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PCTAM at Reims and Mourmelon

Présentation Commune Terre Air Marine (PCTAM) 2008
Each year, the French Air Force (Armee de l'Air) organizes a demonstration of it's concepts in an exhibition. The aim of this exhibition is to demonstrate the capabilities of the French Air Force. For CFAP (Commandement de la Force Aérienne de Projection or Transport Command) and for CFAC (Commandement de la Force Aérienne de Combat or Fighter Command). The exhibition was known as the "Enseignements Militaire Superieure" (EMS) when it began 18 years ago. In these early days, EMS was a 2 day event starting with a show of the transport aircraft at Base Aerienne Orleans. The second day demonstrated some live bombing by fighter aircraft at Base Aerienne Cazaux. Due to budget cuts, the 2 day event was decreased to a 1 day event for the last 7 years. The aim of EMS was to demonstrate the concepts of the Armee de l'Air to the audience students from all military academies in France and invited military attaché's from foreign embassies in Paris.
In 2007 the Air Force exercise was combined with a similar Army (Armee de Terre) exercise.
In 2008 the Air Force and Army demonstration was incremented by the Navy (Marine). During the morning the Base Aerienne Reims (BA 112) was the location of a large static show. Both Air Force, Army and Navy units showed their weapons and concepts on the ground. Each section (fighter, transport, Air-to-Ground etc) had a theme location, and the visitors were guided through the themes.

Mourmelon dynamic show
During the afternoon all visitors went to the dynamic show at the nearby 'Camp de Mourmelon' Army range. Mourmelon is used for Army exercises, dating back to the days of Napoleon III. At the Mourmelon range the visitors were shown a variety on integrated Air Force, Army and Navy demonstrations. Like air attacks by fighter aircraft, parachutists and cargo dropping by transport aircraft, and SAR mission by 2 Caracal helicopters. The French Army demonstrated the deployment of various tanks and assault vehicles, while the Tigre helicopter would fly overhead for tank suppression. Recent additions to the demonstrations were the anti-terrorism demos and the demos regarding the natural disasters. Main goal of the dynamic show was to demonstrate the improving cooperation and interoperability between the French Air Force and Army, as both services work together in foreign countries for the United Nations and the NATO.

The fighter aircraft that participated during the dynamic show, flew their missions from the St Dizier airbase. Besides all regular aircraft and helicopters from the French Air Force, Army and Navy (Mirage 2000, Mirage F-1, Rafale, Fennec, Caracal, Tigre, Super Etendard), there were also a number of foreign aircraft, to demonstrate the European cooperation. German Tornados participated together with Belgium F-16s and Swiss F/A-18s and British Typhoons above the Mourmelon range, in various roles like SAM suppression and fighter patrol.

The second part of the PCTAM will take place in the Navy town of Toulon, in February 2009.

All photo's:
G.J.A. van Boven
H.P.A.M van Eupen
© Sentry Aviation News

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