From Dec 1 to Dec 4, test pilots of France’s Centre d’Expérimentations Pratiques de l’Aéronautique Navale (Naval aviation trials center, CEPA) carried out the first operational readiness review of the F3R standard of Rafale. These trials allowed the initial evaluation of the Meteor missile’s fire control in an operational environment, and resulted in suggested improvements.
Thanks to the range of the Meteor missile, and to the detection range of the new AESA active antenna radar, the Rafale F3R will have an unprecedented air-to-air interception capability.
In addition to these improved air-defense capabilities compared to the F3 standard currently in service, the F3R variant will also be able to operate the new laser target designation pod as well as the new buddy-buddy refueling nacelle, which is indispensable for conducting operations around the aircraft carrier group.
Its initial operational capability in the French navy is planned for 2020.