The French Navy (Marine Nationale: MN) has received the first Dassault Rafale combat aircraft to be upgraded to the latest F3R standard.
The F3R standard of the Rafale offers several hardware and software enhancements over the F3 aircraft. With operational trials set to begin, the configuration should be ready for operations later this year. (Dassault)
The commander of the Landivisiau Naval Air Base near Brest has formally taken delivery of the first of the MN’s Rafale M (Marine) aircraft to the new standard, the service announced on 10 January.
As noted by the MN, the first aircraft (serial number 30) was handed over to the aerospace technical support group to be prepared for delivery to the fighter detachment of the 10 Squadron of the Naval Aviation Experimental and Evaluation Centre, located at Hyères near Marseilles.
If the forthcoming trials by 10 Squadron go to plan, the MN will declare the F-3R-standard Rafale to be operationally ready. The first operational aircraft will be flown by 11 Naval Air Squadron (Flotille 11F) based at Landivisiau.
As previously reported by
, the F3R standard comprises major software and hardware upgrades that include the integration of the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) and the latest laser-guided version of the Sagem Armement Air-Sol Modulaire (AASM) modular air-to-ground precision weapon; the Thales RBE2 active electronic scanned array (AESA) radar; the Thales TALIOS long-range airborne targeting pod; and automatic ground collision avoidance system (Auto-GCAS); an improved buddy-buddy refuelling pod; as well as the Spectra electronic warfare system.
The MN has 42 Dassault Rafale M multirole combat aircraft that will be upgraded to the F-3R standard.