Two new Rafales de­liv­ered to “Cote d’Ar­gent” Squadron


Af­ter be­ing handed over to the Direc­torate Gen­eral of Ar­ma­ments (DGA) on Septem­ber 12, 2013, the two-seat Rafale reg­is­tered B 339—the first pro­duc­tion 4th tranche pro­duc­tion air­craft—ar­rived on Septem­ber 17 at Air Base 118 in Mount de-Marsan. A week later, it was the turn of the sec­ond air­craft, reg­is­tered B 340, to join the ranks of Squadron 5/330 “Sil­ver Coast,” the Rafale flight tri­als unit.

The 60 Rafale fighters of the 4th pro­duc­tion lot (or tranche) are all fit­ted, as stan­dard, with next-gen­er­a­tion sen­sors, namely the RBE2 EASA radar with ac­tive an­tenna, the DDM NG new gen­er­a­tion mis­sile launch de­tec­tor, and the frontal sec­tor op­tron­ics for tar­get iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and range-find­ing.

The Rafale is the first Euro­pean com­bat air­craft in ser­vice to ben­e­fit from AESA tech­nol­ogy (ac­tive elec­tron­i­cally scanned ar­ray radar/ac­tive an­tenna), which can sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove the de­tec­tion range. It is the cul­mi­na­tion of over 10 years of re­search and de­vel­op­ment ef­forts on ac­tive an­ten­nas.

To date, 180 pro­duc­tion air­craft have been or­dered by the DGA and 122 air­craft de­liv­ered in three ver­sions: 38 Rafale M sin­gle-seat car­rier fighters for the Navy, 40 Rafale B two-seaters and 44 Rafale C sin­gle-seaters for the air force.

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