In just a few short months, Dassault Aviation configured the Rafale fighter to carry the Semac pod, enabling it to participate in the Red Flag exercise in the United States.
So that the French Air Force may participate in the Red Flag allied air forces exercise, slated at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, each aircraft participating has to be equipped with a system called ACMI, or Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation, an absolute prerequisite for flight safety during the exercise. For Dassault Aviation, this was a sterling opportunity to spotlight its expertise.
The ACMI comprises a support rail, electronics racks and a receiving/transmitting antenna. It can replay the flight parameters, simulate the firing of air-to-air missiles, calculate hit probability and instantly transmit the results of the simulated shots to the pilots concerned and ground control teams. By centralizing the data transmitted by all aircraft participating in the exercise, organizers can monitor the tactical situation in real time and control it via a ground station. It also makes it easier to draw up reports on the exercise, using 3D displays during mission replay.
The French version of this pod, made by MBDA, is dubbed Semac (Système d’entraînement aux mission aériennes complexes), or “training system for complex airborne missions.” It is installed on one of the plane’s wingtips in place of one of the two Mica missiles. However, carrying different wingtip stores like this could have a significant impact on the Rafale’s flight envelope.