Report by: Thierry LETELLIER and Pierre-Yves LECOEUR
Franco-Saudi Green Shield exercise took place on the Base Aérienne 102 near Dijon; between 5 and 16 october 2009. The Royal Saudi Air Force deployed for the event five F-15C Eagle and one F-15D Eagle and almost 175 personel from 5 Squadron based in TAIF ( King Fahg Air Base ). It was the second deployment of the RSAF to the European Continent, the first beeing the one to Lossiemouth in august 2007. The green shield 2 exercise is a follow up from the first joint exercise in 2007 when the French air force deployed to Saudi Arabia.
The French Air Force (Armee de l’Air) participated with Escadron de Chasse 01.002 Cigognes (Storks) and the Alpha Jets of Escadron d’Entraînement 02.002 “Côte d’Or” (Gold Coast), both based at Dijon. Other participants were Rafales of EC 01.007 “Provence” based at Saint-Dizier, an E-3F AWACS of from Avord, that flew from their respective home bases. An EC725 Caracal, two Gazelles and a Puma were deployed to Dijon from various French Army Airbases.
The objective of Green Flag is to develop interoperability, compare skills and share working methods of the two Air Forces. Strengthening the bilateral Franco-Saudi ties and friendship between the two Nations was another goal of great importance. During Green Flag, two missions were planned every day (one in the morning and afternoon).
Two F-15s, two Mirage 2000-5F and Alpha Jets flew joint missions following the various scenarios. With the Rafales playing the so called “bad guys”. Later in the exercise Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions were flown where the Mirages and F-15s flew Combat Air Patrols covering the EC 725 Caracal helicopters who peformed the actual extraction of the ejected crews. Two air missions were planned every day (one in the morning and afternoon). The objective of this exercise was to deepen the bilateral Franco-Saudi ties to strengthen friendship between the two nations to develop interoperability, compare the skills and share working methods. It may also be a way for the french to show the potential of the Rafale..
It was a great experience to come there. Spotting outside the fence was far easier than on our previous times due to the very good cooperation with the Gendarmerie. The media-day was also perfectly organised but the weather was not really good . Our thanks goes to all the Dijon Airbase Staff for the their perfect preparation of this day. I must also indicate the perfect cooperation of all the Saudi Air Force staff during this media-day.