French twin-engine delta wing multirole fighter aircraft introduced in 2001 and deployed in combat over Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria. The Rafale is distinct from other European fighters of its era in that it is almost entirely built by one country
The design of the aircraft arose from disagreements between France and other European nations over the joint production of the Eurofighter Typhoon which led to the French pursuing their own development programme. A prototype flew in 1986 and eight years later the Rafale was cleared for production. As well as being used by the French Air Force and the French Navy for carrier-based operations, it is also flown by the air forces of India, Egypt and Qatar. 190 units have been produced.