TOURS AIRSHOW 2015

Red Arrows and Patrouille de France here below

Tours French Air Force Base celebrated its centenary this year on Sunday, the 7th of June as the air base was born in late 1915, fielded with the aviation school on Caudron G3. MF33 Flight (1/33 Belfort) was born in Tours in October 1914 but there is no evidence that it was stationed at Parçay-Meslay airfield.

The airshow gathered lots of aviation professionals as well as recreational aviation booths. About 56,000 people attended the event – a bit more than expected. The Belgian F-16 solo display, the Moroccan Marche Verte, the Red Arrows, the Patrouille de France, then the Rafale were the highlights of the beautiful day. The Swiss Army Super Puma helicopter performed an outstanding display, and a P-51 D Mustang and a Spitfire delighted WW2 fighter aircraft enthusiasts. Other flypasts performed by two Dassault Flamant MD.311, de Havilland Vampire and Mosquito made the attendees dream.

The visitors could also admire numerous aircraft in the static display area: RSAF and Luftwaffe Eurofighter Typhoons, a curious Piaggio 149 as its roundel comes from the UPDAF – Uganda Peoples Defense Air Force, a Caudron C.800 glider which looked like the C.25S that were used in the movie « Don’t look now… We’re being shot at! » (La grande vadrouille) flown by famous French actors Bourvil and Louis de Funès. A nice RSAF (Republic of Singapore Air Force) Aermacchi M-346, a Dewoitine 501 which used to be stationed at Tours air base, a few WW2 Piper Cub, Dassault Mirage 2000-D, Mirage 2000-5, Rafale, and last but not least 2 A-10 Warthogs, and many more aircraft.

With the nice weather, cool northbound winds, and the smooth organisation, the event turned out to be a great success.

French FIGHTERJETS and/or PILOTS possibly SUPERIOR

First of all, it is not that simple. Last instance: The « World’s Armed Forces Forum » has recently posted a new topic relating to this Prepa PLS Anglais post: /rafale-vs-typhooneurofighter/ which was edited here on December 20, 2009. It is very clear that this was just a post to pass rumors on to other websurfers who may not have already read/heard such gossips.

This post may have been deemed as a preposterous one among the aviation community. That is why I then posted this post: /french-fighter-aircraft-performance/ in early 2010. Well, in hindsight I ought to add that I had forgotten that confrontation between the French Dassault fighter aircraft with the Eurofighter: the Rafales – there were only two of them according to the report – shot down four Typhoons during an exercise. Yes, twice as many…

The assumption that a Rafale might have shot down an F-22 Raptor left my readers in utter disbelief in 2009. Well, in hindsight again, I ought to add that I had forgotten to quote the Korean balance sheet about the Rafale performance, as I had forgotten that a United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAEAF) Mirage 2000-9 (variant of Mirage 2000-5 Mk.2) flown by a French pilot would have – virtually – shot down an F-22 Raptor as well…

RAFALE fighter aircraft aerobatics at La Ferté Alais airshow 2010
RAFALE La Ferté Alais 2010 © Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

I would never write anything like « an F-5 cannot down any French jetfighter ». Let us get real on this – I guess that either an F-5 or a MiG-21 could down any Mirage 2000 or Rafale. It depends on the radars; the sensors; the weapon systems used that day; the weather conditions; the pilots’ training; and their skills; the distance – BVR or WVR, not to mention autonomy; etc. When I read that some people remain adamant that any Rafale cannot have downed any F-22 Raptor, I think that they have the right to take such a stance. As I have the right to believe that they are wrong in their assertion. All-in-all, everything would be rumors… So, why should they care about them?

The pragmatic Swiss have honestly stated that they would be interested in the French Rafale for they got the results of their demanding NAC tests. However, due to a shrinking defense budget, they may not buy Rafales.

As far as the Brazilian, Emirati, Greek, and Indian (for MMRCA tender) media are concerned, they have already issued – at least once – breaking news according to which their countries would not purchase any Rafale for it would be « too expensive« .

Blimey! Let them buy what they like. I do not know whether it is worth paying for such performance because with these tenders, it is not a question of purchasing warplanes but foreign policies. Nonetheless, I would not be suprised to learn that some French Rafale pilots might be eager to challenge the brand new Chinese J-20 5th-generation fighter aircraft as it is deemed to be less performant than the F-22 Raptor.

If it were to happen – J-20 vs Rafale – the result would remain, as usual, among the rumors.   😉

Photo: © Xavier Cotton – http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

Indian SU-30MKIs & Singaporean F-16s in France soon

Sukhoi Su-30 MKI – Photo: 1st Lt. George Tobias – www.af.mil

By Frontier India | June 7th, 2010

An Indian Air Force contingent of 230 Air Warriors was flagged off from Air Force Station Bareilly by Air Marshal S Varthaman, Senior Air Staff Officer, Central Air Command at a formal ceremony today. The IAF contingent would be taking part in Exercise Garuda scheduled from 14 Jun to 25 Jun 2010, at Istres Air Base, France.

The IAF assets taking part in exercise include 6 Sukhoi-30MKIs Air Dominance fighter aircraft , 3 Ilushin-78 Flight Refueller Aircraft & 1 Ilushin-76 Heavy Lift Transport Aircraft.

Photo from US Air Force Link

Further information on this site: Brute Gorilla: IAF TEAM FOR EX – GARUDA FLAGGED OFF and here:Brute Gorilla: French Naval Ship Tonnerre (Mistral Class) at Cochin

French fighter aircraft performance, F-22, JSF F-35, Typhoon, etc.

F-22 Raptor 5th-generation fighter aircraft - Sonic boom
F-22 Raptor – Sonic boom (U.S. Navy photo by Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Ronald Dejarnett)

As I have been told that this post about Rafales vs Eurofighter Typhoons, F-16s, and F-22s left some in disbelief, I believe it is fair to point out that some elements were written in bold typing as « rumours », and the publications quoted were not « filed » as rumours though it might have been some rumours as well – who knows, indeed?

For instance, many times gossip spread about Mirage 2000s that would never shoot F-16s down. Never ever? Watch below…

Many (on a global basis – which means not everybody) people still believe that no Rafale could outperform any F-16. Let us watch hereafter (in French, sorry).

For those who cannot speak French, it is mentioned in this video that the Rafales defeated the F-16s in a US AFB, and the score would have been 6 – 2.

Well, let us go back to the previous Rafales’ performance post for I have not added further information I had read before from a remarkable Swiss aviation specialist’s website: AVIA NEWS. Pascal – AVIA NEWS webmaster – let me quote his analysis according to which the Rafale obtained the best score (95%) among the fighter aircraft evaluated for choosing which will replace the Swiss Air Force’s F-5 Tiger. The other two competitors were the SAAB JAS-39 Gripen, and the Eurofighter / Typhoon. I am going to update my previous article about this figure.

Last but not least: The Dutch did compare various fighter aircraft in 2002. Who remembers? The RNLAF – the Royal Netherlands Air Force – carried out this study and the balance sheet came out in the Dutch press:

Here is the rating reported:

F-35 = 6.97

RAFALE = 6.95

Eurofighter = 5.83

F-16 Block 60 = 5.80

Well, we must admit that the JSF / F-35 Lightning II is the best fighter among those that were assessed. However it was a close shave, wasn’t it?

Some might say « it was just an illusion ». Well, why not? Illusion would be everywhere – as for instance:

  • Do you really think that a serious R&D organisation is used to issuing so-called inaccurate reports?
  • Do you really think that a DGA/CHEAr research director would recognize that the Rafale can be on a par with the JSF / F-35 Lightning II? This is what happened during a symposium (colloque) in January 2006.

As a conclusion, many people still believe that F-16s can outperform Rafales, MiG-29s, Eurofighters, and even Su-27s. This is not an illusion.

Photo: www.navy.mil courtesy

French Air Force Mirages air policing over Baltic

French fighters start Baltic air police mission

21:19 04/01/2010 Four French Air Force Mirage 2000 fighters have started a four-month NATO mission to patrol the skies over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said Monday.>>