Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, received the F4-standard development contract for the Rafale combat aircraft during a visit to the company's Mérignac plant by Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed Forces.
Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, received the F4 standard development contract for the Rafale combat aircraft on 14th January 2019, during a visit to the company's Mérignac plant by Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed Forces. The contract is reportedly worth €2bn.
The F4 standard is the latest step in the ongoing process to continuously improve the Rafale in line with technological progress and operational feedback. The F4 standard follows F1 (specific to the first aircraft for the French Navy), F2 (air-to-ground and air-to-air capabilities), F3 and F3-R (extended versatility).
Dassault will be responsible for implementing innovative connectivity solutions to optimize the effectiveness of the aircraft in networked combat (new satellite and intra-patrol links, communication server, software-defined radio).
New functions will also be developed to improve the aircraft’s capabilities (upgrades to the radar and front sector optronics sensors, helmet-mounted display capabilities), and new weapons will be integrated (Mica NG air-to-air missile and 1,000kg AASM Air-to-Ground Modular Weapon).
Dassault says that Rafale through-life support will become more “top-down”, under the authority of the aircraft manufacturer. F4 will include a new Prognosis and Diagnostic Aid System introducing predictive maintenance capabilities.
Other maintenance optimisation features are scheduled, including solutions based on Big Data and artificial intelligence. Lastly, the Rafale will be equipped with a new engine control unit.
Validation of the F4 standard is scheduled for 2024, with some functions becoming available as of 2022.