French Defence Minister Hervé Morin approved, during the Nov.12 meeting of the Ministerial Committee on Investments, an order for 60 Rafale combat aircraft for the Navy and Air Force.
This order, funded in the 2009 Finance Act, brings to 180 the number of Rafale on order.
As provided for in the multi-year military planning law, the delivery dates of the aircraft will be adjusted as necessary to accommodate export contracts. This ensures optimal organization of the production line, both for domestic needs and for those countries to which France has proposed a partnership in the Rafale program.
These latest aircraft will be delivered with the new active antenna radar and enhanced self-protection suite.
The contract will be awarded by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) before the end of the year to the main manufacturers involved in the Rafale program: Dassault Aviation, Thales, Safran and MBDA. Over a hundred companies of all sizes will also benefit from this order.
The Rafale is an omnirole aircraft designed to ensure all of the missions currently performed by different types of fighters: air defense and air superiority, ground attack, anti-ship warfare, close air support, reconnaissance, and nuclear strike.
Existing in single-seat and two-seat versions, Rafale operates from ground bases or from an aircraft carrier. It entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French air force in 2006. The Rafale has been engaged in combat missions flown from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and in Afghanistan.