PARIS, FRANCE — With 92 Rafales ordered in 2022, Dassault Aviation has a historic order book, with 164 Rafales to be delivered. Other orders may come soon from India, Indonesia, and France. Producing these aircraft promises to be a huge challenge.
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The French fighter jet achieved a record in 2022 in terms of order intake. Last year, 92 copies of the Dassault Aviation fighter were ordered [80 for the United Arab Emirates, 6 in Greece, and 6 in Indonesia] worth a total of 15.7 billion euros, the French group announced during the presentation of its annual results on Thursday, March 9.
Thus, the portfolio of defense orders reached 30.3 billion, including 21.9 billion euros for exports. As of December 31, Dassault had 164 Rafales on the order book, including 125 for export and 39 for France, an unprecedented figure in the group’s history.
And it’s probably not over. In the coming months, other contracts for French fighter jets may fall. Such is the case with the second installment of the Indonesian Air Force. BulgarianMilitary.com reminds us that a new tranche of 18 Rafale is due to come into effect soon. Indonesia signed a contract in February 2022 to acquire 42 Rafales. Jakarta may acquire an additional 12 Mirage 2000-5 fighters from Qatar, according to people familiar with the matter.
Currently, Dassault Aviation’s production capacity is limited to one assembly line. However, the company has no intention of building a second one. at this stage, it will increase Rafale production for a month. If until now they have been making two fighters per month, the French company intends to start producing three per month.
Sources familiar with the plans of the French company claim that the increase in production will take place in 2024. It is after 2024 that Dassault will have to significantly increase production, as it will have to deliver 80 fighters to the United Arab Emirates. It is said that the period 2027-2030 will be the busiest for the French manufacturer.
More about Rafale
For the first time, the French presented Rafale to the general public in 2001. Before that, the prototypes make several test flights. In addition to France and Egypt, Croatia, Qatar, Greece, India, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates also operate with them.
Rafale has max takeoff weight: of 24,500 kg [54,013 lb]. The maximum speed at which it can fly is 1,912 km/h [1,188 mph, 1,032 kn] or Mach 1.8 at high altitudes. At a lower altitude, however, its speed is different – 1,390 km/h, 860 mph, 750 kn, or Mach 1.1. The maximum combat range of the aircraft is 1,850 km.
The Rafale is armed with air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, anti-ship missiles, anti-radiation missiles, as well as various types of bombs. Apart from the French, some other Rafale export versions also carry the world’s best air-to-air missile – the MBDA Meteor.
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