The first production naval Rafale fighter has flown from Dassault's Bordeaux plant on the same day that the prototype made its first landing on the nuclear-powered carrier Charles de Gaulle. The first Rafale M squadron of 12 aircraft will be formed in 2001. The French navy requires 60 Rafales, 25 of them ordered under the government's 48-aircraft multi-year procurement initiative.

Source: Flight International