France orders upgraded Rafale F4 fighter jet for $2.3 billion

France orders upgraded RafaleF4 fighter jet for $2.3 billion

France’s government on Monday signed a $2.3 billion contract for 28 Rafale fighter jets from French -headquartered Dassault Aviation.

The 28 aircraft, which will include some F4 functionalities, will be delivered to the French air force in 2023, Defense News reported. And Defense Minister Florence Parly announced that another 30 aircraft at the full F4 standard would be ordered in 2023 for delivery between 2027 and 2030

The F4 standard will include upgraded radar sensors and front-sector optronics, as well as improved capabilities in the helmet-mounted display. It will have new weapons — notably MBDA’s Mica NG air-to-air missile and the 1,000-kilogram AASM air-to-ground modular weapon — and be able to carry the new Scalp missiles. It will also be equipped with the Talios multifunction optronic pod made by Thales.

Read more Details about Next-Gen. RAFALE F4 STANDARD

What F4 standard will have :

Although light on specifics, the defense ministry of France says the F4 upgrade will be driven by operational feedback and will include improvements to the Rafale’s networking capabilities and sensors.

So that includes Conformal Array radars. In layman’s language Sensors of current RBE2 will be installed all over the body including wings for 360-degree coverage. Spectra suite will be further given teeth, borne off flying Rafales in Syria.

In addition, it will take into account the “expected evolution” of missiles and engines, as well as the likely integration of new capabilities.

It means the range of Meteors will go beyond 200 km and approach 250 km. That is possible for a missile powered by Ramjet motor. MICAs will also be enhanced. The range of Storm shadow will be further augmented. After all current AGM-158, JASSM-ER aboard Super Hornet can be fired from 950km stand-off range. As compared to that STORM SHADOW has a range of 500 km. So France would be working on that.

Also, it would surely involve the integration of anti-armour Brimstone 2 missile with a range of more than 60 km. Possibly Brimstone III or Spear III as it is called is in the plans which have a range of 120 km and will be around by then.

More powerful engines will be installed from current Snecma M-88 that produce 75kN of thrust each. Likely new capabilities would mean Rafale will be further made stealthier.

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