|Dauphin during a rescue exercice - ©Antoine Grondeau 2007|
The Rafale would have had a problem during its transit to its patrol zone, forcing the pilot to go back to the CdG. unfortunately, he was not able to land and had to eject near the aircraft carrier. He has been picked up alive by the "Pedro" safety helicopter of the board (An Alouette III or a Dauphin). The exact cause(s) of the crash are not known yet.
This is the 3rd crash of a Rafale M since the entry into service of the type in 2001. Last September 2009, 2 Rafale M (M22 and M25) had been lost due to a mid air collision during a standard F3 qualification mission.
It is also worth noting that this is the first Rafale crash during a war mission.
The french navy ordered 60 Rafale M.
- 31 has been delivered
- 3 has been lost (incliding today's crash)
- 10 (Rafale M2 to M10) of the early standard F1 are in storage waiting to be retrofited
- 1 (rafale M1) is being used by Dassault for flight tests
- 1 (Rafale M31) is at the CEPA (French Navy trial center)
- 1 (Rafale M29) is used for pilots training at the 02.092 squadron
- 15 are part of the 12F squadron (9 of which are currently on the CdG)