Rafales, Typhoons go wingtip to wingtip

Having recently been involved in a bitter dogfight to secure India‘s medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal, it’s nice to see the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon flying side by side.

A joint exercise involving the French air force’s 1/7 Provence squadron and personnel from the UK Royal Air Force’s 3 Sqn wrapped up at Saint-Dizier air base on 5 March, having started three days earlier. The British aircraft were visiting from their home at Coningsby in Lincolnshire, accompanied by two pilots and 12 maintainers.

 

Anglo French 560.jpgThe French air force says the activity was intended to support familiarisation between the services. Work of this kind had been due to occur last year, before France and the UK committed both types to supporting the NATO-led operation to protect civilians in Libya. The single-seat Typhoon pictured above still carries the markings beneath its cockpit to depict the weapons it dropped during the conflict (French air force photo taken by A Jeuland).

Rafales are scheduled to make a similar visit to Coningsby within the coming months, while the two services expect to launch an exchange programme between pilots on the respective types late this year.

Meanwhile, the Indian defence ministry has entered into final negotiations for the 126-aircraft MMRCA deal with the Dassault-led Rafale International team.

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