Dogfight at the Casbah: Rafale vs. F-16

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Dassault Rafale(click for cutaway view) France’s Rafale is part of a set of European 4+ generation fighters that were developed and fielded during the 1990s-early 21st century, with the aim of surpassing both existing offerings among America’s “teen series” fighters, and Russia’s Mig-29 Fulcrum and SU-27/30 Flanker family. The French had originally discussed a consortium with Britain & Germany, but France’s insistence on carrier capabilities and accompanying weight limits, and their non-negotiable demand that it be in charge of any fighter project and allocate work sharing, created a competitor in the Eurofighter and forced Dassault to go it alone. Morocco’s air force currently flies 2 squadrons of old F-5s, and 2 squadrons of slightly newer Mirage F1s. Their neighbor and rival Algeria flies MiG-23s of similar vintage, but adds far more modern and capable MiG-29s. The Force Aérienne Algérienne also flies SU-24 Fencer and SU-25 Frogfoot strike aircraft, and is set to receive 36 multi-role MiG-29SMTs and 30 multi-role SU-30MKs as part of a multi-billion dollar weapons deal with Russia. Morocco is looking for replacement aircraft that will prevent a complete overmatch, and initial reports pegged them as the Rafale’s first export customer. That competition has become a dogfight, however, […]

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