Rafale’s first aircraft upgraded to F3-R standard completed its first flight from Air base 118 at Mont-de-Marsan on 10 December, 2018, French Air Force said in a statement Thursday.
The F3-R version will be armed with a combination of the new Meteor long-range air-to-air missile and the RBE2 active electronic scanning radar; a new TALIOS pod that enhances day/night target detection, recognition and identification.
The upgrade also consists of an Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (AGCAS) that forms a sort of protective bubble around the aircraft to avoid a collision with the ground when, for example, a pilot loses consciousness. This is the first time such a system has been fitted to a French military aircraft.
The new standard also takes into account operational lessons learned, notable for the Modular Air Ground Armament (AASM), as well as interoperability and regulatory requirements.
The F3-R upgrade project for all 144 Rafale aircraft currently in French service was launched in October this year.