30 March 2012
Neuilly-sur-Seine – In February, Thales delivered the first series-produced RBE2 radar with active electronically scanned array (AESA) to the Dassault Aviation facility in Mérignac, France. The radar will now be installed on Rafale C137, the first Rafale with this new capability, which is scheduled for delivery to the French defence procurement agency (DGA) this summer. A comprehensive three-month flight test programme conducted with the first production RBE2 AESA radar at the Istres air base demonstrated the qualities of the radar and confirmed the expected levels of performance prior to delivery to Dassault Aviation.
The RBE2 AESA radar was delivered in line with the contract schedule, demonstrating the new radar’s technological maturity and further consolidating Thales’s European leadership in radars for combat aircraft.
The RBE2 AESA will give the Rafale a number of key advantages:
- Extended range for full compatibility with the latest-generation long-range missiles, such as the Meteor, combined with the ability to detect low-observable targets
- Higher reliability for reduced cost of ownership (no major maintenance is required on the active array for 10 years)
- Waveform agility for high-resolution synthetic aperture (SAR) imagery and increased resistance to jamming
The Rafale will be the only European combat aircraft under full-scale production with an active-array radar. The operational superiority of this omnirole combat aircraft, which was demonstrated most recently during Operation Harmattan in Libya, is now further assured for the full spectrum of French Air Force and Navy missions relying on the new technology.