According to stringent customer requirements, ease of support has also driven RAFALE design very early, and thus drastically reduced its logistic footprint for simple deployability. To boost reliability, accessibility and maintainability, clever technologies have been favoured to limit the manpower:
The RAFALE supportability and mission readiness claims are supported by the undisputed track record of the earlier generation of French fighters, such as the combat-proven MIRAGE 2000.
From the early beginning of the development phase, the French MoD assigned very stringent “integrated logistic support” (ILS) requirements to the RAFALE programme. “Computer aided design” (CAD) with the DASSAULT Systèmes CATIA software suite, concurrent engineering and bold technological choices ultimately produced an ILS system that exceeds the original supportability requirements.
The following examples, selected from a range of unique and innovative features, demonstrate the advance in reliability, accessibility and maintainability brought by the RAFALE:
Based on 20 years-plus of experience gained on the MIRAGE 2000, integrated testability of the Weapon Delivery and Navigation System (WDNS) has proven itself. Accordingly, it has been decided on the RAFALE to extend it to all aircraft systems.
Thanks to accurate and comprehensive testability features, it allows targeted replacements to be made on the flight line, down to electronic circuit boards and specific components.
Human factors engineering work has been conducted with CATIA in order to ensure the accessibility of the components within aircraft bays, so that all flight line operations can be carried out by a single technician. Special attention has been paid to minimizing the duration of these operations and the occurrence of errors.
The centralised armament safety system makes all safety pins and last chance / end-of-runway actions unnecessary, minimising the risk of errors and accidents, and contributing to achieve an unbeatable “turn around time” (TAT).
Precision manufacturing techniques together with the use of CATIA eliminate time-consuming boresighting procedures following cannon, head-up display (HUD) or radar exchanges.
The groundbreaking design of the M88 suppresses the requirement for a check on a dedicated engine test bench before reinstalling it back on the aircraft.
Deployments on forward operating bases, including austere airfields, have been made easier by keeping ground support equipment to a minimum :
All these maintainability features have been thoroughly assessed and validated by French Navy and French Air Force maintainers.