French defence and aerospace company Dassault Aviation’s Rafale multi-role fighter is undergoing a cold weather testing event at Finland’s Rovaniemi Air Base.
Hosted by Lapland Air Command, the testing will last nearly one week. The event has been scheduled for the coldest time of the winter in Lapland.
As part of the event, the fighter jet will be put through tests to measure its performance in sub-zero temperatures.
The cold weather tests include engine run-up tests and taxiing on the flight line. The event may also comprise a few flights.
No flight operations of the Finnish Air Force will be associated with the tests.
Lapland Air Command stated that the testing event is not a part of the HX fighter programme, which is designed to find a suitable replacement for the Finnish Air Force’s existing fleet of F/A-18 Hornet fighter.
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The Rafale twin-jet combat aircraft is designed to undertake short and long-range missions, including ground and sea attacks, reconnaissance, high-accuracy strikes and nuclear strike deterrence.
Developed for the French Air Force and Navy, the aircraft can carry payloads of more than 9t, including weapons such as Mica, Magic, Sidewinder, ASRAAM and AMRAAM air-to-air missiles; Apache, AS30L, ALARM, HARM, Maverick and PGM100 air-to-ground missiles and Exocet / AM39, Penguin 3 and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.
The Rafale has been in use with the French Navy and the French Air Force since 2004 and 2006, respectively.
Apart from France, the aircraft was ordered by Egypt, Qatar and India.