Dassault Rafale: The French Fighter Jet That Can Beat Air Force F-22 Raptors

Dassault Rafale Fighter Jet from France
May 12, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: FranceDassault RafaleMilitaryDefenseAviationAirforceF-22

Dassault Rafale: The French Fighter Jet That Can Beat Air Force F-22 Raptors

The Dassault Rafale, a cornerstone of French military aviation since 2001, epitomizes versatility and advanced technology in the realm of multirole fighter jets.


Summary: The Dassault Rafale, a cornerstone of French military aviation since 2001, epitomizes versatility and advanced technology in the realm of multirole fighter jets. With a fleet of 234 in France and additional units on order, the Rafale's global footprint is expanding, thanks to export orders from nations like Egypt, India, and Qatar.

Dassault Rafale


-Renowned for its "burst of fire" capability, the Rafale has demonstrated its prowess, even challenging America's elite F-22A Raptor in wargames.

-Powered by two Snecma M88 engines, capable of reaching Mach 1.8, and equipped with state-of-the-art avionics, the Rafale excels in air superiority, ground attack, and reconnaissance missions.

Dassault Rafale: The French Fighter Jet Making Global Waves

The Dassault Rafale is a French multirole fighter aircraft that has been in service since 2001. It is manufactured by Dassault Aviation and is considered one of the most advanced and versatile fighter jets in the world. 

Because of this, the Rafale is one of the most ubiquitous warplanes in the world. There are multiple export orders for the bird from many different countries—including, Egypt, India, Qatar, and several other air forces. 

The Dassault Rafale entered service in 2001. There are about 234 Rafales in France’s air fleet. In the last year, France ordered an additional 42 units from Dassault. 

Burst of Fire Fighter 

“Rafale” means “burst of fire,” which is a fitting name for a warplane that can claim to have downed America’s most advanced fifth-generation warplane, the F-22A Raptor, in a recent wargame. 

Of course, the Americans were initially skeptical of the claims by the French pilot. 

After all, during that particular wargame, the F-22 performed brilliantly. It took out six Rafales and engaged another five in combat before one Rafale pushed his bird to 9Gs to catch up with the F-22 and fire an infrared missile that managed to lock onto F-22 and down it in the wargame.


As the Americans have argued, though, this is hardly a normal function of a Rafale. Still, the Rafale is an appealing warbird to many other countries that might be barred from purchasing the F-35.

This warplane is a real workhorse, and it has given France a competitive edge in arms sales globally.

The Rafale can perform a wide range of missions, including air superiority, ground attack, reconnaissance, and nuclear deterrence. It is equipped with a variety of weapons systems, including missiles, bombs, and a 30mm cannon, making it a highly effective and lethal aircraft.

Dassault Rafale Specs

The Rafale is powered by two Snecma M88 turbofan engines, which give it a top speed of Mach 1.8 and a range of over 3,700 kilometers. It also has an advanced avionics system, including a radar system that can track multiple targets simultaneously and a digital fly-by-wire control system that allows for precision maneuverability.


One of the key features of the Rafale is its ability to operate from both land bases and aircraft carriers, making it a highly versatile aircraft that can be deployed in a variety of operational environments. It has seen combat in several conflicts, including the Libyan Civil War, where it played a crucial role in enforcing the no-fly zone.

The US Can’t Sell the F-35 to Certain Mideast Countries

The export value of the Rafale for France cannot be overstated. 

As a fourth-generation warplane, it should not be able to compete at all with the American fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II. Yet, in the Middle East, the Rafale can do just that. There are a variety of reasons for this. One of the reasons is because the F-35 is such an advanced warplane, American allies—in this case, Israel—can have a say in where the warplane is sold. 

Israel opposes the United States selling the F-35 to certain countries in the Middle East, such as the United Arab Emirates, that could use the plane to threaten Israel’s security (and its military dominance).

Because the United States has a special strategic partnership with Israel, Washington respects Israel’s wishes to not sell the F-35 to certain Mideast countries. 

France Has a Great Warplane

What that means, however, is that the French have an angle to dominate that specific market. 

Dassault Rafale

Overall, the Dassault Rafale is a highly advanced and capable fighter aircraft that is considered one of the best in the world. Its versatility, range, speed, and advanced technology make it a formidable asset for any air force that operates it.

About the Author 

Brandon J. Weichert, a National Interest national security analyst, is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life, and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy. Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.

All images are Creative Commons.