RAF And French Fighter Jets Scramble On Joint Intercept Exercise

The fast jets were supported by a Brize Norton-based RAF Voyager which provided air-to-air refuelling.

British and French fighter jets have carried out a joint intercept exercise, scrambling both countries' Quick Reaction Alerts (QRA).

Typhoons from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire linked up with Armee de l’air Rafale aircraft on Tuesday to intercept a simulated non-NATO military aircraft entering UK airspace.

The exercise aimed to practise NATO Long-Range Aviation procedures within the UK and French Flight Information Regions (FIR), as well as develop tactical co-ordination with international cross-FIR border operations.

Describing the activity, Air Officer Commanding Number 11 Group, Air Vice-Marshal Ian Duguid, said: "This enhanced air security training with France is a demonstration of our close co-operation and interoperability with our NATO partners.

"This week’s exercise is a timely demonstration of the ever closer, effective partnership between the RAF and French Air Force who, as NATO allies, continue air policing tasks and operations in Mali and in the Levant.

"Exercising together this week has demonstrated a new level of enhanced air security training."

An RAF Typhoon FGR4 from RAF Coningsby during the exercise (Picture: MOD).

The scenario simulated the tracking of aircraft crossing into the UK FIR and the theoretical scramble of the UK’s QRA North based at RAF Lossiemouth, before conducting a fighter-to-fighter handover with aircraft scrambled from RAF Coningsby.

French QRA also scrambled to track the aircraft.

The fast jets were supported by a Brize Norton-based RAF Voyager which provided air-to-air refuelling.

The exercise was the first event after a new agreement between the UK and French Air Planning Groups to hold two exercises each year. 

It follows the signing last month of the joint Core Vision Statement by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, with his counterpart, General Lavigne, to reinforce historical cooperation and pave the way for future and mutual benefit in the air and space domains.

Cover image: French Rafale Mirage 2000s and two RAF Typhoon aircraft (Picture: MOD).