Dassault Delivers Two Rafale Combat Jets to France

France has taken delivery of two Rafale multirole fighter aircraft from Dassault Aviation in Mérignac.

Paris said the jets were designed under the latest F3R standard. Launched in 2014, the model allows the integration of advanced software, Meteor air-to-air missiles, and additional weapon systems.

The new aircraft will be stationed at Mont-de-Marsan, where they will receive the government’s F4.1 aircraft upgrade to counter modern threats through the end of the decade.

This separate initiative updates the Rafale’s electronic warfare suites, communications tools, targeting pods, and radars.

In addition, the planes will include the Scorpion helmet viewfinder, passive algorithmic threat detection, enhanced Rafale-to-Rafale data exchange, and improved fire control for the Meteor missile.

The Rafale F4.1 system achieved initial operational capability in February following months of training, sky policing trials, and other operational deployments.

In 2021, France completed its first flight of the two Rafales in the F4.1 configuration, demonstrating the upgrade’s functionality in “complex” combat simulations and air refueling tasks.

French Air Force Rafale
A French Air Force Rafale. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride

Fleet Replenishment

France said that the latest systems are the 13th and 14th planes under a 40 aircraft order with Dassault.

These include the tranche four contract of 28 jets and a special 12 aircraft order to replace units sold in a 2020 second-hand foreign military sale to Greece.

In 2021, Athens received its first Rafale jet from Paris under the framework, followed by a batch of six in 2022.

France wrote that its upcoming 40 aircraft fleet will be distributed to warfighters, with the exception of one that will be transformed into a test bench platform for future aerial development projects.

More Rafales

Since the program’s inception in the 1990s, the French military has employed 166 Rafales out of 234 planned.

In January, Paris signed a 5-billion euro ($5.4 billion) contract for 42 additional Rafales. The agreement serves as the fifth tranche ordered under the effort.

Related Articles

Back to top button