French Mirage 2000 experiences in-flight mishap during Iniohos 2021 exercise

French Rafale mishap Iniohos 2021
French Air Force Mirage 2000D lands at Andravida Air Base, Greece, after experiencing an air refueling mishap.

A French Air Force Mirage 2000D fighter assigned to Escadron de Chasse 3/3 Ardennes at BA 133 Nancy-Ochey airbase experienced a mishap during the recent Hellenic Air Force-led exercise 'Iniohos 2021'. The image provided by our contributor George Karavantos shows the aircraft at the end of a mission at the Andravida air base with the tanker basket attached to its refueling probe. It is clear that the tanker component broke during the air refueling operation. 

The basket probably belongs to the USAF KC-135 Stratotanker that the 100th Air Refueling Wing at Mildenhall AB, UK, sent to Greece to provide air refueling capabilities during Iniohos 2021. While KC-135s usually use the boom to perform this activity, the aircraft sent to Andravida was also equipped with hose-and-drogue system (see image below). This allowed it to supply fuel also to all those fighters that are equipped with a probe, such as the Mirage 2000.

French Rafale mishap Iniohos 2021

The breaking of the probe nozzle is part of one of the most common accidents during this type of operation, but which usually does not involve serious risks for the tanker or receiver. The damage can be caused by sudden maneuvers of the aircraft due to strong turbulence or high load factor due to engagement pressure. According to the photo, the French Mirage 2000 did not report any major structural damage.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Photo Credits: George Karavantos (M2000), USAF/Karen Abeyasekere (KC135)

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