Aerial Warfare

French Air Detachment Leaves Guam Continues Deployment to Japan and South Korea

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French Air Detachment Leaves Guam Continues Deployment to Japan and South Korea

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French Air Force Detachment Leaves Guam and Continues Deployment to Japan and South Korea
French Air Force Detachment Leaves Guam and Continues Deployment to Japan and South Korea

From June 28 to July 24, 2023, PEGASE 23 aircraft took part in a series of exercises in Guam and nearby islands. A look back on the second phase of the deployment. The second phase of PEGASE 23 is coming to an end. Just 72 hours after leaving Air Base 125 in Istres, the French air force aircraft deployed on the power projection demonstration landed at the American Andersen air base in Guam on June 28, 2023. For four weeks, six Rafale from the 4th and 30th Fighter Wing, two A330 MRTT Phénix from the 31st Strategic Air Refueling and Transport Wing and two A400M Atlas from the 61st Transport Wing flew alongside American, Japanese, British, New Zealand, Australian and Canadian aircraft also deployed on Guam: American F-35, B-52, B-1B, EA-18, C-130, C-17 and MH-60 Night Hawk, British MRTT Voyager, KC-30 and A400M, A310 Polaris and C -130 Canadian, Australian C-17 or Japanese C-130.

On the fighter side, the crews took part in various training sessions, in particular with the American F-35s deployed for the occasion (fighter integration). Combat pilots and navigators were also able to practice dogfighting, one-on-one (basic fighting maneuver) or two-on-one (air combat maneuvering), zone defense to reinforce air-to-air procedures. detection, identification, classification and engagement air (defensive counter air) or penetration into enemy territory (offensive counter air). On the transport side, the A330 MRTT Phénix crews fulfilled their training objectives. Air-to-air refueling operators (ARO) have practiced rigid refueling due to the wide variety of receivers.

511 Tactical
Having completed their month-long deployment to Guam, the French air force detachment separated into three groups, which continued their deployment to South Korea, Indonesia and the French island of New Caledonia.
Having completed their month-long deployment to Guam, the French air force detachment separated into three groups, which continued their deployment to South Korea, Indonesia and the French island of New Caledonia. (Photo by French Air Force)

“Our pilots were able to strengthen their skills through patrol flights with other tanker aircraft (flights called multi tanker formation),” says Lieutenant-Colonel Benoît, commander of the MRTT detachment.

“These are long-range missions carried out with the help of our tankers, but also American, Canadian or British tankers,” says Lieutenant-Colonel Grégory, a fighter pilot at the 2/4 “La Fayette” fighter squadron.”

“This second phase was an opportunity for us to work on our different modes of action and this, with foreigners and other vectors (Rafale, MRTT). This allowed us to simulate realistic high intensity workouts,” says Lieutenant Derya, pilot of the A400M Atlas on PEGASE 23.

The aircraft was alerted on a real SAMAR mission off Guam, successfully surveyed. The crew also took advantage of these exercises to qualify some of its personnel (Element leader qualification for young pilots and captains). This phase 2 was also an opportunity to deploy the A400M Atlas and A330 MRTT Phénix for the benefit of the operational preparation of the armed forces prepositioned overseas (French Polynesia and New Caledonia). Finally, the A400M Atlas crews practiced tactical transport, patrol flying, dropping packages or even search and rescue at sea (SAMAR).

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