A drone from the NEURON project will accompany the Rafale brought up to F5 standard.

The delay and the uncertainties surrounding it, the SCAF project [Système de combat aérien du futur, mené par la France en coopération avec l’Allemagne et l’Espagne, risque de ne pas être opérationnel à l’horizon 2040. D’où la nécessité de développer le standard F5 du Rafale, afin de permettre aux Forces aériennes stratégiques [FAS] And Naval Aeronautics is set to field the ASN4G hypersonic ramjet missile over the next decade.

During a recent hearing in the National Assembly, the Chief of Staff of the Air and Space Force [AAE], General Stéphane Mille, Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu has approved the start of development work on the F5 standard. “This work will be carried out within the framework of this Military Programming Act [LPM]. They will testify to the scalability of Rafale that we have been looking forward to for decades,” he said.

However, the LPM 2024-30 plan, which will soon be discussed by the delegates in a public session, does not talk about the Rafale F5, but only about the “evolution of the Rafale” and the “production of the future fighter”. FCAS framework. However, as of now, there are plans to bring Rafale up to F4 standard… which will cause confusion…

Be that as it may, the Ministry of Armed Forces would like to clarify the matter Amendment no. 292. It’s actually “intended to indicate that the Rafale F5 standard will be developed during this military programming phase. But it also provides important information.” He said. [ce nouveau standard] In particular, work on the nEUROn demonstrator resulted, including the development of a drone for the Rafale.

The text does not provide more detail… and we will no doubt learn more during the next parliamentary debates. However, the aim of the Ministry of Armed Forces may be to develop a “loyal wingman” type drone. [Loyal Wingman].

As a reminder, the result of European cooperation involving France [Dassault Aviation, maître d’oeuvre]Switzerland [avec RUAG]Sweden [avec Saab]Italy [Leonardo]Spain [Airbus Defence & Space] and Greece [HAI]nEUROn is a combat drone demonstration [UCAV] For “better” stealth. With a wingspan of 12.5 meters and a width of 9.2 meters with a mass of 7 tonnes, it is capable of carrying GBU-12 laser-guided bombs. Finally, its Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour Mk. Thanks to the 951 turbojet engine, it can fly at an altitude of 14,000 meters at a speed of Mach 0.8.

As Armaments Representative General Emmanuel Ziva explained to the Security Council delegation, nEURON’s capabilities in the fields of maneuver and stealth are “integrated into the future blueprint of our fighter jets”.

“We are also holding discussions on unmanned operation of fighter jets within the SCAF framework. It is about a new generation aircraft that combines a fighter cloud and two drone wingers. It involves working on the robotization capabilities of an unmanned aircraft and a piloted aircraft and interaction with the pilot,” Mr. Shiva said, adding that he could not say, while others said “classified” work was underway.

Either way, according to General Mills, the Rafale F5 will be a “very different” aircraft, with the ability to process “massive amounts of data” and increased connectivity. Additionally, it will once again enable so-called SEAD capabilities [suppression des défenses aériennes adverses].

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