via Defense Aerospace.
During the March 20 meeting of the Ministerial Investment Committee, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian decided to authorize the launch of initial development of the new F4 standard for the Rafale combat aircraft.Interesting.
This standard, integrating experience and feedback from combat operations, should contribute to strengthen the Rafale's capabilities to operate alone or as part of a coalition. New developments will include improvements to network working methods, sensor developments and their integration.
The F4 standard will also take into account the expected evolutions of missiles, of the power plant and the integration of new capabilities. The first aircraft fully equipped to this new standard should be commissioned by 2025, but certain functionalities will be available as early as 2023.
This new standard is part of the continuing evolution of the aircraft which will progressively constitute the entire French manned combat aircraft fleet.
The launch of a future tranche of Rafale aircraft will be decided by the next LPM multi-year program law to meet the requirements of the Air Force.
New engines, new networking methods, new sensors and the evolution of power plants.
Are we seeing a variation of the US Navy's "payloads over platforms" meme? Could we say that the French have adopted "payloads with a decent platform"? If so, then I say brilliant. We're seeing the same with Super Hornet and I think that is the most practical and cost effective approach.