|French Air Force|
|Armée de l'Air|
Logo of the Armée de l'Air since 24 March 2010
|Active||Part of the "French Army in "1909 – An independent service arm in "1934
2 July 1934 (official)
|Size||41,160 personnel (2017)
687 aircraft, of which 226 are combat aircraft.
|Part of||"French Armed Forces|
|Motto(s)||« Faire face » ("French)
(also motto of the "École de l'air)
« Face honestly, truthfully & correctly  straight forward » ("Eng)
"World War I
("French: Coalition Arabo-Occidentale)
|"Chef d'état-major de l'Armée de l'Air, CEMAA||"Général d'armée aérienne "André Lanata, since September 21, 2015|
|"Major Général de de l'Armée de l'Air||French Air Force Deputy Chief|
The French Air Force (Armée de l'Air Française) "[aʀme də lɛʀ], literally "Air Army") is the "Air Force Arm of the "French Armed Forces. It was formed in 1909 as the Service Aéronautique, a service arm of the "French Army, then was made an independent military arm in 1934. The number of aircraft in service with the French Air Force varies depending on source, however sources from the "French Ministry of Defence give a figure of 658 aircraft in 2014. The French Air Force has 241 combat aircraft in service, with the majority being 133 "Dassault Mirage 2000 and 108 "Dassault Rafale. As of early 2017, the French Air Force employs a total of 41,160 regular personnel. The "reserve element of the air force consisted of 5,187 personnel of the Operational Reserve.
|"French Armed Forces|
French military aviation was born in 1909, accordingly from that fact, France was described as the first country to arm the air with combat aircraft.["citation needed] After voting the law in the French National Assembly on March 29, 1912, French Military Aeronautics became officially part of the "French Army, alongside the four traditional branches of the French Army, the "infantry, "cavalry, "artillery and "engineers.
At the beginning of "First World War, France had a total of 148 planes (8 from "French Naval Aviation (Aéronautique navale) and 15 "Airships. By the time of the armistice in November 1918, 3608 planes were in service. 5,500 "pilots and observers were killed from the 17,300 engaged in the conflict, amounting then to 31% of endured losses
The law of December 8, 1922 established Military Aeronautics as a « special arm », however, the later remained under the auspicious of the "French Army. It wasn't until July 2, 1934, that the "special arm" became an independent service and was totally independent.
The first French "airshow "In Patrol" ("French: En Patrouille) took place in 1931. The initial air arm was also the cradle of "French military parachuting, responsible for the first formation of the « Air Infantry "Groups » ("French: Groupements de l'Infanterie de l'Air) in the 1930s, out of which the Air Parachute Commandos ("French: commandos parachutistes de l'air) descend from directly.
Simultaneously, during the same "interwar époque until "WWII, the "French Air Force ("French: Armée de l'Air Française) maintained a continuous presence across the "Empire particularly from the 1920s to 1943. The "Vichy French Air Force ("French: Armée de l'air de Vichy) had a significant presence in the "French Levant while the "Free French Air Force ("French: Forces aériennes françaises libres) also took part since the early beginnings of "World War II in 1940.
The "Chief of Staff of the French Air Force created the "Patrouille de France on September 14, 1953. Since March 1968, the patrouille was completed by the Aerobatic Team of the French Air Force (EVAA) on an aerial base to constitute the presentation teams of the French Air Force (EPAA) which since then has won numerous victories in the national scale and world competitions. During the last world championship in August 2015, the pilots of EVAA have the won the tile world champions by team and individual champions title.
On another hand, and leading in to the "Second World War, the French Air Force did play an important role this time around the European theatre, most notable during the "Battle of France of 1940. The engagement of "free French aviators ("FAFL) ("French: FAFL) from 1940 to 1943, then the engagement of the aviators of the French Liberation Army ("French: Armée de la Libération), were equally marking episodes of the History of the French Air Force. The sacrifices of commandant "René Mouchotte ("French: René Mouchotte) or, more unanimously, "lieutenant Marcel Beau ("French: Marcel Beau) illustrated the devotion of this army.
In the post–"World War II era, the French made a successful effort to develop a domestic aircraft industry. The French Air Force participated in several "colonial wars during the Empire such as "French Indochina after the Second World War. Since 1945, the French Air Force was notably engaged in "Indochina (1945–1954).
The French Air Force was also active in "Algeria since 1952 until 1962 and "Suez (1956), then later "Mauritania and "Tchad, the "Persian Gulf (1990–1991), ex-"Yugoslavia and more recently in "Afghanistan, "Mali or "Iraq.
From 1964 until 1971 the French Air Force had the unique responsibility for the "French nuclear arm : vectors pilots of "Dassault Mirage IV or "ballistic missiles of base aérienne 200 Apt-Saint-Christol on plateau Albion.
Accordingly, on January 1964, the French political leadership reprioritized its military emphasis on "nuclear deterrence, implementing a complete reorganisation of the Air Force, with the creation of four air régions and seven major specialised commands, among which was the "Strategic Air Forces Command ("French: Commandement des forces aérienne stratégiques) (CoFAS). The Mirage demonstrated its abilities in the "Six-Day War, "Yom Kippur War, the "Falklands War, the "Gulf War, becoming one of the most popular jet fighters of its day, with a high quantity of sales. The "Military Air Transport Command had previously been formed in February 1962 from the Specialized Aerial Grouping Units ("French: Groupement d'Unités Aériennes Spécialisées). The "Dassault Mirage IV, the principal French strategic bomber, was designed to strike Soviet positions as part of the French nuclear triad. Also created in 1964 was the Escadron des "Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air (EFCA), seemingly grouping all FCA units.
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 the Air Command of Aerial Defense Forces ("French: Commandement Air des Forces de Défense Aérienne).
CFAS had two squadrons of "S-3 IRBMs at the Plateau d'Albion, six squadrons of "Mirage IVAs (at "Mont de Marsan, Cazaux, Orange, Istres, St Dizier, and EB 3/94 at "Luxeuil), and three squadrons of "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 5F (EC 2/13 and EC 3/13, both at "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 Schools Command (CEAA), 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 "Mirage series of "jet fighters. Dassault Aviation led the way mainly with "delta-wing designs, which formed the basis for the "Mirage III series of "Fighter jets.
In 1994 the Commandment of the "Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air was reestablished under a different form.
The French Air Force is expanding and replacing aircraft inventory. The French are awaiting the "A400M military transport aircraft, which is still in developmental stages * as of late November 2016,11 A400M had been delivered to ET00.061 at Orleans-Bricy., and the integration of the new "Dassault Rafale multi-role jet fighter, whose first squadron of 20 aircraft became operational in 2006 at "Saint-Dizier.
After a French presence an absence lasting several decades, the French President "Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed that France will rejoin the NATO integrated command. France has also been a lead nation, alongside the "United States, "Great Britain and "Italy in implementing the UN sponsored no-fly zone in Libya (NATO "Odyssey Dawn), deploying 20 fighter aircraft to Benghazi in defense of rebel held positions and the civilian population.
The "Chief of Staff of the French Air Force (CEMAA) determines French Air Force "doctrines application and advises the "Chief of the general staff headquarters of the Armies (CEMA) on the deployment time, manner, and force use of "French Air Assets. He is responsible for the preparation and logistic support of the French Air Force. The CEMAA is assisted by a Deputy Chief "Major General of the French Air Force ("French: Major Général de de l'Armée de l'Air). Finally, the CEMAA is assisted also simultaneously by the Inspection of the French Air Force (IAA) and by the French Air Force Health Service Inspection (ISSAA).
The French Air Force has for mission and is allocated five defence attributions:
The general staff headquarters of the French Air Force is located, along with the "general staff headquarters of the Armies (EMA) as well as the general staff headquarters of the "Army and "Navy on site "Ballard, more commonly known as the « French Pentagon » or « Balardgone ». The general staff headquarters is composed of some 150 aviators, officers in principal.
The French Air Force has forces spread in three commands: two grand operational commands (CDAOA and CFAS) and one organic command (CFA)). Since September 2013, the former organic commandments CFA and CSFA were merged at the corps of a unique commandment which readopted the designation of CFA:
These last two brigades belonged until 2013 to the Air Force Support Command (CSFA), which placed at disposition and maintained the arms systems, equipment, information and communication systems (SIC) as well as infrastructures; the CSFA provide accordingly the benefits in relation to support the human element, the military logistics (supply and transport), wherever forces of the French Air Force operated or trained; these two brigades are now subordinated to the CFA.
Since 1 January 2008, the French Air Force is organized at the national echelon and has no longer any territorial commands. Prior, these territorial commands articulated around aerial regions (RA), which were five at origin. The number was then reduced to four by decree of June 30, 1962 with suppression of the 5th Aerial Region ("AFN). The decree of July 14, 1991 brought the number of Aerial Regions (RA) to three: « RA Atlantic », « RA Mediterranean » and « RA North-East ». On July 1, 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 April 26, 2007 · .
From 2008–2010 the French Air Force underwent an organisational streamlining process. This project was called Air 2010, which was the year of the deadline for all transitions. 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 to disband several commands and units.
The DRH-AA recruits, forms, manages administers and converts personnel of the French Air Force. Since January 2008, the DRH-AA regroups at the corps of attributions the former directorate of military personnel of the French Air Force (DPMMA) and certain attributions of the former commandment of the schools of the French Air Force (CEAA). The directorate is responsible for recruitment at the corps of the French Air Force via the bureau of recruitment.
French joint defence service organisations, supporting the air force, include:
The French Air Force directs the operational control of the "Joint Space Command.
There are three echelons:
The use of wings (Escadres) was suspended at the beginning of 1990, but they were reestablished in 2014. The base operational unit is the squadron (escadron), in general commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel. The Escadrille is a subunit of an Escadron.
Commanded by a Lieutenant-colonel or Colonel, the "Escadre is a formation that assembles various units and personnel dedicated to the same mission. The designation of « Escadre » was replaced with that of regiment in 1932 and was designated until 1994, a unit regrouping under unique commandment:
Escadres, ("wings) were dissolved from 1993 as part of the Armées 2000 reorganisation, were reestablished in 2014. The problems caused by having the aircraft maintenance units not responsible to the flying squadrons they supported eventually forced the change.
In the second phase, the French Air Force announced in August 2015 the creation of seven additional escadres :
The French Air Force also announced in August 2015 that unit numbering, immatriculation of affected aircraft and the transfer of historic material (flags, traditions and names) would be completed in 2016.
Commanded by a lieutenant-colonel, the Escadron is base operational unit. This term replaced that of Group as of 1949 with the aim to normalize with the allies of "NATO who were using squadrons. 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: Groupe de Ravitaillement en Vol 02.091 Bretagne) which is still carrying the same designation since 2004.
Also to note that the designation of Escadron is equally utilized by terrestrial formations which assure the functions of technical support, ground to air defense, protection and security.
A Hunter Escadron ("French: Escadron de Chasse) can count some twenty machines, spread in general in three Escadrilles.
A Transport Escadron ("French: Escadron de Transport) can count a dozen of equipment in number theory ("Transall C-160), however, numbers are usually much lesser in function of the type of equipment, availability and missions ( three "Airbus A310-300 and two "Airbus A340-200 for the Transport Escadron 3/60 Estérel ("French: Escadron de Transport 3/60 Estérel)).
To note that the Escadrons have conserved in their designation the numbering of former Escadres during their suppression in the 1990s. For instance: Transport Escadron 1/64 Béarn ("French: 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 on August 2015).
Not all "Escadrons (Squadrons) are necessarily attached to an Escadre; however, each Escadron (Squadron) is attached to the particular respective command.
A Escadron regoups in general two to three Escadrilles.
The Escadrille assures a double 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 putting into effect of the ESTA (Aeronautic Technical Support Escadrons), material devices and the mechanics are assigned directly to the base then put at disposition of the based Escadrons.
The Escadrilles readopted the traditions of the prestigious units out of which most (SPA and SAL), are those traditions of the First World War.
The French Air Force mobilizes aircraft as well as aviator pilots, however equally equips specialized, non navigating teams, which contribute directly to the employment of the various equipment.
Squadron Protection participate to the protection of aerial bases inside and outside the national territory, and in exterior operations as well.
The CPAs practice today common missions, as well as specialized tasks; these concern intervention and reinforcement of protection at the profit of sensible points « air » inside and outside the national territory. These troops contribute to operations of the French Air Force and Special Operations.
Non navigating units include also mechanics of the French Air Force as well the administrative personnel. Other units also include the Commissioner service of the armies.
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 "Armies » (SCA) ("French: Service du Commissariat des Armées) since 2010, have successively been designated as administrative services of the French Air Force. The "Commissioners as well as Civilians of this service intervene in various designated sectors : operations support, individual legal rights, judicial, internal control accountability, financial and purchase executions, support and protection of the combatant.
French Air Force houses, as of August 1, 2014:
Some French air bases house radar units (Lyon, Mont-Verdun, Drachenbronn ("French: Drachenbronn), Cinq-Mars-la-Pile, Nice, Mont-Agel...) destined for the surveillance of the territory ("Air Defense and air traffic control. Others house material warehouses or command posts. In overseas and foreign countries, the bases – which can be temporary – support aircraft and ground capabilities depending on the needs of exterior operations (OpEx) upon which they were created : transport aircraft at "Dushanbe ("Tajikistan, "Operation Héraclès), hunter aircraft ("French: avions de chasse) (fighter jets) in "N'Djamena ("Tchad, "Opération Épervier), for instance.
As swift as the French Air Force operates, the closure of Aerial Bases is more constant and immediate, having known a strong acceleration since the 1950s.
The air base command levels are the combat assets of the ALA. An airbase commander has authority over all units stationed on his base. Depending on the units tasks this means that he is responsible for approximately 600 to 2500 personnel.
Flying activity in France is carried out by a network of bases, platforms and "French air defence radar systems. It is supported by bases, which are supervised and maintained by staff, centres of operations, warehouses, workshops, and schools.
Both in France and abroad, bases have almost similar infrastructure to provide standardised support. This operational mode allows fast and easy creation of air bases outside France.
Overseas, fighters, transport aircraft and helicopters allow quick response to any request for assistance that falls within international agreements. On average, a base platform, 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. 
Cockade of the "Free French Air Forces during the Second World War.
French Air Force inventory includes ten categories and feature in part:
|"Aérospatiale SA330 Puma||France||Rotorcraft||Transport||1968||26|||
|"Airbus A400M Atlas||EU||Propeller||Transport||2014||13||13||37 more on order.|
|"Boeing E-3F Sentry||USA||Jet||AEW&C||1990||4||4|||
|"Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet||France||Jet||Trainer||1978||84||92|||
|"Dassault Falcon 7X||France||Jet||Transport||2||2|||
|"Dassault Falcon 900||France||Jet||Transport||2||2|||
|"Dassault Falcon 2000||France||Jet||Transport||2||2|||
|"Dassault Mirage 2000B||France||Jet||Trainer||2000||6||30|||
|"Dassault Mirage 2000C/2000-5F||France||Jet||Fighter||1983||38||161|||
|"Dassault Mirage 2000N/2000D||France||Jet||Attack||1988||89||161|||
|"Dassault Rafale B/C||France||Jet||Multi-role||2006||108||108|||
|"DHC-6 Twin Otter||Canada||Propeller||Transport||1976||5|||
|"Diamond HK36 Super Dimona||Austria||Propeller||Trainer||5||5|
|"Embraer EMB 121 Xingu||Brazil||Propeller||Trainer||23|||
|"Eurocopter AS532 Cougar||France||Rotorcraft||Utility||10|
|"Eurocopter AS555 Fennec||France||Rotorcraft||Trainer||40|||
|"Eurocopter EC725 Caracal||France||Rotorcraft||SAR||11|||
|"General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper||USA||UAV||ISR||2013||6||6||10 more on order|
|"Jodel D.140 Mousquetaire||France||Propeller||Trainer||1966||17|
|"Lockheed C-130 Hercules||USA||Propeller||Transport||15||15|||
|"Pilatus PC-21||Switzerland||Propeller||Trainer||2018||.||.||17 on order|
|"Socata TB 30 Epsilon||France||Propeller||Trainer||33|||
|"Socata TBM 700||France||Propeller||Transport||1990||15|||
Since the end of the "Algerian War, the percentage of formations of the French Air Force in the comparison with the ensemble of the "Armies corresponded to 17 to 19%. 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.
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 51100 men and women (20%) out of which: 13% "officers; 55% "sous-officier; 29% air military technicians (MTA); 3% volunteers of national service and "aspirant volunteers; 6500 civilians (14%). They form several functions:
Non-navigating personnel of the French Air Force include and are not limited to : Systems Aerial Mechanics ("French: mécanicien système aéronautique), Aerial Controllers ("French: contrôleur aérien), "Meteorologists ("French: météorologue), Administrative Personnel, Air Parachute Commandos ("French: Commandos parachutistes de l'air), in Informatics, in Infrastructures, in Intelligence, Commissioner of the Armies ("French: Commissaire) (Administrator Task).
Hunter Fighter Pilots ("French: Pilote de Chasse), Transport Pilot ("French: Pilote de Transport), Helicopters Pilots ("French: Pilote d'Hélicoptère), Mechanical Navigating Officer ("French: Mécanicien Navigant), Navigating Arms Systems Officer ("French: Navigateur Officier Système d'Armes) (NOSA), Combat Air Medic ("French: Convoyeur de l'Air) (CVA).
"Officers, within their recruitment and future specialty, are formed in:
Officers of the French Air Force are spread in three corps:
"Sous-Officiers are formed at:
Air Military Technicians ("French: militaires techniciens de l’air) having been formed until July 1, 2015 at the Center of Elementary Military Formation ("French: « Centre de formation militaire élémentaire ») of the Technical Instruction School of the French Air Force ("French: École d'enseignement technique de l'Armée de l'air) of Saintes. Since July 1, 2015, this formation was assured by Aerial Base 115 Orange-Caritat, within the « Operational Combatant Preparation Center of the French Air Force » ("French: Centre de préparation opérationnelle du combattant de l'Armée de l'air).
Aerial Circulation Controllers ("French: Contrôleurs de la Circulation), or Defense Aerial Circulation Controllers are trained at the Center of Control Instruction and Aerial Defense ("French: Centre d'Instruction du Contrôle et de la Défense Aérienne).
|NATO code||OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1||"OF(D)||Student officer|
|"Général d´armée aérienne||Général de corps aérien||"Général de division aérienne||Général de brigade aérienne||"Colonel||"Lieutenant-Colonel||"Commandant||"Capitaine||"Lieutenant||"Sous-Lieutenant||"Aspirant||"Élève-officier|
|Major||Adjudant-chef||Adjudant||Sergent-chef||Sergent||Caporal-chef||Caporal||Aviateur 1e classe||Aviateur 2e classe|
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