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Rafale Vs F-16: Which Fighter Jet Will Win The Dogfight?

In a face-off which aircraft will have the advantage? Pakistan’s F16 or India’s Rafale?

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3 min read

Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas
Camera: Sumit Badola

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Referring to the aerial combat with Pakistan last week, Attorney General KK Venugopal said that the country needs Rafale to defend itself from Pakistan's F-16s. He also added that two squadrons of Rafale fighter jets are coming to India in flyaway condition and the first one will be in by September, which begs the question: is Rafale really that good?

Manufactured by Dassault Aviation, Rafale jet is a twin-jet fighter aircraft which is able to operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base. Whereas, F-16 Fighting Falcon is a fourth generation single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin.  Approximately 3,000 operational F-16s are in service today in 25 countries. So, in a face-off which aircraft will have the advantage? Which aircraft will win the dogfight? Pakistan's F16 or India's Rafale? Let's compare the stats, shall we?

Rafale Vs F-16
Rafale Vs F-16
(Photo: Aroop Mishra/The Quint)
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Rafale Vs F-16
Rafale Vs F-16
(Photo: Aroop Mishra/The Quint)
Rafale Vs F-16
Rafale Vs F-16
(Photo: Aroop Mishra/The Quint)
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Rafale Vs F-16
Rafale Vs F-16
(Photo: Aroop Mishra/The Quint)
Rafale Vs F-16
Rafale Vs F-16
(Photo: Aroop Mishra/The Quint)
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In a dog-fight, advantage lies with one who targets the enemy first. And Radar helps in doing just that. In F16, Lockheed Martin has integrated technologies derived from the F-22 and F-35 including the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) APG-83 radar that provides F-16 with 5th generation fighter radar capability. It can detect enemies in a range of 120 kms. Its maximum engagement range is 20 targets at 84 kms.

Rafale on the other hand is fitted with 4 key technologies:

  1. A multi-directional radar which can detect 40 targets at the same time in a range of over 100 kms.
  2. An undetectable passive radar sensor which is an extremely precise optical camera.
  3. Recognisance pod: a massive digital camera which can take photos at any speed with a precision of 10 cms.
  4. And finally, Spectra, an integrated defence aid system which can jam or counter-jam enemy radar signals, give missile-approach warnings and send out decoy signals in case an enemy missile gets too close to the Rafale.

Decoy signal is an electromagnetic pulse sent from the rear of the plane which de-roots enemy missile.

So, clearly, it's a tough fight between Rafale and F-16. And predicting a clear winner is a bit difficult. Victory depends also on the pilot's skills. So, who do you think will win the battle? Let the facts decide.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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