France To Acquire More Rafale and Airbus Tanker

France To Acquire More Rafale and Airbus Tanker. France has presented an ambitious and comprehensive military modernization program that includes the acquisition of additional Dassault Rafale aircraft, a completely new fleet of light helicopters and additional aerial refueling tankers.

Still pending ratification by legislators, the military spending plan, or LPM, covers the period 2019-2025.

According to the proposal, Paris intends, by 2025, to have a fleet of 171 Rafales for its air and armed force: from 143 at the beginning of the period. The balance of your combat inventory will consist of 55 updated Dassault Mirage 2000D.

dassault rafale jet fighter

France To Acquire More Rafale and Airbus Tanker, pic: Dassault Rafale

In addition, however, in 2023 it will order a fifth section of Rafales, for delivery in the 2030 period. These will be built in an improved F4 standard, whose development work will begin in 2018.

France expects to deploy a fleet of 225 multipurpose fighters by 2030: 185 for the air force and 40 for the navy.

In addition, a new orientation pod for the Rafale will be purchased, with deliveries for 2023. Paris intends to launch a large-scale, three-service light helicopter acquisition by 2022. The HIL program, for which it has selected Airbus Helicopters H160M, will replace six fleets of single-type helicopters. The first deliveries expire in 2028, with a goal of final acquisition of 169 examples.

The replacements of SA330 Puma Air Force twin caliber helicopters are excluded from this acquisition. Instead, France will order 12 new helicopters of an unspecified type in 2023.

Deliveries of NH Industries NH90 helicopters will also continue during the period, although six examples will be adapted for special forces missions, for a specific fleet of 10 helicopters.

France will also accelerate deliveries of its fleet of A330 multipurpose transport tankers from Airbus Defense & Space. Twelve of the planes should be in service by 2025, as part of an eventual inventory of 15 units: an increase of three units over the dozen Phenix tankers originally planned.

A total of 11 A400M tactical transports will be delivered in the period until 2025, according to the plan. The transport fleet of the French air force will be reinforced by four Lockheed Martin C-130Js on request, of which the last two will arrive in 2019, in addition to the modernization of the 14 H Hercules models. However, Paris will also launch a replacement process for this last variant during the period covered by the LPM.

In addition, France intends to start acquiring new naval airborne early warning aircraft - to replace a fleet of three Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeyes forts - and begin studies for an eventual successor to its Boeing E-3F airborne warning and control system aircraft (AWACS).