Coalition Strike Fighters Show Different Taste for Weapons

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Rafale strike fighter carrying four ASAM guided weapons and two infra-red guided MICA air/air missiles. Photo: EMA, Armee de l'Air

A collection of photos released today by the U.K and French Ministries of Defense illustrate some of the armmament configurations used by tcoalition air forces. These configurations take advantage of the multi-role nature of the Rafale. The fighters deployed today by the RAF included Tornado GR4 which flew combat missions from the U.K., and Typhoons which began deploying from a forward location in Gioia Del Colle, operating with the 906 Expeditionary Air Wing.

RAF Tornado GR4 takes off from RAF Marham on a sortie to Libya. This aircraft is armed for ground attack, carrying three Brimstone missiles, two GPS enhanced laser guided bombs, ASRAAM air/air missiles and a Litening targeting pod. Photo: UK MOD
Another view of the Tornado GR4 on route to Libya with the same ordnance. This configuration is suitable for close air support, with the Brimstone (mmw guided) missiles used for attacking clearly recognizable targets such as T-72 tanks, rocket launchers and armored personnel cariers. Targets having less distinctive shape would be targeted by the LGB using laser designation to clearly mark the target for high precision. Target acquisition is performed by Litening pod mounted forward of the Brimstone pack. .The two ASRAAM missiles are carried for self defense. Photo: UK MOD.
A Tornado GR4 from Marham carrying taxi for takeoff on a combat mission to Libya. Note the full complement of Cerberus self defense EW system. A different pod under each wing carries different countermeasures system releasing chaff, flares, electronic deception and jamming . Photo: UK MOD.
Rafale strike fighter carrying four AASM guided weapons (Armament Air-Sol Modulaire (AASM) and two infra-red guided MICA air/air missiles. The AASM used on this plane are most likely GPS-guided versions. Infra-red guided version is also available. Photo: EMA, Armee de l'Air
This two-seater Rafale is also participating in the combat missions over Libya. The aircraft carries a similar weapon configuration - four AASM guided weapons and two IR MICA air/air missiles. Photo: EMA Armee de l'Air.
French Air Force Mirage 2000-5 prepares for take off on a combat air patrol mission over Libya, armed with four MICA RF guided missiles and two infrared guided short range MICA-IR missiles. Photo: EMA Armee de l'Air
Eurofighter Typhoon takes off from RAF Coningsby on a combat air patrol over Libya. Air/air ordnance carried by this Typhoon includes four AMRAAM medium range BVR missiles and two ASRAAM short range missiles. Photo: UK MOD