France has finally ordered a substantial number of French made Rafale fighters. It is buying 59, at a cost of $71 million each. Twelve of the aircraft will be naval versions for the navys aircraft carrier. In development since the 1980s, Rafale is a multipurpose aircraft intended to replace the many different aircraft types currently used by France. Rafale didnt enter service until 2001, when a dozen were bought for the navy, and production is still at a low level. Rafale was expected to get a lot of export orders, but this didnt happen. At the moment, the French air force plans to buy 294, and the navy 60. With several billion dollars spent on development, and no export sales, this will make the ultimate cost of the Rafale over $100 million each. The 20 ton aircraft is capable enough, about in the same class as a late model F-18.