France has ordered 42 new Rafale fighters from Dassault Aviation to increase its existing fleet of 192 aircraft.
Under the $5.5 billion deal, Dassault will deliver the combat planes between 2027 and 2032.
According to French Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu, the additional Rafales will modernize the French military’s operational capabilities and bolster the country’s security.
The procurement is projected to generate over 7,000 new jobs in 400 companies in France, the minister noted.
Dassault will provide the Rafales in Standard 4 configuration, but all the units can be bumped up to the upcoming Standard 5, Breaking Defense reported.
France’s Directorate General of Armaments said Standard 5 will roll out in the middle part of the 2030s, enabling the Rafale to fly with remotely piloted aircraft.
Standard 4 in itself already features notable step-ups, including the RBE2 AESA radar’s ground-moving target indicator that detects and follows ground targets in 3D. According to the French Ministry of Armed Forces, the fighter’s aircraft-to-missile communication system constantly informs the missile about its target until the latter is locked for taking down.
The latest configuration also uses the Spectra system in the Rafale, extending its ability to detect and jam bandwidths.
Additionally, Standard 4 enables the fighter jet to carry up to three 1,000 kilograms of air-to-ground missiles, detect stealthy targets and address potential cyber intrusions.
In a statement on Friday, Dassault CEO Eric Trappier said the aircraft acquisition will guarantee the superiority of France’s combat aviation capabilities.
The company will collaborate with Thales, Safran and MBDA to meet France’s contract requirements.