Dassault Aviation announced on 22 March that French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has authorised development of the new RAFALE F4 standard.
The underlying philosophy of the RAFALE programme is continuous development through a succession of standards to adapt the aircraft to changing operational and technical needs. A first version of the new F4 standard could be in evidence as early as 2023, the company stated, following the F3-R standard, currently scheduled for qualification in 2018.
“I am delighted by the Minister for Defence’s decision. The F4 standard will incorporate operational experience feedback and enable continuous improvement of the RAFALE to be maintained. It will reinforce the national skills and technological capabilities essential for preparing the development of the next generation of combat aircraft,” stated Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. “I am also delighted that the Defence Ministry underlines the need to continue with acquisition of the RAFALE, beyond the 4th tranche currently in production, in order primarily to meet the needs of the French Air Force. Finally, this robust national foundation will constitute a launch pad for our aircraft in future export markets.”
RAFALE is currently on order for the air forces of Egypt, India and Qatar as well as the French Armed Forces.