In this special issue of our monthly magazine, we present the story of the star aircraft of the French Air Force: the Rafale.
The Rafale as told by those who made it and those who tested it out! For this legendary special issue, the editors of “Fana de l’aviation” went to meet the people who shaped the Rafale program from its origins to 1994 and were involved in the design, test flights, industrial intrigue and even politics. It all began in the mid-1970s, when the French Air Force asked that thought be given to “a tactical fighter”, i.e., a twin-engine aircraft capable of ground attack and air-to-air missions.
There followed numerous negotiations with a view to international collaboration (across Europe and with the United States), which never saw the light of day. For that matter, when the Rafale A demonstrator (developed several months ahead of schedule) was presented in December 1985, Marcel Dassault, to whom the press pointed out that the aircraft was not European, replied: “It will be a global aircraft.”
The ten years or so that followed this episode were devoted to the development, continuous improvement and flight testing up until 1994 (the year in which the testing of the M, B and C prototypes was completed, and the aircraft went into production) of what would become – and still is – the flagship of the French Air and Space Force. Here’s the story as told by the magazine team!
Magazine. “Le Fana de l’Aviation – l’aventure Rafale”, Special Issue No. 72. December 2023.