French fighter jets have engaged alongside Australian electronic warfare aircraft as part of a deployment to the Indo-Pacific.
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The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) linked up with the French Air and Space Force (FASF) over the Coral Sea on 17 August 2022, after Dassault Rafale fighters and a multi-role tanker transport aircraft deployed from France for the 16,000-kilometre journey.
RAAF No. 6 Squadron EA-18G Growlers met the FASF contingent between New Caledonia and Australia, welcoming the platforms to the region for key multinational training exercises, including Exercise Pitch Black.
Commander Air Combat Group, Air Commodore Tim Alsop lauded the “rapid” 36-hour deployment of air combat capability at short notice.
“The capability to rapidly deploy with a small but potent force demonstrates the RAAF’s ability of project power and respond efficiently at short notice,” AIRCDRE Alsop said.
“It was a fantastic opportunity for our Growler aircraft to join the French Dassault Rafale aircraft for the last leg of their journey to Australia.”
AIRCDRE Alsop went on to note the importance of further strengthening bilateral defence ties between Australia and France, as part of a shared commitment to regional stability.
“We are committed to ensuring a stable, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, and will continue to work closely with our coalition partners,” AIRCDRE Alsop added.
RAAF and FASF aircraft are expected to continue engaging over the next few weeks during Exercise Pitch Black 22 in the Top End, scheduled to conclude on 8 September.
The exercise involves over 100 aircraft and 2,500 personnel from 17 different nations.
The multinational training activity is designed to enhance interoperability and defence relationships between the participating nations.
Participants include Australia, France, Germany, Canada, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, the United States, the United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, New Caledonia, the Philippines and the Netherlands.
[Related: Top End welcomes F-22 Raptors .]