Although designs began in 1986, with prototypes flown in 1991, The French Dassault ''Rafale'' Fighter Jet was only introduced into The French Defense Forces in 2001. A ''Supremacy'' Fighter, The Rafale can be used in close support (ground) as well as Air Interception Duties. The Rafale is also deployed with The French Navy as a Carrier Based Fighter, making it a true multi-purpose and multi-Service Fighter. It is currently deployed in The Global War on Terror by France – having seen combat service over Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Egypt has also purchased The Rafale for use in their Air Forces.
Seen as a late ''Cold War'' Fighter Jet, The Dassault Rafale supports (2) Crewmen. As a ''Fixed Delta'' wing Fighter (Canad), wingspan measures 36-feet. Over all, the Fighter is 50-feet in length. (2) Snecma M88 Turbofan Engines create 11,200-IBF Thrust. Mach 1.1 airspeed (1,300-mph on the Low end, with an Afterburn of 1,900-mph) is achieved.
Operating at a ceiling of 50,000-feet, The Rafale is equipped with some of the most advanced electronic counter-measures used by France. Conversely, The Rafale can support most Air to Air Missile Systems currently deployed by NATO (to include Nuclear). The GIAT 30mm Auto-Cannon is installed.