adplus-dvertising
Press "Enter" to skip to content

How France Killed an F-22 Raptor In a Mock ‘Dog Fight’

Yes, the F-22 can be beaten in battle. France did it back in 2009: More than a decade ago, one of the most controversial incidents in the air industry took place when a French Rafale fighter jet defeated America’s F-22 Raptor stealth fighter in mock combat.

The F-22 Raptor is a 5th generation air superiority stealth fighter. The single-seat, twin-engine jet was the first operational stealth fighter jet in the world, and only one of four stealth fighters flying today—the American F-35, Chinese J-20, and Russian Su-57 make up the rest three.

The Dassault Rafale is a highly capable 4,5 generation fighter. With single- and twin-seat options, the twin-engine fighter jet can carry out a wide range of operations, including attacks against ground and sea targets.

This wasn’t the first time a technologically inferior and older aircraft defeated an F-22. During an earlier instance, a T-38 Talon “shot down” an F-22 during dogfighting training.

The Dogfight

The contentious incident took place in November 2009 when U.S. F-22s flew to the United Arab Emirates to train with the French Air Force (Rafales), British Royal Air Force, (Typhoons), and the UAE Air Force (Mirage 2000). During several days of training, pilots from all nations faced each other in several different training evolutions.

The F-22 scored well against its training opponents, “shooting down” six Rafales and drawing in five more mock dogfights. However, one Emirati Mirage 2000 managed to “shoot down” an F-22. If that wasn’t enough for the world’s most advanced fighter jet at the time, a Rafale also defeated an F-22 in a mock dogfight.

The U.S. Air Force denied the instance, forcing the French Air Force to release a video from the Rafale cockpit showing the French pilot being in a position to “shoot down” his American colleague several times.

To achieve that, the Rafale pilot pushed his aircraft to the limits. At one point, the French pilot even reached 9Gs, and one can hear at the video footage how much he is struggling at those extreme forces of gravity where fighter pilots can sometimes pass out for a few seconds.

Is the F-22 Useless?

The French pilot was clearly a master of his aircraft, who flew very aggressively, pushing his Rafale to the limits and outperforming his American counterpart. However, that doesn’t make the F-22 useless or a failure. Rather, it delineates the importance of the human behind the stick.

In the U.S. jet fighter community, there is the “Any given Sunday/Day” theory, which means that one type of aircraft can shoot down another, even more advanced, on any given day.

Even in this day of advanced avionics, artificial intelligence, and sensors, airmanship and a pilot’s ability to fly well are critical.

Moreover, training “deaths” are just that. They help pilots test their aircraft and their tactics and be ready for the real thing.

It is undeniable that the F-22 Raptor is the more superior aircraft, but the Rafale pilot proved that a highly trained and clever pilot can ruin the day of even the best technology in the world.

Bonus: F-22 Photo Essay

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor receives fuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, above the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, March 14, 2022. The F-22 Raptor is a fifth-generation aircraft that combines stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, integrated avionics, and is designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances, and deter regional aggressors while deployed in the USCENTCOM AOR. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Frank Rohrig)

F-22

Eight F-22 Raptors with the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, receive fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 507th Air Refueling Wing from Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Feb. 7, 2022, while the Okies flew to the U.S. Virgin Islands for training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lauren Kelly)

F-22

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor from the 95th Fighter Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., moves into position behind a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall Air Base, England, to conduct aerial refueling Sept. 4, 2015, over the Baltic Sea. The U.S. Air Force has deployed four F-22 Raptors, one C-17 Globemaster III, approximately 60 Airmen and associated equipment to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. While these aircraft and Airmen are in Europe, they will conduct air training with other Europe-based aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson/Released)

F-22

Maj. Joshua “Cabo” Gunderson, F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team commander, performs at the Thunder Over New Hampshire Air Show at Pease Air National Guard Base in Portsmouth, N.H., Sept. 11, 2021. The mission of the F-22 Demonstration Team is to showcase the unmatched maneuverability of the Air Force’s 5th generation air dominance stealth fighter, highlight the history of the Air Force’s service though heritage formation flights, and interact with local communities through outreach events. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Steven Tucker)

F-22

A Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor fighter streaks by the ramp at the 2008 Joint Services Open House (JSOH) airshow at Andrews AFB.

F-22

An F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team pilot flies behind a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 465th Air Refueling Squadron assigned to Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, March 8. 2021. The F-22 team from Joint Base Langley–Eustis, Virginia, is assigned to Air Combat Command and received fuel from the Okies during their flight back to their home station after performing at an air show. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mary Begy)

F-22

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor pilot from the 95th Fighter Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., flies over the Baltic Sea Sept. 4, 2015. The U.S. Air Force has deployed four F-22 Raptors, one C-17 Globemaster III, approximately 60 Airmen and associated equipment to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. While these aircraft and Airmen are in Europe, they will conduct air training with other Europe-based aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson/Released)

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate.

WATCH NOW

DOWNLOAD NOW

Spread the love