The Dassault Rafale (, squall) is a French twin-engine delta-wing fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Dassault described the Rafale as being an omnirole fighter with semi-stealth capabilities. The Rafale is a multirole combat aircraft; capable of simultaneously undertaking air supremacy, interdiction, reconnaissance, and the airborne nuclear deterrent missions.
In the late 1970s, the French Air Force and Navy were seeking to replace and consolidate their current fleets of aircraft. In order to reduce development costs and boost prospective sales, France entered into an arrangement with four other European nations to produce an agile aerial fighter, but subsequent disagreements over workshare and differing requirements led to France pursuing their own development program. Dassault built a technology demonstrator which first flew in July 1986, however post-Cold War budget cuts and changes in priorities contributed to significant delays.
Introduced in 2000, the Rafale is being produced for both the French Air Force and for carrier-based operations in the French Navy. It has also been marketed for export to several countries, including selection by the Indian Air Force. The Rafale has been used in combat over Afghanistan and Libya; features such as the SPECTRA integrated defensive aids system have been crucial advantages in these theatres. Several upgrades to the radar, engines, and avionics of the Rafale are planned to be introduced in the near-future.