Paris, March 27, 2023 – On March 13, 2023, the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) pronounced the qualification of the Rafale combat aircraft to the F4.1 standard, allowing its entry into the era of collaborative air combat.
The F4.1 standard is the first brick of the F4 standard, and includes collaborative air combat capabilities, the integration of 1,000 kg AASM armament and a strengthening of the aircraft against cyber threats.
The F4 standard is the result of the work carried out on the platform by the DGA, the armed forces staffs and the Aeronautical Maintenance Department (DMAé) in collaboration with the industry, and is part of the logic of incremental development of the Rafale, to enable it to remain at the highest level in the face of changing national and export needs.
This new standard brings major capability developments in the field of air combat: integration of the SCORPION helmet sight*, improvements in fire control for the use of the Meteor missile (missile managed by an aircraft other than the firing aircraft), evolution of passive threat detection algorithms, as well as increased data exchange capacities between Rafale.
The F4.1 standard also makes it possible to benefit from the integration of the 1,000 kg AASM weapon with GPS/laser guidance, greater protection against cyber threats, new functions for the Talios, OSF and RBE2 sensors, and first developments in the field of connectivity.
The qualification of this standard mobilized several DGA centers of expertise and tests, in connection with test crews from the French Navy, the Air and Space Force and Dassault Aviation.
The first Rafale test campaign to the F4.1 standard, under the responsibility of the DGA Flight Test Center, took place in April 2021 in Istres. Numerous tests in the field of electronic warfare, resistance to aeronautical environments and armaments have also been conducted over the past two years in the DGA Information Management, DGA Aeronautical Techniques and DGA Missile Testing centers.
All the Rafales of the Air and Space Force and the French Navy will be gradually retrofitted to this new standard.
Operational experimentation by the Air and Space Force and the French Navy began on March 3, 2023 and a first boarding on board the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is planned in this context during the spring.
Source Franche Ministry of the Armed Forces
Unofficial translation by EDR On-Line
Photo courtesy DGA – Flight Test
* A helmet viewfinder displays, on the eye protection visor integrated into the pilot’s helmet, useful information related to piloting, navigation or mission. It allows him to monitor his environment at the same time as information provided by his on-board instruments, and to orient his head towards the target he wants to designate for his armaments.