France proves force projection capabilities with fighter deployment to Indo-Pacific region

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office based on information provided by the French Air Force

More than a month into an air force deployment to the Indo-Pacific region, the French Air Force has demonstrated a sustained force projection capability and built relationships with French and Allied forces in the region.

On June 25, a contingent of 320 French airmen and women embarked on a long-range mission dubbed PEGASE involving five A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft, ten Rafale fighter jets and four A400M transport aircraft.

“These three aircraft types represent a multi-purpose capacity and complement each other,” said Brigadier General Marc Le Bouil, PEGASE 23 mission commander. “While the Rafale enable fast, strong and long-range airpower, the MRTT further extend the range and reach of our assets and the A400M ensures resilient and autonomous action of the detachment,” he added.

 

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With a stopover at a French Air Force base in the United Arab Emirates, the 11,000 km deployment took approximately 30 hours. During the stopover local French groundcrew turned the aircraft round ensuring they were ready to launch for the second leg – one part flew on to Malaysia, the other to Singapore where the French aircraft conducted combined training with Allies and Partners. The contingent continued to fly on to Guam, where for three weeks the aircraft participated in various exercises with regional air forces among them the United States of America.

“This force projection builds on the previous experience made with similar long-range deployments in 2022 and 2021 enabling the French Air and Space Force among others to triple the contingent in size,” said Brigadier General Le Bouil. “With the PEGASE deployment we are showing our presence in a region which is home to more than 3.5 million French citizens living in the Indo-Pacific and overseas department,” he concluded. The force projection will wind up with the redeployment at the end of July.

 

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Several Allies have conducted long-range deployments to underpin relations with and within the region – France, Germany and the United Kingdom participated in the Australian-led exercise Pitch Black in 2022, and the United States forces have two strategic bases in Guam.

NATO, again during the Vilnius Summit, declared the Indo-Pacific an important region, given that developments in that region can directly affect Euro-Atlantic security.  The Alliance appreciates the contribution of its Partners in the Asia-Pacific region – Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea – to security in the Euro-Atlantic.

 

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