Superb Video Shows French Air Force Rafale Jets During An Air-to-Air Firing Campaign At Solenzara Air Base

A screenshot from the EC3/30 video.

Interesting footage of the Escadron de Chasse 3/30 “Lorraine” at work over Corsica island.

BA 126 (Base aérienne 126) Solenzara is a French air base located on the eastern coast of Corsica island, about 40 km north-northeast of Porto-Vecchio. The base regularly hosts French Air Force units that deploy to BA 126 to carry out training activities in the restricted airspaces located all around Solenzara and inside the “Diane” firing range. In fact, shooting area aside, the Mediterranean island offers jets and helicopters that operate out of Solenzara a wide array of geographic scenarios, suitable for low level flying, mountain winching, amphibious landings etc.

One of the units that recently deployed to “Zara” is the Escadron de Chasse 3/30 (EC 3/30) “Lorraine”, a squadron equipped with the Dassault Rafale jets and based at BA 118 Mont-de-Marsan.

The squadron is also a full member of the NATO Tigers association and will host the NATO Tiger Meet later this month at Mont-de-Marsan, that now houses both Tiger Squadrons in the French Air Force: ECE 1/30 “Cote d’argent” and EC 3/30 “Lorraine”. The latter has become a Tiger Squadron when the SPA 162 “Tigre” transitioned from EC 1/7 to EC3/30 in 2016.

The following video was recently published by the squadron on their FB page to celebrate the successful completion of their air-to-air campaign.

You can see the Rafales engaging the restricted airspaces over the sea off Corsica; flying very low in the valleys located in the central part of the island; and engage the Diane range, located to the north of “Zara”.

Here below you can see a composite image that I’ve created based on the official DIRCAM documentation published here showing the firing range routes (left) and the various targets location on the ground.

Diane Firing range routes and ground targets. (Composite image create from DIRCAM material).

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.