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Is the Rafale better than the F-22?

The F-22 Raptor is the best jet fighter in the world, supposedly. Well, now reports say it is not invulnerable as it was shot down by a Rafale. This is not fantasy of course, but the results of a mock air combat, back in 2009, but what is so impressive is that no one talked about it. The French victory over the F-22 occurred in November 2009. A squad of F-22s from the Air Force’s 1st Fighter Wing in Virginia flew to Al Dhafra, in the UAE, to train with French air force Rafale fighters and Typhoon jets from the British Royal Air Force. The following month, the French Ministry of Defense released video captures — one can be seen at left — from a Rafale’s forward-facing camera showing an F-22 in a disadvantageous dogfighting position, implying the French plane had won at least one round of pretend fighting. But the American pilots insisted their planes had gone undefeated against the French during the November exercise — that, in fact, the F-22s had “shot down” Rafales in six one-on-one engagements. Five other simulated battles ended in draws, the Americans said. The U.S. pilots copped to just one loss in the war game — an F-22 defeated by a Mirage 2000 flown by an Emirati aviator. The problem these days is that you can not lie anymore because social networks will get you. And this is exactly what happened. A video posted by a French Website on June 18 proves that the Americans were lying — or at least incorrect. The video from the Rafale’s camera clearly shows the French plane maneuvering into a good position to launch an infrared-guided Mica missile against a defending F-22. To be fair, it’s unclear what scenario the jets were playing out: whether, for instance, the F-22 started out slower and lower in order to let the Rafale gain the advantage for training purposes. Nevertheless, the video shows that the Rafale, a decade older and less sophisticated compared to the F-22, can be roughly comparable to the Raptor when maneuvering at low speed during close combat.

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