The original spec was for a 8-9 tonne plane with a MTO of 15-18T, but the other partners wanted a heavier plane and the dispute broke the partnership. Note that in the mean time it has grown to about 50% larger than the originally planned size! The original sales plan was to replace the thousand or so of Mirage fighter/bombers sold previously. But given the choice between a plane marginally larger and slightly more capable that the M-III, many former Mirage customers bought the F-16 instead.
So the French Government recast the Rafale into a much larger plane, about what the rest of the original consortium wanted, about the size of Typhoon. But the engine design was to far advanced and there were limits to the size of plane it could power and still meet the performance minima. Thus as the war load grew, the performance fell off until where it requires three tanks to equal the range/payload of the F-16 with two Mk-84 JDAMs. You see planes with higher aspect ratios and conventional tails have less induced drag and thus better range/cruise performance. Think about it. The USAF could have had any planform they wanted, but made the active choice to go with the conventional. Same story with the F-35. The Boeing plane had better numbers all around except range which was equal in spite of it's heavier weight.
As to your question; The F-16, Block 60 is superior to the Rafale in more than a few of the many parameters! In a lightly loaded condition, with fuel for combat and RTB at range, ( Four missiles and CL Tank for the F-16 and four missiles and two wing tanks for the Rafale!) it will have little trouble dealing with the Rafale! Higher T/W and aspect ratio, combined with the reclined seat make instantaneous maneuvers faster and sustained maneuvers longer. It is a fact of life and you continuously fail to perceive it! Then there is the haul two, or four big bombs to there and back where the F-16 has about a 44-61 Nmi advantage in radius! This is a second fact that you have never acknowledged. I would also site the four missiles and no tanks T/W and Fuel Persistence where the F-16 has a significant advantage in ACM! This is not really relevant because of the reduced radius of action of both planes in this mission. So if we use the criteria above then the F-16 is the superior plane. But being an AVIONICs Weenie of the first magnatude, I like the performance of the proven radar in the F-16 over the less capable radar in the Rafale! This is a critical mission requirement! Your failure to realize these substantial defects such as small antennas in both planes, compared to larger planes like the F/A-18, F-15, F/A-22, F-35 and even the Typhoon! There is nothing that signal processing can do to overcome the lack of antenna area! Just one more failure of the French thought processes! Lastly they thought that it would be easy to transfer miniature model stealth to the real thing. Boy did they miss the boat there! Believe me when I tell you that if it actually had the least little bit of actual stealth, some one would have bought it by now! The ravings of test pilots and company engineers who have a vested interest in selling the plane feeds fan boys like you with BS into thinking that it is a much better plane than it is. If it was even half that good, why has no one bought it? (The ultimate question!)
I would point out that the second picture you post, different by the way from the first is even more clear. The open doors you circled are inlets, not exhausts! The slope of the door is front to back letting air at the leading edge (Front) into the engine. Those doors pop open any time that the air pressure on the inside is less than the air pressure on the out side!
As to your claim that only Rafale and F-22 use them? Are you completely ignorant? Or just Franco-psychotic? Look up Harrier, F-14 and a hundred others. Then there is your idiotic claim that the splitters do not spill air compressed by the strakes? ROFLMAO! Your explanation aside, the splitters dump stagnant air that was compressed by the strakes who's true function is to turn the airstream so that it is parallel to the inlet, not compress it! Again the inlet doors you circled were added after flight tests. The prototype did not have them because of their deleterious effect on Low Observables!
You know so little about it that I can not continue this conversation!
The inlet doors you circled are exactly that, auxiliary inlet doors. you can push them open with your hand. Easily!
The vents that admit cold air into the space between the engine and bay wall are the small triangle/funnel shaped NACA flush inlets just behind and inside the aux inlets. Look just about the point where the splitter plates dump the air between the fuse and inlet bulge. They are open all the time. The Aux Inlets are only open when the engine is sucking more air than the cross section of the inlet will admit! Read a book, or eight. Get some knowledge, you need it! Stop attacking me Not because it bothers me, but because it is a frightful waist of time. Your time!
� 1998 -