Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier has confirmed the receipt of the F4-standard development contract for the Rafale combat aircraft.
The contract was received during a visit by French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly to Dassault Aviation’s Mérignac facility.
The new Rafale F4 standard will include improvements to network working methods, sensor developments and their integration.
Eric Trappier said: “The F4 standard guarantees that Rafale will remain at a world-class level so that our combat airforces can carry out all their missions with optimum efficiency, whether in coalition operations or completely independently, as required by the French nuclear deterrent.
“This new standard also guarantees that Rafale will remain a credible reference on the export market. Lastly, it confirms the continuous improvement approach and helps develop the manufacturers’ skills.”
The company will serve the role of an industrial architect and be responsible for deploying new connectivity solutions to enhance the aircraft’s effectiveness in networked combat.
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In addition to Dassault Aviation, the Rafale programme will see the participation of 500 French firms.
Under the programme, the aircraft will receive upgrades to the radar sensors and front sector optronics, helmet-mounted display. It will also be armed with new weapons such as Mica NG air-to-air missile and 1,000kg AASM air-to-ground modular weapon.
Further improvements to be added include a new Prognosis and Diagnostic Aid System and a new engine control unit, as well as maintenance optimisation features.
By 2022, certain functions will be made available, and the F4 standard is scheduled for validation in 2024.