Rafale F5 to be equipped with its bodyguard: nEUROn

Dassault Rafale & the nEUROn

Exploring the evolution of the Rafale F5 and nEUROn UAV, this article details France’s strategy to compete with advanced air technologies such as the American F35.

France is rethinking its air strategy with the Rafale F5 and nEUROn UAV, aiming for superiority in electronic warfare and the suppression of enemy air defenses. These developments signal a significant evolution in France’s air combat capability.

In its quest to remain at the cutting edge of military air technology, France is moving forward with the development of the Rafale F5 and the integration of the nEUROn UAV. These advances mark a major strategic turning point, positioning France to compete with advanced technologies such as the American F35.

Rafale F5: a flying command post

The Rafale F5 is envisioned as a tactical flying command post, integrating data fusion and sensory processing capabilities. This approach aligns with the capabilities of the American F-35, marking a significant evolution in French fighter aircraft technology.

The nEUROn Drone: A “Royal Bodyguard

The nEUROn, an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), is designed to act as a “loyal wingman” alongside the Rafale F5. This drone will play a key role in suppression and destruction of enemy air defenses (SEAD/DEAD) operations, a field previously dominated by specialized aircraft such as the American E/A-18G Growler.

Electronic Warfare and Air Defense

Electronic warfare (EW) and air defense technologies have become crucial elements in modern conflicts, as witnessed by the war in Ukraine. France recognizes the growing importance of these capabilities, particularly in response to anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) missile systems.

SPECTRA EW system on Rafale

The SPECTRA electronic warfare system, integrated into the Rafale, is a key element of this strategy. It offers a robust threat detection and jamming capability, enhancing the aircraft’s survivability and attack capabilities.

Dassault Rafale & the nEUROn

Rafale F5 development and nEUROn

The development of the Rafale F5 and its support by the nEUROn UAV reflects a major change in France’s strategy. The Rafale F5 is designed to handle large volumes of data, and will require a fiber-optic infrastructure – an advance on previous versions.

Specialized ammunition and missiles

The Rafale F5 will be able to carry specialized munitions for the destruction of powerful and mobile air defense systems. This includes the planned development of an anti-ship/future cruise missile (FMAN/FNC), adapted to destroy ground-to-air systems.

Multi-environmental approach to SEAD/DEAD

France envisages the suppression of enemy air defenses through a multi-environmental and joint approach. This recognizes that air dominance in high-intensity conflicts requires a combination of land, naval and air capabilities.

Strategic implications

These developments point to an increased focus on electronic warfare and air defense suppression capabilities. France is seeking to guarantee its air superiority in an increasingly complex and technologically advanced warfare environment.

With the Rafale F5 and the nEUROn UAV, France is demonstrating its commitment to remaining at the cutting edge of military air technology. These advances, which include enhanced electronic warfare capabilities and a multi-environment approach to suppressing air defenses, position France as a serious contender in the field of advanced air technologies, competing with global players such as the United States.

War Wings Daily is an independant magazine.