The Rafale program is composed of three
The first production aircraft Rafale B1 flew for the first time 04 December 1998 and was delivered to the French Air Force. Firm orders by the French Government are now up to a total of 61 aircraft to be delivered from 1998 to 2005. The total programme for France, Air Force and Navy, is set at 294 aircraft.
Directly derived from the slightly smaller RAFALE A demonstrator, the three versions of the RAFALE retain all those qualities which have today been proven in flight : 750 kt, 9 g/-3.6 g, 32° maximum angle of attack, 115 kt approach speed, take off and landing in less than 400 meters. These qualities and performances stem from the "delta-canard" aerodynamic concept combining a delta wing and an active foreplane judiciously located in relation to the wing so as to optimize aerodynamic efficiency and stability control without impeding the pilot's visibility. Moreover, shapes and materials have been continuously selected to minimized the aircraft observability to both electro-magnetic and infra-red sensors.
The Rafale C is a multirole fighter with a fully integrated weapons and navigation systems, making use of the latest technology and is capable of outstanding performance on multiple target air-to-air missions and air-to-surface missions deep behind enemy lines.
The two-seater Rafale B retains most of the elements of the single-seater version, and its weapon and navigation system is exactly the same; the Rafale B can perform any operational mission with a lon pilot or with a crew consisting of two pilots or of one pilot and a weapons system operator.
The Rafale M, a single-seater designed for seaborne use, carries the same weapon and navigation system. Its airframe has been designed for aircraft-carriers but retains most of the elements of the other versions.
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