The French government has signed a $2.3 billion F4-standard development contract for the Rafale fighter jets.
France also approved a proposal to include some F4 functionalities to the last 28 of 180 Rafale aircraft it has on order. The deliveries of these aircraft to the French air force will begin from 2023.
The French Air Force plans to order additional 30 F4 standard Rafale aircraft in 2023 and will be delivered between 2027 and 2030, Florence Parly, the French Defense Minister said Tuesday.
The F4 standard will include upgraded radar sensors and front-sector optronics, as well as improved capabilities in the helmet-mounted display. It will have new weapons — notably MBDA’s Mica NG air-to-air missile and the 1,000-kilogram AASM air-to-ground modular weapon — and be able to carry the new Scalp missiles. It will also be equipped with the Talios multifunction optronic pod made by Thales.
The Rafale F4 will feature connectivity solutions to improve the aircraft’s effectiveness in network-centric warfare. “We’ll be able to receive more data, strengthen our data rate, talk, receive, notably thanks to satellite communication and software-defined radio: the Rafale F4 will move even further into the era of data,” Parly said.
Four batches of 13, 48, 59 and 60 Rafale aircraft had been ordered by the French MoD, totaling 132 aircraft for the French Air Force (63 Rafale B two-seaters and 69 Rafale C single-seaters) and 48 Rafale M naval single-seaters for the French Navy.