French Naval Aviation

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French Naval Aviation
Sigle Aéronavale.jpg
Founded 1910
Country  France
Branch  French Navy
Size 179 aircraft[1]
Roundels Roundel of the French Fleet Air Arm.svg
French Navy
(Marine Nationale)
Naval Ensign of France
Motto: Honneur, Patrie, Valeur, Discipline
(“Honour, Homeland, Valour, Discipline”)
Naval Ministers
Maritime Prefect
Naval Action Force
Submarine Forces
Naval Aviation
FORFUSCO (Marine Commandos, Naval Fusiliers)
Maritime Gendarmerie
Current fleet
Current deployments
Ranks in the French Navy
History of the French Navy
Future of the French Navy
Ensigns and pennants
Historic ships
Historic fleets
Cross of War
Military Medal
Legion of Honour

French Naval Aviation (French: Aéronautique navale or colloquially Aéronavale) is the naval air arm of the French Navy. Born as a fusion of carrier squadrons and naval patrol air force, the Aéronautique navale was created in 1912. The headquarters is under command of an admiral (ALAVIA) in Toulon naval base. The French Naval Aviation has a strength of around 6,800 military and civilian personnel. They operate from four airbases in Metropolitan France and several detachments in foreign countries or French overseas territories. Carrier-borne pilots of the French navy do their initial training at Salon-de-Provence Air Base.

Aircraft inventory[edit]

Type Origin Class Role Introduced In service Total Notes
Aérospatiale Alouette III France Rotorcraft Utility 20 [1]
Breguet Atlantique II France Propeller MPA 22 [1]
Dassault Falcon 10 France Jet Utility 6 [1]
Dassault Falcon 50 France Jet Patrol 6 [1]
Dassault Falcon 200 Guardian France Jet Patrol 5 [1]
Dassault Rafale M France Jet Multi-role 42 [1]
Embraer EMB 121 Xingu Brazil Propeller Utility 10 [1]
Eurocopter SA365 Dauphin France Rotorcraft SAR 8 [1]
Eurocopter AS565 Panther France Rotorcraft Utility 16 [1]
Grumman E-2C Hawkeye USA Propeller AEW&C 3 [1]
Mudry CAP 10 France Propeller Trainer 7 [1]
NHIndustries NH90 Caiman France Rotorcraft Attack/SAR 16 [1]
Westland Lynx UK Rotorcraft Attack 18 [1]


Active bases of the French naval air arm (status 2013).


The French Naval Aviation has four components:


Operational squadrons are known as Flottilles and normally consist of 12 aircraft :

  • 1F to 10F are carrier based anti-submarine squadrons
  • 11F to 20F are fighter and attack squadrons
  • 21F to 30F are maritime patrol squadrons
  • 31F to 39F are helicopter squadrons

Shore-based training and transport squadrons are known as Escadrilles de Servitude :

  • 1S to 19S are communications squadrons
  • 20S to 29S are helicopters squadrons
  • 50S to 59S are training squadrons
Squadron Insignia Type Aircraft Base Role Notes
4F Fixed wing E-2C Hawkeye Lann Bihoue Carrier Airborne Early Warning [2]
Flottille 11F.png
Fixed wing Rafale M Landivisiau Strike Fighter [3]
Flottille 12F.png
Fixed wing Rafale M Landivisiau Strike Fighter [4]
Insigne 17F.jpg
Fixed wing Rafale M Landivisiau Strike Fighter [5] Ended conversion to Rafale M on June 2016.
Blason 21F.jpg
Fixed wing Atlantique II Lann Bihoue Maritime patrol [6] Detachments at Dakar and Djibouti.
23F Fixed wing Atlantique II Lann Bihoue Maritime patrol [7]
24F Fixed wing Falcon 50 M Lann Bihoue Maritime patrol [8]
25F Fixed wing Falcon 200 Guardian GAM Faa’a Maritime patrol [9] Detachment at Nouméa.
Blason 28F.jpg
Fixed wing Embraer Xingu Lann Bihoue Utility [10]
31F Rotary NH90 Caiman Hyeres Search and Rescue [11]
Emblème de la flottille 33F.jpg
Rotary NH90 Caiman Lanveoc Anti-Submarine Warfare / Search and Rescue [12]
34F Rotary Westland Lynx Lanveoc Anti-Submarine Warfare To convert to NH90 Caiman. [13]
35F Rotary Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin, Alouette III Hyeres Search and Rescue Detachments at La Rochelle, Le Touquet-Paris-Plage[14] and Faa’a.
36F Rotary Eurocopter AS565 Panther Hyeres Small ship flights [15]
10S Rotary/ Fixed wing/UAV Alouette III, Westland Lynx, Schiebel S-100 Serval Hyeres Experimental
22S Rotary Alouette III Lanveoc Utility
50S Fixed wing SR20 and CAP-10 Lanveoc Elementary flying training
57S Fixed wing Falcon 10 M Landivisiau Training (Jets)


Former Naval Aviation aircraft[edit]


The Gourdou Leseurre GL.832 HY was a 1930s light shipboard reconnaissance floatplane.
The Latécoère 290 was a torpedo bomber floatplane produced during the 1930s.
The Martin P5M-2 Marlin served in the French navy between 1959 and 1964.
The Canard Voisin is the first seaplane used by the French Navy.


From 1951 to 1956, 164 Grumman Avengers were delivered to French Naval Aviation. They remained in service until 1965.
The Corsair F4U-7 was the first new aircraft delivered to the French Navy after 1945. It saw action during the Indochina war, Algerian war and operation Musketeer.
During the Algerian War of independence, the French Navy flew Lockheed Neptunes on surveillance patrol to fight weapons smuggling by sea.
The Crusader was the air superiority jet aircraft of the French navy for 35 years.




  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Defence Key Figures: 2016 Edition".  (download PDF file or see HTML version Archived September 6, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.)
  2. ^ "Flotilla 4F". French Navy. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  3. ^ "Flottilla 11F". French Navy. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  4. ^ "Flottilla 12F". French Navy. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  5. ^ "Flottilla 17F". French Navy. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  6. ^ "Flottilla 21F". French Navy. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  7. ^ "Flottilla 23F". French Navy. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  8. ^ "Flottilla 24F". French Navy. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  9. ^ "Flottilla 25F". French Navy. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  10. ^ "Flottilla 28F". French Navy. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  11. ^ "Flottilla 31F". French Navy. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  12. ^ "Flottilla 33F". French Navy. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  13. ^ "Flottilla 34F". French Navy. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  14. ^ "Flottilla 35F". French Navy. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  15. ^ "Flottilla 36F". French Navy. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 

External links[edit]