Some rushed to their window, others grabbed their smartphone to immortalize the sky … The inhabitants of the south of the capital were all worried in any case when they saw in the sky this Saturday afternoon a Rafale escorting a airliner. On September 11, the scene reminded these Ile-de-France residents of the terrible images that still haunt them 20 years after the attack on the World Trade Center.
Yet no danger hovered over their heads! It was to accompany Jean Castex and the Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, to the base of Villacoublay (Yvelines) that this flight took place.
“Precisely because it is September 11, and the Prime Minister is responsible for Air Defense, he attended demonstrations at the Istres air base (Bouches-du-Rhône),” says the Army communication service. air. It was just a training flight, there was no threat. “
Installed aboard an A330 Phénix, a tanker plane, Jean Castex and Florence Parly returned to Paris, escorted by a Rafale. “We took advantage of the flight to give them a refueling demonstration over central France,” says the Air Force. But obviously, in Île-de-France, planes are more scrutinized! “
For the Air Force, there is nothing exceptional about a Rafale escorting a plane. In 2020, for example, 350 interventions took place in flight. On 230 occasions last year, Rafales or helicopters had to take off, often after a loss of radio contact from a private plane.