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Fighter front

French demonstrators

Joris van Boven/Sentry Aviation News reports on France's biggest demonstration of the year, EMS 2006, held on 21 September

Each year, the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air) organises the "Enseignements Militaire Superieure" (EMS) exhibition at Base Aerienne 123, Orleans. The aim is of this exhibition to demonstrate the capabilities of the French Air Force, especially CFAP (Commandement de la Force Aérienne de Projection or Transport Command) and CFAC (Commandement de la Force Aérienne de Combat or Fighter Command). In 2006 it was held for the sixteenth time in front of some 200 invited students from all military academies in France and military attachés from foreign embassies in Paris.

At the static show, all French fighter and transport aircraft types showed their weapons and capabilities to the various military students from countries all over the world, who walked around and sat in the aircraft. Besides regular aircraft like the Mirage 2000, Mirage F1, Rafale, C-160, E-3, C-135F and C-130, there were also participants from the European Air Group (EAG) present, like German Tornado and Phantom, Italian AMX and Spanish CN235.

During the afternoon, a dynamic show was performed by transport aircraft flying from Orleans and fighter aircraft from Base Aerienne 279, Chateaudun.

Tac demo

Besides French Air Force aircraft, there were French Navy E-3 and Rafale, British and German Tornados, Belgian F-16s and Swiss F-18s. Enhanced with pyrotechnics to simulate bomb attacks, the aim of this dynamic demonstration was to show fighter roles like ground attack, SAM suppression and CAP (Combat Air Patrol), supported by transport aircraft delivering troops and cargo by parachute - one C-160 even landed on the grass strip to deliver a jeep to support the landed paratroops. After landing, the paratroops released some (fake) hostages and took them away in the C-160, taking off from the grass strip. After the cargo aircraft, some helicopters showed a Search And Rescue (SAR) mission, using Puma and Gazelle helicopters.

On 20 September the rehearsal gave the opportunity to photograph the participating fighter aircraft at Chateaudun, some 40 kilometres from Orleans. The flightline was filled with some thirty aircraft: French Rafales, Mirage 2000 C,D & Ns, Mirage F1s, British and German Tornados, Belgian F-16s and Swiss F-18s.

Acknowledgments: Thanks to SIRPA.AIR (Paris) for their support.


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