On June 28, 2016, from the airport of the company Dassault Aviation had been performed the first flight of the built for Qatar Air Force fighter Dassault Rafale – the two-seater Rafale DQ (serial number DQ01). The plane was flown to flight-test center of the French Air Force airbase in Istres, where they will continue the testing program. For now, the fighter is without the identification signs of Air Force Qatar.
The contract amounting to 6.3 billion euros was signed on May 4, 2015, and foresees the delivery of 24 fighter aircraft Dassault Rafale (18 single-seat Rafale EQ and six two-seater Rafale DQ) to Qatar, as well as missiles air-to-air MICA IR, MICA EM, and Meteor. It also envisages the supply of cruise missiles SCALP-EG and guided bombs, GBU, and AASM. Qatar Air Force should receive the first fighter Rafale in mid-2018 as the pace of deliveries will be one plane per month.
Rafale fighter jets for Qatar significantly differ from those of the Air Force of France and Egypt, therefore, they will undergo extensive and continuous testing program. A number of systems are being tested, like the helmet-mounted target designation system, which is similar to that used in Rafale fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.