Thirteen countries visited, array of fighter planes… France is launching military air exercises in the Asia-Pacific this summer

Thirteen countries visited, array of fighter planes… France is launching military air exercises in the Asia-Pacific this summer
Thirteen countries visited, array of fighter planes… France is launching military air exercises in the Asia-Pacific this summer

In the region, France wants to position itself as a “balancing power”. The French Air and Space Force is launching a series of exercises in the Asia-Pacific this summer, “between objectives of protecting sovereign spaces, promoting international law and partnerships with neighboring countries”, indicated the Ministry of the Armed Forces on Friday.

The “Mission Pégase 24” will extend from June 27 to August 15 and will land in particular in three air bases of the French Armed Forces, in New Caledonia, in French Polynesia and in the south of the Indian Ocean, said a press release. from the Brienne hotel. A total of thirteen countries will be visited in the space of eight weeks. Rafale and Eurofighter fighter planes, A400M Atlas and A330 MRTT Phénix will participate in particular.

Aviation exercises

The operation provides for a “joint deployment of the countries of the future SCAF air combat system” (future fighter aircraft designed by France, Germany and Spain, Editor’s note), with more than 200 aviators over three separate exercises. “This system will also be able to support our forces overseas through dedicated stopovers in New Caledonia, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and Reunion Island,” according to the file released by the ministry. .

The airmen will also participate in a high-intensity exercise in the United States (Alaska) and will carry out a series of stops and joint exercises in Canada, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Indonesia, New Zealand , in Malaysia, India, Qatar, Egypt and for the first time in the Philippines. Another deployment will be organized with England, also bound for Australia for an inter-allied exercise.

The “Indo-Pacific”, according to the term used by France, is a vast area covering the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the scene of growing international tensions between Beijing and Washington. France, with its overseas territories, intends to develop its presence there alongside regional partners and position itself as a “balancing power” in the region.

In 2023, however, senators published a report in which they denounced “a real inadequacy of resources to French ambitions” in this region. A few thousand soldiers scattered from Djibouti, a former French colony, to Polynesia appear to be no match for the power of the Chinese and American armies, the two main players in an area stretching from India and the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific.

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