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22 COMBAT EDGE DASSAULT RAFALE

A Navy Rafale gets airborne

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The Dassault Rafale

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Warrior The Dassault Rafale COMBAT EDGE FIGHTING COLOURS Everything down and coming in to land T

Everything down and coming in to land

T he Dassault Rafale is a French, twin- engined fourth generation ‘Ominirole’ aircraft, equipped with a

wide range of weapons for its roles of air supremacy, interdiction reconnaissance, and nuclear strike.

Introduced in 2001, the Rafale has been produced for both the French Air Force as the single-seat Rafale C and the two-seat Rafale B, and for the French Navy as the Rafale M. The aircraft has also been widely marketed for export to several countries including the Indian Air Force, the Egyptian Air Force and the Qatari Air Force. The Rafale has been used in combat over Afghanistan, Libya, Mali and Iraq, and several upgrades to its weapons and avionics have been introduced or are on-going. The Rafale was developed as a modern jet fighter with a very high level of agility, and for this Dassault chose to combine a delta wing with an active close-coupled canard to

Sponsored by www.albionhobbies.com 23 COMBAT EDGE FIGHTING COLOURS maximize manoeuvrability. The Rafale is an
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maximize manoeuvrability. The Rafale is an
aerodynamically unstable aircraft that uses digital fly-by-
wire to artificially enforce and maintain its stability. The
canards also act to reduce the minimum landing speed to
115 knots and allow the aircraft to take off using a ski-
jump with no modifications. Although not a full-aspect
stealth aircraft, the Rafale was designed with reduced
radar cross-section and infrared signature, and
extensively uses composite materials in its airframe.
Rafale A - Technology demonstrator, flying in 1986
Rafale B - Two-seat version for the French Air Force
Rafale C - Single-seat version for the French Air Force
Rafale M – Carrier version for the French Navy with a
a strengthened airframe, longer nose gear leg, larger tail
hook and other navalised equipment
COMBAT EDGE DASSAULT RAFALE
In Combat
The Rafale was first deployed to a combat zone in 2002
when seven Rafale Ms embarked aboard the Charles De
Gaulle during ‘Mission Heracles’ the French participation
in Operation ‘Enduring Freedom’. They flew from the
aircraft carrier over Afghanistan, but did not see any
action. In June 2002, while the Charles de Gaulle was in
the Arabian Sea, Rafales conducted several patrols near
the India-Pakistan border, and in 2007, six aircraft were
given the ability to drop laser-guided bombs, in view of
engaging them in Afghanistan. Three of these Air Force
types were deployed to Dushanbe in Tajikistan, while
the other three were flown by the Navy from the Charles
de Gaulle. The first mission occurred on 12 March 2007,
and the first GBU-12 was launched on 28 March in
support of embattled Dutch troops in Southern
Afghanistan, marking the operational début of the
Rafale. Between January 2009 and December 2011, a
minimum of three Rafales were stationed at Kandahar
The Rafale was first deployed to a combat zone in 2002
A great view of the weaponry and hardpoints!
A great view of the
weaponry and hardpoints!

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Dassault chose to combine a delta wing with an active close- coupled canard in the Rafale

International Airport to conduct combat operations in support of NATO ground forces. In March 2011, French Rafales began conducting reconnaissance and strike missions over Libya in Operation ‘Harmattan’, and their initial targets were artillery pieces laying siege around the rebel city of Benghazi. The Rafale was able to operate in Libya without the support of SEAD aircraft by using its onboard SPECTRA self-defence system. During the conflict Rafales typically conducted six-hour sorties

the conflict Rafales typically conducted six-hour sorties Rafale Ms aboard the USS Harry S Truman over

Rafale Ms aboard the USS Harry S Truman

over Libyan airspace, carrying an armament of four MICA air-to-air missiles, four or six AASM ‘Hammer’ bombs, a Damocles targeting pod and two drop tanks, and these patrols required multiple aerial refuelling operations from coalition tanker aircraft. Reportedly,

Rafale crews preferred to use GPS-guided munitions due to greater reliability and range, and also ‘Storm Shadow’ SCALP weapons were deployed during one or two sorties, including one against a Libyan airbase at Al-Jufran. In January 2013, the Rafale took part in Operation ‘Serval’, the French military intervention in Mali, with the first mission being carried out on 13 January, when four Rafales took off from an airbase in France to strike rebel training camps, depots and facilities in the city of Gao. Subsequent airstrikes in the following days by Rafale and Mirage fighters were reportedly instrumental in the withdrawal of Islamist militant forces from Timbuktu and Douentza. In September 2014, Rafales began flying reconnaissance missions over Iraq as part of Operation ‘Chammal’ France's contribution to the international effort to combat the so-called Islamic State militants. Six, and later nine aircraft were initially tasked with identifying IS positions in support of US airstrikes, flying from Al Dhafra Air Base in the UAE. On 18 September, Rafales joined American operations in conducting attacks, launching four strikes near the Northern Iraqi town of Zumar destroying a logistics depot.

Northern Iraqi town of Zumar destroying a logistics depot. The Rafale carries the Damocles targeting pod

The Rafale carries the Damocles targeting pod

a logistics depot. The Rafale carries the Damocles targeting pod A Rafale B during Operation ‘Serval’

A Rafale B during Operation ‘Serval’ in 2013

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Dassault Rafale C 113-IV of SPA.91 ‘Agile Empietant une Tete de Mort’, EC 1.007 ‘Provence’,
Dassault Rafale C 113-IV of SPA.91 ‘Agile Empietant une Tete de Mort’, EC 1.007 ‘Provence’, Saint Dizier-Robinson Air Base.
The aircraft is finished in overall Medium Grey with a Dark Grey Radome
Dassault Rafale C 113-BV of SPA.77 ‘Croix de Jerusalem’, EC 01.007 ‘Provence’, Saint Dizier-Robinson Air Base. The
aircraft is finished in overall Dark Compass Grey with a Dark Grey Radome
Dassault Rafale B 7-HW carries all the badges of the component units based at EC 01.007 ‘Provence’, Saint
Dizier-Robinson Air Base. The aircraft is finished in overall Medium Grey with a Dark Grey Radome
Dassault Rafale M ‘20’ of Flotille 12F aboard the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. The aircraft is finished in
overall Medium Grey with a Dark Grey Radome
Dassault Rafale B ‘HM’ of SPA.15 ‘Heaume d’Argent’ EC 01.007 ‘Provence’, Saint Dizier-Robinson Air Base. The
aircraft is finished in overall Medium Grey with a Dark Grey Radome

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26 COMBAT EDGE DASSAULT RAFALE

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James Dickerson builds the 1:48 Revell Rafale M

I must say I was absolutely delighted to get my hands on Revell’s 1:48 kit of the Rafale because I’ve not built any

of the European fighters, and that needed to change. This kit of the Rafale was originally released in 2001, yet despite its age, it’s still a wonderful build. My initial inspection revealed crisp moulded detail featuring panel lines and some choice riveting detail, and the only injector pin marks that are of issue can be found in the intakes, but will be easily handled. To start any project, I prefer to browse through the instructions and identify any sub- assemblies that I can get out of the way before having to break out the airbrush. Here, I was able to join the wing halves, build up the ordnance I planned to use, assemble the landing gear and add other little bits here and there.

I must admit that when I began taking cockpit pieces off the sprues that I was concerned with the level of detail, and to complicate matters further, the entire cockpit is finished off in a dark grey, which really eats light and is fairly uninteresting. So a little dry brushing and the use of some lighter shades made the interior more workmanlike. However, even with some work the cockpit is monochrome and frankly bland, so I decided to close the canopy on this build! Before mating the fuselage halves around the cockpit, I airbrushed the gear bay inserts in Hobby Color Light Ghost Grey #308

Dassault Rafale M Manufacturer: Revell Scale: 1:48 Kit Type: Plastic injection moulded Kit Number: 04517
Dassault Rafale M
Manufacturer: Revell
Scale: 1:48
Kit Type: Plastic injection moulded
Kit Number: 04517

and left them to dry before applying a dark grey wash over a coat of gloss. My tip here would be to avoid installing the canards, as they are moulded as one piece, and fixing them later would make painting and handling the model less troublesome. You are going to want to paint the intake pieces before assembly to avoid awkward airbrushing angles, and here I used Mr Color Gloss White #156 and allowed them to dry. When dry the intakes were masked so I could paint the forward sections. Also, it’s a good idea to paint the section of the fuselage behind the intake trunks at this point. Now it was time to begin the painting process proper, and if you want a smooth and clean paint job, then the most important step is to clean the model’s surface before getting out your airbrush. I like to wet a paper towel with Isopropyl

step is to clean the model’s surface before getting out your airbrush. I like to wet

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Work being undertaken on the intake trunking

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COMBAT EDGE FIGHTING COLOURS www.albionhobbies.com Even with some work the cockpit is a little bland 27

Even with some work the cockpit is a little bland

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Even with some work the cockpit is a little bland 27 I chose to use a

I chose to use a darker panel wash to pick out the details

Alcohol and give the model a liberal wiping. With the model clean, I sprayed on a coat of Mr Color Black #18 to check for any flaws. Then I added a solid layer of Mr Color Dark Sea Grey #331. This served as a base for my blending technique, aimed at creating a worn paint effect and adding depth to the model. When the basecoat had dried I moved to adding what I call a ‘marbling coat’. For this I use a mix of the lightened base colour, by adding White to the airbrush mixing cup and tinting it with a couple of drops of the Dark Sea Grey. This is thinned significantly so I can spray at a pressure of around 10 psi. The lightened mix was added in a ‘marbling pattern’ over the entire aircraft, and you may want to vary the coverage, so that the next step leaves you with some contrast.

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28 COMBAT EDGE DASSAULT RAFALE

Just a touch of filler was needed on the wing joints
Just a touch of
filler was needed
on the wing joints

… followed by a basecoat of Dark Gull Grey …

The model was prepared with a primer coat of Black …

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… and a ‘marbling coat’ of using a lightened application of Dark Gull Grey
… and a ‘marbling coat’ of using a
lightened application of Dark Gull Grey
Model Aircraft Choice We Recommend Mr Color Gloss White #156 Mr Color Black #18 Hobby
Model Aircraft Choice
We Recommend
Mr Color Gloss White #156
Mr Color Black #18
Hobby Color Dark Sea Grey #331
Hobby Color Light Ghost Grey #308
The Hobby Color paints used in this feature are
distributed in the UK by Albion Hobbies and are
available to order directly from the SAM Shop
and from other UK modelling outlets and stores

The final step in the painting process is to tone down the stark contrast of the previous step. For this the base colour was heavily thinned in an 80:20 mix, again use a low air pressure to slowly build up a thin layer of paint and blend things in. Again, vary the coverage. The next step was to add a coat of Gloss and apply the decals, which were then sealed with another gloss coat. Since the grey was fairly dark, I chose to use an even darker panel wash to pick out the details, and allowed this to dry for about half an hour before any excess was wiped away with cotton bud, and if you do this in the direction of airflow you get some subtle streaking. A final coat of Satin completed the look. I’m immensely pleased to have this kit on my bench, as the Rafale is a beautiful aircraft and Revell’s kit was a

very nice build. MA Thanks to Revell for the build sample. www.revell.de/en Since the aircraft
very nice build.
MA
Thanks to Revell for the build sample.
www.revell.de/en
Since the aircraft was fairly dark, I
chose to use an even darker panel
wash to pick out the details

To blend everything in thinned coats of Dark Gull Grey were carefully added

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