Indonesia orders 18 Rafale fighter aircraft from French firm Dassault

According to a PR published by Dassault Aviation on August 11, 2023, Indonesia's order for 42 Rafale aircraft, signed in February 2022, has officially progressed with the latest inclusion of 18 more jets. This follows their initial order of 6 aircraft in September 2022, bringing the current total to 24.

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Indonesia orders 18 Rafale fighter aircraft from French firm Dassault French Air Force's Rafale F4 fighter aircraft.  (Picture source: French Ministry of Armed Forces)

Indonesia's Rafale acquisition is influenced by its ties with France and a diversified defense policy. There's a push to revamp the defense acquisition process, consolidate defense R&D, and enhance recruitment transparency in the Defense Acquisition Agency. The Rafale deal should encompass training for Indonesian staff at the production facility and arrangements for local aircraft parts manufacturing.

The Indonesian Air Force's combat aircraft inventory comprises several models from diverse origins. The F-16 Fighting Falcon from the United States has 33 units: 3 F-16A/B, 7 F-16AM/BM, and 23 F-16C/D.

From Russia, there are 11 Sukhoi Su-30 MK2 multirole aircraft and 5 Sukhoi Su-27 SKM air superiority jets. The Hawk 200 from the United Kingdom is present with 22 units of the 209 model for light attack missions.

South Korea's KAI T-50 is used for light attack and LIFT roles, with 13 T-50i units and 6 more on order, all of which are being enhanced with radars and cannons. Brazil's Embraer EMB 314 adds 15 units serving in light attack and COIN roles.

Technical data

With the capability to accommodate a crew of one or two, this aircraft measures a length of 15.27 meters, flaunts a wingspan of 10.90 meters, and stands tall at a height of 5.34 meters. The wing area is detailed at 45.7 m2.

Its weight specifications vary based on its versions: the B version has an empty weight of 10,300 kg, the C version weighs 9,850 kg when empty, and the M version tips the scales at 10,600 kg. When it comes to the gross weight, the Rafale stands at 15,000 kg. It can take to the skies with a maximum weight of 24,500 kg.

When fuel considerations come into play, the Rafale has an internal fuel capacity of 4,700 kg for its single-seater (C) variant and 4,400 kg for its two-seater (B) version. The maximum fuel capacity for the C variant is specified as 16,550 liters, considering its internal capacity plus the added conformal and drop tanks.

Its raw power emanates from two Snecma M88-4e turbofans, with each offering a thrust of 50.04 kN in dry conditions and soaring up to 75 kN with the afterburner engaged.

In terms of performance, the Rafale boasts a maximum speed of 1,912 km/h or Mach 1.8 at high altitudes and can reach speeds up to 1,390 km/h or Mach 1.1 at lower altitudes.

The Rafale's capability of supercruise on four missiles with a 1250-liter belly droptank is impressive, not to mention the Mach 1.4 supercruise on the Rafale M (navy) version armed with six MICA air-to-air missiles.

The aircraft can undertake a penetration mission over a range of 1,850 km, equipped with three tanks, two SCALP-EG missiles, and two MICA AAMs. If it's on a ferry, the range extends to 3,700 km with three drop tanks. It can soar up to a height of 15,835 meters and manage g limits of +9 −3.6, extending to +11 in emergencies.

The Rafale comes equipped with a 30 mm GIAT 30/M791 autocannon and can carry a combination of armaments on its 14 external hardpoints for the Air and Space Force versions (Rafale B/C) and 13 for the Navy version (Rafale M).

Among the missiles, it is armed with are the MBDA MICA EM and IR, MBDA Meteor, Magic II for air-to-air engagements. For air-to-surface targets, it employs the MBDA Apache, MBDA Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG, AASM-Hammer, and a range of GBU Paveway bombs, to name a few.The Rafale can also be equipped with the MBDA AM 39-Exocet air-launched anti-ship missile, positioning it at the central under-fuselage hardpoint.