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Paris 2017: Rafale F3-R standard on track
Rafale. © C.Cosmao

Paris 2017: Rafale F3-R standard on track

The French defence procurement agency DGA is highlighting progress on the upcoming F3-R standard of the Rafale combat aircraft.

The next standard of the Rafale combat aircraft, F3-R, is on track for qualification in 2018, followed by entry into operational service a few months later, according to the French defence procurement agency, DGA. The DGA is highlighting the Rafale F3-R on the stand of the French ministry of the armed forces – as the French ministry of defence is now officially known – during the Show.

During the first half of 2017, testing has proceeded according to schedule on the Meteor missile and the Talios targeting pod, the two major new equipment items on the F3-R.

The final integration test firing of the Meteor long-range air-to-air missile has been successfully completed at the DGA’s Biscarosse test centre. This very long range test against an aerial target was closely followed by a simulated launch of a Mica missile against a separate target – a scenario representative of the new capabilities enabled by the combination of the Meteor missile and the Rafale’s long-range RBE2 AESA radar.

The DGA notes that this Meteor missile/AESA radar combination is expected to keep the Rafale at the cutting edge of combat aviation for many years to come.

The third and penultimate operational aptitude test of the new Talios targeting pod has also been completed, at the DGA’s Istres test centre. A Rafale equipped with a Talios pod was put through several operational scenarios covering the pod’s broad spectrum of applications, including close air support for troops in contact with the enemy and tracking of mobile targets.

Long-distance imaging performance was also evaluated against targets in different types of environment: urban, rural, maritime, mountain terrain.

According to the DGA, the tests underlined the high accuracy of ground target coordinates and the excellent quality of imagery, described as superior to current systems in terms of image resolution and sharpness.

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