Dassault receives contract to develop Rafale F4 standard

Dassault contract develop Rafale F4
Dassault receives contract to develop Rafale F4 standard.

On January 14, 2019, the Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, Eric Trappier, received the F4-standard development contract for the Rafale combat aircraft during the visit of the Dassault Aviation Mérignac plant by Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed Forces.

The F4 standard is part of the company's process to continuously improve the Rafale in line with technological progress and operating experience feedback. The F4 standard marks a new step coming in the wake of the standards F1 (specific to the first aircraft of the French Navy), F2 (air-to-ground and air-to-air capabilities), F3 and F3R (extended versatility).

Dassault will develop new functions to boost the aircraft’s capabilities (upgrades to the radar sensors and front sector optronics, helmet-mounted display capabilities), and integrate new weapons (Mica NG air-to-air missile and 1,000-kg AASM Air-to-Ground Modular Weapon).

Dassault is also working under a through-life support contract which will become more “top-down” under its authority. F4 will include a new Prognosis and Diagnostic Aid System introducing predictive maintenance capabilities. Other maintenance optimization features are scheduled, particularly with solutions based on Big Data and artificial intelligence. Lastly, the Rafale will be equipped with a new engine control unit.

“The F4 standard guarantees that Rafale will remain at world-class level so that our combat air forces can carry out all their missions with optimum efficiency, whether in coalition operations or completely independently, as required by the French nuclear deterrent, stated Eric Trappier. This new standard also guarantees that Rafale will remain a credible reference on the export market. Lastly, it confirms the continuous improvement approach and helps develop the manufacturers’ skills.”

Validation of the F4 standard is planned for 2024, with some functions becoming available as of 2022.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Image: Dassault Aviation

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