French Air Force Rafale C
The prototype Rafale first took to the air as long ago as 1986, but this is an aircraft at the cutting edge of modern fighter technology. The French Air Force flies both the single-seat Rafale C and two-seat Rafale B variants, while the French Navy operates the carrier-borne Rafale M. Both air arms have taken this very agile multi-role machine - capable of air-to-air, air-to-ground (including nuclear strike) and reconnaissance missions - into combat in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Mali and Syria. Having signed up to be the type's debut export customer, Egypt has recently started receiving its first Rafales, and a further deal has been signed with Qatar. Other nations are eyeing the type. Base Aérienne 113 Saint-Dizier is the home station for the French Air Force Rafale display aircraft, flown this year by a new display pilot, Capitaine 'Marty' Martinez.