U.S. Navy Super Hornet refuels French Rafale and Super Etendard jets over USS Carl Vinson

Mar 10 2015 - 8 Comments

F/A-18E Super Hornet serves as aerial refueler for French combat planes operating from Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier.

The images in this post were taken on Mar. 9 over the Persian Gulf (or “Arabian Gulf” if you want to use the term used by the U.S. armed forces lately).

They show an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 81 Sunliners refuel two French Super Étendard Marine and one Rafale Marine aircraft from French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the vicinity of U.S. aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).

Operation Inherent Resolve

The French and American nuclear-powered aircraft carriers are currently deployed along with their battle groups to support strike operations in Iraq and Syria.

Last week a Rafale Marine “omnirole” aircraft belonging to the 11F operated aboard the USS Carl Vinson in the last of series of joint training events aimed at improving carrier integration.

Operation Inherent Resolve

Image credit: U.S. Navy


  • Leftseat1

    Great photos !

  • Yak

    As a French, I’m always pleased to see our guys working hand by hand with the US Navy.
    A most rejoicing sight.

  • Roland Lawrence

    Those French Super Étendard Marine aircraft are getting a little bit old now? They were old even in the days of the Falklands conflict! Nice to see such diverse aircraft playing nicely together.

    • jetaddicted

      they are indeed, but there are a number of aircraft in many other nation’s inventories that are just as old, even more, actually, legacy hornets, for instance.
      those you see here are a dying breed, supposed to be decommissioned in 2-3 years.
      plus: they are SEM variants; modernized just a few years ago.
      I’d rather be flying a rafale however, that’s for sure!

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      Well, B-52s are much more older

    • John Schaeffer

      Produced in ’77-’83, with the Falklands occurring in ’82?

  • Vincent

    A beautiful sight! Allies working together

  • Terrence McCoy

    As a long time scale aircraft modeller..( O.K. has been in a few years) a shot like this get a comparision of the shade of grays of the different service aircraft types !!