French Air Force shows its capabilities to senior defense officers

French Air Force Evreux
Two French Air Force Rafale multirole aircraft fly over Evreux AFB, France.

On November 10th, 2021, the French Air Force (L’armée de l’Air et de l’Espace - AAE) presented an overview of its capabilities and missions to the auditors of the Institut des Hautes Etudes de Défense Nationale (Institute for Higher National Defense Studies, IHEDN) and the Ecole de Guerre (War College, EDG), at the Base Aérienne 105 Evreux "Commandant Viot" air base.

During the day, officers from France and from countries all over the world could be seen, walking along the various stands and aircraft

"The Institut des Hautes Etudes de Défense Nationale (IHEDN) is a French public academic institution for research, education and promotion of expertise and sensitization towards defence matters.

The aim of the Institute is to train high-level military, government officials and high-ranking executives in defence matters

The Ecole de Guerre (EDG) is a French military academy that trains senior officers to become as high-ranking senior officers." (Source wikipedia).

The various presentations will illustrate the capabilities of the French Air Force: a powerful French Air Force, guaranteeing air superiority, while staying ahead and cultivating the moral strength of airmen. Today the French Air Force is about to take on new challenges: "to see higher, to decide faster, to be stronger."

Static presentation

On the static presentation were the following aircraft of the French Air Force

1 Airbus A330 MRTT ''Phenix''
1 Airbus A400M ''Atlas''
1 LockheedMartin C-130J "Hercules"
2 Dassault Rafale
1 Pilatus PC21
1 Beechcraft King Air 350
1 EuroCopter EC725 "Caracal"

Close to the aircraft and helicopter, the crews was gathered to answer questions from the participants. On another platform, ground-based units of the French Armed Forces like the Ground-to-Air Defence units demonstrated their capabilities.

Dynamic presentation

The dynamic presentation was performed by some aircraft from the static show:

1 Airbus A330 MRTT ''Phenix''
1 Airbus A400M ''Atlas''
1 LockheedMartin KC-130J "Hercules"
1 Pilatus PC21
2 Dassault Rafale, flying from another location of the airbase
1 German Air Force C-160 Transall, flying from another location of the airbase

During the dynamic presentation, 2 Rafale aircraft and the PC21 took off and later the PC21 was intercepted during a 'slow-mover interception' whereby the PC21 was forced to land afterwards.

Then the A400M flew by and dropped a number of paratroopers, followed by the landing of the KC-130J. After landing, soldiers departed the C-130 via the open ramp to take up defensive positions. Finally, the old and venerable C-160 landed on the airbase.

After the end of the demonstrations


This demonstration was the first time that the recently established Franco-German tactical transport squadron demonstrated it's new LockheedMartin C-130J "Hercules". After the formal decision to establish a mixed tactical transport squadron in 2017, work started at BA Evreux to create a huge new apron with large hangers to locate the future aircraft. Also orders were placed at LockheedMartin.

The mixed squadron will receive 10 aircraft: two French C-130J, two French KC-130J and six German C-130J. All French C-130Js have been delivered and the first German is expected to arrive around February 2022 in France. Soon to be followed thereafter by the Initial Operating Capability (IOC) status. Full operational status is expected around 2024 and then the final C-130J should have been delivered.

The pilots of the two nations will then train in mixed teams "without distinction of nationality", only when


In a large hangar there were 2 speeches, by the French Air Force chief of staff general Stéphane Mille, and by the Evreux base commander colonel Solenne Le Floch.

Text by Alex van Noye and Joris van Boven
Photos by Alex van Noye and Joris van Boven

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