The French Ministry of the Armed Forces has recently made an impressive move by securing an order for an additional 42 Rafale F4 aircraft, indicating a significant boost in its military aviation capabilities.
Valued at over 5 billion euros, this deal stands as a testament to the fulfillment of the 2019-25 Military Programming Law (LPM). The initial plan had proposed an order for 30 fighter-bombers, but an additional 12 were added to replace those previously sold to Croatia.
Production and Delivery
Expected to be delivered in 2027, the first aircraft from this fifth production batch prove to be a significant milestone in French military aviation. This step forwards in the development of fighter aircraft was initiated in 2018, with the first increment qualified by the DGA in March 2023.
The Rafale F4 is equipped with enhancements such as data exchange capabilities and superior cyber threat protection. Its key features include SCORPION helmet-mounted sight, provided by Thales, an improved fire control system, and an advanced RBE-2 AESA radar. Furthermore, the aircraft is also equipped with a modernized SPECTRA self-protection system, and new features like a GMTI mode for ground target detection and tracking.
F4 Standard and Future Development
Fulfilling the F4 standard, these aircraft will integrate Contact radio station, MICA NG missile, and a Digital Autonomous Jammer (BAN) into Rafale's SPECTRA self-protection system. An exciting aspect of this development is the potential of these fighter aircraft to evolve towards the F5 standard in the 2030s.
Economic Impact and Appreciation
Furthermore, this “major” contract, funded by the 2024-30 Military Programming Law, can be seen as a significant economic boost, securing over 7,000 jobs in more than 400 companies throughout France. Dassault Aviation's CEO Eric Trappier expressed his gratitude toward the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the DGA, and the AAE for their continued trust.
The French manufacturer also made headlines this week as Indonesia confirmed an order for an additional 18 Rafale aircraft, marking a significant week for Dassault Aviation.