Air fighting forces are among the oldest forces of military aviation. As early as 1907, the pioneer of aviation, Clément ADER, made the following statement :
"He who shall be master of the sky shall be master of the world"
The first time these forces were seen in the skies of Europe was during the First World War, barely a few years after the maiden engine-driven flight of a machine heavier than air. This new arm made terrific progress such that in a period of five years some aircraft models had been manufactured in over 1000 copies. That was the time when footsoldiers, from mud-filled trenches, used to watch these modern sky knights clash in unique style sometimes characterized by swift acrobatic feats. All flying machines were placed under the authority of the army, from which, of course, those who piloted them were drawn.
Created in July 1934, the air force inherited and perpetuated the glorious traditions of the illustrious fighter pilots of the First World War.
During the Second World War, the fighter command played a vital role. Some air battles witnessed swarms of opposing aircrafts engage in face-to-face confrontations, as was the case in 1940, during the Battle of France, and later on during that of England, in which the latter owed its salvation mainly to the heroism of young fighter pilots, 415 of whom lost their life in the operations...All through the war, and right up to 1945, Free French airmen, such as the "As" of "Normandy-Niemen" and of the "609", left their own footprints on the golden sands of French military history.
Air Fighting Force, once more in the foreground
The fighter command was obviously less conspicuous during the Indochina and Algerian wars, with the air force more concerned with fire support and transport missions. But the fighter command bounced back to the foreground during new conflicts in which France had to engage troops within the framework of overseas operations (OPEX). In this regard, the OPEX worth mentioning amongst others include those carried out in Mauritania , Chad , the Persian Gulf , countries of former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan .
Nowadays, the Air Fighting Force (FAC) has become a warring means, which plays both an offensive and a defensive role and capable of accomplishing, notably with the use of pre-positioned aircrafts both on the national territory and on various friendly territories, air missions on all the continents, like disabling enemy air forces and striking maritime and land-based strategic targets. FAC has a fleet of over 250 fighter aircrafts, operated by about 5000 people divided into about a dozen squadrons equipped with Mirage and Rafale planes.
Mirage 2000 C
Like a bird of prey, the characteristics of the air units of the Air Fighting Force are swiftness in action, force and tenacity. The FAC motto is: