Shortly after finalizing a deal for the sale of Rafale fighter aircraft to the Hellenic Air Force, the French defense ministry ordered 12 new Rafales for its air force.
The contract for new aircraft for the French Air and Space Force (FASF) was signed on January 29, just four days after Greece signed up for 6 new and 12 used Rafale aircraft that were previously flown by the French Air Force.
The 12 new Rafales that will replace the ones sold to Greece are to be delivered by 2025, French defense minister Florence Parly said during a visit to the Argonay plant in Haute-Savoie which has produced the flight control systems for all Dassault aircraft since 1963.
“This contract for 12 new aircraft will enable our Air and Space Force to continue the Rafale build-up while awaiting the fifth tranche, which is scheduled for delivery between 2027 and 2030,” said Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation CEO, said.
Rafale entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air and Space Force (FASF) in 2006, gradually replacing the seven types of previous-generation combat aircraft. It has been combat proven in different theaters: Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria. Of the 192 aircraft ordered by France to date, 152 have been delivered. A total of 114 Rafales have been ordered by Egypt, Qatar, India and Greece.
The “omnirole” aircraft can perform a multitude of missions, ranging from air-to-air combat, through maritime strike to nuclear deterrence using the ASMP-A nuclear air-launched cruise missile.