Patrouille de France, RIAT 2015 - ©Nigel Key
The Patrouille Acrobatique de France (P.A.F.) commonly referred to as Patrouille de France team fly eight Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha jet aircraft. They are based at Salon-de Provence where the French Air Force Academy is located.
The Alpha Jets are finished in a red, white, and blue colour scheme and they carry Armee de l'air inscriptions under the wing.
The Patrouille de France are one of the oldest display teams. They were formed in 1953 flying the Republic F84G Thunderjet. By 1954 they converted to the Dassault Ouragan and in 1957 they flew the Dassault Mystere IV. Actually there were four different wings which were allowed to use the name Patrouille de France between 1955 and 1963.
In 1964 the Patrouille de France display team found a permanent home at Salon-de-Provence which is where the French Air Force Academy is situated. Next they converted to the twin-tailed Fouga CM170 Magister which they continued to use for over 13 years. During this time the team grew successively from six to eleven before finally being limited to nine aircraft.Then by 1981 they converted to the Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jet which they still fly today.
During a season all the personnel and equipment needed to support the airshows are carried either by a Transall C160 or a Lockheed C-130 Hercules of the French Transport Command (COTAM).
The Patrouille de France now consist of 8 Alpha jet aircraft. The display routine follows a similar pattern to those of other display teams and they also employ a synchro pair.