French Air Force
The French Air Force (French: Armée de l'Air Française [aʀme də lɛʀ], literally "Air Army") is the Air Force Arm of the French Armed Forces. It was formed in 1909 as the Service Aéronautique, a service arm of the French Army, then was made an independent military arm in 1934. The number of aircraft in service with the French Air Force varies depending on source, however sources from the French Ministry of Defence give a figure of 658 aircraft in 2014. The French Air Force has 241 combat aircraft in service, with the majority being 133 Dassault Mirage 2000 and 108 Dassault Rafale. As of early 2017, the French Air Force employs a total of 41,160 regular personnel. The reserve element of the air force consisted of 5,187 personnel of the Operational Reserve.
The Chief of Staff of the French Air Force CEMAA is a direct subordinate of the Chief of the general staff headquarters of the Armies CEMA.
|French Armed Forces|
- 1 History
- 2 Structure
- 3 Missions
- 4 Organization
- 4.1 General organization
- 4.2 Navigating units of the French Air Force
- 4.3 Non navigating units of the French Air Force
- 4.4 Aerial Bases
- 5 Visual identity, symbols, insignias
- 6 Aircraft inventory
- 7 Human means
- 8 Ranks
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
French military aviation was born in 1909 and was inscribed since that date, accordingly from that fact, France was described as the first country to arm the air with combat aircraft. After voting the law in the French National Assembly on March 29, 1912, French Military Aeronautics was officially party of the French Army (French: Armée de Terre), next to the four traditional branches of the French Army which are typically the: infantry, cavalry, artillery and engineers arms.
French Air Force
World War I
During the First World War, France had a total of 148 planes ( out of which 8 from the actual French Maritime Force of Naval Aeronautics (French: Force maritime de l'aéronautique navale), know then as the Aéronautique navale (French: Aéronautique navale)) and of 15 Airships, during the armistice on November 1918, 3608 planes were in service. 5,500 pilots and observers were killed from the 17,300 engaged in the conflict, amounting then to 31% of endured losses
The law of December 8, 1922 erected Military Aeronautics in a « special arm », however, the later remained under the auspicious of the French Army. It wasn't until July 2, 1934, that the "special arm" became an army by itself and was totally independent. Amongst the consensus, these units were for the most part heir to the traditions (insignias) of the escadrille of the First World War where many numerous aviators illustrated themselves famously.
The first aerial demonstration "In Patrol" (French: En Patrouille) in France took place in 1931 at the hands of the perfectionist instructor pilots at the School of piloting perfectionism (French: l'École de perfectionnement au pilotage). This witnessed the official enacting by the general staff headquarters of the French Air Force on September 14, 1953 of the Patrouille de France (French: Patrouille de France), and the unit remained the most renowned unit of the French Air Force in France, mainly for its demonstrations of aerobatic maneuverings. Since March 1968, the patrouille was completed by the Aerobatic Team of the French Air Force (EVAA) on an aerial base to constitute the presentation teams of the French Air Force (EPAA) which since then has won numerous victories in the national scale and world competitions. During the last world championship in August 2015, the pilots of EVAA have the won the tile world champions by team and individual champions title.
The initial air arm was also the cradle of French military parachuting, responsible for the first formation of the « Air Infantry Groups » (French: Groupements de l'Infanterie de l'Air) in the 1930s, out of which the Air Parachute Commandos (French: commandos parachutistes de l'air) descend from directly.
Simultaneously, during the same interwar époque until WWII, the French Air Force (French: Armée de l'Air Française) maintained a continuous presence across the Empire particularly from the 1920s to 1943. The Vichy French Air Force (French: Armée de l'air de Vichy) had a significant presence in the French Levant while the Free French Air Force (French: Forces aériennes françaises libres) also took part since the early beginnings of World War II in 1940.
World War II
On another hand, and leading in to the Second World War, the French Air Force did play an important role this time around the European theatre, most notable during the Battle of France of 1940. The engagement of free French aviators (FAFL) (French: FAFL) from 1940 to 1943, then the engagement of the aviators of the French Liberation Army (French: Armée de la Libération), were equally marking episodes of the History of the French Air Force. The sacrifices of commandant René Mouchotte (French: René Mouchotte) or, more unanimously, lieutenant Marcel Beau (French: Marcel Beau) illustrated the devotion of this army.
In the post–World War II era, the French made a successful effort to develop a domestic aircraft industry. The French Air Force participated in several colonial wars during the Empire such as French Indochina after the Second World War. Since 1945, the French Air Force was notably engaged in Indochina (1945–1954).
1954 – present
The French Air Force was also active in Algeria since 1952 until 1962 and Suez (1956), then later Mauritania and Tchad, the Persian Gulf (1990–1991), ex-Yugoslavia and more recently in Afghanistan, Mali or Iraq.
From 1964 until 1971 the French Air Force had the unique responsibility for the French nuclear arm : vectors pilots of Dassault Mirage IV or ballistic missiles of base aérienne 200 Apt-Saint-Christol on plateau Albion.
Accordingly, on January 1964, the French political leadership reprioritized its military emphasis on nuclear deterrence, implementing a complete reorganisation of the Air Force, with the creation of four air régions and seven major specialised commands, among which was the Strategic Air Forces Command (French: Commandement des forces aérienne stratégiques) (CoFAS). The Mirage demonstrated its abilities in the Six-Day War, Yom Kippur War, the Falklands War, the Gulf War, becoming one of the most popular jet fighters of its day, with a high quantity of sales. The Military Air Transport Command had previously been formed in February 1962 from the Specialized Aerial Grouping Units (French: Groupement d'Unités Aériennes Spécialisées). The Dassault Mirage IV, the principal French strategic bomber, was designed to strike Soviet positions as part of the French nuclear triad. Also created in 1964 was the Escadron des Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air (EFCA), seemingly grouping all FCA units.
In 1985, the Air Force had four major flying commands, the Strategic Air Forces Command, the Tactical Air Forces Command, the Military Air Transport Command, and the Air Command of Aerial Defense Forces (French: Commandement Air des Forces de Défense Aérienne).
CFAS had two squadrons of S-3 IRBMs at the Plateau d'Albion, six squadrons of Mirage IVAs (at Mont de Marsan, Cazaux, Orange, Istres, St Dizier, and EB 3/94 at Luxeuil), and three squadrons of C-135F, as well as a training/reconnaissance unit, CIFAS 328, at Bordeaux. The tactical air command included wings EC 3, EC 4, EC 7, EC 11, EC 13, and ER 33, with a total of 19 squadrons of Mirage III, Jaguars, two squadrons flying the Mirage 5F (EC 2/13 and EC 3/13, both at Colmar), and a squadron flying the Mirage F.1CR. CoTAM counted 28 squadrons, of which ten were fixed-wing transport squadrons, and the remainder helicopter and liaison squadrons, at least five of which were overseas. CAFDA numbered 14 squadrons mostly flying the Mirage F.1C. Two other commands had flying units, the Air Force Schools Command (CEAA), and the Air Force Transmissions Command, with four squadrons and three trials units.
Dassault Aviation led the way mainly with delta-wing designs, which formed the basis for the Mirage series of jet fighters. Dassault Aviation led the way mainly with delta-wing designs, which formed the basis for the Mirage III series of Fighter jets.
In 1994 the Commandment of the Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air was reestablished under a different form.
The French Air Force is expanding and replacing aircraft inventory. The French are awaiting the A400M military transport aircraft, which is still in developmental stages * as of late November 2016,11 A400M had been delivered to ET00.061 at Orleans-Bricy., and the integration of the new Dassault Rafale multi-role jet fighter, whose first squadron of 20 aircraft became operational in 2006 at Saint-Dizier.
After a French presence an absence lasting several decades, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed that France will rejoin the NATO integrated command. France has also been a lead nation, alongside the United States, Great Britain and Italy in implementing the UN sponsored no-fly zone in Libya (NATO Odyssey Dawn), deploying 20 fighter aircraft to Benghazi in defense of rebel held positions and the civilian population.
The Chief of Staff of the French Air Force (CEMAA) determines French Air Force doctrines application and advises the Chief of the general staff headquarters of the Armies (CEMA) on the deployment time, manner, and force use of French Air Assets. He is responsible for the preparation and logistic support of the French Air Force. The CEMAA is assisted by a Deputy Chief Major General of the French Air Force (French: Major Général de de l'Armée de l'Air). Finally, the CEMAA is assisted also simultaneously by the Inspection of the French Air Force (IAA) and by the French Air Force Health Service Inspection (ISSAA).
The French Air Force has for mission and is allocated five defence attributions:
- reconnaissance and anticipation ;
- prevention ;
- dissuasion (French deterrence) ;
- intervention ;
- general staff headquarters of the French Air Force (EMAA) ;
- Aerial Bases;
- Directorate of Human Resources of the French Air Force;
General staff headquarters of the French Air Force
The general staff headquarters of the French Air Force is actually implanted, along with the general staff headquarters of the Armies (EMA) as well as the general staff headquarters of the Army and Marine on site Ballard, more commonly known as the « French Pentagon » or « Balardgone ». The general staff headquarters is composed of some 150 aviators, officers in principal.
The French Air Force has forces spread in three commands: two grand operational commands (CDAOA and CFAS) and one organic command (CFA)). Since September 2013, the former organic commandments CFA and CSFA were merged at the corps of a unique commandment which readopted the designation of CFA:
- 2 Operational Commands :
- Air Defense and Air Operations Command (France) (French: Commandement de la Défense Aérienne et des Opérations Aériennes (CDAOA)), is responsible for the permanent watch of the national airspace, as well as the follow-up of all aerial operations in progress. This command does not possess aircraft. Instead it exercises operational control over units of the Air Forces Command.
- Strategic Air Forces Command (French: Forces Aériennes Stratégiques (CFAS)), is responsible for the air force's nuclear assets (Mirage 2000 N (French: Mirage 2000N) and Rafale armed with missile ASMPA), as well as the tanker / strategic transport aircraft (C-135FR, KC-135R); the order for nuclear engagement is received directly by the commander-in-chief of the Armies, the President of France;
- 1 Organic Command:
- French Air Forces Command (French: Commandement des Forces Aériennes (CFA)), Air Base 106 Bordeaux-Mérignac (French: base aérienne 106 Bordeaux-Merignac), prepares the units in order to be ready to fulfill missions of deterrence, protection, prevention and projection; CFA is organized in six brigades :
- Aerial Brigade of Hunter Aviation – Brigade Aérienne de l'Aviation de Chasse (French: Brigade Aérienne de l'Aviation de Chasse (BAAC)), is responsible for all conventional aircraft and fighter within air defense, air-to-ground and reconnaissance missions (Rafale, Mirage 2000-5F, Mirage 2000B/C/D, Transall C-160 Gabriel...);
- Projection and Support Air Force Brigade (France) (French: Brigade Aérienne d'Appui et de Projection (BAAP)), is responsible for all tactical transport and liaison aircraft (aircraft and helicopters: Transall, C-160, Hercules C-130, A310/319, Dassault Falcon 50/900, Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma, Eurocopter Fennec, Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma, SOCATA TBM...);
- Airspace Control Air Force Brigade (France) (French: Brigade Aérienne de Contrôle de l'Espace (BACE)), is responsible for aerial (Airborne early warning and control (French: AWACS) E-3F) and terrestrial means (implanted ground radar, systems of ground-based air defense and missile defence, communication networks) airspace surveillance, constituting the Command and Executive System of Airspace Operations (French: Système de Commandement et de Conduite des Opérations Aérospatiales); the command, control and information systems network of the air force is since 2007 integrated into the joint Multi-service Directorate of Network Infrastructure and Information Systems (French: Direction Interarmées des Réseaux d'Infrastructure et des Systèmes d'Information (DIRISI));
- Air Force Security and Intervention Forces Brigade (France) (French: Brigade Aérienne des Forces de Sécurité et d'Intervention (BAFSI)), is responsible for units of the French Air Force's commando riflemen (Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air, tasked with special operations, CSAR and target acquisition), amongst which the most elite is the Air Force Parachute Commando n° 10, C.P.A 10 (French: Commando Parachutiste de l'Air n°10), unit of the French Special Forces (a French equivalent of the USAF 24th Special Tactics Squadron). The BAFSI also includes the security units of the air bases (34 squadrons (of company strength) and detachments (of platoon strength)) and the rescue and firefighting personnel (called incident technicians and grouped into squadrons of company size);
- Air Force Aerial Weapon Systems Brigade (France) (French: Brigade Aérienne des Systèmes d'Armes Aériens (BASAA)) provides the maintenance and repair of aerial weapons and target systems.
- Air Force Maneuver Support Brigade (France) (French: Brigade Aérienne d'Appui à la Manœuvre Aérienne (BAAMA)) provides the ground-based engineer and logistics personnel (including expeditionary) needed for the sustainment of air operations.
- French Air Forces Command (French: Commandement des Forces Aériennes (CFA)), Air Base 106 Bordeaux-Mérignac (French: base aérienne 106 Bordeaux-Merignac), prepares the units in order to be ready to fulfill missions of deterrence, protection, prevention and projection; CFA is organized in six brigades :
These last two brigades belonged until 2013 to the Air Force Support Command (CSFA), which placed at disposition and maintained the arms systems, equipment, information and communication systems (SIC) as well as infrastructures; the CSFA provide accordingly the benefits in relation to support the human element, the military logistics (supply and transport), wherever forces of the French Air Force operated or trained; these two brigades are now subordinated to the CFA.
Since 1 January 2008, the French Air Force is organized at the national echelon and has no longer any territorial commands. Prior, these territorial commands articulated around aerial regions (RA), which were five at origin. The number was then reduced to four by decree of June 30, 1962 with suppression of the 5th Aerial Region (AFN). The decree of July 14, 1991 brought the number of Aerial Regions (RA) to three: « RA Atlantic », « RA Mediterranean » and « RA North-East ». On July 1, 2000 was placed into effect an organization consisting of « RA North » (RAN) and « RA South » (RAS). The territorial division was abolished by decree n°2007-601 of April 26, 2007 · .
From 2008–2010 the French Air Force underwent an organisational streamlining process. This project was called Air 2010, which was the year of the deadline for all transitions. The main targets of this project were to simplify the command structure, to regroup all military and civil air force functions and to rationalise and optimise all air force units. Five major commands, were formed, instead of the former 13, and to disband several commands and units.
Directorate of human resources of the French Air Force (DRHAA)
The DRH-AA recruits, forms, manages administers and converts personnel of the French Air Force. Since January 2008, the DRH-AA regroups at the corps of attributions the former directorate of military personnel of the French Air Force (DPMMA) and certain attributions of the former commandment of the schools of the French Air Force (CEAA). The directorate is responsible for recruitment at the corps of the French Air Force via the bureau of recruitment.
The inter-arm services of the French Air Force revolve around:
- The Integrated Structure of Maintaining Operational Conditioning of Aeronautical Defense Materials (French: Structure Intégrée de Maintien en Condition Opérationnelle des Matériels Aéronautiques de la Défense) (SIMMAD).
- The French Aeronautical Industrial Service (French: Service Industriel de l'Aéronautique) (SIAé).
Inter-Arm Space Command
There are three echelons:
- Escadre (French: Liste des Escadres de l'Armée de l'Air Française) (official designation);
- Squadrons (French: Escadron) – Active Escadrons (French: Liste des Escadrons Actifs de l'Armée de l'Air Française) | "Dissolved" (French: Liste des Escadrons Dissous de l'Armée de l'Air Française) or Group (French: Groupe) (official designation);
- Escadrille (French: Escadrille) (official designation).
Within the respective French echelons : an Escadre (not actual, a sort of Wing), the Escadron (the actual French equivalent of a Squadron) and the Escadrille (under the echelon of a French designated Escadron).
The base operational unit is the Escadron, in general commanded by a lieutenant-colonel. The superior echelon, Escadre, which was suspended at the beginning of 1990, was reestablished in 2014. The Escadrille is a subdivision of an Escadron.
Commanded by a Lieutenant-colonel or Colonel, the Escadre is a formation that assembles various units and personnel dedicated to the same mission. The designation of « Escadre » was replaced with that of regiment in 1932 and was designated until 1994, a unit regrouping under unique commandment:
- units (escadrons or groups) generally equipped with the same type of aircraft or at least assuring the same type of mission (chasse, transport, etc.);
- units of maintenance and support.
Escadres, which were dissolved from 1993 as part of the Armées 2000 reorganisation, were reestablished in 2014. The problems caused by having the aircraft maintenance units not responsible to the flying squadrons they supported eventually forced the change.
- the 31st Strategic Supply and Transport Aerial Escadre – 31e Escadre Aérienne de Ravitaillement et de Transport Stratégiques (French: 31e Escadre Aérienne de Ravitaillement et de Transport Stratégiques) at Istres-Le Tubé Air Base on 27 August 2014;
- the 36th Command Airborne Conduit Escadre – 36e Escadre de Commandement et de Conduite Aéroportée (French: 36e Escadre de Commandement et de Conduite Aéroportée) at Avord Air Base on 5 September 2014;
- the Air Defense Ground-to-Air Escadre – 1st Air Artillery Regiment – Escadre Sol-Air de Défense Aérienne – 1er Régiment d'Artillerie de l'Air (French: Escadre Sol-Air de Défense Aérienne – 1er Régiment d'Artillerie de l'Air) (ESADA – 1er RAA) at Avord Air Base (3 September 2014) ;
- the 3e Escadre de Chasse (French: 3e Escadre de Chasse), at Nancy-Ochey Air Base (5 September 2014)
In the second phase, the French Air Force announced in August 2015 the creation of 7 additional Escadres :
- the 8e Escadre de Chasse (French: 8e Escadre de Chasse) on base aérienne 120 Cazaux (25 August 2015) ;
- the 4e Escadre de Chasse (French: 4e Escadre de Chasse) at a designated Aerial Base (26 August 2015) ;
- the 64e Escadre de Transport (French: 64e Escadre de Transport) at Évreux-Fauville Air Base (27 August 2015) ;
- the Command and Projected Conduit Aerial Escadre – Escadre Aérienne de Commandement et de Conduite Projetable (French: Escadre Aérienne de Commandement et de Conduite Projetable) on la Évreux-Fauville Air Base (27 August 2015) ;
- the 61e Escadre de Transprot (French: 61e Escadre de Transport) at Orléans – Bricy Air Base (1 septembre 2015) ;
- the 2e Escadre de Chasse (French: 2e Escadre de Chasse), at Luxeuil Air Base (3 September 2015) ;
- and the 30e Escadre de Chasse (French: 30e Escadre de Chasse) at Mont-de-Marsan Air Base (3 September 2015).
The French Air Force also announced in August 2015 that unit numbering, immatriculation of affected aircraft and the transfer of historic material (flags, traditions and names) would be completed in 2016.
Escadron or the Group
Commanded by a lieutenant-colonel, the Escadron is base operational unit. This term replaced that of Group as of 1949 with the aim to normalize with the allies of NATO who were using squadrons. However, the term Group did not entirely disappear: the term was notably conserved with the Aerial Group 56 Mix Vaucluse, specialized in Special Operations or Group – Groupe de Ravitaillement en Vol 02.091 Bretagne (French: Groupe de Ravitaillement en Vol 02.091 Bretagne) which is still carrying the same designation since 2004.
Also to note that the designation of Escadron is equally utilized by terrestrial formations which assure the functions of technical support, ground to air defense, protection and security.
A Hunter Escadron (French: Escadron de Chasse) can count some twenty machines, spread in general in three Escadrilles.
A Transport Escadron (French: Escadron de Transport) can count a dozen of equipment in number theory (Transall C-160), however, numbers are usually much lesser in function of the type of equipment, availability and missions ( three Airbus A310-300 and two Airbus A340-200 for the Transport Escadron 3/60 Estérel (French: Escadron de Transport 3/60 Estérel)).
To note that the Escadrons have conserved in their designation the numbering of former Escadres during their suppression in the 1990s. For instance: Transport Escadron 1/64 Béarn (French: escadron de transport 1/64 Béarn) (more specifically Transport Escadron 01.064 Béarn), which belonged to the 64th Transport Escadre (French: 64e Escadre de Transport) during the dissolution of the later (recreated on August 2015).
Not all Escadrons (Squadrons) are necessarily attached to an Escadre; however, each Escadron (Squadron) is attached to the particular respective command.
A Escadron regoups in general two to three Escadrilles.
The Escadrille assures a double administrative and operational function, even of the essential operational control is done at the level of the Esacdron. A pilot is assigned to the Escadrille, however the equipment and material devices, on the other hand, are assigned to the Escadron. Since the putting into effect of the ESTA (Aeronautic Technical Support Escadrons), material devices and the mechanics are assigned directly to the base then put at disposition of the based Escadrons.
The Escadrilles readopted the traditions of the prestigious units out of which most (SPA and SAL), are those traditions of the First World War.
The French Air Force mobilizes aircraft as well as aviator pilots, however equally equips specialized, non navigating teams, which contribute directly to the employment of the various equipment.
Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air
- Either in squadron protection (French: escadron de protection) (EP);
- Either in one of the three units dites « Commando Parachutiste de l’Air » (CPA), Air Parachute Commando n° 10, C.P.A 10, Air Parachute Commando n° 20, C.P.A 20, Air Parachute Commando n° 30, C.P.A 30.
Squadron Protection participate to the protection of aerial bases inside and outside the national territory, and in exterior operations as well.
The CPAs practice today common missions, as well as specialized tasks; these concern intervention and reinforcement of protection at the profit of sensible points « air » inside and outside the national territory. These troops contribute to operations of the French Air Force and Special Operations.
Non navigating units include also mechanics of the French Air Force as well the administrative personnel. Other units also include the Commissioner service of the armies.
French Air Force houses, as of August 1, 2014:
- In metropolis, 27 Aerial Bases out of the which 18 aeronautical platform with perceived runways and 5 Bases non platform, two schools, 3 air detachments and « one attached air element » (EAR).
- Outside metropolis, 7 Aerial Bases or permanent detachments in overseas or country.
French Aerial Bases do not all necessarily harbor hunter (fighter jets), supply or transport aircraft : some are radar based bases (Lyon, Mont-Verdun, Drachenbronn (French: Drachenbronn), Cinq-Mars-la-Pile, Nice, Mont-Agel...) destined for the surveillance of the territory (Air Defense ((French: défense aérienne)) and Aerial Military Control (French: contrôle aérien militaire). Others house material warehouses or command posts. In overseas and foreign countries, the bases – which can be temporary – support aircraft and ground capabilities depending on the needs of exterior operations (OpEx) upon which they were created : transport aircraft at Dushanbe (Tajikistan, Operation Héraclès), hunter aircraft (French: avions de chasse) (fighter jets) in N'Djamena (Tchad, Opération Épervier), for instance.
As swift as the French Air Force operates, the closure of Aerial Bases is more constant and immediate, having known a strong acceleration since the 1950s.
The air base command levels are the combat assets of the ALA. An airbase commander has authority over all units stationed on his base. Depending on the units tasks this means that he is responsible for approximately 600 to 2500 personnel.
Flying activity in France is carried out by a network of bases, platforms and French air defence radar systems. It is supported by bases, which are supervised and maintained by staff, centres of operations, warehouses, workshops, and schools.
Both in France and abroad, bases have almost similar infrastructure to provide standardised support. This operational mode allows fast and easy creation of air bases outside France.
Overseas, fighters, transport aircraft and helicopters allow quick response to any request for assistance that falls within international agreements. On average, a base platform, made up of about 1500 personnel (nearly 3500 people including family), provides a yearly economic boost to its area of about 60 million euros. Consequently, determining the sites for air bases constitutes a major part of regional planning. 
- BA 102 Dijon airbase – was dissolved in June 30, 2016.
- BA 103 Cambrai airbase – was dissolved in June 28, 2012.
- BA 105 Évreux-Fauville Air Base. Command, operational and logistic support. Air transport units with 27× CASA CN-235M and 21× Transall C-160 NG.
- BA 107 Villacoublay airbase. Helicopter and heavy air transport units.
- BA 110 Creil airbase – was dissolved in August 31, 2016.
- BA 112 Reims airbase – was dissolved in June 30, 2011.
- BA 113 Saint-Dizier – Robinson Air Base. 4e Escadre de Chasse. Conversion squadron for the new Dassault Rafale C. Also EC 1/91, Conventional/nuclear strike squadron with Dassault Rafale B.
- BA 116 Luxeuil airbase. Air defence fighter squadron unit with 28× Mirage 2000-5F.
- CABA 117 Paris airbase – central command. CABA 117 was dissolved in June 25, 2015.
- BA 123 Orléans-Bricy airbase. Air transport units with 13× A400M Atlas and 15× C-130 Hercules. CFPSAA operational command.
- BA 128 Metz-Frescaty airbase – was dissolved in June 30, 2011.
- BA 132 Colmar-Meyenheim airbase – was dissolved in June 16, 2010.
- BA 133 Nancy-Ochey airbase. Three strike fighter squadrons units with 68× Mirage 2000D, SAM sqns.
- BA 217 Brétigny – was dissolved in June 26, 2012.
- BA 279 Châteaudun airbase. Airplane maintenance, repair and storage airbase.
- BA 702 Avord airbase. CFAS nuclear strike stockpile. AWACS 4× E-3F Sentry unit. Inflight refueling C-135FR unit.
- BA 705 Tours airbase. Fighter pilot training school equipped with Alpha Jet.
- BA 901 Drachenbronn Air Base. Air defence control was dissolved in July 17, 2015.
- DA 273 Romorantin air detachment. Logistic unit.
- Air Base 101 Toulouse. BA 101 was dissolved on Sept. 1, 2009.
- Air Base 106 Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport. Transport support base for the air staff.
- Air Base 115 Orange-Caritat. Air defence escadron de chasse 02.005 Île-de-France equipped with 10× Mirage 2000C and transition squadron equipped with 6× Mirage 2000B.
- Air Base 118 Mont-de-Marsan Air Base. Air Base is home to two squadrons Rafale B and Rafale C. Home of CEAM, the Air Force military experimentation and trials organisation, Air defence radar command reporting centre, instruction centre for air defence control.
- Air Base 120 Cazaux, situated South-west of the port city of Bordeaux. Fighter pilot training squadron equipped with Alpha Jet. Air force airplane stockpile.
- Air Base 125 Istres. Conventional/nuclear strike escadron de chasse 02.004 Lafayette equipped with 21× Mirage 2000N – will be transition to Rafale B by September 2018. Two Transall C-160 G strategic communication flight. Inflight refueling unit with 14× C-135FR. CEAM – the Air Force military experience centre.
- Air Base 126 Solenzara. Fighter gunnery range. SAR unit.
- DA 277 Varennes-sur-Allier. Former French Airforce Stock. DA 277 was dissolved in June 30, 2015.
- Air Base 278 Ambérieu. Logistic support base.
- BA 701 Salon de Provence. Officer instruction school. Enlisted instruction school.
- Air Base 709 Cognac-Châteaubernard. Basic flight training school equipped with 33× Socata TB-30 Epsilon.
- Air Base 721 Rochefort. Home of the NCO school, the École de formation des sous-officiers de l'armée de l'air.
- Air Base 942 Lyon-Mont Verdun. Air defence radar command reporting centre. CNOA location. National Air Operations Command.
- EAR 943 Nice Mont-Agel. Air defence radar GM 406.
- DA 204 Bordeaux-Beauséjour air detachment. Logistic unit.
- EETAA 722 Saintes. Air force electronic, technical instruction also as Military basic Bootcamp.
- EPA 749 Grenoble. Air force child support school.
- BA 160 Dakar, Africa. Mixed units.
- BA 181 Réunion (French department), Indian Ocean. Mixed units.
- BA 188 Djibouti, Africa. Mixed units.
- Air elements Libreville/Gabon.
- Air elements N’Djamena/Chad. Mixed units.
- BA 190 French Polynesia (Overseas collectivity). Mixed unit.
- BA 365 Martinique (French department), West Indies. Mixed unit.
- BA 367 French Guiana (French department), South America. Mixed units.
- BA 376 New Caledonia (special collectivity of France), Pacific Air defence radar command BA 376 New Caledonia
- BA 104 Abu Dhabi
Visual identity, symbols, insignias
Cockade of the Free French Air Forces during the Second World War.
Patrouille de France
Mystère IVA of the Patrouille on the American Base of Bitburg in 1960.
PAF in over Langley AFB, Virginia.
French Air Force inventory includes ten categories and feature in part:
|Aérospatiale SA330 Puma||France||Rotorcraft||Transport||1968||26|||
|Airbus A400M Atlas||EU||Propeller||Transport||2014||13||13||37 more on order.|
|Boeing E-3F Sentry||USA||Jet||AEW&C||1990||4||4|||
|Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet||France||Jet||Trainer||1978||84||92|||
|Dassault Falcon 7X||France||Jet||Transport||2||2|||
|Dassault Falcon 900||France||Jet||Transport||2||2|||
|Dassault Falcon 2000||France||Jet||Transport||2||2|||
|Dassault Mirage 2000B||France||Jet||Trainer||2000||6||30|||
|Dassault Mirage 2000C/2000-5F||France||Jet||Fighter||1983||38||161|||
|Dassault Mirage 2000N/2000D||France||Jet||Attack||1988||89||161|||
|Dassault Rafale B/C||France||Jet||Multi-role||2006||108||108|||
|DHC-6 Twin Otter||Canada||Propeller||Transport||1976||5|||
|Diamond HK36 Super Dimona||Austria||Propeller||Trainer||5||5|
|Embraer EMB 121 Xingu||Brazil||Propeller||Trainer||23|||
|Eurocopter AS532 Cougar||France||Rotorcraft||Utility||10|
|Eurocopter AS555 Fennec||France||Rotorcraft||Trainer||40|||
|Eurocopter EC725 Caracal||France||Rotorcraft||SAR||11|||
|General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper||USA||UAV||ISR||2013||6||6||10 on order|
|Jodel D.140 Mousquetaire||France||Propeller||Trainer||1966||17|
|Lockheed C-130 Hercules||USA||Propeller||Transport||15||15|||
|Pilatus PC-21||Switzerland||Propeller||Trainer||2018||.||.||17 on order|
|Socata TB 30 Epsilon||France||Propeller||Trainer||33|||
|Socata TBM 700||France||Propeller||Transport||1990||15|||
Since the end of the Algerian War, the percentage of formations of the French Air Force in the comparison with the ensemble of the Armies corresponded to 17 to 19%. In 1990, at the end of the Cold War, numbers reached 56,400 military personnel under contract, out of which 36,300 were part of conscription and 5,400 civilians.
In 2008, forecasts for personnel of the French Air Force were expected to number 50,000 out of which 44,000 aviators on the horizon in 2014.
In 2010, the number personnel of the French Air Force was reduced to 51100 men and women (20%) out of which: 13% officers; 55% sous-officier; 29% air military technicians (MTA); 3% volunteers of national service and aspirant volunteers; 6500 civilians (14%). They form several functions:
- Non-Navigating Personnel
Non-navigating personnel of the French Air Force include and are not limited to : Systems Aerial Mechanics (French: mécanicien système aéronautique), Aerial Controllers (French: contrôleur aérien), Meteorologists (French: météorologue), Administrative Personnel, Air Parachute Commandos (French: Commandos parachutistes de l'air), in Informatics, in Infrastructures, in Intelligence, Commissioner of the Armies (French: Commissaire) (Administrator Task).
- Navigating Personnel
Hunter Fighter Pilots (French: Pilote de Chasse), Transport Pilot (French: Pilote de Transport), Helicopters Pilots (French: Pilote d'Hélicoptère), Mechanical Navigating Officer (French: Mécanicien Navigant), Navigating Arms Systems Officer (French: Navigateur Officier Système d'Armes) (NOSA), Combat Air Medic (French: Convoyeur de l'Air) (CVA).
Brevet of a Combat Air Medic of the French Air Force (CVA).
Formation of personnel
Officers, within their recruitment and future specialty, are formed in:
- École de l'air (French: École de l'air) (Air School) de Provence;
- École Militaire de l'Air (French: École militaire de l'air) (Military Air School);
- École des commissaires des armées (French: École des commissaires des armées) (Commissioners Armies School);
- École de pilotage de l'Armée de l'air (French: École de pilotage de l'Armée de l'air) (Piloting School of the French Air Force);
- École de l'aviation de transport (French: École de l'aviation de transport) (Aviation Transport School);
- École de l'aviation de chasse (French: École de l'aviation de chasse) (Aviation Hunter Fighter Pilot School);
- École de transition opérationnelle (French: École de transition opérationnelle) (Operational Transition School).
Officers of the French Air Force are spread in three corps:
- Air Officer (French: Officiers de l'air);
- Officer Mechanics (French: Officiers Mécaniciens);
- Aerial Base Officer (French: officiers des bases de l'air), amongst which, officers of the Air Parachute Commandos (French: Commandos parachutistes de l'air) are featured.
Sous-Officiers are formed at:
- École de formation des sous-officiers de l'Armée de l'air (French: École de formation des sous-officiers de l'Armée de l'air) (EFSOAA) de Rochefort;
- École interarmées (French: École interarmées) (Inter-arm School) for administrative specialists;
- Escadron de formation des commandos de l'air (French: Escadron de formation des commandos de l'air) (EFCA) of Aerial Base 115 Orange-Caritat (French: Orange-Caritat) for concerned specialists;
Air Military Technicians (French: militaires techniciens de l’air) having been formed until July 1, 2015 at the Center of Elementary Military Formation (French: « Centre de formation militaire élémentaire ») of the Technical Instruction School of the French Air Force (French: École d'enseignement technique de l'Armée de l'air) of Saintes. Since July 1, 2015, this formation was assured by Aerial Base 115 Orange-Caritat, within the « Operational Combatant Preparation Center of the French Air Force » (French: Centre de préparation opérationnelle du combattant de l'Armée de l'air).
Aerial Circulation Controllers (French: Contrôleurs de la Circulation), or Defense Aerial Circulation Controllers are formed at the Center of Control Instruction and Aerial Defense (French: Centre d'Instruction du Contrôle et de la Défense Aérienne).
|NATO code||OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1||OF(D)||Student officer|
|Général d´armée aérienne||Général de corps aérien||Général de division aérienne||Général de brigade aérienne||Colonel||Lieutenant-Colonel||Commandant||Capitaine||Lieutenant||Sous-Lieutenant||Aspirant||Élève-officier|
|Major||Adjudant-chef||Adjudant||Sergent-chef||Sergent||Caporal-chef||Caporal||Aviateur 1e classe||Aviateur 2e classe|
- Major (France)
- List of Escadres of the French Air Force
- List of active Squadrons of the French Air Force
- List of dissolved Squadrons of the French Air Force
- List of French Air Force aircraft squadrons
- Airborne Units of the French Air Force
- French Naval Aviation
- "Defence Key Figures: 2016 Edition". Defense.gouv.fr. (download PDF file or see HTML version Archived 6 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine.)
- Faire face (French is an action or behavior of being straight forward and being honest, truthful and correct regardless the environment).
- "Annuaire statistique de la défense 2013–2014" 10 July 2014 (in French)
- "Annuaire statistiques de la défense 2012–2013" 4 June 2013 (in French)
- "Key defence figures 2014" (PDF) (in French). Defense.gouv.fr. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 December 2014. ()
- , Law of March 29, 1912 organizing the Military Aeronautics, published in JO of March 31, 1912, Editor BNF-Gallica, gallica.bnf.fr
- History of light aviation of the French Army 1794–2008, Lavauzelle, Collection of History, Memory and Patrimony, Général André Martini, 2005, Paris, pages 36,42, ISBN 2-7025-1277-1
- , Hydroplanes Georges Lévy, Gérard Hartmann, 2011, The Schneider cup and veteran hydroplanes.
- , Law on the creation of the Aeronautics Arm on December 8, 1922 published in JO on December 9, 1922, BNF-Gallica, gallica.bnf.fr
- , equipedevoltige.org
- The Hunter Fighter Squadron 2/10 Seine (December 13, 1954 – May 30, 1985)
- The 10e Escadre de Chasse (April 1, 1951 – May 31, 1985)
- Décree 6446 du 14 janvier 1964 créating the Commandement des Forces aériennes stratégiques (CoFAS)
- Isby, David; Kamps, Charles (1985). Armies of NATO's Central Front. London: Jane's Publishing Company. pp. 168–170. ISBN 0-7106-0341-X.
- "Sarkozy confirmed that France will soon return to NATO’s integrated command" 17 June 2008
- "Report Hubert Védrine" 12 November 2012 (in English)
- In the French language, "Rafale" has numerous meanings and designations. In Meteorology, a "Rafale" (French: une Rafale) is a sudden temporary augmentation of the wind. If the wind is violent, it is referred to as "Bourasque". In a similar context and category a "Rafale front" (French: Front de Rafale) designates a line series of organized violent winds coming out of a thunderstorm. Similarly, a "descending Rafale" (French: Rafale descendante) is an aerial current which descends intensely under thunderstorm, and whose surface crush produces violent, divergent and turbulent winds. In the Military context, the "Rafale" (French: la Rafale) is a sudden short, violent and rapid burst of fire, shot from one Firearm with automatic fire.
- The French word "Chasseur" translates to "Hunter" in English, and while this is a Fighter aircraft, the actual translation is different. The word "Fighter/Combat Aircraft" translates to "Avion de Combat" in the French language.
- Armée de l'air : présentation, organisation.
- The French referral of "Base Aérienne" is the proper equivalent of "Aerial Base" in English. While the term "Air Base" is more common, the proper French translation of the latter (Air Base) to the French language would refer to "Base d'Air", which has no relevant meaning for the French Air Force.
- Légifrance, base CDEF(R), numéro R3224-8, Code de la Défense, Art. R.3224-8
- The correspondent French article on air nuclear deterrence is not called "Strategic Air Forces Command". It is referred to in translation as Strategic Air Forces only (French: Forces Aériennes Stratégiques). Content in this particular French Article should match exactly that on the English article.
- The word "Fighter" (in reference to a Fighter aircraft) in the English language doesn't exist in the French Air Force repertoire; therefore the Fighter aircraft articles (involving Escadres, Squadrons, Escadrille) were created under the official French designation; however these are Fighter formations.
- , Décret n° 2007-601 du 26 avril 2007, modifiant la première partie du code de la Défense (partie réglementaire), Légifrance, Jacques Chirac, April 26, 2007
- Décret du 26 avril 2007.
- "The Military Balance 2013"., 14 March 2013.
- When referring to a Escadron/Squadron of the French Air Force or any military unit in France, be careful (unless sure), the names after the numbers such as : "2/30 (number) "Normandie-Niemen" (official battle honor designation) actually sometimes designates locations, emblems or not, and mainly for military units referring to Battle honours inscriptions at these locations. Hence, a location would translate in any language to the same, usually, an emblem can be misinterpreted and Battle honours should not be translated. In addition, some of these unit squadrons are heir to others with direct official designations but different number sequences. On another hand, locations, emblems and battle honors can sometimes be misinterpreted and translated to another language (word) with a totally different word. Emblems also sometimes may refer to a region while they also could be wrongly misinterpreted. Therefore, it is better to keep their title designation in the French language (specially in case of military units which most harbor battle honor designations but not necessarily) and translate within the article itself, since some of these designated name designations/emblems/locations/battle honors have history behind them as well, where as a wrongly translated word or not (or composition word) would be incorrect in relation to a mentioned history designation of a Squadron/Escadron. For the reference, the previously stated would be related to Encyclopedic (Wikipedia) inter-languages integrity concepts which has no distinct official citation on a language Encyclopedia (in this case either French or English Wikipedia).
- The French abbreviation (EB), for bombardment units, can refer to any of the three echelons of the French Air Force.
- not actual but a sort of wing
- Nouvelles escadres aériennes : une cohérence opérationnelle accrue, des valeurs renforcées. Site de l'Armée de l'air accessed 16 November 2015.
- The French word "Ravitaillement" means "Supply" in English. However, while the word "Ravitaillement" or "Supply" can be understood as designating Air Refueling, it can also designate within the context of the French Air Force, any sort of supply activity while Airborne.
- The French word "Escadre" corresponds to a close and not actual designation of "Wing" (in this case Air Wing) and the French word "de chasse" literary corresponds in translation to "of a hunt or hunter", accordingly, while these designated similar wing formations designate units that correspond to Fighter Wings, their actual language translations are different.
- The French word "Escadre" corresponds to a close and not actual designation of "Wing" (in this case Air Wing) and the French word "de chasse" literary corresponds in translation to "of a hunt or hunter", accordingly, while these designated wing formations designate units that correspond to Fighter Wings, their actual language translations are different.
- Also to note equally that Escadron de Chasse 2/30 Normandie-Niemen (French: Escadron de Chasse 2/30 Normandie-Niemen) has recently readopted the traditional designation of regiment, which the latter has carried during the Second World War at the corps of the Red Army.
- designations of Escadrilles composed of the identifying number of material devices (for instance SPA for escadrille equipped with SPAD, N for Nieuport, SAL for Salmson,etc.) and an order number
- , Les fusiliers commandos, February 10, 2015, August 2, 2010, defense.gouv.fr.
- Officier commando de l'air.
- The French referral of "Base Aérienne" is the proper equivalent of "Aerial Base" in English. While the term "Air Base" is more popular, the proper French translation of the latter (Air Base) to the French language would refer to "Base d'Air", which has no relevant meaning for the French Air Force.
- "France faced with developments in the international and strategic context" 3 April 2012 (in English)
- Scramble. Scramblemagazine.nl. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
- "Le ministère commande la rénovation à mi-vie des Mirage 2000 D".
- "World Air Forces 2016". Flightglobal: p. 17. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
- Riool, Peter W. "Airbus A400M Full Production List". www.abcdlist.nl. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
- "France – MQ-9 Reapers – The Official Home of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency". www.dsca.mil.
- "France speeds PC-21 deliveries".
- "UNVEILED THE FIRST PILATUS PC-21 FOR FRENCH AIR FORCE".
- Michel L. Martin, Le déclin de l'armée de masse en France. Note sur quelques paramètres organisationnels,Revue française de sociologie, volume 22, number 22-1, year 1981, pages 87–115[[www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/rfsoc 0035-2969 1981 num 22 1 3390]
- Bilan social 90, Editor : Direction de la fonction militaire et du personnel civil, 1990, total pages 62, passage 6 to 8 format=PDF.
- Olivier, Jean-Marc, (ed.), Histoire de l'armée de l'air et des forces aériennes françaises du XVIIIe siècle à nos jours" [History of the French Air Force since the 18th century to the present], Toulouse, Privat, 2014, 552 p.
- Pither, Tony (1998). The Boeing 707 720 and C-135. England: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-236-X.
- Thomas-Durell Young, Command in NATO After the Cold War: Alliance, National and Multinational Considerations, U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute, June 1997
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