France AdlA Rafale B Dassault Aviation 640Rafale deliveries

While Dassault Aviation achieved an exceptional commercial year in 2022 with the sale of 92 Rafale fighter aircraft, General Stéphane Mille, Chief of Staff of the Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace (AAE, French Air and Space Force), predicts a challenging year in 2023 and, without doubt, in 2024.

The United Arab Emirates has ordered eighty Rafales; six aircraft are destined for Greece and six others for Indonesia. This level of orders is almost twice as high as the level reached in 2021, with 49 Rafale orders divided into 37 aircraft for export and 12 for the French military. In 2020, Dassault Aviation had not sold any Rafale.

The problem is that the French Rafale fleet must imperatively be reinforced by new deliveries to compensate for the Mirage 2000C withdrawal and the high pace of engagement.

The good news for the French Air Force is that on 29 December 2022, Dassault Aviation’s Mérignac plant delivered Rafale B serial B359 (F3R standard) to the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA, French defence procurement agency). This two-seat Rafale is part of the “tranche 4” order for 60 aircraft that was awarded in 2009.

France Dassault Aviation Rafale productionline 480As of 31 December 2022, the Rafale order book had 164 aircraft compared to 86 as of 31 December 2021. Tranche 4 still includes 27 aircraft to be delivered and twelve aircraft to compensate for deliveries to Greece. The Tranche 5 order will be notified this year. In the commercial field, it should be noted that a contract with Colombia for 16 Rafale is still under discussion.

The Rafale F3R fighters of the 30e escadre de chasse (EC-30, 30th fighter wing) that started deployment to Šiauliai air base (Lithuania) late November 2022 started the new year with quite some activity. Last week, the fighters carried out sixteen missions, including one real air police alert and one surveillance mission for the benefit of NATO in the Baltic countries. Since their deployment, already sixty aerial sorties have been conducted.

Photos by Dassault Aviation

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