The French Directorate General for Armaments (DGA) carried out the first test campaign of the Rafale F4-1 standard at Istres Air Base from April 26 to 29.
The F4 standard (or upgrade) will add helmet sight capability; integrate the MICA NG missile and the 1000 kg AASM bomb and introduce the Rafale to the era of collaborative air combat.
The current Rafale in service with the French Air Force and sold to India, Egypt and Qatar is the F-3R stamdard. With each new 'standard,' additional features are added to the Rafale
Eight complex missions representing 50 aircraft sorties were carried out by test crews from the DGA, the French Navy, the French Air and Space Army and Dassault Aviation.
Two Rafale in the current state of development of the F4-1 standard within a large-scale air force, with up to 8 aircraft in the combat zone were employed for the test.
The Rafale F4.1 was thus able to be tested, in a realistic technical-operational framework: the crews, equipped with SCORPION helmet sights, were able to implement the new collaborative combat functionalities, in particular the precise localization of other aircraft by passive means within a patrol.
This readiness-for-use-review campaign (RAU) mobilized numerous air resources from the French Ministry of the Armed Forces: 8 Rafale including 2 Rafale Marine, 2 Mirage 2000 and 2 Alphajet, to which were added the daily provision of the Mediterranean training area by the Navy, and by significant ground resources of DGA Flight tests: specific air test control, listening rooms and tracking systems.
Technical personnel from Dassault Aviation, Thales and MBDA were also present in order to monitor the performance of test flights in real time, to provide their expertise and to benefit directly from the feedback of the crew.
The next Rafale F4-1 RAU campaign will also target the assessment of the capabilities of this new standard in the field of Air-Surface missions.