The Royal Air Force and French Air Force flew a combined mission involving two Voyager tankers refuelling four Armee de l’air Mirage 2000 fighters en route to Africa.

The RAF say here that the Long-Range Projection mission to Djibouti was a real-life demonstration of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force Air Component’s (CJEF(Air)) capability to project aircraft long distance at pace.

Image shows an RAF Voyager aircraft flying alongside four French Mirage 2000 aircraft.

“The Voyager tankers based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire provided Air-to-Air refuelling for the French jets throughout their near 4000-mile journey to North East Africa to take part in their Exercise SHAHEEN.

The CJEF is a French-UK military force that was created following the signing of the Lancaster House Treaties by President Sarkozy and Prime Minister Cameron in 2010, and which was re-affirmed by President Macron and Prime Minister May in 2018. The CJEF recently declared full Operational Capability and this mission was a timely demonstration of the regular cooperation between the RAF and the French Air & Space Force.”

Image shows three French Mirage 2000 aircraft flying.

Flight Lieutenant Rob Webb, Air Mobility Force HQ, said:

“Planning is undertaken by an Air-to-Air Refuelling Co-ordinator (AARC) who arranges and controls all aspects of the task. In this case, two RAF Voyagers in the dedicated Tanker role transferred 90,000 litres of fuel in support of the French Mission to North Africa, with one forward mounted in Greece to meet the transiting jets south of Crete for the final leg to Djibouti. Missions of this nature allow the RAF to practise and demonstrate close integration with Allied Nations to extend and project military effect in support of Operations.”

3.8 4 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jason Holmes

Hope they remember all this support we’ve given them there and in Mali , during post Brexit period


I’d say most of that drama is over now. It was just political panto. France enjoys a big trading surplus with The UK so it’s in their own interest now that the media attention is off them to reduce the red tape before we buy our wine and cheese elsewhere.

Jason Holmes

As long as the fishing drama plays out, they are threatening action independently


The EU won on every count when it comes to Brexit, so it’s now over.

Douglas Newell

The fact we’ve left when they wanted us to stay marks your comment about the EU winning on “every count” as wrong.


Was talking of negotiations, the vast majority of our trade with the EU is in services and the majority of theirs with us is in goods. The deal only included goods. The amusing part is the deal in the fishing (0.01% of our economy) was worse than the EU’s original offer.

Either way its done, and now lets hope we can put the B word fully behind us.

Barry Larking

French wine and cheese are big ticket items and they will want that to continue. Once the situation becomes the /new normal’ I expect French fishermen will be sold licences. They are not the real problem for U.K. fishing. It’s the mega-trawlers vacuuming the seas around Blighty that must be stopped.


Wine! A friend of mine who knows ( unlike me) about the red stuff says yes top level French wine is good but most of it is ordinary ( many of their wineries live on a long lost reputation). Aussie and NZ stuff is far better and for its quality far cheaper. And their cheeses are good too. Give ’em a go !

Robert Blay

Uk and French Armed Forces have extremely close ties, that go above and beyond our individual leaders and political parties.


Thank goodness.

Barry Larking

Good to know. There will always be friction but the focus on outcomes is crucial.

Robert Blay

It’s a bit like the special relationship with American, the ties run much deeper than individual leaders relationships that we hear about in the news. We have helped the French out with capabilitys they have gaps in such has strategic heavy lift, and they have helped us during this period with no MPA. And I don’t think brexit will dent those close military relationships with the EU. 👍


RAF should have sent the Union Flag emblazoned Brexit (VIP) voyager…..


Like the French, loved working aoth them. Ignore the Macron politics! These guys are our best friends in Europe….aside from the cloggies…and maybe the Estonians lol. Cheers all.


Aoth!… I may be Scottish, Harold will love that….with!

John Clark

Well said Airborne, France isn’t ‘Macron’, he certainly isn’t popular there!

We work closely with our French colleagues and friends, people should just ignore the political dick waving!


Spot on John, cheers.

John Pattullo

i often read – how we support frances operations with – tankers, heavy lift, helicopter transports etc etc – do they ever support our operations? cant remember a single such article here -seems kinda one sided


They are our allies though. We’ve benefited from French air cover in Afghanistan, certainly on the recon side


They have provided maritime patrol duties for us when we had no aircraft of our own.


They will likely provide escorts for our CSG and amphibious task group in the coming years which is a good thing, they’re apparently great vessels.
I imagine we may even put a combined task group together with the CdG- their AEW is better than ours.


So far then, for the Mali campaign, the French Forces have made use of our C-17s, our Chinooks and now our Voyagers. The French seem to lack force enablers…?

Levi Goldsteinberg

Correct. The French gutted their logistical capabilities almost totally in order to afford to maintain their front line assets


The concerning thing is the UK forces in Mali under the UN banner have flagged lack of helicopters for the reason they are restricted and yet we have helicopters supporting the French non UN operation. It seems France isn’t the only one lacking platforms.


plenty of Chinnok still in UK…..


That was what I was thinking. So either they are otherwise committed or no polictical will to fully support our troops with the gear they need.


surely its for the UN to request them?


Would agree if it was to support other nations troops, but it is our own that need them.


surely if its under UN command, UN has to request it. It is UN command structure after all


This is perhaps the biggest thing that makes us a global power, despite the headlines about declining MBT numbers and anemic Strike brigades. There are very few nations in the world that have the broad spectrum logistic trail that we have- land, sea, and air. The US , obviously, China is getting there. But not even Russia has the “logistics triad” that we do (as far as I’m aware- I believe they’re lacking in sealift and maybe strategic airlift. They rely on trains internally for moving their ground forces around, obviously that is less possible in an expeditionary situation- giving… Read more »


We have a lot of capability, but it is generally spread pretty thinly and too broadly, so the real question is do we have enough of any capability, to make it useful should the worse occur.

Think of the Falklands, where we had way more ships and yet had to manically had to take commercial ships because we did not have enough sea lift.

We have a great capability, if we are not required to rush into combat, but that is not really realistic outside us invading another country ala Irag/Afgan where we have time to build up forces.


You make a fair point- perhaps only the US has the capacity required. The scary thing is, thin on the ground as our capability may be, it’s still well ahead of most of our allies (and thankfully most of our potential adversaries too).

Daniele Mandelli

Good points well made Joe.

I’m often banging on about enablers myself. Never forget the enablers!

RLC, Engineers, Signals, RFA, RAF AT/AAR and SHF, the Varied RAF ground units ( including the RAF Reg!!! ) PJOBs abroad, intelligence sites abroad, all vital.

Our rail capability has been eroded too far and we lack HET for ground forces, mind.

Without supports, who cares how many Tanks Fast Jets and Frigates we have.


And again spot on mate. Enablers, the clue is in the name, they enable the 40% who are combat arms to go into combat. Without these assets, people and skills, any operation is a short term, fingers crossed, hope shit doesn’t go south to quick, type of bluff. Far to many people and politicians count the numbers, not the capability. I may think I’m the baddest dude in town, big tash, airborne tattoos, smoking a cigar, big fuck off weapons, but without the less glam, more mundane but equally dangerous supply people I become not an asset, but a liabilty.… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

You sensibly ignored my bait concerning your fav fighting force from the RAF!!


Don’t worry I forwarded it on to my son in law……he is currently pretending to be a soldier and guarding a gate somewhere 😂

Ryan Brewis

What’s our land movement capability? Limited getting to minimal presumably. What’s the sealift? Four RoRo, a few LPD, Albion/Bulwark. Airlift? Half a dozen or so C-17s and eventually an equal number of A400 and C-130 though still less than two dozen each. If we have the strongest broad spectrum logistics and transport force in Europe then something has to change.

Barry Larking

The last thing our unfriendly ‘friends’ wish to see is co-operation and sharing expertise. More of this.


Many here have Stockholm syndrome and suck up to the French who at every chance whether it’s defence industry matters trade or politics also showed the Brits the middle finger . Even blocking Britain European community membership before Britain joined . It was rather Germany that was more of a reliable partner to Britain than France . If you respect France for their military power that this days is stronger than the UK then fk so but do not claim they are our best friends In Europe . Never were and never will be .

Last edited 2 months ago by James