Rafale F3Rs deploy to Al Dhafra

A PAIR of Armée de l’Air (French Air Force) Rafale B fighters deployed to Base Aérienne 104 Al Dhafra, United Arab Emirates, for hot weather trials of the latest F3R capability standard this summer.

From July 1 to 17, a team from the Centre d’Expertise Aérienne Militaire (CEAM, the air force’s test and evaluation centre) conducted a series of trials using Rafale B 324 ‘30-HW’ from Escadron de Chasse 3/30 (EC 3/30) ‘Lorraine’ and 331 ‘30-IF’ from the CEAM/ Escadron de Chasse et d’Expérimentation 1/30 (ECE 1/30) ‘Cote d’Argent’.

Trials focused on three areas across 30 sorties: the Talios laser designation pod, the effectiveness of the terrain monitoring radar in a desert environment and the thermal protections of the Rafale cockpit.

The experimental team was made up of specialists from the CEAM as well as crews and technical teams from the Centre d’Expérimentations Pratiques et de réception de l’Aéronautique navale (CEPA, the French Navy’s counterpart to CEAM), the DGA Essais en Vol flighttest centre and technical staff from Thalès Laser and Dassault Aviation.

Rafale F3Rs [Armee de l'Air/ via Dave Allport]
The two Rafale Bs en route from Base Aérienne 118 Mont-de-Marsan to BA 104 Al Dhafra, UAE, for CEAM trials with the new F3R standard aircraft. Armée de l’Air/Eric Dejour via Dave Allport