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AAI receives first Rafale for upgrade

July 18, 2012 at 7:55 AM

PARIS, July 18 (UPI) -- The first of 52 Dassault Rafale fighters of the French air force has arrived at an Atelier Industriel de l'aeronautique workshop for upgrades.

The French Ministry of Defense said the upgrade will give the aircraft enhanced communications, interoperability and capabilities for data exchange with ground troops.

Additional details on what the upgrade work involves and new systems to be integrated onto the aircraft weren't disclosed. No timeline and monetary value for the project was given.

The contract for the modification of the single-seat and double-seat air force jets was awarded to AAI in early 2011. Early related modifications to Rafales, however, were carried out by company technicians at an air base in southwestern France and not at an AAI facility.

The Ministry said AAI plans a four-year upgrade cycle of the Rafales.

AAI already provides maintenance service for French fixed-wing and rotor aircraft such as the Mirage 2000, Mirage F1, AlphaJet, Transall, Puma and Gazelle.

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