The UAE’s EDGE Group has announced plans to equip the country’s Rafale F4 fighter aircraft and India’s Tejas Light Combat Aircraft with locally produced precision-guided munitions.
An official from EDGE subsidiary Al Tariq told Breaking Defense the fourth-generation French jets could soon fire Mk81, Mk82, and longer-range Mk83 guided bombs.
The move aims to improve the lethality of the F4s and fulfill an Emirati Air Force requirement for indigenous weapons to be integrated into the country’s combat jets.
According to Al Tariq chief executive Theunis Botha, negotiations with Rafale are already underway for the planned integration.
“The first Rafale aircraft will be delivered (to the UAE) around 2027, and we would be in time to have the integration completed by that time,” he said.
In December 2021, France announced a $19 billion order for 80 F4 fighter jets from the Emirati Air Force. This would make the Middle Eastern nation the first foreign operator of the aircraft.
Integration Into Tejas Fighters
At the Dubai Airshow 2023, India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) presented its Tejas fighters, which were equipped with high-tech Emirati weapons.
The move aimed to convince the Indian military to approve the integration of Al Tariq precision-guided weapons into the single-engine aircraft.
Indian Air Force along with HAL displayed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) in the #DubaiAirshow by way of flying display showcasing the capabilities and formation aerobatic skills of the aircraft to the visiting delegations. pic.twitter.com/rsaPQsFoKg
— HAL (@HALHQBLR) November 14, 2023
The company said feasibility studies have been conducted to integrate the smart munitions safely and smoothly.
“We are proud to be associated with HAL in this strategic campaign to offer high technology solutions to the Tejas customers in the region,” Botha said. “We look forward to presenting the range of Al Tariq’s mission-proven long-range precision-guided munitions to HAL Tejas customers around the globe.”
Planned testing of the systems in India will take place in early 2024.