Comparisons between Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon are bound to be with us for some time. Both have their champions, but the Typhoon appears to be ahead, stastically at any rate.

Both aircraft are later than originally intended, and both cost more than originally planned.

The Aeronavale has 10 F1 standard Rafales in service, and the Arme de l'Air's test and evaluation unit has five F2 standard aircraft, including one single-seater. Rafale is cleared to fly at angles of attack of up to 29.5, and at speeds of 100-750kt (185-1,400km/h).

By contrast, 46 Typhoons are in service in Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, 11 of them Block 2 aircraft; and nine of them are being single-seaters. Typhoon is cleared to 27 but can fly at speeds of 60-800kt (110-1,480km/h)

Rafale formally entered frontline Aronavale service in June 2004. The RAF's conversion training unit, 29 Squadron, stood up in 2003. Its Arme de l'Air counterpart, EC 1/7, will do so in September 2006, four months after the first full frontline RAF unit, 3 Squadron, forms.

Eurofighter's Full Operational Clearance (to be delivered by industry at the end of 2006) will include an air-to-ground capability using Paveway II and Enhanced Paveway laser-guided bombs, though there is no customer requirement for an early integration of stand-off weapons. By contrast, Arme de l'Air Rafales will not be operational for some time, and will have stand-off weapons but not LGBs, again following customer requirements.

Source: Flight Daily News