For the first time in four years, France has received its first Rafale fighter jet from Dassault Aviation.
In an announcement dated January 10, 2023, Dassault Aviation said that its Mérignac plant delivered a Rafale B359 (F3R standard) to the Direction Générale de l’Armement (French defense procurement agency) on December 29, 2022.
The French aircraft manufacturer said the Rafale B359 was intended for the French Air and Space Force and is part of the “tranche 4” order for 60 aircraft. The order was awarded to Dassualt in 2009 but was paused for “budgetary reasons.”
Due to the interruption, the Rafale production line was then allocated to export orders and international customers such as Greece, Indonesia, and the UAE, which placed the largest order of Rafales in history.
Dassault said that a further 27 Rafale fighter jets are yet to be delivered for tranche 4, and an additional 12 Rafale jets ordered by France in 2021 to “make up” for the 12 jets sold to Greece.
In September 2022, the French Ministry of Armed Forces said that it would order a total of 42 Dassault Rafale fighters in 2023.
Currently, France’s Armed Forces have around 140 Rafale fighters in service, 98 of which are with the Air Force, and the other 42 Rafale M, a naval version, with the French Navy.