Tag Archives: Dassault Mirage 2000

Spectacular Flyover in Paris Overshadows French Formation Smoke Color Faux Pas

Sacré Bleu! French Aerobatic Team Admits Color Blunder in Amazing Bastille Flyover.

Following a week of spectacular flyovers beginning with the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force in London last week, the French were not to be outdone on the weekend of their annual national celebration of Bastille Day over Paris on Saturday, July 14, 2018.

On Saturday, formations of France’s most impressive aircraft overflew Paris and the picturesque Avenue des Champs-Élysées in an impressive review that accompanied a large military parade up the Avenue.

The French flyover and military parade, an annual spectacle in celebration of France’s independence, adds to the discussion of a proposed similar display in the U.S. that has largely been shouted down by opponents. Russia, North Korea, China, UK and France among other smaller nations stage conspicuous military parades with flyovers as a means of memorializing their armed forces, paying homage to their history and as a show of military might.

A new French Airbus Defense Industries A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transport escorts delta-wing Mirage 2000 attack aircraft over Paris on Bastille Day. (Photo: Armee de l’Air)

The French flyover on the anniversary of the Bastille Day, the anniversary of the French uprising and storming of the Bastille prison in 1789 during the French Revolution, featured an impressive 64 aircraft. The display included the Dassault Rafale, Airbus Military A400M Atlas, the Boeing E-3F Sentry AWACS aircraft, the C-135FR tanker variant, and the beautiful delta-wing Dassault Mirage 2000s.

A formation of pretty Dassault Rafales over Paris on Bastille Day. (Photo: Armee de l’Air)

The French Armée de l’Air also produced a nice video short of the flyover from a CASA CN-235M light tactical transport.

There was a minor, widely publisized embarrassing moment for the normally outstanding French Patrouille Acrobatique de France flight demonstration team.

During the July 14, 2018 Fête Nationale or Bastille Day flyover in Paris the team added a ninth aircraft to the normal eight-plane formation. The additional aircraft, normally not a part of this wedge formation, flew in the right-wing position. As the team began their dedication flyover of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and the picturesque Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile they actuated their traditional colored smoke trails. Normally the tricolor smoke trailing the aircraft mimics the blue, white, red pattern of the French national flag from the right of the formation to the left as viewed from the pilots’ perspective. But in this instance the extra ninth aircraft on the pilots’ right side of the formation mistakenly trailed red smoke instead of the correct blue smoke.

Some social media observers thought this may have been a purposeful modification to the display because the aircraft were carrying three members of France’s special forces on board for the celebration. But on Sunday following the flyover, French Air Force Spokesman Colonel Cyrille Duvivier, told news media, “It was not planned. It was an error.”

Colonel Duvivier went on to tell France’s Le Connexion news media that, “La Patrouille de France is normally eight planes, and on July 14, it presents as nine. The ninth plane is the ‘extra’…and it can take any position. It is the only one to have all three colors. We must ascertain why, precisely, this color was not correct.”

As it stands the color mismatch by the normally fashion conscious French was not the day’s only faux pas. Two motorcycle gendarmes collided and toppled over during an attempted impressive display of precision low-speed motorcycle handling along the same parade route. The two Gendarmes were seen scrambling on French television like keystone cops to get their heavy motorcycles upright. This is not typical of the French special police motorcycle forces, many of whom are working as anti-terrorist security forces during the Tour de France bicycle race being held across France during the month of July. For the second year, the forces at the tour de France include both the Garde Républicaine motorcycle unit and the elite French anti-terrorist police unit, the GIGN (Groupe d’intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale).

France’s Patrouille de France flight demonstration team flies the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet light, twin-engine, two-seat jet trainer. The team has an illustrious record and flew a first-ever month and half demonstration tour at airshows in the United States and Canada in 2017. Interestingly, the USAF Thunderbirds participated in an exchange flyover in Paris in 2017 also as a salute to France on Bastille Day.

Top image: the French aerobatic team normally flies with blue, white and red smoke to mimic the French flag. (Photo: Twitter/Pandov Strochnis)

The Hellenic Air Force Has Retired Its Last RF-4E Phantom Jets

The HAF has bid farewell to its last “recce” Phantoms.

On May 4, Larissa airbase, Greece, hosted the spotter day for the final flight of the Hellenic Air Force RF-4E, the last “recce” Phantoms in Europe. With the phase out of the last Greek RF-4E, Iran and Japan remain the last operators of the reconnaissance variant of the “Rhino” (how the Phantom is dubbed in the aviation community).

Indeed, the 348 MTA (Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron), one of the oldest and most historic Hellenic Air Force squadrons, was disbanded on May 5, after 64 years of operations, with its last three RF-4s finally retired from active service: the example serialled 7499, that sported a brand new special livery; the old special colored 7450, and the 71765, an RF-4E still wearing the Southeast Asia camouflage color scheme.

A static and flying display were arranged to celebrate the event.

The photographs in this article were taken at Larissa by The Aviationist’s contributors Alessandro Fucito and Tony Lovelock on May 4 and 5, 2017.

The last RF-4E in Greek service still sporting the Vietnam-era color scheme.

The old special color of the 348 Mira: the 7450

The 7450 was prepared in 2013 to celebrate the 60 years of 348 TRS and 40 years of Phantom operations.

The new “End of the Film” special color lands during the Spotter Day on May 4, 2017.

The RF-4E 7450 takes off in front of the photographers to take part in the Spotters Day’s flying display.

The last three Recce Rhinos perform a flypast in formation with HAF Mirage 2000 and F-16C.

The final trio overflying Larissa in formation.

The Mirage 2000EG 239 of the 332 Mira that took part in the flypast along the RF-4Es.

F-16C “508” departs to rejoin with the RF-4Es and Mirage 2000.

The accompanying Mirage 2000 and F-16C break the formation.

The last Greek RF-4E special color taxing after landing.

M2000-5BG Mark II “505” performing a low passage. Several HAF aircraft flew their training sorties during the retirement celebrations.

F-16D “600” of the 337 Mira.

Among the aircraft in static display there was also this preserved RF-84F Thunderflash in silver color scheme “37683” formerly belonging to 337 Mira.

 

Turkish and Greek fighters engage in dogfight over the Aegean Sea

According to Greek media outlets, Greek and Turkish jets engaged in a brief dogfight over the Aegean Sea after Turkish aircraft violated Greek airspace “several times.”

As we already explained in the aftermath of the Russian Su-24 shootdown by a Turkish Air Force (TuAF) F-16 over the Syria-Turkey border last month, the skies surrounding the disputed islands of the Aegean Sea are often the theater of incidents between the HAF (Hellenic Air Force) and the TuAF.

In fact Greece claims 10 miles of air space around a chain of Greek islands lined up along the Turkish west coast, part of those are in very close proximity to the mainland, while Turkey recognizes only six miles (that is to say the extent of the Greek territorial waters, recognized by each other): even though the Greek authorities often report unauthorised military flights directly over the Greek islands, the majority of the close encounters and alleged violations (2,244 in 2014) take place within the four-mile radius between the boundary of the territorial waters (as said, recognized by both parties) and the 10-mile radius which Athens considers its sovereign airspace (while Ankara considers international one).

The latest such incidents (the first since early December) occurred on Dec. 29.

According to Ekathimerini.com, Greek and Turkish jets engaged in a brief dogfight over the Aegean Sea after a formation of six Turkish aircraft “flanked by two CN-235 aircraft that were not in formation” violated Greek national air space nine times.

Noteworthy, two Turkish jets were armed.

It’s not clear where the violations took place but according to the Greek media the TuAF jets were chased by HAF interceptors in all cases.

In the past some of these mock dogfights did not end well. In Jun. 1992 a Greek Mirage F1 crashed during an aerial engagement with a Turkish F-16. In February 1995, a TuAF F-16 crashed after being intercepted by Greek Mirage F1s. In Oct. 1996, a HAF Mirage 2000 fired an R.550 Magic II and shot down a Turkish F-16D that had violated the Greek airspace.

On May 23, 2006, two HAF F-16s intercepted a TuAF RF-4 escorted by two F-16s: the subsequent dogfight resulted in a midair collision between a TuAF F-16 and a HAF F-16: whilst the Turkish pilot ejected safely, the Greek pilot died in the incident.

Image credit: Alan Wilson / Wiki. H/T Isaac Alexander for the heads-up

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Awesome video of KC-10 refueling another KC-10 against a full moon….through IR vision

This incredible video was taken by a Damocles targeting pod.

The video in this post was probably taken somewhere over Afghanistan.

It shows U.S. Air Force KC-10 “buddy” refueling against a full moon.

The IR-vision scene, with the moon appearing closer due to the magnifying effect of the zoom, was filmed with a Damocles multi-function targeting pod, by a French aircraft, possibly a Dassault Rafale, a Mirage 2000 or a French Navy Super Etendard that are equipped with the pod used for laser designation and day/night smart weapons guidance.

H/T Gizmodo

 

More than 100 Greek warplanes (including last A-7E Corsair jets) conduct live firing exercise

The Hellenic Air Force stages large exercise at the Kranea Firing Installation in Larisa.

On Jul. 3, more than 100 Greek fighter jets of all types demonstrated their air strike capabilities using various types of weapons, including guided missiles, bombs and cannons, at the Kranea Firing Installation in Larisa, Greece

Formation

Hellenic Air Force’s F-16s Block 30 up to Block 52M, Mirage 2000-5, F-4E AUP Phantom, A-7E Corsair jets (at one of their last appearances before being retired in September) supported by an Erieye EMB-145H AEW&C took part in the exercise, which also featured AH-64DHA Longbow Apache attack helicopters of the Hellenic Army, that fired salvo of AGM-114K1 Hellfire missiles.

A-7

The drills, included aerial tactical reconnaissance provided by the UAV PEGASUS, High Value Air Asset (HVAA) Protection/Attack and virtual dogfights, CSAR (Combat Search And Rescue) operation, supported by AH-64DHA Longbow Apache attack helos.

blast

F-4 Phantom

Image credit: Hellenic Air Force

H/T to Strategy Reports for the heads-up.