September 27, 2013. David Pugliese Defence Watch
From the DGA, the French procurement agency:
On September 12, 2013, the French defense procurement agency (DGA: Direction Générale de l’Armement) officially took delivery of the first Rafale issued from the “Tranche 4” production batch, which covers the production of 60 aircraft. All of them will be equipped with new-generation, advanced sensors, and, therefore, will be the most advanced Rafales delivered to the warfighters.
These new sensors are:
· the RBE2 Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar;
· the DDM-NG 1 missile warning system;
· the Front-Sector Optronics (FSO) “IT” (Identification and Telemetry).
Thus, the new Rafale “Tranche 4” is the most advanced Rafale (to date) delivered to the warfighters.
Indeed, the Rafale is the only European combat aircraft in operational service to incorporate today the cutting-edge “AESA” radar technology. The RBE2 AESA brings the Rafale a number of key operational benefits:
· extended range capabilities supporting low-observable target detection and full use of new weapon systems such as the Meteor air-to-air missile;
· higher reliability for reduced maintenance and lower through-life support costs;
· greater waveform agility for SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) imaging and improved resistance to jamming.
The first Rafale “Tranche 4” delivered, the two-seater “B339”, is the 121st production aircraft and it landed at Mont-de-Marsan Air Force Base on September 17, 2013.