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Rafale tests Meteor air-to-air missiles


Meteor missile equipped Rafale fighter. An MBDA/Dassault photo

CAZAUX, FRANCE (BNS): The Rafale multi-role fighter jet has successfully conducted initial test-firing of the new-generation long-range Meteor air-to-air missile system this month.

The Dassault Aviation-made combat jet, designated B301, carried out the test-firings from the Cazaux DGA flight test center in southwestern France on October 4 and October 10 during which two successful tests of the beyond visual-range (BVRAAM) Meteor air-to-air missile was conducted.

Produced by European missile maker MBDA, the ramjet-powered Meteor AAM is designed for air defence missions. Capable of intercepting targets at very long range, it will be a perfect complement to the MICA missile, which is currently used at shorter ranges for air-to-air interception, dogfight and self-defence, Dassault said.

On December 22, 2010, the French defence procurement agency DGA had ordered 200 Meteor missiles. A week after, the contract for integration of the Meteor missile on the Rafale was awarded to the industry, the French aircraft maker said.

Earlier this month, the Rafale became the first European combat aircraft in operational service equipped with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar when the DGA took delivery of the first production jet fitted with the new advanced radar system.

The new RBE2 radar, which will replace the existing passively scanned array RBE2 radar on board Rafale, will provide the four+ generation fighter extended range for compatibility with the latest generation long range missiles, including the new Meteor missiles, and ability to detect low-signature targets.

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