French Rafale F4.1 Attains Initial Operational Capability.

France’s Rafale multi-role fighter aircraft. Photo: Dassault Aviation.

The French Air and Space Force has announced initial operational capability for the first Rafale F4.1 fighter jet.

The Dassault jet attained the capability in its first alert sorties on February 16, following months of training missions.

It qualifies the aircraft to carry out operational missions, such as sky policing, according to the French Air Force.

The final capability stage will be operational commissioning after the integration of state-of-the-art weapons and sub-systems, including the “helmet sight and a new 1,000 kg armament, improvement of the conduct of air-to-air and air-to-ground fire, the self-protection system, and the Talios [targeting] pod.”

The F-4 Standard.

The aircraft’s progression follows standard F1 (specific to the first aircraft of the French Navy), F2 (air-to-ground and air-to-air capabilities), F3, and F3R (extended versatility).

Upgrades include a helmet-mounted display for better situational awareness and better radar sensors and front-sector optronics for surveillance, tracking, and identification of multiple targets.

Additional offensive capabilities include the Mica NG air-to-air missile and 1,000-kilogram (2,205-pound) AASM Air-to-Ground Modular Weapon.