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French Naval Aviation Centenary

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In 2010 the French Naval Aviation (Force maritime de l’aéronautique navale) celebrated it’s 100 years of service by organizing an airshow at Aéronautique Navale Hyères-La Palyvestre near Toulon on the Mediterrian coast of France.

The show attracted various Naval aviation assets from other countries and historic assets that once were operated by the French Navy (Aéronavale) which made the show even more interesting to admire the leap forward made by the (Aéronavale) over the past years.

The main show for the public was on Sunday and an event for aviation photographers was organized on Saturday which made the show more accessible for better quality pictures.

The French Navy (Aéronavale) was the main contributor to the show with a variety of assets ranging from the CAP 10B basic trainer to the Rafale M multirole fighter aircraft, also most of their helicopter types were present at the show on both static and flying display.

Photo: Joseph Borg - French Naval Aviation Helicopter Formation Flypast
Photo: Joseph Borg – French Naval Aviation Helicopter Formation Flypast

The United States Navy also attended the show with a big contingent of five F/A-18E/F, an E-2C Hawkeye, a C-2A Greyhound, and a Sikorsky SH-60F Seahawk all flying from the USS Harry S. Truman, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Another foreign participant was the Spanish Navy (Armada) with a pair of AV-8B Harrier II Plus ‘Matador’ which flew in from the Príncipe de Asturias aircraft carrier and performed a solo display on both days. Other foreign navies were also present at the static display in the form of two AV-8B Harrier II Plus and a Merlin Helicopter from the Italian Navy (Marina Militare), a single participant from the German Navy with a BR1150 Atlantic and the Royal Navy sent two Harrier GR.9 a Jetstream T.2 and a Merlin.

Other French forces participated as well, the French Air force sent the Rafale C Solo display team, the national aerobatic team Patrouille de France and the French Army (Armée de Terre) with a Eurocopter Tigre attack helicopter.
Historic aircraft were also invited to the show, most of the types were once in active service with the French Navy (Aéronavale).

The show was very well organised by the staff on the base although few information was available afore. The location makes it perfect as the weather was mostly sunny over the two days.

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