According to the French pilots, aerial combat with the Raptor is extremely important, regardless of the outcome of the dogfight: training with the F-22 gives French Mirage 2000 the possibility to learn to fight against a superior fighter: “Sometimes a battle begins even before meeting the adversary, when it is necessary to convince themselves that the opponent is not so terrible, and despite the gap of performance, the technological chasm, one is able to get the game.”
Brazil operates a fleet of 12 Mirage 2000 single and two-seat fighter planes that are used for air-defense purposes.
The Mirages, known as “Jaguars” in the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira – FAB), were obtained from a French Air Force surplus between 2006 and 2008. They are assigned to the 1º Grupo de Defesa Aérea (1º GDA – 1st Air Defence Group), based at Annapolis, in Central-West Brazil, and they will be withdrawn from service by the end of 2013.
For this reason, the cool image taken by an FAB photographer from the backseat of a Mirage 2000B may be one of the last ones shot aboard the French plane.
The Mirage 2000 was to be replaced by the future Brazilian fighter F-X2. However, until a next generation fighter plane is selected (the procurement of a new fighter jet started at the beginning of the 2000s as F-X….), Brazil will replace the Mirages with some upgraded F-5 Tigers.
About 90 airplanes and nine helicopters, and more than 2,000 Brazilian and foreign military personnel are currently taking part to Cruzex 2013, South America’s largest military exercise this year.
Hosted by the airbases of Natal and Recife, in the north of Brazil, the international drills organized by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) is attended by the air forces of Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela. It could have been even larger if Argentina would not drop out at last moment.
Cruzex will last till Nov. 15, providing an opportunity for the participating air forces to train in modern war scenario.
A distinctive feature of Cruzex drills is the media flight arranged by FAB to give photographers the opportunity to shoot a large formation made of several aircraft types taking part in the exercise from the cargo door of a C-130.
Although it’s in French language, the following video released by the French MoD is quite interesting as it shows the FAF C-135FR refueling ops from N’Djamena, Chad.
The French tanker are quite similar to the U.S. KC-135s. Still, the refueling boom is attached to a basket since FAF planes use the hose and drogue system and get the fuel through a probe.
The footage lets you see the Mirage 2000s and Rafale Air supporting Operation Serval being refueled on their way to the target area in northern Mali.
As happened in Libya, the Mali Air War is suffering from tanker shortage. Even if only a few combat planes are involved in the air strikes, the French Air Force is not equipped with a tanker force capable to sustain a limited amount of attack sorties.
That’s why the U.S. has dispatched some of its KC-135 from RAF Mildenhall and other nations have offered aerial refuelers.