Full Range of Rafale M Weapons Tested on Charles de Gaulle

Released on Friday, December 23, 2005
AM39 Exocet
Charles de Gaulle
Rafale M
Storm Shadow
EDG - Environmental Data Gathering
GHTM - Ground Handling and Training Missile
From the 1st to the 15th December 2005, MBDA carried out a flight trials campaign , under the direction of Dassault Aviation, of the full range of the the naval Rafale's weaponry from the French aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle. MBDA tested in succession: Exocet AM-39, SCALP-EG, ASMP-A and Meteor. At the same time, trials with MICA were also carried out. In addition, the loading logistics of the SCALP-EG container were also appraised.

The campaign, which had involved a full year of planning, was a total success. All the envisaged trials went fully according to plan and the level of performance in all cases was exceptional. Each element of the planned activity went so well that the trials were concluded one day earlier than envisaged.

EXOCET AM-39 trials were for the naval version of the missile under the Rafale-M. The Exocet AM-39 (anti-ship and anti-surface missile) used was an instrumented missile of the Block 2 Mod 2 type. Flight tests with unarmed weapon launchers also served to evaluate the aircraft's landing on the carrier after its missiles had been discharged.

Tension on the carrier's catapult system was adjusted progressively up to maximum. The main purpose of the test was to identify the mechanical impact, such as the shock and vibration, on the equipment especially during catapult launch at maximum tension and also during arrester landing. By testing to these extremes, even the most demanding of operational conditions were able to be replicated. Test results also showed that the missile and the missile launcher were correctly dimensioned.

The next important stage of the Exocet Am-39 Block 3 Mod 2 is a comprehensive missile firing from the F3 standard Rafale-M envisaged in 2007.

Tests with the SCALP-EG cruise missile were considered complementary to the main trials as the naval variant of the missile had already been carried out on the F2 standard Rafale in an earlier campaign. A series of four catapult launches were carried out.

This important campaign offered the MICA program the opportunity to carry out a range of tests using an F-2 instrumented missile. The tests evaluated aspects such as shock and vibration and compared the results against known data from the F-1 standard Rafale allowing for any necessary adjustments to be made. Again all test objectives were met following a series of catapult launches at maximum tension.

Trials with Meteor on the Rafale-M started on the 11th December and concluded this significant campaign. These were the first carried out from an aircraft carrier and followed on from trials carried out earlier in September of this year at the Istres testing site in France.

During the trials an EDG (Environmental Data Gathering) instrumented missile was used as well as two GHTM (Ground Handling Training Missile) missiles. The EDG was positioned alternatively on the under-wing rail launchers and the under-fuselage ejection points of the Rafale. Both the EDG and the GHTM missiles possess the same properties as an operational missile in terms of size, weight and aerodynamic properties.

With the EDG, data on the shock and vibration associated with the environment created by catapult launch and arrester landing was able to be gathered and assessed. These trials concluded the EDG-Rafale test campaign designed to accumulate data on the missile throughout its full operational flight envelope.

Tests with the SCALP-EG container were carried out between 11th and 15th December and successfully demonstrated its range of functions: as a storage unit, a transportation unit and as a loading unit for the Rafale. The way is now clear for the final qualification of the SCALP-EG container.


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