The French Government Defense procurement agency takes delivery of the first aircraft of the fourth production tranche of the Rafale program.
The sixty aircraft of this production lot are all fitted as standard with next-generation sensors, namely the RBE2 Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar with active antenna, the new-generation missile launch detector (DDM NG) and the new front sector optronics "Identification and Telemetry.”
The Rafale is the first European combat aircraft in service to benefit from AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) technology, which significantly improves the detection range. It is the culmination of over 10 years of R & D efforts on active antennas. The aircraft, which is the 121st production Rafale to be delivered, is a two-seater variant carrying the French air force registration B 339. It will deploy in coming days to the flight trials unit at Mont-de-Marsan airbase.
The Rafale is the first omnirole fighter aircraft; that is to say it can, during the same sortie, carry out different types of missions, such as ground attack and air defense. Totally versatile, the Rafale can carry out the full range of missions that can be assigned to a fighter: air superiority and air defense; attack of land and naval targets; close air support of ground troops; reconnaissance, and nuclear strike. It is also the first aircraft designed from the outset to operate both from a land base and from an aircraft carrier. It is operated by the French Air Force and Navy.
To date, 180 production aircraft have been ordered by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA), and 121 have been delivered in its three versions: 38 shipborne Rafale "Ms" for the Navy, and 39 Rafale “B” two-seaters and 44 Rafale C single-seaters for the air force. The Rafale has been deployed for combat operations in Afghanistan, Libya and Mali.