The Dassault Rafale is a fast-evolving, combat-proven, omnirole fighter that has now been delivered to four countries: France, Egypt, Qatar and India. There’s also an extensive ‘roadmap’ to further develop its capabilities, as Henri-Pierre Grolleau details
The capabilities of the Rafale have grown considerably since the first standard F1 examples were delivered to the Aéronavale (French navy air arm) at Landivisiau naval air station in 2001. The Rafale was conceived to perform an extremely wide range of missions, from land bases and from aircraft carriers, hence the word ‘omnirole’ invented by Dassault Aviation to better reflect the fighter’s capabilities. The first ten Rafales – all delivered to the Aéronavale – were only capable of conducting air-defence/air superiority missions, but the variety of tasks that could be performed was rapidly expanded, thus reflecting the type’s inherent operational flexibility.