PEGASE 2023: French Rafales take off for Palau

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Rapid and strategic deployment of Rafale fighter-bombers

During the 2023 edition of the PEGASE exercise (Projection of an aerial device of EnverGure in South-East Asia), ten Rafale fighter-bombers, accompanied by five A330 MRTT tanker planes and four A400M Atlas, took off from the Istres air base. After a technical stopover in Al Dhafra, United Arab Emirates, the team split into two groups. Part of the aircraft went to Singapore while the others landed at Subang Air Base in Malaysia, only thirty hours after their departure. This operation demonstrates the ability of the Air & Space Force to rapidly deploy an air force thousands of kilometers from France.

A strategic presence and strengthened partnerships

The deployment of the Rafales in Subang, Malaysia, was intended to participate in joint training with the local air force and to introduce these combat aircraft to their Malaysian and Singaporean counterparts. It was also a question of strengthening the partnership between France and Malaysia, by highlighting common aircraft such as the A400M. The planes have since resumed their return journey. At the same time, the other group traveled to the American base in Guam, in the southeastern Philippine Sea, to participate in joint and combined exercises with American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, British forces. and Japanese. This deployment aims to develop interoperability and strengthen military cooperation between the participating countries.

First presence of Rafale in Palau and next steps

Once the exercises from Guam have been completed, three Rafales will be deployed for the first time in the Palau archipelago from July 6. Located southwest of Guam, the Republic of Palau enjoys security provided by the United States under a Treaty of Free Association. This military presence aims to counter China’s influence and strengthen the region’s security. After this stage, the French detachment will continue its journey with planned stops in Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Qatar. These stopovers will make it possible to deepen joint training with partner air forces and to discuss subjects such as space, multi-environment operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster management.

John Walker Avatar