The French Navy has successfully completed the test of Rafale's new RBE2 active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar during actual close air support (CAS) and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) combat missions over Iraq.
During the test, the French Navy operated an AESA radar-equipped Rafale M F3 omnirole combat aircraft, assigned to the 11th Fleet Air Squadron, in the Arabian Gulf.
The Rafale aircraft was operated from the navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.
As part of the development, the French Navy pilots assessed the cutting-edge capabilities of the RBE2 AESA radar in a very demanding environment.
The multirole radar is designed to extend the operational range of the Omnirole combat aircraft, increasing its compatibility with the latest-generation long-range air-to-air missiles, including the Meteor.
RBE2 AESA radar is also capable of tracking up to 40 aircraft and successfully engaging eight of them during air-to-air combat operations.
In addition, the radar provides extended waveform agility, enabling the acquisition of submetric synthetic aperture (SAR) imagery, increasing resistance to jamming.
Rafale is a twin-jet combat aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of short and long-range missions, including ground and sea attacks, reconnaissance, high-accuracy strikes, and nuclear strike deterrence.
Entering service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air Force in 2006, the aircraft can carry payloads of more than 9t on 14 hardpoints, with a range of weapons including Mica, Magic, Sidewinder, ASRAAM and AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, among others.
Image: French Navy pilots tested Rafale's new AESA radar during missions over Iraq. Photo: courtesy of French MoD photo.