Standard Rafale F3-R showing its weapons, targeting pods: Image via DGA
The French Air and Space Army and the French Navy have signed the operational commissioning agreement for the F3-R standard, the most advanced version of the Rafale.
The operational commissioning (MSO) of the F3-R standard is the final stage of the program which formalizes the opening of all the expected capacities.
The new operational features are the Meteor missile, the GBU-16 laser guided bomb and the TALIOS targeting pod. As part of this ramp-up, the French Air and Space Army carried out its first operational flight on Thursday March 4 with a Rafale equipped with Meteor war-carrying missiles.
This flight made it possible to validate the processes of routing ammunition depots to the armament zone then to validate the know-how during a first implementation of the missile by the gunsmiths and to confirm the operational readiness. crews.
The Meteor missile constitutes the “long range” component of the air-to-air missile frame. It strengthens the air-to-air capacity of the Rafale in air defense and conventional or nuclear assault missions. Now, the use of the Meteor via the standard air-to-air firing line of the F3-R brings a considerable gain, considerably strengthening our ability to “enter first”, according to a statement from the French weapons agency, indicated the DGA.
The French Air and Space Army and the French Navy sign an agreement to put the Rafale F3-R into service
In addition, it complements the MICA missile in terms of range and maneuver capabilities for combat and self-defense. The GBU-16 laser-guided munition makes it possible to supplement the air-to-ground capabilities of the Rafale by offering increased military effects.
The TALIOS (Targeting Long-range Identification Optronic System) nacelle, currently deployed in operations, has as its main missions the search, identification, pursuit and designation of targets on the ground for laser-guided air-to-ground weapons as well as the intelligence gathering. .
Together with the Damocles nacelle, it will form the backbone of the laser designation nacelles of the Mirage 2000D and Rafale. It is characterized by a quality of sensors allowing a high level of image interpretation while remaining at a safe distance from the targeted objectives.
The entire capacity scheme of the program can therefore now be used in an operational situation and modifications will then be made in order to always remain at the forefront of modern technology. A new horizon opens with tenfold capacities.