The Rafale is slated to become the sole type of combat aircraft operated by the French Air and Space Force and French Navy. Everything that is necessary to maintain its combat relevance will be undertaken.
The policy underpinning the Rafale program is continuous development to adapt the aircraft to changing needs, through a succession of standards. In early 2019, the French Ministry of Defence announced the signature of the development contract of the new Rafale F4 standard. It is part of the on-going process to continuously improve the aircraft in line with operational requirements.
In March 2023, the F4.1 Standard was qualified by the DGA, the French defence procurement agency. It encompasses the adoption of the following equipment and weapons onto the Rafale:
The introduction of the F4.1 Standard has begun and new functionalities and equipment will be introduced over the course of the decade:
New developments have been launched to provide the Rafale with new capabilities in the next decade. These developments will allow new, emerging threats to be defeated while improving the Rafale’s survivability thanks to the adoption of new, low probability of interception modes and of a state-of-the-art electronic warfare suite. The integration of more and more powerful artificial intelligence algorithms will help the pilot manage the collaborative combat sphere during increasingly complex missions, when facing more and more elusive threats.