Next-Gen. Rafale F4 to Fly in 2023 | 3/23/2017 | Staff
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Addressing the growing domestic and international demand for the French fighter aircraft, Dassault and the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) will soon begin a six-year development phase of the next-generation Rafale F4. The French Minister of Defense, Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, authorized the start of development of the next generation variant of the Rafale. The aircraft will introduce new capacities empowered by the modern missile and engine technologies.

The new variant will follow the Rafale F3-R currently in development and scheduled to complete the qualification testing next year. Dassault now produces Rafales to fulfill French orders for 180 aircraft, along with sales of 78 more aircraft for Egypt and India. The French Air Force could order additional 45 as it phases out older Mirage 2000 aircraft. The first fully equipped F4 aircraft are expected to enter service in 2025, though certain functions will be available in 2023. It will be part of the fifth production tranche (2019-2025), delivering on French and export orders.

France - Rafale - Air - Air - Forces

Since France plans to maintain the Rafale with its air and naval air forces at least through 2040, the French Ministry of Defense invests in the continuous modernization and upgrading of the aircraft. €1 billion were allocated for the development of the current variant – F3-R, which will integrate the Meteor, MBDA’s new extended-range air/air missile. Relying on a new AESA radar fitted to the aircraft the Meteor will be able to engage aerial targets from ranges exceeding 100 km. In the air/ground domain, the F3-R variant will be cleared to carry the new target designation pod PDL-NG from Thales. Other upgrades include the installation of an upgraded Link 16 terminal, improved – Mod 5 compatible IFF and buddy refueling pods for the French Navy’s Rafale N.

Rafale Pilot using the Fighter...
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