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The French aerobatic jet team in the U.S.

The French aerobatic jet team in the U.S.

Published on April 27, 2017
31 years since its last tour in North America, the Patrouille de France is touring the United States until May 6th 2017 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into World War I.

This operation in North America mobilizes more than 70 airmen, pilots, mechanics, support staff, 10 Alphajet, 1 Airbus A400M Atlas and 25 tons of equipment, demonstrating French Air Force reach capabilities. The ferry flight will include 4 refueling stops in United Kingdom, Iceland, Greenland and Canada.

During this month-and-a-half long journey, the Patrouille de France will perform 30 transit flights and 12 demonstration flights during commemorations and air shows, meet the 2 mythical demonstration teams Thunderbirds and Blue Angels and fly over 9 symbolic monuments of the Franco-American relationship, such as the Statue of Liberty in New York (on March 25).

Among the highlights of the tour, the Patrouille de France participated in the centennial commemoration of the US entry into World War I, on April 6th in Kansas City (Missouri). This symbolized the enduring friendship and unfailing brotherhood of the two countries. The operational cooperation between France and the United States, major partners in the fight against terrorism, is now at an unprecedented level.

On April 21st the Patrouille de France will also join the French Air Force Rafale, presently participating in TEI exercise (Trilateral exercise initiative) at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. This advanced exercise prepares American, British and French Air Forces to engage jointly in highly contested scenarios. The engagement of the most advanced fighters (F-22, F-35, Rafale, Typhoon) is a testament to the high level of interoperability and mutual trust between the three partners.

"2017 is a highly symbolic year for the French and American Air Forces alike. It marks the centenary of the United States’ entry in the Great War, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the US Air Force, I00 years since the death of Georges Guynemer and, more generally, it is a year in which the French Air Force will commemorate the World War I flying aces.

All this goes much deeper than outward symbols and commemorations, it under-scores not only the history of cooperation between our Air Forces, but also the fact that that cooperation is now more topical than ever. During World War I, the French and American airmen of the “La Fayette Escadrille” fought side-by-side, building the superiority in the air that was to play such a decisive role in changing the course first of the Battle of Verdun, then the Battle of the Somme, and then, irreversibly, all the battles which followed.

Our aviators continue to fight side-by-side in today’s theaters of operations, protecting their fellow citizens. In the Levant, in the same Coalition force deployed to combat Islamic State, they fight the same enemy which has attacked innocent civilians both in France and the US. In the Sahel-Saharan Strip, the US Air Force provides support that enables the French forces to track down jihadist groups in a region the size of Europe and to sustain pressure in areas where they are active, thanks to ongoing air operations. Last, French and American air crew are part of NATO’s collective defense countering any resurgence of power struggles, especially when these are played out in the air.

The Patrouille de France’s US Tour celebrates this exceptional relationship, a relationship of steadfast allies determined to share their excellence in aeronautics to defend our shared values. As you read through this Press Pack, apart from the details of the tour schedule for the eight Alphajet accompanied by an A400M Atlas, I would invite you to remember the deeper significance of the French aerobatics team’s extraordinary trip."

André Lanata, Chief of Staff of the French Air Force

For more information, the press pack of the tour.

See the Patrouille de France in the US

Grand Canyon National Park on April 13th,
Sacramento, April 13th to 16th,
Las Vegas, Nevada on April 17th and 18th,
Colorado Springs, Colorado on April 19th,
Langley, Air Force base, April 20th and 21st,
New-York, April 22nd and 23rd,
Norfolk, April 28th and 29th.

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