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French Air Force Receives Two Rafale F3R Jets, Set for Immediate Upgrade to F4.1 Variant

After receiving the latest two Rafale F3R aircraft, the French Air Force will deploy them to Mont-de-Marsan to facilitate their upgrade to the latest F4.1 variant, enabling them to address contemporary and modern warfare threats.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — The French Air Force has recently received two additional Rafale fighter jets of the F3R variant from its manufacturer, Dassault Aviation, as part of additional orders for 40 more aircraft placed in 2021.

These two aircraft mark the 13th and 14th Rafale fighter jets out of the additional 40 ordered by the French Air Force.

The additional order was made to replace Rafale fighter jets sold “expressly” to several countries such as Greece.

Following the reception of these latest Rafale F3R aircraft, the French Air Force will base them in Mont-de-Marsan to enable their upgrade to the latest F4.1 variant, enhancing their capability to address modern and contemporary warfare threats.

This upgrade will involve efforts to enhance its electronic warfare capabilities, communication systems, improve information exchange capabilities among Rafale aircraft, targeting pods, and radar.

Rafale launching “Meteor” BVR air-to-air missile.


Moreover, the Rafale F4.1 variant will also be equipped with Scorpion Helmet Viewfinder, passive threat detection, and enhanced control system capabilities for Meteor guided munitions.

French authorities granted permission for the Rafale F4.1 fighter variant to operate last February after months of flight tests and various deployment operations.

The latest variant of the Rafale fighter aircraft conducted its maiden flight in 2021.

Recently, Dassault Aviation announced plans to increase Rafale fighter aircraft production to three per month this year from the previous rate of two per month, in response to increased demand from customers.

As reported by the French newspaper Le Tribune, Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier stated that the company is capable of producing four Rafale fighter jets to accommodate the increased demand.

“We are moving from less than one (aircraft) in 2020, where it was critical to three (aircraft). At this time, we are at two (aircraft).”

Qatar’s Rafale during Anatolian Eagle 2021


Dassault Aviation is preparing to increase Rafale fighter aircraft production to three per month. For this year alone, Dassault Aviation has received orders for 18 Rafale aircraft, 60 orders in 2023, and 92 orders in 2022.

In addition to increased orders from foreign countries, Dassault Aviation is also facing increased orders from the French Air Force itself, which is purchasing more Rafale fighter aircraft.

In early January, France confirmed it would spend $5.5 billion (RM24.75 billion) to acquire 42 Rafale fighter jets. All 42 Rafale fighter jets newly ordered by the French Air Force are of the F4 variant but will be upgraded to the F5 or “Super Rafale” variant with some 6th generation capabilities by the 2030s.

The Rafale fighter aircraft entered service with the French Air Force and Navy from 2004-2006 and have been deployed to Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq, and Syria.

Priest Bestows Blessings Upon Newly Acquired Rafale Aircraft by Greece. 


The latest order from the French government for 42 Rafale fighter aircraft brings the total orders for the aircraft from the French Air Force to 234 at present.

This includes an order for 12 Rafale aircraft in 2021 to replace French Air Force fighter jets transferred to Greece.

In addition to orders for Rafale fighter aircraft for the French Air Force, Dassault Aviation has also received orders for 261 Rafale aircraft for several countries including Indonesia, India, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). — DSA