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France receives AESA-equipped Rafale fighter

The AESA-equipped Rafale C137 fighter jet. A Dassault photo

SAINT-CLOUD, FRANCE (BNS): France has taken delivery of the first Rafale fighter jet equipped with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

The upgraded combat jet, designated Rafale C137, was handed over to the French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) at Dassault Aviation's Mérignac establishment near Bordeaux, France earlier this month.

The Rafale thus became the first European combat aircraft in operational service equipped with the AESA radar designed and built by Thales.

The new RBE2 radar, which is replacing the existing passively scanned array RBE2 radar on board Rafale, will provide the four+ generation fighter aircraft extended range for compatibility with the latest generation long range missiles, including the new Meteor air-to-air missiles, and ability to detect low-signature targets.

It will also help in extended waveform agility, making it possible to acquire submetric synthetic aperture (SAR) imagery while increasing the radar's resistance to jamming, according to Thales which delivered the first AESA radar to Dassault in March 2012.

Thales will begin series production of the new radar system for installation on the aircraft under Tranche 4 of the Rafale programme.

The French DGA has ordered a total of 60 Tranche 4 Rafale fighters from Dassault for the French Air Force since 2009, deliveries of which are scheduled to begin from 2013.


France  Rafale  AESA  Radar  Dassault  

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