French Air Force
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The French Air and Space Force (AAE) (french: Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace, ) is the
air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphere (0.04402961% at April 2019 concentration ). Number ...
and
space force A space force is a military branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically officially authorized and main ...
of the
French Armed Forces The French Armed Forces (french: Forces armées françaises) encompass the Army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on la ...
. It was formed in 1909 as the , a service arm of the
French Army The French Army, officially the Ground Army (french: Armée de Terre , ) to distinguish it from the French Air and Space Force (), is the Army, land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces. It is responsible to the Government of Fra ...
, and then made an independent military arm in 1934, becoming the French Air Force. On 10 September 2020, it assumed its current name, the French Air and Space Force. The number of aircraft in service with the French Air and Space Force varies depending on the source, however sources from the French Ministry of Defence give a figure of 658 aircraft in 2014. The French Air and Space Force has 232 combat aircraft in service, 130
Dassault Mirage 2000 The Dassault Mirage 2000 is a French multirole, single-engine fourth-generation jet fighter manufactured by Dassault Aviation Dassault Aviation SA () is an international French aircraft manufacturer of military and business Business i ...

Dassault Mirage 2000
and 102
Dassault Rafale The Dassault Rafale (, literally meaning "gust of wind", and "burst of fire" in a more military sense) is a French Twinjet, twin-engine, Canard (aeronautics), canard delta wing, Multirole combat aircraft, multirole fighter aircraft designed and ...
. As of 2021, the French Air and Space Force employs a total of 40,500 regular personnel. As of 2014, the reserve element of the air and space force consists of 5,187 Operational Reserve personnel. The
Chief of Staff of the French Air and Space Force The Chief of the Air and Space Force Staff (french: Chef d'état-major de l'armée de l'air et de l'espace, CEMAAE) is the military head of the French Air and Space Force The French Air and Space Force (AAE) (french: Armée de l'Air et de l'Esp ...
(CEMAAE) is a direct subordinate of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA).


History


In the beginning


Establishment of the

The founding of the began in 1909, when the French War Minister approved the purchase of a Wright Biplane. The following year, another Wright biplane, a Bleriot, and two
Farman Farman Aviation Works (french: Avions Farman) was a French aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining support from the Atmosphere of Earth, air. It counters the force of gravity by using either Buoyancy, stat ...
s were added to the lone acquisition. On 22 October 1910, General
Pierre Roques Pierre Auguste Roques (28 December 1856 – 26 February 1920) was a French general and creator of the French air force. Biography Born to a modest family in Marseillan, Hérault, his lively intelligence earned him a study grant that allowed hi ...
was appointed Inspector General of what was becoming referred to as the Cinquieme Arme, or Fifth Service.''Over the Front: The Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914–1918'', p. 84 In March 1912, the French parliament enacted legislation to establish the air arm. It was projected to consist of three distinct branches based on aircraft missions—reconnaissance, bombing, or countering other aircraft.


Inventing the fighter plane

France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and Overseas France, several overseas regions and territories. The metro ...
was one of the first states to start building aircraft. At the beginning of
World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously known as the Great War or "The war to end war, the war ...

World War I
, France had a total of 148 planes (eight from
French Naval Aviation French Naval Aviation (often abbreviated in French language, French to: ''Aéronavale'', or ''Aviation navale'', or more simply ''l'Aéro'') is the Naval aviation, naval air arm of the French Navy. The long-form official designation is ''Force ma ...
()) and 15
airship An airship, dirigible balloon or blimp is a type of aerostat An aerostat (From greek language, Greek ἀήρ ''aer'' (air) + στατός ''statos'' (standing) through French) is a lighter than air aircraft that gains its lift through the u ...
s.''History of light aviation of the French Army 1794–2008'', Lavauzelle, Collection of History, Memory and Patrimony, Général André Martini, 2005, Paris, pages 36,42, In August 1914, as France entered World War I, French airpower consisted of 24 squadrons () supporting ground forces, including three squadrons assigned to cavalry units. By 8 October, expansion to 65 squadrons was being planned. By December, the plans called for 70 new squadrons. Meanwhile, even as procurement efforts scaled up, inventive airmen were trying to use various light weapons against opposing airplanes. Roland Garros invented a crude method of firing a machine gun through the propeller arc by cladding his propeller with metal wedges deflecting any errant bullets. After destroying three German airplane, Garros came down behind enemy lines on 18 April 1915. His secret weapon was thus exposed, and
Anthony Fokker Anton Herman Gerard "Anthony" Fokker (6 April 1890 – 23 December 1939) was a Netherlands, Dutch aviation pioneer, aviation entrepreneur, aircraft designer, and aircraft manufacturer. He is most famous for the fighter aircraft he produced in Ge ...
came up with the
synchronization gear A synchronization gear (also known as a gun synchronizer or interrupter gear) was a device enabling a single-engine tractor configuration aircraft to fire its forward-firing armament through the arc of its spinning Propeller (aeronautics), propell ...
that by July 1, 1915, that turned airplanes into flying gun platforms.''Over the Front: The Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914–1918'', pp. 84-85


Founding fighter formations

On 21 February 1916, the Verdun Offensive began. New weapons demand new tactics.
Commandant Commandant ( or ) is a title often given to the officer in charge of a military (or other uniformed service) training establishment or academy. This usage is common in English-speaking nations. In some countries it may be a military or police ran ...

Commandant
Charles de Tricornet de Rose was the original French pilot, having learned to fly in March 1911. This experienced flier was given a free hand to select pilots and airplanes for a new unit tasked with keeping German observation craft from over the French lines. The ad hoc unit commandeered all available Morane-Saulniers and Nieuport 11s, as well as the 15 best pilots regardless of posting. This ad hoc unit patrolling the skies over Verdun was the first French . The was successful despite Tricornet's death in a mishap. Under the leadership of new commander Captain Auguste de Reverand, such flying aces as Georges Guynemer, Charles Nungesser, and Albert Deullin began their careers.''Over the Front: The Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914–1918'', p. 85 Encouraged by the success of their original , the French massed several squadrons for the Battle of the Somme. The burgeoning French aircraft inventory afforded the formation of under Captain Felix Brocard. The was formed on 1 July 1916 with a posting of four Nieuport squadrons: Escadrille 3, Squadron N.3, Escadrille 26, N.26, Escadrille 73, N.73, and Escadrille 103, N.103. Three other squadrons--Escadrille 37, Squadron N.37, Escadrille 62, N.62, and Escadrille 65, N.65 were temporarily attached at various times. On 19 October 1916, three fixed were established, each to consist of four squadron. Numbered Groupe de Combat 11, 11, Groupe de Combat 12, 12, and Groupe de Combat 13, 13, they were only the first three .


Concentrating airpower

During March 1917, and were formed. Again, each new was assigned four Nieuport fighter squadrons; again, each was sent to support a different French field army. On 10 January 1918, was formed from four Société pour l'aviation et ses dérivés, SPAD squadrons. In February, five more were founded from SPAD squadrons: number 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21. The various Nieuport models were now being phased out as the new SPADs filled the inventories of the French. With the success, the French were encouraged to amass airpower into still larger tactical units. On 4 February 1918, was created out of , , and . It was followed by , formed on the 27th from , , and . Each would be stocked with 72 fighters.''Over the Front: The Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914–1918'', p. 86 The were not the end of the French accumulation of air power. On 14 May 1918, they were grouped into the . As bombing aircraft were also being concentrated into larger units, the new division would also contain and . The bombing units were both equipped with 45 Breguet 14 bombers. The last addition to the new division was five protection squadrons, operating 75 Caudron R.11 gunships to fly escort for the Breguets. On 25 June 1918, was founded. followed soon thereafter. A couple of night bombardment were also founded.''Over the Front: The Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914–1918'', pp. 86-87


Committing the ''Division Aerienne''

Then, on 15 July 1918, the Division was committed to the Second Battle of the Marne. From then on, whether in whole or in part, the fought until war's end. By the time of the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, the French could commit 27 fighter squadrons to the effort, along with reconnaissance and bombing squadrons. The 1,137 airplanes dedicated to the battle were the most numerous used in a World War I battle.''Over the Front: The Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914–1918'', p. 87 When the 11 November 1918 armistice came, French air power had expanded to 336 squadrons, 74 of which were SPAD fighter squadrons. France had 3,608 planes in service. Confirmed claims of 2,049 destroyed enemy airplanes included 307 that had been brought down within French lines. French airmen had also destroyed 357 observation balloons. However, 5,500 Aircraft pilot, pilots and air observer, observers were killed out of the 17,300 engaged in the conflict, amounting to 31%. A 1919 newspaper article reported that the French Air Force had suffered losses of 61%.


Interwar period

Military aeronautics was established as a "special arm" by the law of 8 December 1922. However, it remained under the auspices of the
French Army The French Army, officially the Ground Army (french: Armée de Terre , ) to distinguish it from the French Air and Space Force (), is the Army, land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces. It is responsible to the Government of Fra ...
. It was not until 2 July 1934, that the "special arm" became an independent service and was totally independent. The initial air arm was the cradle of List of French paratrooper units, French military parachuting, responsible for the first formation of the 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment, Air Infantry Groups (lang-fr, Groupements de l'Infanterie de l'Air) in the 1930s, out of which the Air Parachute Commandos (french: commandos parachutistes de l'air) descended. The French Air Force maintained a continuous presence across the French colonial empire, particularly from the 1920s to 1943.


World War II

The French Air Force played an important role in WWII, most notably during the Battle of France in 1940. The Vichy French Air Force had later a significant presence in the Army of the Levant, French Levant. The engagement of the Free French Air Forces from 1940 to 1943, and then the engagement of the aviators of the French Liberation Army, were also important episodes in the history of the French Air Force. The sacrifices of Commandant (rank), Commandant René Mouchotte and Lieutenant Marcel Beau illustrated their devotion.


1945–present

After 1945, France rebuilt its aircraft industry. The French Air Force participated in several French colonial empire, colonial wars during the Empire such as French Indochina after the Second World War. Since 1945, the French Air Force was notably engaged in First Indochina War, Indochina (1945–1954). The French Air Force was active in Algeria War, Algeria from 1952 until 1962 and Suez Crisis, Suez (1956), later Mauritania and Chad, the Persian Gulf (1990–1991), ex-Yugoslav Wars, Yugoslavia and more recently in Afghanistan, Mali and Iraq. From 1964 until 1971 the French Air Force had the unique responsibility for the Force de dissuasion, French nuclear arm via Dassault Mirage IV or ballistic missiles of Air Base 200 Apt-Saint-Christol on the Plateau d'Albion. Accordingly, from 1962, the French political leadership shifted its military emphasis to Force de dissuasion, nuclear deterrence, implementing a complete reorganisation of the Air Force, with the creation of four air regions and seven major specialised commands, among which were the Strategic Air Forces Command, COTAM, the Air Command of Aerial Defense Forces (, CAFDA), and the (FATac). In 1964, the Second Tactical Air Command was created in Nancy, France, Nancy to take command of air units stationed in France but not assigned to NATO. The Military Air Transport Command had previously been formed in February 1962 from the . Also created in 1964 was the (EFCA), seemingly grouping all FCA units. The Dassault Mirage IV, the principal French strategic bomber, was designed to strike Soviet positions as part of the French nuclear triad. In 1985, the Air Force had four major flying commands, the Strategic Air Forces Command, the Tactical Air Forces Command, the Military Air Transport Command, and CAFDA (air defence). CFAS had two 1st Strategic Missiles Groupment (France), squadrons of S2 (missile), S2 and S3 (missile), S-3 IRBMs at the Plateau d'Albion, six squadrons of Mirage IV, Mirage IVAs (at Mont de Marsan, Cazaux, Orange, Istres, St Dizier, and EB 3/94 at Luxeuil - Saint-Sauveur Air Base), and three squadrons of Boeing C-135 Stratolifter#C-135F, C-135F, as well as a training/reconnaissance unit, CIFAS 328, at Bordeaux. The tactical air command included wings EC 3, EC 4, EC 7, EC 11, EC 13, and ER 33, with a total of 19 squadrons of Mirage III, Jaguars, two squadrons flying the Mirage 5, Mirage 5F (EC 2/13 and EC 3/13, both at Colmar – Meyenheim Air Base, Colmar), and a squadron flying the Mirage F.1CR. CoTAM counted 28 squadrons, of which ten were fixed-wing transport squadrons, and the remainder helicopter and liaison squadrons, at least five of which were overseas. CAFDA numbered 14 squadrons mostly flying the Mirage F.1C. Two other commands had flying units, the Air Force Training Command (France), Air Force Training Command, and the Air Force Transmissions Command, with four squadrons and three trials units. Dassault Aviation led the way mainly with delta-wing designs, which formed the basis for the Dassault Mirage III series of fighter jets. The Mirage demonstrated its abilities in the Six-Day War, Yom Kippur War, Falklands War, and Gulf War, becoming one of the most popular jet fighters of its day and being widely sold. In 1994, the Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air command was reestablished under a different form. The French Air Force entered a phase of inventory replacement and expansion. The Air Force ordered the Airbus A400M military transport aircraft, then in development. By November 2016, 11 had already been delivered to ET00.061 at Orleans-Bricy, and integration of the new
Dassault Rafale The Dassault Rafale (, literally meaning "gust of wind", and "burst of fire" in a more military sense) is a French Twinjet, twin-engine, Canard (aeronautics), canard delta wing, Multirole combat aircraft, multirole fighter aircraft designed and ...
multi-role jet fighter was underway; the first 20-aircraft squadron became operational in 2006 at Saint-Dizier. In 2009, France rejoined the NATO Military Command Structure, having been absent since 1966. France was a leading nation, alongside the United States, Great Britain and Italy in implementing the UN sponsored no-fly zone in Libya (NATO Operation Unified Protector), deploying 20 fighter aircraft to Benghazi in defense of rebel-held positions and the civilian population. The last remaining squadron of Dassault Mirage F1s retired the aircraft in July 2014 and replaced them with Dassault Rafale, Dassault Rafales. On 13 July 2019, President Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of a space command, which would come into being within the French Air Force by September 2019, and the transformation of the French Air Force into the French Air and Space Force. According to Defense Minister Florence Parly, France reserves the right to arm French satellites with lasers for defensive purposes. The official renaming occurred on 24 July 2020, with the new Air and Space Force logo unveiled on 11 September 2020.


Structure

The
Chief of Staff of the French Air and Space Force The Chief of the Air and Space Force Staff (french: Chef d'état-major de l'armée de l'air et de l'espace, CEMAAE) is the military head of the French Air and Space Force The French Air and Space Force (AAE) (french: Armée de l'Air et de l'Esp ...
(CEMAAE) determines French Air and Space Force Military doctrine, doctrines application and advises the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA) on the deployment, manner, and use of the Air and Space Force. They are responsible for the preparation and logistic support of the French Air and Space Force. The CEMAA is assisted by a Deputy Chief, the . Finally, the CEMAA is assisted by the Inspectorate of the French Air and Space Force (IAA) and by the French Air and Space Force Health Service Inspection (ISSAA). The Air and Space Force is organized in accordance with Chapter 4, Title II, Book II of the Third Part of the French Defense Code (french: :fr:code de la Défense, code de la Défense), which replaced decree n° 91-672 dated 14 July 1991. Under the authority of the
Chief of Staff of the French Air and Space Force The Chief of the Air and Space Force Staff (french: Chef d'état-major de l'armée de l'air et de l'espace, CEMAAE) is the military head of the French Air and Space Force The French Air and Space Force (AAE) (french: Armée de l'Air et de l'Esp ...
(CEMAAE) in Paris, the Air and Space Force includes: *
Chief of Staff of the French Air and Space Force The Chief of the Air and Space Force Staff (french: Chef d'état-major de l'armée de l'air et de l'espace, CEMAAE) is the military head of the French Air and Space Force The French Air and Space Force (AAE) (french: Armée de l'Air et de l'Esp ...
, heading the (EMAAE) * Forces * Air Bases * Directorate of Human Resources of the French Air and Space Force * ServicesLégifrance, base CDEF(R), numéro R3224-8, Code de la Défense, Art. R.3224-8 The Air and Space Force headquarters, employing 150 personnel, are located alongside the Chief of the Defence Staff's offices (EMA) and the Army and Navy headquarters at the Hexagone Balard, Balard armed forces complex in Paris. The new site replaced the former Paris Air Base (BA 117) which served as air staff headquarters until 25 June 2015.


Commands

The French Air and Space Force has had three commands: two grand operational commands (CDAOA and CFAS) and one organic command (CFA). * Air Defense and Air Operations Command (french: Commandement de la Défense Aérienne et des Opérations Aériennes (CDAOA)), is responsible for surveillance of French airspace, as well as all aerial operations in progress. This command does not possess aircraft. Instead it exercises operational control over units of the Air Forces Command (France), Air Forces Command (''CFA''). **Air Defence and Air Operations Staff () composed of the: ***Air Force Operational Staff () and the ***Permanent readiness command center (), both situated at the Balard complex (the French Air and Space Force main HQ) ***direct reporting units: ****Air Force Operations Brigade () (all units at BA 942 Lyon-Mont Verdun air base) *****National Air Operations Center () *****Core Joint Force Air Component HQ (''Core JFAC HQ'') *****Operational Center for Military Surveillance of Space Objects () *****Analysis and Simulation Center for Air Operations Preparation () ****Air Force Operational Awareness and Planning Brigade () *****Air Force Intelligence Center () at BA 942 Lyon-Mont Verdun air base *****National Target Designation Center () at BA 110 Creil-Senlis air base *****Satellite Observation Military Center 01.092 ''"Bourgogne"'' () at BA 110 Creil-Senlis air base *****Land-based Electronic Warfare Squadron () at BA 123 Orléans-Bricy air base *****Intelligence Training Squadron 20.530 () (Metz), training air and space force and naval officers, integrated in the Joint Intelligence Training Center (''CFIAR'') in Strasbourg ***territorial units: ****Detection and Control Center 07.927 () Tours – Cinq-Mars-la-Pile (Codename: ''Raki'', Area of responsibility, AOR: Northwestern France) ****Detection and Control Center 04.930 () Mont-de-Marsan Air Base, Mont-de-Marsan (Codename: ''Marina'', Area of responsibility, AOR: Southwestern France) ****Detection and Control Center 05.942 () Lyon – Mont Verdun Air Base, Lyon – Mont Verdun (Codename: ''Rambert'', Area of responsibility, AOR: Southeastern France) ****Detection and Control Center 05.901 () Drachenbronn Air Base, Drachenbronn (Codename: ''Riesling'', Area of responsibility, AOR: Northeastern France) – disbanded in 2015, functions absorbed into the Lyon – Mont Verdun DCC * Strategic Air Forces Command (CFAS)), is responsible for the air force's nuclear strike units (Dassault Rafale, Dassault Rafale B armed with Air-Sol Moyenne Portée, ASMP-A missiles), as well as the tanker / strategic transport aircraft (Boeing C-135 Stratolifter, C-135FR, Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker). * Air Forces Command (France), Air Forces Command (CFA)), Bordeaux-Mérignac Air Base, as an organic command, prepares units to fulfill operational missions. From September 2013, the former organic commands CFA and CSFA were merged into CFA. CFA is organized in six brigades: **Fighter Brigade (France), Fighter Brigade – (french: Brigade Aérienne de l'Aviation de Chasse (BAAC)), is responsible for all air defense, air-to-ground and reconnaissance aircraft (including
Dassault Rafale The Dassault Rafale (, literally meaning "gust of wind", and "burst of fire" in a more military sense) is a French Twinjet, twin-engine, Canard (aeronautics), canard delta wing, Multirole combat aircraft, multirole fighter aircraft designed and ...
, Mirage 2000-5F, Mirage 2000B/C/D, Transall C-160 Gabriel). In February 2016 it was commanded by Brigadier General (Air) Philippe Lavigne. ** Projection and Support Air Force Brigade (french: Brigade Aérienne d'Appui et de Projection (BAAP)), is responsible for all tactical transport and liaison aircraft (aircraft and helicopters: Transall, Transall C-160, C-160, Hercules Lockheed C-130 Hercules, C-130, Airbus A310, A310/319, Dassault Falcon 50/900, Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma, Eurocopter Fennec, Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma, SOCATA TBM); ** Airspace Control Brigade (french: Brigade Aérienne de Contrôle de l'Espace (BACE)), is responsible for (Airborne early warning and control aircraft, and ground radar, ground-based air defense systems and missile defence, communication networks) airspace surveillance, constituting the Système de Commandement et de Conduite des Opérations Aérospatiales). Since 2007 the command, control and information systems network of the air and space force have been is integrated into the Joint Directorate of Infrastructure Networks and Information Systems (DIRISI)). ** Air Force Security and Intervention Forces Brigade (french: :fr:brigade aérienne des forces de sécurité et d'intervention, Brigade Aérienne des Forces de Sécurité et d'Intervention (BAFSI)), is responsible for units of the French Air and Space Force's commando riflemen (Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air, tasked with special operations, Combat search and rescue, CSAR and target acquisition), amongst which the most elite is the Air Force Parachute Commando n° 10, List of French paratrooper units, C.P.A 10 (, unit of the Special Operations Command (France), French Special Forces. The BAFSI also includes the security units of the air bases (34 squadrons (of company strength) and detachments (of platoon strength)) and the rescue and firefighting personnel (called ''incident technicians'' and grouped into ''squadrons'' of company size); ** Air Force Aerial Weapon Systems Brigade (french: Brigade Aérienne des Systèmes d'Armes Aériens (BASAA)) provides the maintenance and repair of aerial weapons and target systems. ** Air Force Maneuver Support Brigade (french: Brigade Aérienne d'Appui à la Manœuvre Aérienne (BAAMA)) provides the ground-based engineer and logistics personnel (including expeditionary) needed for the sustainment of air operations. * French Space Command (french: Commandement de l'espace (CDE)) These last two brigades belonged until 2013 to the Air Force Support Command (CSFA), which maintained the arms systems, equipment, information and communication systems (SIC) as well as infrastructure. The CSFA supported the human element, the military logistics (supply and transport), wherever, previously, forces of the French Air and Space Force operated or trained. These two brigades are now subordinate to the CFA. The official designation of the service was changed in July 2019 from Air Army () to Air and Space Army (), when the previous joint Inter-Service Space Command ( (''CIE'')) under the French General Staff was transformed into the Joint Space Command (France), Space Command ( (''CDE'')) and absorbed into the Air and Space Force as its fourth command. All air regions were disestablished on 1 January 2008. In the 1960s, there were five air regions (RA). The number was then reduced to four by a decree of 30 June 1962 with the disestablishment of the 5th Aerial Region (French North Africa). The decree of 14 July 1991 reduced the air regions to three: « RA Atlantic », « RA Mediterranean » and « RA North-East ». On 1 July 2000 was placed into effect an organization consisting of « RA North » (RAN) and « RA South » (RAS). The territorial division was abolished by decree n°2007-601 of 26 April 2007. From 2008 to 2010 the French Air Force underwent the "Air 2010" streamlining process. The main targets of this project were to simplify the command structure, to regroup all military and civil air force functions and to rationalise and optimise all air force units. Five major commands, were formed, instead of the former 13, and several commands and units were disbanded.


Support services

The Directorate of Human Resources of the Air and Space Force (DRH-AAE) recruits, trains, manages, administers, and converts personnel of the Air and Space Force. Since January 2008, the DRH-AAE groups the former Air Force directorate of military personnel (DPMMA) and some tasks of the former Air Force Training Command (France), Air Force Training Command. The directorate is responsible for Air and Space Force recruitment via the recruiting bureau. French joint defence service organisations, supporting the air and space force, include: * The Integrated Structure of Maintaining Operational Conditioning of Aeronautical Defense Materials (french: :fr:Structure intégrée de maintien en condition opérationnelle des matériels aéronautiques de la Défense, Structure Intégrée de Maintien en Condition Opérationnelle des Matériels Aéronautiques de la Défense) (SIMMAD). * The Service industriel de l'aéronautique, Aeronautical Industrial Service (french: :fr:Service industriel de l'aéronautique, Service Industriel de l'Aéronautique) (SIAE). * The " Air Commissariat " (french: " Commissariat de l'Air ") between 1947 and 2007, then " Financial and General Administration Service " (french: " Service de l'Administration Générale et des Finances " (SAGF)) from 2008 until 2009, and finally the " Commissariat Service of the Armed Forces " (SCA) (french: :fr:service du commissariat des armées, Service du Commissariat des Armées) since 2010, have successively been designated as administrative services of the French Air and Space Force. The Commissioners as well as Civilians of this service carry out : operations support, individual legal rights, judicial, internal control accountability, financial and purchase executions, and support and protection of the combatant.


Wings

Commanded by a Lieutenant-colonel or Colonel, the is a formation that assembles various units and personnel dedicated to the same mission. In 1932, the "regiment" designation was replaced with "Escadre", which until 1994 was a unit consisting of the following: * units (escadrons or groups) generally equipped with the same type of aircraft or at least assuring the same type of mission * units of maintenance and support. (Wing (military aviation unit), wings) were dissolved from 1993 as part of the reorganisation, were reestablished in 2014.Nouvelles escadres aériennes : une cohérence opérationnelle accrue, des valeurs renforcées
. Site de l'Armée de l'air accessed 16 November 2015.
The problems caused by having the aircraft maintenance units not responsible to the flying squadrons they supported eventually forced the change. Four were reformed in the first phase: * at Istres-Le Tubé Air Base on 27 August 2014 * at Avord Air Base on 5 September 2014 * (ESADA – 1er RAA) at Avord Air Base (3 September 2014) * the at Nancy-Ochey Air Base (5 September 2014) In the second phase, the French Air Force announced in August 2015 the creation of six additional wings: * the at Cazaux Air Base (25 August 2015) * the at Saint-Dizier ( 26 August 2015) * the at Évreux-Fauville Air Base (27 August 2015) * the at Luxeuil - Saint-Sauveur Air Base (3 September 2015) * the () at Orléans – Bricy Air Base (1 September 2015) * the at Mont-de-Marsan Air Base (3 September 2015). Also established was the at Évreux-Fauville Air Base on 27 August 2015. The French Air and Space Force announced in August 2015 that unit numbering, moves of affected aircraft, and the transfer of historic material (flags, traditions and names) would be completed in 2016. * the was re-constituted at Orléans – Bricy Air Base on 5 September 2017, taking over Lockheed C-130 Hercules, C-130 Hercules operations from so the latter could specialise in Airbus A400M Atlas, A400M Atlas operations. Another air force wing was added on September 5, 2019: * the at Cognac – Châteaubernard Air Base, operating the air and space force's Unmanned combat aerial vehicle, drone fleet.


Squadrons and flights

Commanded by a lieutenant-colonel, the Escadron is the basic operational unit. This term replaced that of Group as of 1949 with the aim to standardize usage with the allies of NATO who were using the term 'squadron'. However, the term Group did not entirely disappear: the term was retained for the Aerial Group 56 Mix Vaucluse, specialized in Special Operations or Group – Groupe de Ravitaillement en Vol 02.091 Bretagne (french: :fr:groupe de ravitaillement en vol 02.091 Bretagne, Groupe de Ravitaillement en Vol 02.091 Bretagne) which is still carrying the same designation since 2004. A fighter squadron ()). The squadrons have retained the designations of the former Escadres disbanded during the 1990s. For instance: Transport Escadron 1/64 Béarn (french: :fr:escadron de transport 1/64 Béarn, escadron de transport 1/64 Béarn) (more specifically Transport Escadron 01.064 Béarn), which belonged to the 64th Transport Escadre (french: 64e Escadre de Transport) during the dissolution of the later (recreated in August 2015). Not all escadrons (Squadrons) are necessarily attached to an Escadre. The Escadrille (flight) has both an administrative and operational function, even of the essential operational control is done at the level of the Esacdron. A pilot is assigned to the Escadrille, however the equipment and material devices, on the other hand, are assigned to the Escadron. Since the ESTA (Aeronautic Technical Support Escadrons) came into being, material devices and the mechanics have been assigned directly to the base then put at disposition of the based Escadrons. The Escadrilles adopted the traditions of the prestigious units out of which most (SPA and SAL), are those traditions of the First World War.


Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air

The Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air comprise: * Protection squadrons (french: Escadrons de protection) (EP) * Air Parachute Commando 10 (french: Commando parachutiste de l'air) (CPA 10) * Air Parachute Commando 20 (CPA 20) * Air Parachute Commando 30 (CPA 30) Protection Squadrons protect airbases inside and outside the national territory, and in exterior operations as well. The CPAs carry out common missions, as well as specialized tasks including intervention and reinforcement of protection at the profit of sensible points " air " inside and outside the national territory.


Air bases

Flying activity in France is carried out by a network of bases, platforms and French air defense radar systems, French air and space defence radar systems. It is supported by bases, which are supervised and maintained by staff, operational centres, warehouses, workshops, and schools. Both in France and abroad, bases have similar infrastructure to provide standardised support. The French Air and Space Force has, as of 1 August 2014: * Within the metropolitan territory of France, 27 airbases, out of the which 18 aeronautical platform with perceived runways and 5 Bases non-platform, two schools, 3 air detachments and " one attached air element " (EAR). * Beyond the metropole/Europe, 7 Aerial Bases or permanent detachments in overseas or country. Some French airbases house radar units (e.g. Lyon, Mont-Verdun, Drachenbronn, Cinq-Mars-la-Pile, Nice, Mont-Agel) to carry out air defence radar surveillance and air traffic control. Others house material warehouses or command posts. Temporary and semi-permanent foreign deployments include transport aircraft at Dushanbe (Tajikistan, Mission Héraclès, Operation Héraclès), and fighter aircraft in N'Djamena (Tchad, Opération Épervier), among others. As swift as the French Air and Space Force operates, the closure of aerial bases is more constant and immediate, having known a strong acceleration since the 1950s. An air base commander has authority over all units stationed on their base. Depending on the units' tasks, this means that they are responsible for approximately 600 to 2500 personnel. On average, a base, made up of about 1500 personnel (nearly 3500 people including family), provides a yearly economic boost to its area of about 60 million euros. Consequently, determining the sites for air bases constitutes a major part of regional planning. *BA 105 Évreux-Fauville Air Base. Command, operational and logistic support. Air transport units with 27× CASA/IPTN CN-235, CASA CN-235M, 9× Transall C-160, Transall C-160 NG. *BA 107 Vélizy – Villacoublay Air Base. Helicopter and heavy air transport units. *BA 113 Saint-Dizier – Robinson Air Base 4e Escadre de Chasse, 50× Dassault Rafale, Rafale B and Dassault Rafale, Rafale C. *BA 116 Luxeuil - Saint-Sauveur Air Base. Air defence fighter base with 28× Mirage 2000-5F. *BA 123 Orléans – Bricy Air Base. Air transport units with 17× Airbus A400M Atlas and 18× Lockheed C-130 Hercules. CFPSAA operational command. *BA 133 Nancy – Ochey Air Base. Three strike fighter squadrons units with 70× Mirage 2000D, SAM sqns. *BA 279 Châteaudun Air Base. Airplane maintenance, repair and storage airbase. *BA 702 Avord Air Base. CFAS nuclear strike stockpile. Airborne early warning and control, AWACS 4× Boeing E-3 Sentry, E-3F Sentry unit. Inflight refueling Boeing C-135 Stratolifter#C-135F, C-135FR unit. *BA 705 Tours airbase. Fighter pilot training school were equipped with Alpha Jet. This school has been moved to BA 709 in 2020. *DA 273 Romorantin air detachment. Logistics unit. *BA 106 Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport. Transport support base for the air staff. *BA 115 Orange-Caritat Air Base. Air defence 28× Mirage 2000C and 6× Dassault Mirage 2000, Mirage 2000B-S5. *BA 118 Mont-de-Marsan Air Base. Home to 52× Rafale, Rafale B and Rafale, Rafale C. Home of CEAM, the Air and Space Force military experimentation and trials organisation, Air defence radar command reporting centre, and the air traffic control and air defence control training centre. *BA 120 Cazaux Air Base, situated South-west of the port city of Bordeaux. Fighter pilot training squadron equipped with 45× Alpha Jet. Air and Space Force airplane stockpile. *BA 125 Istres-Le Tubé Air Base. Two Transall C-160, Transall C-160G strategic communication flight. Inflight refueling unit with 4× Airbus A330 MRTT and 14× Boeing C-135 Stratolifter#C-135F, KC-135FR. CEAM – the Air and Space Force military test centre. *BA 126 Solenzara Air Base. Fighter gunnery range. SAR unit. *DA 277 Varennes-sur-Allier. Air and Space Force supply depot. DA 277 was dissolved on 30 June 2015. *Air Base 278 Ambérieu-en-Bugey, Ambérieu. Logistic support base. *BA 701 Salon-de-Provence Air Base. Presentation Team equipped with 12× Alpha Jet. Officer instruction school. Enlisted instruction school. *BA 709 Cognac – Châteaubernard Air Base. Basic flight training school equipped with 17× Pilatus PC-21 and UAV squadron with 8× MQ-9 Reaper. *École de formation des sous-officiers de l'armée de l'air, Air Base 721 Rochefort, Charente-Maritime, Rochefort. Home of the NCO school, the École de formation des sous-officiers de l'armée de l'air. *BA 942 Lyon – Mont Verdun Air Base. Air defence radar command reporting centre. National Air Operations Command (CNOA) location. *Air Base 943 Nice, EAR 943 Nice Mont-Agel. Air defence radar GM 406. *DA 204 Bordeaux-Beauséjour air detachment. Logistic unit. *EETAA 722 Saintes, Charente-Maritime, Saintes. Air and Space Force electronic, technical instruction also as Military basic Bootcamp. *EPA 749 Grenoble. Air and Space Force child support school.


Overseas

*BA 160 Dakar, Senegal. Mixed units. *Réunion, Indian Ocean. *BA 188 Djibouti, Africa. Mixed units. *Air elements Libreville/Gabon. *Air elements N’Djamena/Chad. Mixed units. *BA 190 French Polynesia (''Overseas collectivity''). Mixed unit. *BA 365 Martinique (''French department''), West Indies. Mixed unit. *BA 367 French Guiana (''French department''), South America. Mixed units. *BA 376 :fr:Base aérienne 186 Nouméa, Base aérienne 186 Nouméa, New Caledonia (''Sui generis collectivity, special collectivity of France'') *BA 104 Abu Dhabi More than ten bases have been closed since 2009. Doullens Air Base (BA 922) was a former command and reporting centre; Toulouse - Francazal Air Base (BA 101), was closed on 1 September 2009; Colmar-Meyenheim Air Base (BA 132) was closed on 16 June 2010; Metz-Frescaty Air Base (BA 128) was closed on 30 June 2011; Brétigny-sur-Orge Air Base (BA 217), closed 26 June 2012; Cambrai - Épinoy Air Base (BA 103), was closed on 28 June 2012; Reims – Champagne Air Base (June 2012); Drachenbronn Air Base (BA 901) closed on 17 July 2015; Dijon Air Base (BA 102), was vacated on 30 June 2016; Creil Air Base (BA 110) vacated on 31 August 2016; and Taverny Air Base (DA 921), the former Strategic Air Forces Command headquarters.


Aircraft inventory

Aircraft of the French Air and Space Force include: , - ! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="8", Military aircraft#Combat aircraft, Combat Aircraft , - , Mirage 2000C, Mirage 2000C/5F , , France , , Jet , , Fighter-bomber , , 1983 , , 40 , , , , , - , Dassault Mirage 2000N/2000D, Mirage 2000D , , France , , Jet , , Attack , , 1995 , , 68 , , 68 , , 55 pieces 2000D variant will be modernized MLU by 2025 , - , Rafale, Rafale B/C , , France , , Jet , , Multirole , , 2006 , , 101 , , , , 42 additional Rafale M in Naval Action Force, naval service.
Rafale replaced the Dassault Mirage 2000N/2000D#Mirage_2000N, Mirage 2000N in nuclear strike roles , - ! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="8" , Reconnaissance aircraft, Reconnaissance , - , Boeing E-3, Boeing E-3F Sentry , , USA , , Jet , , AEW&C , , 1990 , , 4 , , 4 , , , - , Beechcraft Super King Air#Variants, Beechcraft Super King Air 350 , , USA , , Propeller , , Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, ISR , , 2018 , , 2 , , 2 , , , - ! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="8" , Military transport aircraft, Transport and Tanker , - , Transall C-160 , , France/Germany , , Propeller , , Transport/ELINT , , 1968 , , 11/2 , , 8 , , , - , Airbus A400M Atlas , , Europe , , Propeller , , Transport , , 2014 , , 18 , , 18 , , 32 more on order , - , CASA CN-235, CASA CN235M-200/300 , , Spain , , Propeller , , Transport , , 1983 , , 27 , , 27 , , , - , DHC-6 Twin Otter , , Canada , , Propeller , , Transport , , 1976 , , 5 , , 5 , , , - , Lockheed C-130 Hercules , , USA , , Propeller , , Transport , , 1987 , , 14 , , 14 , , 7 C-130H, 7 C-130H-30 , - , Airbus A330 MRTT , , Europe , , Jet , , Tanker & Transport , , 2018 , , 6 , , 6 , , 6 delivered on an order of 15. The 7th, 8th and 9th will be delivered in July, November and December 2022.The 10th, 11th, 12th will be delivered in July, September and December 2023.The final target of 15 aircraft will be reached between 2025 and 2030 by converting the 3 A330-200s , - , Lockheed C-130J Super Hercules , , USA , , Propeller , , Tanker & Transport , , 2018–2019 , , 2/2 , , 4 , , 2 KC-130J and 2 C-130J to support Special Forces Operations , - , Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker#Variants, Boeing C-135FR , , USA , , Jet , , Tanker , , 1964 , , 11 , , 11 , , , - ! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="8" , Military transport aircraft, VIP Transport , - , Socata TBM 700 , , France , , Propeller , , Transport , , 1990 , , 15 , , 15 , , , - , Dassault Falcon 7X , , France , , Jet , , Transport , , 2009 , , 2 , , 2 , , , - , Dassault Falcon 900 , , France , , Jet , , Transport , , 1991 , , 2 , , 2 , , , - , Dassault Falcon 2000 , , France , , Jet , , Transport , , 2011 , , 2 , , 2 , , , - , Airbus A330-243 , , Europe , , Jet , , Transport , , 2020 , , 3 , , 3 , , 3 delivered to be converted to the MRTT standard; 1 for presidential transport , - , Airbus A310-304 , , Europe , , Jet , , Transport , , 1993 , , 2 , , 2 , , , - ! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="8" , Helicopter , - , Aérospatiale SA330 Puma , , France , , Rotorcraft , , Transport , , 1968 , , 18 , , 18 , , To be replaced by 26 H225M Caracal , - , Eurocopter Fennec, Eurocopter AS555 Fennec , , Europe , , Rotorcraft , , Trainer , , 1990 , , 40 , , 40 , , , , - , Eurocopter EC725, Eurocopter EC725 Caracal , , Europe , , Rotorcraft , , CSAR/SOF , , 2006 , , 18 , , 26 , , 8 new on order. More 8 in 2021 transferred from French Army , - ! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="8" , Trainer (aircraft), Trainer aircraft , - , Diamond HK36 Super Dimona , , Austria , , Propeller , , Trainer , , 2010 , , 5 , , 5 , , , - , Embraer EMB 121 Xingu , , Brazil , , Propeller , , Trainer , , 1982 , , 22 , , 22 , , , - , Extra EA-300 , , Germany , , Propeller , , Utility , , 2005 , , 3 , , 3 , , , - , Mirage 2000, Mirage 2000B-S5 , , France , , Jet , , Trainer (aircraft)#Lead-in fighter training, Conversion trainer , , 1993 , , 7 , , 7 , , based at Orange-Caritat: EC 2/5 Ile-de-France; unarmed aircraft which will be kept until the withdrawal of the Mirage 2000 D to ensure the conversion to Mirage 2000. , - , Pilatus PC-21 , , Switzerland , , Propeller , , Trainer , , 2018 , , 17 , , 17 , , , - , Alpha Jet , , France/Germany , , Jet , , Trainer , , 1978 , , 80 , , 80 , , Includes presentation team , - ! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="8" , Unmanned aerial vehicle, UAVs , - , General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper , , USA , , UAV , , ISR/Attack, , 2013 , , 12 , , 12 , , One of the six original crashed in Niger. The drone lost in the Sahel in November 2018 is replaced by a Reaper rented, for two years, to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (for the annual sum of $1)


Photo gallery with current main aircraft

File:French Mirage 2000 finishes refueling from KC-10A 2009-12-06.JPG, Mirage 2000 File:Mirage 2000D (26432497715).jpg, Mirage 2000D File:Rafale RIAT 2016 3468.jpg, Rafale C File:Boeing E-3F Sentry (8).jpg, E-3F Sentry File:Transall C-160R R213 64-GM (9410577524).jpg, Transall C-160R File:A400M - RIAT 2010 (6703188983).jpg, A400M File:Airbus A330 MRTT F-UJCG - French Air Force.jpg, A330 MRTT File:HERCULES C-130 FRENCH AIR FORCE (50111092793).jpg, C-130J File:Boeing C-135FR Stratotanker France - Air Force, RHE Reims (Champagne), France PP1246782647.jpg, C-135FR


Air-defence


Satellites


Personnel

Since the end of the Algerian War, the French Air and Space Force has comprised about 17 to 19% of the
French Armed Forces The French Armed Forces (french: Forces armées françaises) encompass the Army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on la ...
. In 1990, at the end of the Cold War, numbers reached 56,400 military personnel under contract, out of which 36,300 were part of conscription and 5,400 civilians.Bilan social 90, Editor : Direction de la fonction militaire et du personnel civil, 1990, total pages 62, passage 6 to
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In 2008, forecasts for personnel of the French Air Force were expected to number 50,000 out of which 44,000 aviators on the horizon in 2014. In 2010, the number personnel of the French Air Force was reduced to 51,100 men and women (20%) out of which: 13% Ranks in the French Air Force, officers; 55% Ranks in the French Air Force, sous-officier; 29% air military technicians (MTA); 3% volunteers of national service and Ranks in the French Air Force, aspirant volunteers; 6,500 civilians (14%). They form several functions: ; Non-flying personnel Non-navigating personnel of the French Air and Space Force include and are not limited to : Systems Aerial Mechanics (french: :fr:mécanicien d'aéronefs, mécanicien système aéronautique), Aerial Controllers (french: :fr:contrôleur aérien, contrôleur aérien), Meteorologists (french: :fr:météorologue, météorologue), Administrative Personnel, Air Parachute Commandos (french: :fr:Commandos parachutistes de l'air, Commandos parachutistes de l'air), in Informatics, in Infrastructures, in Intelligence, Commissioner of the Armies (french: :fr:commissaire des armées, Commissaire) (Administrator Task). ; Flying personnel Pilots, Mechanical Navigating Officer (french: :fr:Officier mécanicien navigant, Mécanicien Navigant), Navigating Arms Systems Officer (french: :fr:Navigateur aérien, Navigateur Officier Système d'Armes) (NOSA), Combat Air Medic (french: :fr:convoyeur de l'air, Convoyeur de l'Air) (CVA).


Training of personnel

Ranks in the French Air Force, Officers, within their recruitment and future specialty, are trained at: * École de l'air (french: :fr:École de l'air, École de l'air) (Air School) de Provence * École Militaire de l'Air (french: :fr:École militaire de l'air, École militaire de l'air) (Military Air School) * École des commissaires des armées (french: :fr:École des commissaires des armées, École des commissaires des armées) (Commissioners Armies School) * École de pilotage de l'Armée de l'air (french: :fr:École de pilotage de l'Armée de l'air, École de pilotage de l'Armée de l'air) (Piloting School of the French Air and Space Force) * École de l'aviation de transport (french: École de l'aviation de transport) (Aviation Transport School) * École de l'aviation de chasse (french: École de l'aviation de chasse) (Aviation Hunter Fighter Pilot School) * École de transition opérationnelle (french: École de transition opérationnelle) (Operational Transition School) Officers of the French Air and Space Force are spread in three corps: * Air Officer (french: Officiers de l'air) * Officer Mechanics (french: Officiers Mécaniciens) * Aerial Base Officer (french: :fr:officiers des bases de l'air, officiers des bases de l'air), amongst which, officers of the Air Parachute Commandos (french: :fr:Commandos parachutistes de l'air, Commandos parachutistes de l'air) are featured. Non-commissioned officers (Sous-Officiers) are trained at: * École de formation des sous-officiers de l'Armée de l'air (french: :fr:École de formation des sous-officiers de l'Armée de l'air, École de formation des sous-officiers de l'Armée de l'air) (EFSOAA) de Rochefort * École interarmées (french: École interarmées) (Inter-arm School) for administrative specialists * Escadron de formation des commandos de l'air (french: :fr:Escadron de formation des commandos de l'air, Escadron de formation des commandos de l'air) (EFCA) at Orange-Caritat Air Base (BA 115) for the personnel concerned Military Air Technicians (french: :fr:militaire technicien de l'air, militaires techniciens de l’air) having been trained until 1 July 2015 at the Center of Elementary Military Formation (french: " Centre de formation militaire élémentaire ") of the Technical Instruction School of the French Air and Space Force (french: :fr:École d'enseignement technique de l'Armée de l'air, École d'enseignement technique de l'Armée de l'air) of Saintes. Since 1 July 2015, training has taken place at Orange-Caritat Air Base, within the " Operational Combatant Preparation Center of the Air Force " (french: Centre de préparation opérationnelle du combattant de l'Armée de l'air). Air traffic controllers are trained at the Center of Instruction Control and Air Defense (french: Centre d'Instruction du Contrôle et de la Défense Aérienne).


Ranks

;Officers ;Enlisted


See also

* List of Escadres of the French Air Force * List of French Air and Space Force aircraft squadrons *
French Naval Aviation French Naval Aviation (often abbreviated in French language, French to: ''Aéronavale'', or ''Aviation navale'', or more simply ''l'Aéro'') is the Naval aviation, naval air arm of the French Navy. The long-form official designation is ''Force ma ...
*List of military aircraft of France


Notes


References

; Citations


Further reading

* Olivier, Jean-Marc, (ed.), ''Histoire de l'armée de l'air et des forces aériennes françaises du XVIIIe siècle à nos jours" ''[History of the Air Force and French aerial forces since the 18th century to the present], Toulouse, Privat, 2014, 552 p. * *Diego Ruiz Palmer, "France's Military Command Structures in the 1990s," in Thomas-Durell Young, Command in NATO After the Cold War: Alliance, National and Multinational Considerations, U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute, June 1997


External links

*
Official website
*
Official website
*

appendix of the budget bill for 2006, French Senate {{Authority control French Air and Space Force, Military of France, ! 03 Military units and formations established in 1909 1909 establishments in France