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First upgraded Rafale jet delivered to French military

Combat capabilities of F1 variants of the Rafale naval jet are being expanded.

By Richard Tomkins
First upgraded Rafale jet delivered to French military
Rafale F1 jets of the French military upgraded to F3 standard. (CC/Joey Quan)

SAINT-CLOUD, France, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- The French government has received the first of 10 Rafale F1 naval jets upgraded by Dassault Aviation for expanded mission capabilities.

Dassault said the remaining aircraft will be delivered to DGA, the French armaments procurement agency, by 2017.

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Upgrading of the aircraft involved full disassembly and outfitting with new modular electronic computers, new cockpit screens, a change to electrical wiring, installation of an enhanced Spectra counter-measures system, changes to weapon store stations and changes to the RBE2 PESA radar.

"The operational advantage provided by the F3 standard results in a variety of new missions achievable after the upgrade," DGA said. "In addition to air defense, ground attack and in-flight refueling, F3 standard Rafale Marines are capable of anti-ship attack, reconnaissance, laser designation and autonomous illumination, and nuclear strike."

The contract for upgrade is worth about $301 million. Working on the program with Dassault Aviation are Service Industriel de l'Aéronautique, the Ministry of Defense's aircraft workshops, Thales, MBDA and Sagem.

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