Early this morning, the French Air Force sent two fighter jets and two tankers into Romanian airspace and the Black Sea. The objective of this eight-hour mission is not known, but it demonstrates once again the force projection capabilities of the Air Force: the fighters flew more than 1,900 kilometers before arriving at their patrol area.
This January 3 at around 04:00 a.m., an Air Force A330 MRTT Phenix tanker took off from Istres-le Tubé Air Base 125 (Bouches-du-Rhône, France). It was followed, around 04:20 am, by a KC-135R Stratotanker tanker. This is the beginning of a mission that will last a little more than eight hours. The two tankers were not heading for Poland, but for Romania: they were to support French fighters. At least two fighters took off from the Saint-Dizier air base (Haute-Marne, France) at around 4:55 am. The aircraft were visible on various real-time aircraft tracking websites, as demonstrated by the image below.
At about 06:30, the aircraft were over central Romania before heading (not visible in the image) toward the Romanian coast on the shores of the Black Sea. At 09:05 am, they took the return course towards France. The mission ended around 12:03, with the landing of the Phoenix on its base of Istres-Le Tubé.
As shown above, the exact model of the fighters is unknown. However, it is highly likely that they were two Rafale fighters because BA113 only hosts Rafale squadrons. Finally, the goal of the mission is not known at this time. However, it illustrates the projection capabilities of the French Air Force: in a straight line, the distance between Saint-Dizier (France) and Constanța (Romania) is approximately 1,885 kilometers, equivalent to the distance between Paris and Casablanca (Morocco) or Paris and Tallinn (Estonia). It should also be remembered that this distance represents only part of the (outbound) journey of the fighter aircraft and does not include the distance flown during the mission over the Romanian Black Sea coast and the return journey!
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