Hot Weather Trials Campaign for the Rafale F3-R
(Source: French Air Force; issued Sept. 16, 2019)
(Unofficial translation by
During the first half of July, the French Air Force deployed two two-seat Rafale B combat aircraft to Al Dhafra, France’s air base in the UAE, to flight-test the aircraft’s latest F-3R capability standard. (French AF photo)
From July 1 to 17, 2019, a team from the French Air Force Test & Evaluation Center (Centre des Expérimentations Aériennes Militaires, CEAM) conducted a series of Rafale F3-R at trials at air base 104 at Al Dahfra, in the United Arab Emirates.

The trials focused on three areas: the Talios laser designation pod, the effectiveness of the terrain monitoring radar in a desert and sandy environment and the thermal protections of the Rafale cockpit. In addition to these evaluations, the forces pre-positioned at air base 104 attended transformation and information sessions.

The experimental team was made up of specialists from the CEAM as well as crews and technical teams from the Practical Experiments and Reception Center for Naval Aeronautics, the French Navy’s counterpart of CEAM, DGA Flight Tests and technical staff from Thalès Laser and Dassault Aviation.

During thirty missions, taking advantage of the thermal constraints of the environment, the experimenters pushed these different equipment items to their performance limits, in conditions close to those of the theaters of operations in which the Air Force operates. The goal was to verify that the equipment that the forces will be shortly operating is both in line with expectations, and adapted to their needs.

Created in 1933 in Reims, and relocated in 1945 to the air base 118 at Mont-de-Marsan and officially recognized as an Air Warfare Center, the CEAM is the arm of the air staff which defines the capabilities of the Air Force. It contributes to their development, prepares their integration and supports their operational use.


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