Friday, August 31, 2007

Dassault-Dornier Alpha-Jet

The French Air Force was present in the 2005 edition of the Portugal Air Show, the main portuguese air show. The french participation consisted in two demonstrations with the Dassault-Dornier Alpha-Jet: one by the well known Patrouille de France and the other one by Capitaine Laurent "Tom" Thomeret from L'Ecole de L'Avation de Chasse, Touraine. Thomeret's Alpha-Jet made a great flying display and was also present in the statical exhibition.

Currently, the Alpha-Jet is operated by Belgium, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, France, Morocco, Nigeria, Portugal, Qatar and Thailand. Portugal has begun the operation of this aircraft in 1993. The 50 aircrafts, received from Luftwaffe, were operated by 301 Squadron Jaguares (close air support) and 103 Squadron Caracóis (instruction), both based in Beja. After the transition of the Jaguares to the F-16 MLU (they now operate from Monte Real), the Caracóis assumed the close air support as a secondary mission and recieved the remaining operational fleet - with 15-20 aircrafts. They're also responsable for the acrobatic air team Asas de Portugal.

This series of photos is part of a report which I made for the magazine Fuerzas Militares del Mundo.

Capitaine Thomeret's Alpha-Jet after its demonstration.

A general view of the Alpha-Jet just a few minutes after is arrival at Évora. A second aircraft was in reserve. The force was supported by a C-160 Transal, based at Beja.

The french Alpha-Jet after its flying display - you can see, in the background, the city of Évora.

A close look at the markings of the aircraft.

Pedro Monteiro

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