French defense approves contract for further 60 Rafales
Paris, France - Destined to both navy and air force
(WAPA) - French defense minister Hervé Morin today approved an investment plan linked to a contract for 60 Rafale fighter aircraft destined to both navy and air force; the investment had already been inserted in 2009's budget law. The agreement brings the total number of ordered aircraft to 180.
Delivery schedules will be discussed on the basis of export contracts. This will lead to an optimal organization of the production chain, as explained by the defense ministry in a note, to plan national and international needs of the countries cooperating in the Rafale program.
These aircraft will be equipped with new AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radars and new advanced self-protection systems. The order will be notified by year end by the DGA (Direction general of armaments) to the interested companies, that are Dassault Aviation, Thales, Safran and MBDA. The press release also says that about 100 further small and medium companies are going to take advantage of the contract.
The Rafale is a multi-role fighter "Known for its capability to perform all currently requested missions: air defense and superiority, ground attack, anti-ship missions, close support in battlefields, air reconnaissance and nuclear dissuasion".
"Built in single- and double-seat versions, it can take off both from land and aircraft carriers. Since 2004 it is in service with the French navy, and since 2006 it is deployed by the Armée de l'air. The fighter is already used in operational missions on the 'Charles de Gaulle' carrier in Afghanistan". (Avionews)