CEPA eval­u­ated the Rafale F3R


From De­cem­ber 1 to 4, test pi­lots of France’s Cen­tre d’Ex­péri­men­ta­tions Pra­tiques de l’Aéro­nau­tique Navale (Naval avi­a­tion tri­als cen­ter, CEPA) car­ried out the first op­er­a­tional readi­ness re­view of the F3R stan­dard of Rafale. Th­ese tri­als al­lowed the ini­tial eval­u­a­tion of the Me­teor mis­sile’s fire con­trol in an op­er­a­tional en­vi­ron­ment, and re­sulted in sug­gested im­prove­ments.

Thanks to the range of the Me­teor mis­sile, and to the de­tec­tion range of the new AESA ac­tive antenna radar, the Rafale F3R will have an un­prece­dented air-to-air in­ter­cep­tion ca­pa­bil­ity.

In ad­di­tion to th­ese im­proved air-de­fence ca­pa­bil­i­ties com­pared to the F3 stan­dard cur­rently in ser­vice, the F3R vari­ant will also be able to op­er­ate the new laser tar­get des­ig­na­tion pod as well as the new buddy-buddy re­fu­elling na­celle, which is in­dis­pens­able for con­duct­ing op­er­a­tions around the air­craft car­rier group. Its ini­tial op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­ity in the French Navy is planned for 2020.

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