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

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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?

        • 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.

  4. 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.

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