French Rafales Swedish Gripen exercise
French Rafales and Swedish Gripens train together.

The air base 118 at Mont-de-Marsan, France, hosted at the beginning of September a two-week exercise, called "Bernadotte", where French and Swedish fighter pilots trained together. Three French Rafales assigned to the 30th Fighter Wing and eight Swedish Gripen fighter jets have conducted joint missions to test their interoperability.

"When we train with foreign nations, the goal is always the same, be interoperable," said Guillame, Commander of the 3/30 "Lorraine" Squadron and organizer of the exercise. We have replicated general threats through scenarios that allow our forces to collaborate." During the first week, the pilots trained in zone defense missions while the second week focused on maneuvers to enter enemy territory. These joint missions allow French airmen to face uncommon conditions that they might find during future operations.

"The last main mission brought together twenty airplanes, with groups of twelve to eight, mixing Rafales and Gripens, Guillame added. We could count on reinforcements coming from the Luxeuil and Cazaux bases to operate on a vast area over the Atlantic." This was the first joint exercise with Swedish pilots: "We have examined a wide range of missions, the Swedes have also asked to be trained in air refueling."

The Commander of the Swedish deployment in France was also very satisfied with the training they had with their French colleagues.

"The goal for us was to share and improve our skills in fighting a common enemy. We had the opportunity to exchange tactical knowledge for better cooperation. Eight Gripen fighter jets and eleven Swedish pilots from the Linköping air base participated in the exercise. We have had excellent relations with the French airmen, they have shown great hospitality, I'm ready to return here and I hope that the French will come to Sweden to conduct the same kind of exercise ".

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Images: French AF

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