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. 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.

  2. 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!!!

  3. 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.

  4. 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..

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