The Air Force operates just over 1,000
aircraft of various types (combat, transport, liaison, training and
helicopters), from the Mirage 2000 to the Epsilon.
Twenty front line squadrons maintain 380 aircraft at readiness, prepared
to carry out missions at a moments notice. In order to take full advantage of
the flexibility of air power and to optimize the use of a limited number of
aircraft, all squadrons have primary and secondary missions:
defence with ground attack;
ground attack with air defence;
reconnaissance with ground attack, etc.
The air activity is conducted in France from about twenty operational
bases and five air defence radar sites, supported by approximately ten other
bases (HQs, operation centres, supply and maintenance depots, etc.)
The pre-positioning of some air assets overseas (combat and transport aircraft,
helicopters) facilitates a swift response to any request for assistance within
the framework of bi-lateral agreements and thus enables the defence of French
The total annual flying commitment generates 320,000 flying hours each year
The total military strength is 83,448, of which 19,921 are conscripts.
The total comprises 7,218 officers, 41,964 non-commissioned officers and 19,921
airmen; Among the 58,618 active duty personnel:
4,700 belong to the flying corps (pilots, navigators, flight engineers…);
29,225 work in technical fields (mechanics, electronics, telecommunications,
24,793 carry out supervision, administration, support, protection and defence
equipment and personnel management, training, infrastructure, air base defence…).
Among the 19,921 conscripts:
17,160 (65%) carry out operational activities (security, fire safety,
9,240 (35%) carry out support activities (catering, administration…).
Here's a list of the aircraft of the French Airforce:
Mirage 2000 is a
multirole combat fighter by Dassault Aviation of France. It has been
operational with the French Air Force since 1984 and has been selected by
Abu Dhabi, Egypt, Greece, India, Peru, Qatar, Taiwan and the United Arab
Emirates.Mirage 2000-5 is the latest of the Mirage 2000 family, and
incorporates advanced avionics, new multiple target air-to-ground and
air-to-air firing procedures using the RDY radar and new sensor and
Rafale is a twin jet
combat aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of short and long
range missions in day and night-time and in all weather conditions,
previously carried out by a number of different aircraft. The missions
include ground and sea attack, air defence and air superiority,
reconnaissance and high accuracy strike or nuclear strike deterrence.The
aircraft has been developed for the French Air Force and Navy. 76 have
been ordered out of a total requirement of around 300 (60 for the Navy and
234 for the Air Force)
Produced to meet a joint Anglo-French requirement in 1965
for a dual-role advanced/operational trainer and tactical support
aircraft, the Jaguar has been transformed into a potent fighter-bomber.A
variety of weapons including cluster, freefall, retard and laser guided
bombs, as well as rockets can be carried on the four wing and one fuselage
stations. Two 30mm cannon are mounted internally. To mark targets for
laser-guided weapons, the aircraft carries the thermal imaging and laser
designation (TIALD) pod. For self-defence, overwing Sidewinder infra-red
missiles are carried and the aircraft is fitted with a comprehensive suite
of electronic countermeasures.
AIR SURVEILLANCE AND REFUELING
The E-3 Airborne
Warning and Control System (AWACS) is built by Boeing Defense & Space
Group. The role of the E-3 is to carry out airborne surveillance, and
command, control and communications (C3) functions for both tactical and
air defense forces. In the USA the aircraft carries the designation E-3
AWACS. The UK designation is E-3 Sentry AEW (Airborne Early Warning) and
the French designation is E-3 SDA (Systeme de Detection Aeroporte).
-C 135 FR
The piloted component of the strategic air assets includes
the in-flight refuelling capability of the C
135 FR aircraft powered by four CFM 56 engines ; these aircraft also
provide refuelling for all combat aircraft within the Air Force.
-C 160 Transall
The tactical transport aircraft fleet comprises C
160 Transall aircraft (some with specific missions: C 160
Gabriel and Astarté.
And can transport 90 passengers and 51t of material.
-C 130 Hercules
The C-130 has been in continuous production since 1954 and
over 2,100 Hercules have been built for 64 countries, accumulating over 24
million flight hours.The improvements built into the C-130J, which entered
production in 1997, have enhanced the performance of the aircraft in terms
of range, cruise ceiling,time to climb, speed and airfield requirements.
An agreement between was signed in 1967 between Westland and
Sud Aviation (later known as Aerospatiale) covering licence production of
48 SA330Es which were to be known as Puma HC1s.The Puma can operate as a
casualty evacuation aircraft, troop transport for up to 16 fully equipped
troops, as a medium lift transport carrying up to 5,500 lbs of freight.
The Horizon system,
Helicoptere d'Observation Radar et d'Investigation sur Zone, is
operational with the French Army. The helicopter surveillance system was
originally developed to counter any possible threat by the tank fleets of
the Warsaw Pact countries. The end of the Cold War and the uncertainty of
the timing and scope of new military threats has brought emphasis to the
importance of Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence, C3I, and
the role of the heliborne surveillance radar.