SIAé: Delivery of the First Rafale M Fuselage Upgraded to F3 Standard
(Source: French air force; issued April 23, 2013)
(Issued in French only; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)
The first Rafale M central fuselage is loaded into a transport container at the AIA in Clermont-Ferrand for its delivery to Dassault Aviation. (AIA photo)
Having arrived on 28 November 2011, the center fuselage of Rafale M n° 10 was handed over to the air force industrial workshop (AIA) at Clermont-Ferrand for structural modifications allowing it to be upgraded to the latest F3 standard (multi-role capability).

The fuselage barrel, from an F1 standard (air-only capacity) naval Rafale M aircraft, was first completely "stripped" of its pipes and its wiring, and underwent some 2,200 structural modifications that allow it to receive the wiring "octopus" for electrical and equipment of the F3 standard.

The definition of the modifications was carried out by comparing the digital models of the F1 and F3 standards, using a digital tool that was developed by the AIA. This led to the drafting of about 500 statements of work.

On April 16, 2013, the fuselage left AIA to be delivered to Dassault Aviation’s Argenteuil plant, near Paris. There, it will be integrated into the production line for new aircraft, and thus begin a new life. It is the first in a series of 10 fuselages which will be refurbished and modified in the same way. Two of them are currently underway.

The AIAs are placed under the authority of the industrial department of aeronautics (SIAé), which has been attached to the air force since 1 January 2008. The SIAé was created from industrial assets that were scattered among the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA), the air force, the navy and the army.

The Ministry of Defence decided to combine these assets into a single service so as to clarify the organization of aviation support, and thus maintain control of part of the industrial support process within the defense organisation.

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