Rare video shows F-22 Raptor shot down by the French Rafale in mock air-to-air combat

Jun 19 2013 - 97 Comments

As already mentioned earlier on The Aviationist (especially when discussing the famous claims by the German Eurofighter Typhoon pilots at Red Flag Alaska 2012) in November 2009, some 1st Fighter Wing’s Raptors from Langley AFB, flew to Al Dhafra, in the UAE, to train with the French Air Force Rafales and the RAF Typhoons during exercise ATLC 2009.

The episode is quite famous because in late December of the same year the French Ministry of Defense released the captures taken by the Rafale’s OSF (Optronique Secteur Frontal) showing an F-22 in aerial combat. In fact, although the U.S. Air Force pilots told that their plane was undefeated during the exercise, the French were killed once in six 1 vs 1 WVR (Within Visual Range) engagements versus the F-22 (the other 5 ended with a “draw”) and one Raptor was claimed as killed by a UAE Mirage 2000 during a mock engagement.

However, the following interesting video just made available by the French website http://portail-aviation.blogspot.fr proves that even the French scored at least a simulated kill (or, to say it better, were able to achieve a proper position to fire a “Fox 2”, an IR-guided Mica missile) against the Raptor.

HUD or sensors’ captures and videos are no more than marketing stuff because, unless the scenario and ROE are known, it is impossible to say when the alleged kill took place, what was happening before and after, which was the tactics.

Nevertheless, the video shows that the Rafale is almost comparable to the F-22 especially when maneuvering at low speed during close air combat.

By the way, when we talk about maneuverability, we can’t but mention the Su-35 Flanker-E and its stunning display at Le Bourget.

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  • James T

    I remember this engagement! This was at indeed at ATLC in the United Arab Emirates and this is a Rafale HUD. You can tell by the video they are fighting over the desert. Typhoons were also there but only engaged the Rafales and not the Raptors. Raptors were not carrying fuel tanks at this engagement but were carrying transponders to help nullify their stealth and Rafales were allowed to fly clean and start on the Raptors 6.

    This kill was disqualified because the kill took place after the engagement had been ordered halted due to the Rafale reaching bingo fuel. You can tell the Raptor stopped evading flew straight and then did a normal bank right. A Rafale pilot later confirmed that the kill was disqualified for this reason. No Rafales or Raptors beat each other at ATLC. It was a stalemate. The Rafales did kick the crap out of the Typhoons though.

    Still, battles are won by pilots not planes. An F-4 could beat a Rafale or F-22 if it had a great pilot flying it.

  • CheetahFang258


  • Rick H

    James F-4s could barely shoot down MIG 17s in Vietnam!!! That is why we started top gun. And if its not the aircraft why are F-15s undefeated in air to air combat? Not one lucky Mirage or Mig pilot has been able to shoot down the Eagle, 100 to 0…Our pilots and airplanes are the best in the world period!!!

  • Hakan326

    French air force has a long history of releasing completely
    irrelevant and childish images from their jets. It’s for the home audience who
    they need to defend a ultra-expensive protectionist fighter industry.

  • Hakan326

    German Luftwaffe pilots know how to beat the RAFALE.. Speaking of the Eurofighters
    close-in combat prowess, Major Marc Grüne, CO of 742 (Zapata), the second
    squadron of the wing, described to assembled aviation journalists how, on a
    recent visit to France to demo the aircraft, he had won two out of two battles
    against the Dassault Rafale in mock within visual range dogfights.
    Both fights were a standard set-up and merge at 21,000ft and 30,000ft he
    recounted, adding that the higher the fight the better the Eurofighter liked
    it. He singled out the Eurofighters excess power, superior climb performance and trust/weight ratio as its trump card over the Rafale, pure and simple..

  • Hakan326

    – At no time did the French claim that this was a F-22 kill.
    Not the French air force, nor the French magazine.

  • CheetahFang258

    Yes, actually, I do. So it would be very hard for a Rafale or EF2000 to shoot down an F-22 in BVR especially one with a passive radar and a jammer in the AN/APG-77 radar. So yes, I do.

  • L Garou

    This is the least of the F-22 capability. It wasn’t made to dogfight.
    The point of the F-22, is there would be no French or Brit or Indian or Russian fighters to engage “close in.” They’d already be shot down.
    The only other jet which might challeng the F-22, is the PAK-FA, and even this will depend on certain advantages, to succeed.

  • Meestah Rie

    the video states that the f-22 had external fuel tanks attached. im no pilot, but i think that would affect the performance? impressive though, how the rafale hung in there with the raptor at close range. would this event actually happen since the f-22 is outfitted for BVR fights?

    • GreensboroVet

      You are correct. The external tanks did effect the flight characteristics of the Raptor and the U.S. Air Force doesn’t allow the Raptors to display their full capabilities. But still amazed how the Rafale Hung in there. We’ll see what Rafale and EuroFighter Pilots have to say after F-22 gets helmet-mounted cueing.

      • Cinque

        But if you check on the video, the external fuel tank were a lie, we can defenetyl see that there is no fuel tank. They just didnt taken well the fact to be shooted by an Rafale. After the lie on the fact that the Rafale didnt shooted the F22, i’m not suprised.

        • Phil Verhey

          O geez… “ALL LIES! LIES!” … what are you twelve? How do you manage such mentality after reading unbiased and balanced wording above accepting that there’s no way the real story could ever be known be the public? Are you really that childish?

        • Phil Verhey

          Additionally, watch from 4 minutes 20, that’s tanks from what i can see… which is exactly what the USAF said. Tanks is the easiest and most diplomatic way for the raptor to be used to train foriegn forces, the tanks allow their radar to see the raptor (along with the training & civil aviation reflectors they attach), it also limits the maneuvering of the jet, properly simulating a thrust vectoring russian jet… exactly what they need to train against. French jets don’t want to train vs raptors, they want to train vs flanker variants but can’t… flanker variants are fragile, have low readiness rates and are to expensive to fly at the request of foriegn airforces for the low-economies of Russia , china & india… they’re also (2 outta 3) adversaries and have no interest in helping the french airforce learn how to kill their jets, as such the raptors are used simulate them as they’ve thrust vectoring & equal size. The raptors aren’t trying to kill the rafales in this excersize, they’re flying as su-27,30,35’s at the request of the french, & with their rules… which could very well be “an unarmed/expended missiles SU-30 trying to flee back to friendly skies limited to 7G, avoiding (this) maneuver which all flanker varants are incapable of, starting at 5mi, with hard deck at 5000ft.” … you, me, everyone doesn’t know the context… as the hud symbology shows though, the raptor is infact reflecting radar back to the rafale & has been outfitted & asked to resemble a flanker… which we don’t know, so even it’s thrust vectoring could have been disabled… you don’t know the restrictions placed on it, you don’t know what aircraft it was asked to play other than an older non-stealth SU jet & what it was or wasn’t allowed to do.

  • jh ferry Sb

    Su 35 can only do acrobatic maneuver like pugachev cobra and kulbit for getting more buyer to buy it.. In real air combat, both of 2 maneuvers will never be used because will cause su-35 shot down. Su-35 was designed for WVR combat not BVR. But F 22 was designed for both of 2 types. In 2010, indonesian sukhoi has been locked by something that nobody knew until this moment included indonesia air force. Some opinions came from the avionic expert :” only jet fighter has ability bvr combat that can be able to do locking remotely. So please talk based on fact not illusion. Rafael, typhon and gripen, f 22, super hornet and so on can shoot down su-35 easily.