For Eric Trappier, Dassault's priority today is given to the Rafale and its future developments, and not to the European SCAF program, whose entry into service deadline is now set at 2045. At least that is the case. as he presented the subject during an interview given to the economic news channel BFM Business last August.
We might have thought, then, that this declaration was part of the standoff that remained between Dassault and the Ministry of the Armed Forces, with, in the background, industrial sharing and its necessary concessions within the European program, as well as the arrival of Belgium.
Over the weeks, however, it appeared that the positions of the two French protagonists were much more aligned than it seemed, with an obvious ambition, for the Ministry of the Armed Forces, to support the future developments of the Rafale .
The Rafale F4.2 postponed to 2025
Indeed, for the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the Rafale F4, and especially the F5 version , planned for 2030, must make it possible to both modernize and extend the capabilities of the French air forces, and to support attractiveness and competitiveness. of the French apparatus on an international scene in high demand.
Obviously, the Hôtel de Brienne (political headquarters of the Ministry of the Armed Forces) has decided to walk the talk, or rather the wallet. Indeed, according to an article published by the economic site La Tribune , it plans to invest no less than €4.6 billion by 2030 to upgrade the French fighter, and develop a combat drone based on the demonstrator. Neuron.
For the ministry, Dassault Aviation, Safran, Thales, MBDA and the approximately 400 subcontracting companies of the Rafale program, it is a question of completing the development of the F4.2 standard which must, among other things, even its means of elimination opposing defenses, understanding its anti-aircraft defense, greatly improved to respond to the lessons of the war in Ukraine.
Initially planned for 2024, the final qualification of the Rafale F4.2 was postponed to 2025, while the first F4.1s have already started to be used by the Air Force and the French. 'French space.
It should be noted, however, that the Rafale aircraft which will be delivered in 2023 and 2024, i.e. 26 aircraft for the AAE, will be delivered to the F3R standard. They will subsequently evolve towards the new standard, like the entire fleet.
Investments for the Rafale F5 begin in 2024.
But the real leap forward, which can even be described as a reboot for Anglicists, and a rebirth for Francophiles, will be the F5 version, which promises to endow, for 2030, the device with certain capabilities that we expects more from 5th and 6th generation combat aircraft.
In addition to a new Rafale occasion of the LPM 2024-2030, based on the Neuron demonstrator.
The design of the successor to the Neuron with 128 m in 2024
Thus equipped and supported, the Rafale F5 will be able to operate in a contested environment like the American F-35, while benefiting from certain advantages specific to it in terms of endurance, performance and implementation costs. implemented.
As such, the design of the successor to the Neuron will be allocated, from 2024, a budget of €128 million, to which will be added €212 million dedicated to research and development work on the F5 standard, for a total of €340 million. m€ devoted to F5 for the year 2024 alone.
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