Rafale M fighter jet belonging to the French navy has crashed in sea near Pakistan. Rafale M fighter jet took off from the sole French nuclear powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. This aircraft carrier is deployed in the Arabian Sea in support of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

So far not many details are available about the yesterday’s crash. Pilot of the aircraft is safe and was rescued soon after the incident.

In September this year it was reported that the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle will be deployed later this year to support the war in Afghanistan for two months. Aircraft carrier spent about three weeks in transit to Pakistan from France and started its operations in support of the International Security Assistance Force since Friday, November 26.

In a mid air collision two Rafale M fighter jets were destroyed in September last year. This is the third crash of the Rafale fighter jet and was the first crash while on combat duty. So far French Navy has ordered 60 Rafale M out of which 31 has been delivered and 3 have been destroyed in crashes.

Rafale M is the naval version of the French fighter Rafale which is a twin-engine fighter aircraft. Rafale M first became operational on the nuclear powered French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in 2001. Until now France has ordered 180 Rafales for the French Air Force and French Navy.

Rafale M can carry different kind of air to air and air to surface missile on its 13 hard-points. Total payload capacity of this Euro-Canard is over 9t. For air defense aircraft mostly relay on the Mica or Meteor BVRAAM beyond visual range air-to-air missiles and for antiship role it is integrated with the Exocet / AM39 anti-ship missiles.

For surgical strikes aircraft can carry six AASM precision-guided bombs which with the help of the GPS / inertial guidance and infrared terminal guidance can achieve accuracy of less than 3 meters.

Unlike its other European cousins JAS-39 Gripen and Eurofighter Typhoon, Rafael has failed to achieve any export success. Fighter jet is currently being offered to Brazil, UAE and India.

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