The French Navy (Aéronavale) will make its sole international airshow appearance this year when two of its fleet power into RNAS Yeovilton for its annual Air Day on 10 July.
The Aéronavale’s participation will comprise of single examples of the Dassault Rafale M multirole combat aircraft and the Falcon 10MER transport, communications and training platform. Neither of these French Navy aircraft will be seen at any other airshow outside France in 2010: a real exclusive for Air Day.
The Rafale represents the cutting-edge of modern fighter technology and has been in French military service since 2002. It is flown by both the French Navy and the French Air France – an example from the latter made its UK airshow debut at Air Day 2009 – and is fast, highly agile and highly capable. The French Navy currently operates 25 Rafales and has more on order.
The Falcon 10MER appearing at Air Day is one of seven such aircraft ordered by the French Navy in 1974 and based at Landivisiau in the north west of France.
Both the Rafale and the Falcon will feature in Air Day’s comprehensive Static Display, along with other UK-based and international modern military participants – including F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Royal Netherlands and Royal Danish air forces and a Luftwaffe F-4F(ICE) Phantom II – and historic naval aircraft linked to this year’s theme of 70 years of RNAS Yeovilton.