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

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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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Very interesting. Its unknown if the missile would have hit though. Lock is not enough.

      • Physics and live fire tests, really. Many times a seeker will be able to gain a lock before the missile is kinematically able to hit it’s target. Then once it is, live fire tests can give data as to what probability the missile has of hitting its target based on launch parameters. So, I’d imagine for an exercise a simulated “kill” could either require the launch” to be above a certain kill percentage or a computer could possibly return a random “hit” or “miss” indication based on the probability a real missile would hit said target.

  2. That was interesting. Am I to understand the F-22 still had underwing tanks on board?

    • Except the Rafale scored kill was disqualified here. He continued to engage after the engagement was ordered halted for safety reasons. The Rafale’s fuel was too low to safely continue.

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

        – Why? Because this is just an image from OSF’s TV sensor,
        not HUD footage. In a combat setting this might have been a missile kill, but
        since the F-22 and Rafale only did gun engagements, this was taken outside of a
        combat setting.

        • I never said the French claimed any victories. Alsp, this engagement started was started by giving the Rafale an unrealistic favorable advantage starting close up on the Raptor’s 6 oclock when the pilot called out “fight on”. Highly unlikely any pilot would find themselves in this kind of advantage in real combat today against any modern foe.. Also, these Raptors were equipped with transponders to defeat their Stealth advantage so the Rafale’s can track and lock onto them for a simulated missile kill. The USAF loves to put their pilots in underdog situation and force them to work their way out of it. Pilots win wars not planes.

  3. David, you forgot to mention that the F-22 was carrying drop tanks during all of this.

  4. You guys do know this f-22 has external fuel tanks on right?

    Makes this a joke to be honest

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