Admiral Pierre Vandier – Chief of Staff of the French Navy, and Air Force General Philippe Lavigne – Chief of Staff of the French Air and Space Force, jointly approved the entry into operational service of the Rafale F3-R fighter jet this week.

Defence firm MBDA say:

“The upgrading of the French combat aircraft capacities ranks high on the list of priorities of the French military expenditure plan (LPM) which provides for a 2.7 billion euro investment in the development of the new versions of the Rafale over the 2019-2025 period. The French Navy and the French Air and Space Force are now authorised to make operational use of all the capacities that are developed around the F3-R standard, which is already installed in half the French fleet and will eventually be installed on all Rafale aircraft in service.

Both forces now have a world-class multirole fighter aircraft at their disposal capable of operating in the most contested environments. The decision also applies to the Rafale aircraft of the GAE (carrier air wing) operated from aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle, or those of the French Air and Space Force that are deployed from the forward air base in Jordan within the framework of operation Chammal.”

The firm also say that the combination of the AESA RBE2 radar and the long-range Meteor missile gives the Rafale the capability it needs for beyond visual range engagements in all weather, as required for handling a wide variety of targets.

“The F3-R Rafale is now capable of using the TALIOS high-resolution laser designation pod, which can generate images in both the visible and infrared ranges, and will benefit from largely improved capacities that will enable it to perform intelligence and target acquisition, and tracking and designation missions. In particular, the Rafale will feature new and more efficient fixed or moving target tracking capacities, as well as an automatic moving target detection capacity and a new human-machine interface that will make it easier to use.”

The new version of the Rafale will continue to carry the enhanced medium-range, air-to-ground missile (ASMPA) as part of airborne nuclear deterrence missions.

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Good work by the French.


Good planes certainly the most advanced carrier aircraft today until the F-35 is fully operational, pitty the French wanted all control.

John Clark

Great aircraft, the UK and France have the ability to jointly deploy some amazing assets between us.


If only politics and National ego didn’t lead them.


Ditto to the UK. Stop demonising them and focus on our own problems and success.

John Clark

Well, true, but our armed forces work very well together.

That should remain the case until the EU effectively take Command of the French Armed forces.

My guess would be by 2030, then cooperation will become a far more laborious affair, as real power is transferred to Brussels along with France’s seat on the Security Council…

Still, that’s their problem…


That would never happen. The same for UK. The sole possibility is if a big coalition is engaged somewhere, like desert storm in 1991. At that time, Daguet Division was under US command. But all french army ? And the siege at UN ? lol, never.

Benjamin Rule

Based on how the French approach their defence I think it is highly unlikely they will allow the EU to take control of French forces. This is a country that does exactly what it wants and doesn’t care much what others think about defence. They developed their own nuclear weapons. Their own ballistic missiles. When they needed to upgrade their warheads they carried out tests on French territory despite most of the world telling them to stop. Their nuclear weapons are not allocated to NATO in the way ours are. In fact they originally created the Force de Frappe to… Read more »

Christopher Allen

Well said. They may lack some capabilities we have, but I feel they have so much more to show for continued defence spending and investment in their industries. It also seems they lack both spineless politicians obsessed with defence cuts and a far-left who despise any attempt to show national pride.


spot on , the UK should take the same approach , design , build and fly your own kit , stop relying on other countries and buying their kit . Support your own industry , far too much reliance on US aircraft .


They had specific requirements at the time of the eurofighter conception, so to be sure the plane would perform what they want (nuke + CATOBAR) they had to design their own aircraft


I’m sick and tired of those on here that suck up to the French always when they show little respect back in everything . Its almost like they have Stockholm syndrome.


stop sucking up to the US military conglomerates, have some balls and make our own kit .