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French Rafale fighter jet equipped with METEOR missiles makes first operational flight


As part of the ramp-up of the Rafale F3-R, the French Air and Space Army has just made its first operational flight with a Rafale equipped with METEOR missiles.

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Rafale fighter jet equipped with METEOR missile makes first operational flight 01 Rafale fighter jet equipped with METEOR missiles (Picture source: French Air and Space Army)


The Dassault Rafale  is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Introduced in 2001, the Rafale is being produced for both the French Air Force and for carrier-based operations in the French Navy. The Rafale has been marketed for export to several countries, and was selected for purchase by the Indian Air Force, the Egyptian Air Force, and the Qatar Air Force. The Rafale has been used in combat over Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria.

The Meteor air-to-air missile has been developed by a group of European partners led by MBDA to meet the needs of six European nations including the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden. The Meteor BVRAAM features a state-of-the-art active radar seeker, a two-way data link communication and a solid-fuelled Ramjet motor to engage a wide range of targets with pinpoint accuracy. It also carries a blast fragmentation warhead with proximity and impact fuses for optimum lethality. The missile has high countermeasure resistance and offers the biggest ‘no escape zone.’


Rafale fighter jet equipped with METEOR missile makes first operational flight 02 The METEOR brings considerable capacity gain to the Rafale (Picture source: French Air and Space Army)


This flight made it possible to validate the process of routing ammunition depots to the armament zone, then to validate the know-how during a first deployment of the missile by the gunsmiths, and to confirm the operational readiness of the crews.

From now on, the Air and Space Army sees its Air / Air missile capacity strengthened in the context of air defense, conventional or nuclear assault missions.

A true “game changer”, the METEOR brings considerable capacity gain to the Rafale, reinforcing France's ability to “enter first” in an unprecedented way.