Royal Air Force and Armée de l’Air have worked together on a joint Quick Reaction Alert exercise.

The RAF say that Exercise Sheihan River is designed to test the resilience of UK and French air defence. In the counter-terrorist scenario a renegade aircraft was first intercepted in French controlled airspace by Mirage 2000C fighter jets.

As the aircraft converged on UK controlled airspace the bi-lateral agreement with the France was invoked and close cooperation between the Control Reporting Centres of both nations ensured a seamless transition between the AdlA and RAF Typhoon fighter pilots, say the RAF.

“Whilst the exercise is routine, this was the first occasion an intercepting French aircraft had refuelled from a RAF Voyager air-air refuelling tanker.

Interoperability with key allies is vital for our operations and this exercise is the latest example of the close cooperation which exists between both Air Forces. Each remains heavily engaged the fight against violent extremist organisations and continue to operate alongside each other on operations in the Middle East and Mali.”

french aircraft refuelling from RAF voyager air to air tanker

An RAF spokesman said:

“RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft monitor aircraft as they approach the UK area of interest.”

The UK’s Quick Reaction Alert team, which are ready to take off within minutes at any time, have also been sent up in recent months to intercept Russian bombers probing British airspace.

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Nick Bowman

Were the QRA crews briefed on the exercise before it occurred, or was it a test of their responsiveness to a seemingly live threat?


Vive l’entente cordiale!

David Steeper

Geoff have you read about the Galileo project ? Apparently the French are trying to have us blocked from participation for ‘security reasons’ Not very ‘entente cordiale’ Hopefully the countries we aren’t ‘cordiale’ with have told them where to shove their plan.

Bill Edmead

Nick, these exercises are planned months ahead! We have enough ‘live’ QRA’s with the russkies around!


Wow they still use Mirage 2000s for QRA. I assume they are replacing them at some point!


So while the French apparently want to co-operate with the RAF and other UK Forces in mutual defence they happily support (or should that be drive) the EU policy expressed in a letter to the PM this week of eliminating UK technology firms from taking further part in the ‘Galileo’ satellite project post Brexit. A Project that has had a bigger share of UK technology than anyone else to date because of its excellence. Of course France being the direct beneficiary of the UK being excluded is totally unconnected of course. While it is apparently unacceptable for the UK post… Read more »

David Steeper

Sorry Chris read your remarks after replying to Geoff.


David – Many of us share rather jaundiced views on the French, their attitudes and lack of trustworthiness in business let alone in battle. Its a personal opinion only but I believe we should distance ourselves from anything to do militarily with the EU and its member states. They are on a very different political path to us and we must make our own successes from our own abilities. Which are considerable.


Same as any country Chris, on the one hand you have the military who would want to co-operate as it makes sense and they get more kit than otherwise they would do if a shared program brings home the goodies – eurofighter being a case in point, it is very good.

On the other hand you have the politicians. Nuff said.

David Steeper

Agree dadsarmy Chris could say the same about US with just as much evidence. We need to stop being pushovers when it comes to multi – national defence programmes.


Has happened at least once for real last year, escorting a couple of Bears, handover from Norway to the UK, then to France as they headed down to the Bay of Biscay and back the same way. I guess they forgot their sun lotion.