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France equips Rafale fighter with AESA radar

The Rafale fighter. A Dassault Aviation photo

PARIS (BNS): The French Rafale fighter, equipped with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, has successfully undergone flight testing.

The fighter with the new AESA RBE2 radar, which is set to replace the existing passively scanned array RBE2 radar, was test flown between September and December 2010.

The Thales-designed AESA RBE2 radar will provide the four+ generation fighter aircraft extended range for compatibility with the latest generation long range missiles and ability to detect low-signature targets.

It will also help in extended waveform agility, making it possible to acquire submetric synthetic aperture (SAR) imagery while increasing the radar’s resistance to jamming, Thales said.

With the AESA RBE2’s performance now validated, in line with the contract schedule, Thales will begin series production of equipment for installation on the aircraft under Tranche 4 of the Rafale programme.

A total of 60 Tranche 4 aircraft were ordered by the French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) in 2009 and will be delivered by Dassault Aviation to the French Air Force from 2013.


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