The Dassault Rafale is a twin engine, canard delta winged, French multirole fighter. It is being produced for both the French Air Force and Navy. Its performance is comparable to the Typhoon's and the Gripen's and it is one of the main competitors of the Eurofighter Typhoon on export market. It has a top speed of Mach 1.8 (1,190) mph and it incorporates stealth features, although it cannot be described as a 'stealth aircraft'. One- and two-seat versions exist, along with the Rafale M, a carrier version used by the French Navy.
Operators[edit | edit source]
The Rafale is operated by France and Egypt; India and Qatar have both placed orders.
Operational History[edit | edit source]
France[edit | edit source]
As part of the French contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom, French Navy Rafales flew in combat for the first time in 2002 from the French carrier Charles de Gaulle, from which they conducted patrols over Afghanistan from the Indian Ocean; however, the French aircraft did not find any suitable targets due to air-to-ground weapons not yet being available for the Rafale and so returned to the carrier without seeing any action.
Weapons[edit | edit source]
Air-to-Air[edit | edit source]
- MICA BVR missiles
Air-ground[edit | edit source]
- HAMMER smart munitions
- Exocet sea-skimming missile