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Rafale production output rose in 2016, Dassault says

Dassault delivered nine newly-built Rafale fighters in 2016, according to a financial update issued by the company on 5 January. The total was in line with plans for the year, and represents an increase of one unit over the eight shipped in 2015, it adds.

Six examples of the twin-engined type were handed over to the French military, with the other three delivered to export customer Egypt, which has now received six aircraft from its order for 24.

The French air force and navy and Egyptian air force are current Rafale operators, with Qatar’s 2015 order for 24 of the type having been followed by an Indian order for 36, signed last year. Concluded after a protracted negotiation process with New Delhi, the deal – valued at €7.75 billion ($8.1 billion) – “demonstrates once again the Rafale’s performance”, the company says.

Dassault says its Rafale order backlog stood at 110 aircraft as of 31 December 2016. This total comprised 32 for the French military, plus a combined 78 for export buyers Egypt (18), India (36) and Qatar (24).

In addition to producing the nine new Rafales, Dassault also in 2016 returned a pair of M-model fighters to French navy service, after completing work to upgrade them to the F3 operating standard. The service's strike fighters are now entirely Rafale Ms, following the retirement last year of its last Dassault Super Etendards. Flight Fleets Analyzer records the navy as having current active fleet of 39 examples.


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