The initial operational capability of the Rafale F3-R standard was declared by the French Air Force on December 06. This announcement follows several months of training of crews and technical staff of the Air Force Command and the Strategic Air Force Command on this standard since it was officially accepted in July. On 31 October 2018, the F3-R standard of the Rafale was qualified by the French defense procurement agency (DGA). The development of this new standard, launched at the end of 2013, was successfully completed by Dassault Aviation and its partners in full compliance with contractual performance, schedule and budget.
The F3-R standard is an evolution of the Rafale F3 standard, with the exceptional versatility being further reinforced. It is part of the ongoing process to continuously improve the aircraft in line with the operational requirements and the feedback from experience of the pilotes. While continuing to ramp up the operational units, this key step before the integration in early 2020 of the METEOR missile and the TALIOS laser designator pod allows the Air Force to use the Rafale F3-R for its permanent missions of nuclear deterrence, foreign operations and protection of French airspace, known as Posture Permanente de Sûreté (Permanent Security Posture).
This is a major step towards service introduction of the Rafale F3-R, which will integrate the two new payloads by the end of the first half of 2020. This standard is nevertheless just one step, and confirms the Rafale’s growth potential. The development of the F4 standard was launched in late 2018. It will continue to evolve to bring combat aircraft to the Future Air Combat System (SCAF). This future standard will notably improve the connectivity of the Rafale and its ability to operate as part of a network. Dassault Aviation and its partners associated with the Rafale program thank the Ministry of Defense, the DGA, the French Air Force and the French Navy for their confidence.