airport.

The inaugural flight AI171 from Ahmedabad to London Gatwick departed on time at 1150 hrs, scheduled to arrive at London Gatwick at 1640 hrs (local time) today. It is estimated that over 8,00,000 Gujaratis call the UK their home, making the Gujarati diaspora in the UK to be, arguably, the largest in the world. The flights between Ahmedabad and London Gatwick will be operated three times a week using Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft, featuring 18 Business Class and 238 Economy Class seats.

Air India launches new routes to London Gatwick(Opens in a new browser tab)

This week, in addition to flights from Ahmedabad, Air India has also launched non-stop flights to London Gatwick from Amritsar, Goa, and Kochi while increasing the frequency to London Heathrow from Delhi and Mumbai. In total, the airline now operates 49 flights per week between India and the UK, including six flights a week to Birmingham from Delhi and Amritsar.

Amritsar to London Gatwick

It launched its first-ever non-stop flight to London Gatwick, from Amritsar today. It has now become the first and only Indian airline to operate at Gatwick Airport— the second-largest airport in the UK. The services
to Gatwick are in line with Air India’s ongoing endeavor of enhancing connectivity between India’s major cities and leading global destinations to provide more choices to its passengers.

Equipped with 18 Business class seats featuring fully-flat beds and 238 Economy class seats, the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner will be operating three flights a week on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday from Amritsar. In addition to the flights from Amritsar, Air India will operate 9 other weekly flights scheduled from Ahmedabad, Goa, and Kochi—making it a total of 12 weekly flights to Gatwick. These operations will reaffirm Air India’s operations, presence, and network in the UK. In total, the airline now operates 49 flights in the UK per week— 43 flights to London (Heathrow and Gatwick) and six flights to Birmingham. Air India also operates 31 weekly flights to Heathrow, London from Delhi and Mumbai.

Air India launches non-stop flight to Milan, boosts connectivity in Europe(Opens in a new browser tab)

The first flight AI 169 from Amritsar to Gatwick departed on time at 1320 hrs and will arrive in Gatwick at a convenient 1755 hrs on the same day. Earlier, AI 170 had taken off from Gatwick at 2140 hrs to arrive in Amritsar at 1015 hrs (All Local Time).

Overall, Air India operates 80 flights per week to seven major cities in the UK and Europe and has relaunched flights to some of the prime European destinations such as Milan, Vienna, and Copenhagen.

The flights are now available for booking on the Air India website and mobile apps, as well as through authorised travel agents and other booking channels.

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Air India Group completes integration of Air India Express and AirAsia India



Air India Group completes integration of Air India Express and AirAsia India

The Air India Group today announced that it has completed a significant milestone in the integration of its two low-cost subsidiary airlines, Air India Express and AirAsia India.

On 27 March 2023, the two low-cost airlines moved to a single, unified reservations system and website, and adopted common social media and customer support channels. This migration, which largely involved Air India Express migrating to the systems used by AirAsia India, confers significant capability and efficiency benefits for the airline and passengers.

AirAsia India to merge with Air India Express by end of 2023(Opens in a new browser tab)

In particular, passengers are now able to make and manage bookings, and check-in to AirAsia India and Air India Express domestic and international flights, on an all-new integrated website

This system merger comes five months after AirAsia India was fully acquired and subsidiaries under Air India, and three months after both AirAsia India and Air India Express were placed under a single CEO. In the coming months, the airlines will continue integrating other internal systems and, eventually, their air operating permits and regulatory posts.

Air India Express flight skids off runway while landing at Kochi airport(Opens in a new browser tab)

The integration of Air India Express and Air India will bring revenue, cost, and operational benefits through broader adoption of each airline’s best practices, systems, and routes, and confer greater economies of scale. The new Air India Express will focus on leisure-oriented and price-sensitive markets while improving connectivity between key domestic cities and Air India’s fast-expanding international network.

AirAsia India flies to 19 destinations across the country while Air India Express operates to 14 international destinations from 19 Indian cities.

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British Airways launches new routes to the Caribbean routes



British Airways launches new routes to the Caribbean routes

Aruba and Guyana have become the latest destinations to join British Airways’ network, with inaugural flights arriving to a warm welcome in the destinations’ respective capital cities.

British Airways operates more routes to the Caribbean and Mexico than any other UK airline, with Aruba and Guyana bringing the total number of destinations served in the region to 17. Flight BA2157 departed London Gatwick (LGW) at 10:00 on Sunday 26 March and touched down at Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) in Oranjestad, Aruba at 17:00 local time. The brand-new route will operate twice weekly via Antigua on Thursdays and Sundays.

American Airlines Apologizes To Two Caribbean Prime Ministers Over Guyana Incident(Opens in a new browser tab)

The following day on Monday 27 March, flight BA2159 departed London Gatwick at 11:35, landing at Cheddi Jagan International Airport (GEO) in Georgetown, Guyana at 19:50 local time. This was the first of a twice-weekly flight, operating via St Lucia on Mondays and Thursdays.

Both routes will operate on a Boeing 777-200 aircraft, with three cabins for customers to choose from: Club (business), World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and World Traveller (economy). Sunday 26 March also saw British Airways’ first direct flight to Port of Spain, Trinidad, which will operate three times per week from London Gatwick. The flight was formerly via St Lucia.

Return fares are from £520 for Oranjestad, Aruba, £499 for Georgetown, Guyana and £520 for Port of Spain, Trinidad. To book, visit

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How airlines set ticket prices and how to find cheap flights?



How airlines set ticket prices and how to find cheap flights?
Airlines use a complex system to set ticket prices based on a variety of factors, including the cost of fuel, demand for the route, time of year, competition, and more. Generally, airlines will adjust their prices regularly based on these factors to ensure they are maximizing their revenue while still filling their planes.

Here are some of the most important factors that airlines consider when setting ticket prices:

  1. Supply and Demand: One of the most important factors that airlines consider is supply and demand. If demand for a particular route or flight is high, ticket prices will generally be higher. Conversely, if demand is low, airlines may offer discounts to fill seats.
  2. Time of Booking: Generally, the earlier you book your flight, the lower the ticket price will be. Airlines often offer discounted rates for early bookings to encourage customers to book in advance.
  3. Time of Travel: The time of year, day of the week, and even the time of day can all affect ticket prices. For example, flights during peak travel season, holidays, and weekends tend to be more expensive.
  4. Route and Destination: The distance and popularity of the destination can also affect ticket prices. Longer flights and more popular destinations may have higher prices than shorter or less popular destinations.
  5. Competition: The level of competition on a particular route can also affect ticket prices. If there are several airlines flying the same route, prices may be lower as airlines compete for customers.
  6. Operating Costs: Airlines also factor in their operating costs when setting ticket prices. These costs include fuel prices, airport fees, maintenance, and labor costs.
  7. Ancillary Fees: Airlines also generate revenue from ancillary fees such as baggage fees, seat selection fees, and in-flight services. These fees can also affect the overall price of a ticket.

To find cheap flights, there are several strategies you can use:

  1. Be flexible with your travel dates: By being flexible with your travel dates, you can often find better deals as prices can vary greatly depending on the day of the week, time of year, and other factors.
  2. Book in advance: Booking your flight well in advance can often result in better prices, as airlines will typically offer lower prices for tickets booked further in advance.
  3. Look for deals and discounts: Airlines will often offer special deals and discounts on flights, so it’s worth checking their websites and signing up for their newsletters to stay informed.
  4. Use flight search engines: Flight search engines like Skyscanner, Kayak, and Google Flights can help you find the cheapest flights available by comparing prices across multiple airlines and dates.
  5. Consider alternative airports: Flying into or out of smaller airports can often be cheaper than larger airports, so it’s worth considering alternative airports if they are within a reasonable distance.
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Airbus achieves in-flight autonomous guidance and control of a drone from a tanker aircraft



Airbus achieves in-flight autonomous guidance and control of a drone from a tanker aircraft

Airbus Defence and Space and the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Airbus UpNext, have achieved in-flight autonomous guidance and control of a drone using an A310 MRTT.

In a first step towards Autonomous Formation Flight and Autonomous Air-to-Air refueling (A4R), the technologies demonstrate a significant breakthrough for future aerial operations involving manned and unmanned assets. These cutting-edge, ‘Made in Europe’ solutions could reduce crew fatigue and the potential for human error, as well as minimize crew-training costs and provide more effective operations.

Russia seeks car and aircraft parts from India.(Opens in a new browser tab)

Over the waters of the Gulf of Cadiz, the control of the drone transitioned from a ground station to the A310 MRTT, autonomously guiding the DT-25 to the in-flight refueling position.

During almost six hours of flight test, the four successively launched receivers were sequentially controlled and commanded thanks to artificial intelligence and cooperative control algorithms, without human interaction. The different receivers were controlled and guided until a minimum distance of 150 feet (around 45 metres) from the A310 MRTT.

Auto’Mate Demonstrator technology focuses on three pillars:

  • Accurate Relative Navigation to precisely ascertain the relative position, speed and attitudes between the tanker and the receiver;
  • Intra-Flight Communication between platforms allows information exchange among the different assets, increasing the autonomy of the system of systems;
  • Cooperative Control Algorithms to provide guidance, coordination, consensus and collision-avoidance functionalities to the tanker and the receiver/s.

These pioneering technologies, developed by a European team from Spain, Germany and France, will continue to increase the capability gap among competitors, as well as being re-used in key technological projects, such as the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

A second campaign is expected towards the end of 2023, exploring the use of navigation sensors based on artificial intelligence and enhanced algorithms for autonomous formation flight. In addition, there will also be two simulated drones flying in the vicinity of the A310 MRTT to demonstrate multi-receiver autonomous operations and collision-avoidance algorithms.

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Emirates restores Dubai-Sydney-Christchurch daily service on Airbus A380



Emirates restores Dubai-Sydney-Christchurch daily service on Airbus A380

Emirates’ flagship A380 made a landmark touchdown at Christchurch Airport today, marking the resumption of its daily service from Dubai to Christchurch via Sydney after more than three years.

The special service was greeted by a crowd of spectators at the Christchurch Airport boundary, who watched as the iconic aircraft taxied through a ceremonial water canon salute, before parking in view of trade, media, and VIP guests at the international terminal.

Emirates to introduce Premium Economy to five more cities with newly retrofitted A380s starting from December(Opens in a new browser tab)

Outbound EK412 left Dubai at 10:15 local time, stopping briefly in Sydney before arriving in Christchurch at 13:55 hours the next day, New Zealand time. The resumption of the Dubai to Christchurch route headlines a planned ramping up of seating capacity across Emirates’ global network, after boosting operations 31% (total ASKMs) since the beginning of its financial year. This operational boost included the re-introduction of Emirates’ nonstop A380 route from Auckland to Dubai in December of last year.

Emirates’ A380 return to Christchurch is also welcome news for South Island producers, with SkyCargo again supporting the export of 15 to 18 tonnes of daily goods across the Tasman. The airfreight will provided much-needed airfreight from a broad range of exporters, including Central Otago cherries, prime New Zealand lamb, and premium seafood, as they continue on to destinations around the world.

Airlines With the Most Delays This Year, According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics(Opens in a new browser tab)

Both North and South Island customers will now have direct access to daily Emirates A380 services, providing greater levels of flexibility and choice when making travel plans and providing seamless connectivity and reduced transit time when travelling to other destinations across the airline’s global network, including destinations in Europe and the Middle East. Travellers looking to venture beyond the airline’s gateways will also have more connection opportunities to 55 cities across Australia and New Zealand through Emirates’ long-standing partnership with Qantas.

Restart of Christchurch via Sydney 

The A380 flight operates as EK 412 and EK 413. Emirates flight EK 412 departs Dubai at 1015hrs, arriving in Sydney at 0700hrs. The flight will then continue, taking off from Sydney at 0845hrs, arriving in Christchurch at 1355hrs. EK 413 will then depart Christchurch at 1820hrs, arriving in Sydney at 1940hrs. The final leg of EK 413 will depart to Dubai at 2145hrs, arriving at 0515hrs local time.

Customers in Christchurch will not only be able to enjoy the airline’s flagship aircraft, but will also experience the debut of the highly sought-after Premium Economy cabin and latest products across every class of travel.

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