The French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) has placed an order for 42 Rafale F4 combat aircraft, to be destined for the French Air and Space Force (AAE).
“This investment of more than €5 billion will irrigate many territories,” declared Sébastien Lecornu, the French Minister of the Armed Forces, adding that it will secure over 7,000 jobs in more than 400 companies in France.
“[France’s] military industrial sovereignty is an exception in Europe,” commented Éric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. “It guarantees the superiority of our combat aviation. It is also an asset for diplomatic influence and an economic strength in export trade.”
This order is intended to close the capacity gap created by the sale of 24 second-hand aircraft to Greece and Croatia in recent years. It was originally expected to be placed in 2023, with the aircraft delivered between 2027 and 2030.
Addressing the challenges currently faced by the French Air Force, Parliament member Frank Giletti revealed in a report that French fighter pilots were projected to fly only 147 hours in 2023, falling below NATO standards of a minimum of 180 flight hours per combat pilot annually. Giletti emphasized the detrimental impact of this deficit given the current strategic context demanding heightened operational readiness.
The French Ministry of the Armed Forces attributed the shortfall to aircraft availability, citing the sale-export of Rafales to Croatia as a limiting factor. Deputy Chief of Staff Frederic Parisot had previously warned of the training shortage extending for two years, contingent on timely deliveries of future orders.
What is the Dassault Rafale F4?
The F4 standard, with a focus on connectivity, air combat, and electronic warfare…
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