Sentry Aviation News/G.J.A. van Boven reports
Each year, the French Air Force (AdlA) organises a 'Enseignements Militaire Superieure' exhibition at two locations: BA 123 Orleans and BA 120 Cazaux. The aim is of this exhibition to demonstrate the capabilities of the French Air Force, for CFAP (Transport Command) at Orleans and for CFAC (Fighter Command) at Cazaux.
In 2001 it was held for the 11th time, this occasion on 19/20 September. Some 400 invitees from all the world's Air Forces were invited for this two day event.
At BA 123 Orleans-Bricy the main concept of the French Air Force Transport Command (CFAP) was displayed in the static show. Due to heavy rain the flying demonstrations were unfortunately cancelled. The ground demonstrations consisted of: Air to air refuelling, ground refuelling of a fighter with a C-160, delivery of cargo by parachute, delivery of cargo by unloading a transport aircraft, MEDEVAC, AWACS and protection of an airbase.
The second day of the exhibition at Cazaux had the fortune of good weather. No clouds, only sun and some 24 degrees Celsius. The main concept of the French Air Force Fighter Command (CFAC) was shown in the static show and demonstrated in the afternoon at the range. The ground demonstrations consisted of: Pre and post-strike reconnaissance and ELINT, SAM suppression, fighter protection, close air support and nuclear strike.
Besides the French Air Force, the Air Forces from Spain, Belgium, Italy and the UK were present at Cazaux, whereas the Italian, Belgium and Spanish aircraft participated in the afternoon demonstration. The participants for the afternoon's bombing mission were armed with conventional (free-falling) bombs, rocketpods and cannon ammunition. Over forty aircraft were armed in a short time.
After lunch all aircraft taxied with full armament to the runway and took off. They formed their formations and started the 30 minute exhibition, consisting of: A peculiar formation of a French KC-135F (with a basket!) and three Belgium F-16s, a pre-strike ELINT flight of a C-160 Gabriel, rocket attacks by Jaguars and Mirages, strafing attacks by F-16s and Mirages, bombing attacks by Mirages, F-16s and Tornados and post-strike reconnaissance by Mirages. These attacks demonstrated the concepts of SAM suppression, fighter protection and close air support. At a distance of some 500 meters, the sights, sounds and vibrations of exploding bombs, rockets and strafing were very impressive. Following the demonstrations all aircraft returned safely to the base. Fortunately, the nuclear strike was not demonstrated...
Besides the 400 military invitees, some forty or so media invitees participated on the two day trip, organised by the French Air Force Public Affairs Department (SIRPA.AIR), flying its 'own' CN235. All invitees and media were driven from Paris to BA Orleans by bus, and after the CFAP demonstration and a good dinner everybody was flown to Cazaux in C160s, C-130s and CN235s, arriving at the hotel at Cazaux after midnight. The next morning saw CFAC ground exhibition, a good lunch at noon and the CFAC live demonstration at the range, followed by a flight to Villacoublay from where everybody was transported back to Paris.
More photos of EMS 2001 can be seen at the Sentry Aviation News website. Our thanks go to SIRPA.AIR and the organisers at BA Orleans and BA Cazaux.