Naval Air: February 10, 2002


The French Navy has decided that it wants 25 of the 60 Rafales it plans to buy to be two-seat Rafale-Ns, but that it doesn't need them until 2007. It will cost the French about $225 million to develop the Rafale-N from the standard Navy Rafale-M. As the second seat adds about 250kg to the aircraft, the French plan to remove the cannon and reduce the size of the fuel tank to keep it at the original weight. The two-seat variants will be used for complicated missions (low altitude, night, bad weather) where a second crewman would be an asset.--Stephen V Cole 


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