French naval fighter squadron Flottille 17F, which formerly operated the Super Étendard Modernisé (SEM) aircraft, has completed its transition to the Dassault Aviation Rafale M.
The transition, which began in 2016 soon after the SEM was withdrawn from service, means that Flottille 17F has now officially joined the French Navy’s two other fighter squadrons, 11F and 12F, in operating the aircraft type.
The Rafale M has been tasked with carrying out a wide range of operations for the squadrons, including fleet air defence, close air support, anti-ship strikes, and air-to-air refuelling.
As part of efforts to hone the squadron’s lethality, Flotille 17F will in the next few months conduct test-firings of the MBDA AM39 Block 2 Mod 2 Exocet anti-ship missile on its sorties from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.
The firings will allow the entire squadron to further familiarise itself with the aircraft and its range of weapons.
In the third quarter of 2019, Flottille 17F will also begin its transition to the Standard F3R, the latest variant of Rafale, which features improved platform systems including the Thales TALIOS pod, and the MBDA Meteor ramjet-propelled air-to-air missile.
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