Air Police Mission for Air and Space Force
(Source: French Armed Forces Ministry; issued Sept. 30, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by
PARIS --- On Wednesday September 30, 2020, as part of the permanent air security system, a Rafale from Air Base 113 at Saint-Dizier [in NE France] took off on a Quick Reaction Alert in order to intercept a Falcon 50 aircraft which had lost radio contact. During this interception, contact was reestablished.

It was then that another aircraft, an Embraer ERJ 145 civil airliner on a flight between Brive and Saint-Brieuc, also lost radio contact. At 11:52 a.m., given its proximity to the Paris region, the Air Defense and Air Operations Command (CDAOA) immediately ordered the Rafale pilot to change his flight and intercept this second aircraft, at supersonic speed, to the west of Paris.

Despite being at an altitude of more than 10,000 meters, atmospheric conditions caused the supersonic "boom" to be strongly felt in the Paris metropolitan area.

Radio contact was finally re-established with civil air traffic control and the two aircraft were able to reach their destination.

The air policing mission is carried out on a permanent basis by the Air and Space Force in order to guarantee the sovereignty of the territory and provide assistance to any aircraft in difficulty. The Rafale which took off from the Saint-Dizier air base intervened in this context.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The above statement omits to state that, after it had been called off the second mission, the Rafale suffered an oxygen system malfunction which resulted in a high hypoxia risk for its two-man crew.
The aircraft was thus diverted to the closest military airfield, at Evreux in Normandy, where it landed without mishap.)


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