Impressive opportunities await the French fighter Rafale F5

PARIS, BM, ($1=0.84 euros) – Last month, the Directorate General for Armament [DGA] announced that the Rafale upgraded to the F4-1 standard had just carried out its first “readiness for use review” [RAU] campaign to test in a “realistic technical-operational framework” its new collaborative combat functionalities”.

As a reminder, the Rafale F4 will have, among other things, increased connectivity, enhanced cyber protection, and an RBE2 active antenna radar equipped with new features. In addition, its RAfale Fire Line Protection and Avoidance System [SPECTRA], as well as it’s OSF [frontal sector optronics], will benefit from the latest technological advances, just as the RECO NG nacelle will see its capabilities improved thanks to artificial intelligence. It is also a question of integrating a SCORPION helmet viewfinder.

“It is a very complete standard that I would qualify as major for the Rafale”, summarized General Frederic Parisot, the major general of the Air & Space [AAE] army, in the last issue of DSI, dedicated to combating aviation. However, and even if the Air Combat System of the Future [SCAF] is supposed to take over in 2040, there is no question of stopping there.

“From its conception, the Rafale has been designed with an incremental approach. It will extend beyond the entry into service of the NGF [New Generation Fighter] by 2040 “, explained the MGAAE, referring to the fighter aircraft on which the SCAF will be based.

“At the start of the 2030s, the F5 standard will allow us to further improve the Rafale’s first entry capacity, with new sensors and armaments, but also capacities to communicate, collaborate and be interoperable”, then indicated General Parisot. “We must remain agile to benefit from the speed with which technologies evolve,” he insisted.

And to recall that, “In fifteen years, the AAE went from the F2 standard to the F3R standard [recently declared fully operational, nldr], capable of carrying out intelligence missions with the RECO NG nacelle, of implementing the ASMP missile.”

As to what will be the capabilities available to the Rafale F5, General Parisot said that “the contours of this standard have not yet been decided”. However, he said. “In fifteen years, the Rafale will have an impressive number of capabilities, some of which we do not yet imagine”.

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