Rafale F4 fighter jet pilots to wear augmented reality helmets

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Thales received an order from the Directorate General for Armaments (DGA), the French defense procurement agency, for 350 Scorpion helmet-mounted sight and display systems 400 digital multi-function displays. They should equip the pilots of the future F4 standard of the Dassault Rafale fighter jet, currently under development.

The Scorpion sight displays information from the aircraft onboard sensors and can also be used to designate and track targets anywhere in the crew’s field of view in daylight and at night, according to Thales.

As for the digital multi-function displays, they should replace the lateral displays currently installed in the Rafale of the French Air Force to inform the pilot about the status of the aircraft systems. The new displays will provide a larger display area, an improved touchscreen interface, and greater processing power.

“When the success of a mission is decided in a fraction of a second, aircrews must be able to understand the tactical environment quickly and interact intuitively with the aircraft’s systems,” commented Jean-Paul Ebanga, Vice President, Flight Avionics, Thales. “We are delighted to have this opportunity to provide future Rafale F4 crews with an operational advantage that will be critical to the success of their missions, thanks to latest-generation equipment offering advanced display capabilities and enhanced interaction with the weapon systems.” 

The F4 Standard will focus on improving the connectivity of the Rafale with other systems through “new satellite and intra-patrol links, communication server, software radio.”  Thus, the fighter will be able to integrate into the Future Combat Air System that France, Germany, and Spain are conjointly developing.

In April 2021, a month after the French Air and Space Army and the French Navy signed the operational entry into service of the F3R standard, flight tests of the Rafale F4 started at the Dassault Aviation Flight Test Center in Istres, southeastern France.

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