Among the aircraft making their first visits to the show this year is a Fokker 100. That might not sound special, but this example differs significantly from commercially-operated examples of the regional twin-jet, because it is in fact part Dassault Rafale fighter.
On display outside Thales’s exhibit and operated by the DGA defence procurement agency’s CEV flight-test unit from Cazaux, the aircraft is equipped with a Rafale nose section, housing the fighter’s Thales RBE-2 active electronically scanned array radar and front sector optronics equipment. It also is carrying models of a Reco NG targeting pod beneath its fuselage, along with MBDA Mica air-to-air missiles.
Inside the Rolls-Royce Tay-powered aircraft are operator stations to support in-flight testing of such equipment in support of the fighter programme.
Now sporting the registration F-GPXL, the test platform – which was acquired to replace several adapted Dassault Falcon business jets – was delivered for DGA use in December 2013, Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database shows. It was modified for its new role by Sabena Technics.
Ascend records the unique Fokker 100 as having been built in 1990, first delivered to Palair Macedonian and as having accumulated more than 35,000 flying hours.