The Air Force requests to benefit from a fleet of 225 Rafales (instead of 185).

The Air Force has as many Rafales in 2022 as it did in 2016. Air and Space Chief Gen. Stephen Mill’s observations on Fleet Gast are conclusive. “Our fleet of Rafales, the Air and Space Force’s only multi-role fighter, is at the level it was in 2016, and we have just grounded a squadron equipped with the Mirage 2000-C to provide high-intensity combat noise. Gates of Europe, this situation must be ours. Achieving operational ambitions by 2030 will require a strong command of the air force to regain air superiority and power projection.”, he explained to the deputy of the National Assembly Defense Committee on July 20. And to indicate that fighter, “The cornerstone of our war system”his main point of attention”.

Resumption of deliveries to the Air Force

Why such a disastrous record between 2016-2022? Dassault Aviation has not delivered a Rafale to France for almost four years (zero in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and one in 2022). The aircraft manufacturer delivered only one in 2017 and three in 2018. In six years (2017-2022), the Air Force will get only five Rafales. At the same time, 12 Air Force aircraft were taken for second-hand delivery to Greece (six in 2021 and six in 2022). Then 12 aircraft will be for the benefit of the Croatian Air Force in 2023. At the end of 2016, the Air Force had less than 100 Rafales in its fleet of fighter planes (98?). It got six in 2016 According to the 2019-2025 Military Programming Law (LPM), at the beginning of 2019, the French Armed Forces had 143 Rafales in their fleet, including 41 Rafale Marines.

“Air and Space Force has not taken delivery of any fighter jets since 2018”, confirmed General Frédéric Parisot, Major General of the Air and Space Forces during his hearing before the Defense Committee of the National Assembly. French airmen will receive a copy by the end of 2022. Then 13 aircraft per year during 2023-2025. “I amThe delivery of the aircraft ordered by France was delayed and not because of exports, but only because of the budget frenchDassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier withdraws During the presentation of its group’s half-year results on July 20. So 4T2 of 28 aircraft (Slice 4T2, Editor’s Note), It has been a long time since we should have delivered it to France At the request of the French authorities, it has been suspended and it will not begin to be delivered until the end of 2022 and especially from 2023, where 12 replacement aircraft will be added for the 12 Greeks who will be of French stock and which will make 40″.

The Air Force does not have enough Rafale?

During his hearing before the Defense Committee of the National Assembly, General Frédéric Parisot, Major General of the Air and Space Forces, drove the point home after the passage of the chief of state-air force. “When I joined the Air Force 36 years ago, we had 750 fighter planes but they were single mission.He explained. On the other hand, a Rafale makes it possible to fulfill the mission of several aircraft, although this is not universal: a floor of 185 aircraft is probably too few; No doubt we have to aim for a minimum of 225 aircraft so that we can carry out our missions calmly.”. Or an additional 40 rounds. which seems legitimate to monitor French airspace due to air traffic congestion. “France has 14,000 aerial flights per day, increasing drone numbers from 400,000 in 2017 to 2.5 million in 2021”Remembers General Frederic Parisot.

But it is indeed the evolution of the international security context that requires, according to the Air Force, a strengthening of its means. “LHe translates the severity of the conflict into a challenge related to access to air and spaceHe mentioned. Where, before, air superiority was achieved almost immediately, such as in the Sahel or the Levant, we are now faced with a challenge by the air power of the poor, even in the guise of denying access to space. Mediterranean or Baltic”. Attrition is now part of the Air Force equation, as air superiority, which was more or less achieved, is now clearly contested. “With Rafale, we have reached a low point”, he assured. In 2022, the Air Force is inducting 195 fighter jets, including 143 Rafales.

“In the last ten years, long before the invasion of Ukraine, no less than 98 fighters, 24 strategic transport aircraft, 60 helicopters and 335 drones have been shot down on the outskirts of Europe, which came to ensure the return of combat air superiority”, recalled the Air Force Major General.

Given the structure of the Air Force, General Frédéric Parisot asks the question, which challenges: “When must we choose between the protection of vital national interests, the integrity of its airspace, and the continuation of conventional warfare?”. And we have to argue in the air force “The search for the right balance between quantity and quality of equipment, drawing all the lessons from ongoing engagements, particularly the war in Ukraine”.

An order from France in 2023?

Pending a possible decision to increase the Rafale fleet, the Air Force is seeking confirmation of a new order in 2023 for 42 Rafales to be delivered between 2027 and 2030. “I amWe must strengthen the order of twelve Rafales sold to Croatia with a more global one scheduled for 2023, which involved thirty aircraft. (Slice 5, Editor’s Note) And this should be increased to forty-two Rafale Airs to be delivered between 2027 and 2030.”Air Force number two explained.

“This increase in the Rafale fleet to replace the Mirage 2000 must be accompanied by a significant effort to stockpile air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles as well as the so-called optional missile stockpile. Equipment that allows the Rafale to fulfill its missions. In terms of combat and survivability – Gaining the ability to suppress radar, laser designation pods and enemy air defenses”, General Frédéric Parisot also explained.

Dassault Aviation, which expects to convert at a rate of three Rafales per month, is counting on the order. “We hope to have the agreement for France. Hope that step 5 will be signed”Underline Eric Trappier, CEO of the aircraft manufacturer. It also counts in export contracts: “We think we’re going to do another deal can go a little faster”. Dassault Aviation is trying to execute an order for 42 Rafales signed by Indonesia and is aiming for a contract with Serbia (12 Rafales), and even India (26 Rafale Marines) by the end of the year. More than ever, the four-leaf clover, a true Dassault Aviation talisman, has become the Rafale’s providence over time…