National Markings
French Army Aviation

This section describes and illustrates the various national insignia used by the French Army since its formation:




Main MarkingFin Flash

1953-present
The main marking is displayed in 6 positions (ie above and below each wing, and on each side of the fuselage) on aircraft – but on fuselage sides only on helicopters. The fin flash is nowadays rarely carried by frontline types, but on second-line types is usually displayed in the form of rudder stripes. Army aircraft also usually carry the title armee de TERRE on the fuselage sides.

French Army Aviation

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

From 1943 several observation units had been formed with American assistance within the Free French Air Force, for artillery spotting using light aircraft. At the end of the war, these units were greatly reduced in numbers. The war in Indochina showed once again the importance of these units and in March 1953 a degree of autonomy within the Air Force was achieved with the creation of the Aviation Legere d’Observation d’Artillerie (ALOA). On 22 November 1954 these units became a wholly Army-maintained force called the Aviation Legere de L’Armee de Terre (ALAT). It’s main roles are reconnaissance, attack and transport.

Key Dates

1943    Artillery observation units formed in FFAF.
3 March 1953    Aviation Legere d’Observation d’Artillerie created within AdlA
1953    First helicopters received – Bell 47D
22 November 1954    French Army air arm officially established

Current Status

The ALAT aircraft and helicopters are fully operational.

Future Plans

No plan known.

Markings

National Markings

Current — Historical

Aircraft Serial Numbers

French Army aircraft carry French military serial numbers which are usually based on the manufacturers construction number for the airframe concerned, e.g. SA.330B Puma 1062. In addition, each aircraft carries a 3-letter code, e.g. AZE for the same Puma, which corresponds to it’s radio callsign – with letters in the range F-MAAA to F-MIZZ.

Unit/Base Codes

The radio callsigns carried by ALAT aircraft and helicopters were originally allocated in blocks to specific units, but in 2009 the ALAT started to switch over to allocating the blocks to specific aircraft types. Thus the unit can no longer be inferred from the callsign displayed.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

False reports of aircraft on order or in service

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Commandement de l’ALAT, 78129 Villacoublay-Air.

Organisational Structure

The basic unit of ALAT is the Regiment d’Helicopteres de Combat (RHC). Each of which comprises:
One Escadrille de Commandement et des Services (ECS – HQ Squadron)
One Escadrille de Soutien et de Ravitaillement (ESR – Supply and Provision Squadron)
One Escadrille d’Helicopteres de Reconnaissance (EHR – Recce Squadron)
One or two Escadrille d’Helicopteres d’Appui Protection (EHAP – Strike Helicopter Squadron)
Three Escadrille d’Helicopteres d’Attaque (EHA – Attack Helicopter Squadron)
One Escadrille d’Helicopteres de Manoeuvre (EHM – Assault Transport and Heavy Lift Squadron)

Regional liaison squadrons are designated Groupe d’Helicopteres Legers (GHL)

Current Order of Battle

Table of Current Order of Battle

Historical Orders of Battle

Historical Order of Battle for 2008

All-Time Flying Units List

List of Flying Units

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

See Order of Battle listing.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

In addition to the main bases there are also a number of smaller airports and airfields around the country which are sometimes used by the Army.
Military Air Bases Listing – to be added.

More Information

Books

French Military Aviation by Paul A. Jackson (Midland Counties, 1979)
European Air Forces Directory 2012/13 (Mach III)

Magazines

World Air Power Journal No.10 p.152
Air Forces Research Nos.10, 11 & 12

Websites

Official Homepage of the French Army

wikipedia: French_Army

Air-Britain: French Army photos

Airliners.net

Any further photographs illustrating this air arm would be welcome.

All-Time Aircraft Used List
French Army Aviation

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Aerospatiale SA 330 Puma 6 1965 19?? France
Aerospatiale SA 330B Puma 130 1969 current France
Aerospatiale SA 340 Gazelle 2 1967 19?? France
Aerospatiale SA 341 Gazelle 3 1968 19?? France
Aerospatiale SA 341F1/F2 Gazelle 166 1973 current France
Aerospatiale SA 342L1 Gazelle 30 1986 current France
Aerospatiale SA 342M1/M2 Gazelle 160 1980 current France
Aerospatiale SA 361HCL Dauphin 1 1990 1990 France
Aerospatiale SA 365 Dauphin 2 1 19?? 2003 France
Aerospatiale AS 532UL Cougar 24 1989 current France
Aerospatiale AS 532UL Cougar Horizon 4 19?? 2008 France
Aerospatiale AS 555UN Fennec 18 1992 current France
Agusta-Bell AB.47G-2 Sioux 53 1954 1986 Italy
Bell 47D 3 1952 19?? USA
Bell 47G 43 1954 19?? USA
Canadair CL-289 54 ? current Canada
Cessna L-19 Bird Dog 147 1952 1991 USA/US Army
Cessna F406 Caravan II 2 1987 2006 France
Eurocopter EC120 Colibri 36 2008 current France
Eurocopter EC665 Tigre 4 1991 current Germany
Eurocopter EC665 Tigre HAD 40 # 2014 current Germany
Eurocopter EC665 Tigre HAP 40 2005 current Germany
Eurocopter EC725 Caracal 8 2005 current France
Grumman OV-1B Mohawk 2 1963 1963 USA
Hiller 360/UH-12 8 1953 19?? USA
Max Holste MH.1521M Broussard 30 1956 1993 France
Mignet HM-1000 Balerit 24 1994? current? France
Morane-Saulnier MS.500 Criquet 40 1944 1960+ France
Morane-Saulnier MS.760 Paris ? 1958 1998 France
NHI NH90TTH Caiman 68* 2011 current France
Nord N.C.853SA 1 1950 19?? France
Nord N.C.854SA 2 1950 19?? France
Nord N.C.856A Norvigie 112 1953 1964 France
Nord 1001 Pingouin I ? 1959 1963 France
Nord 1002 Pingouin II ? 19?? 19?? France
Nord 1101 Ramier I ? 1949 1986 France
Nord 1102 Ramier II ? 1949 1986 France
Nord 3200 1 1954 19?? France
Nord 3201 1 1954 19?? France
Nord 3202 100 1959 1978 France
Nord 3400 Norbarbe 152 1959 1983 France
Pilatus PC-6/B2 Turbo Porter 5 1993 current France
Piper L-18C Super Cub 244 1951 1970 US Army
Piper L-21B Super Cub 12 1952 1971 US Army
Piper L-21BM Super Cub 54 1956 1971 US Army
Piper PA-22-150 TriPacer 16 1957 1974 USA
SAGEM Crecerelle 18 ? current France
SAGEM Sperwer 12 ? current France
Sikorsky H-19 28 1954 1971 USA
SOCATA TBM 700 12 1995 current France/AdlA
Stampe et Vertongen SV-4 30 1953 1960 France
Sud Aviation SE 3130 Alouette II 160 1955 2000 France
Sud Aviation SA 318C Alouette II 55 1966 1987 France
Sud Aviation SE 3160 Alouette III 48 1963 1999 France
Sud Aviation SA 316B Alouette III 65 19?? 1988 France
Sud Aviation SA 319B Alouette III 22 19?? 1995 France
Sud Ouest SO 1221 Djinn 60 1955 1967? France
Vertol CH-21C Shawnee 98 1957 1969 USA
Zenith Baroudeur 4 1983 1984 France

* = on order
# = on delivery

Additional information is welcome

Aircraft Not Used

by the French Army

This page gives details of some of the aircraft types that were offered or promised to the French Army but not delivered, cancelled official orders, and types have been falsely reported as being in service.

Aerospatiale AS.365F Dauphin 2
Eleven reportedly in use, but actually with the Aeronavale.

De Havilland HC-6 Twin Otter
Eight reportedly in use, but actually with the Air Force.

Sikorsky H-34
Numerous sources mention in vague terms the use of the H-34 by the ALAT, but there seems to be much confusion with the H-34s used by the Air Force (Armee de l’Air), especially in the Algerian War. In fact, none were actually used by the ALAT.

Stinson L-1 Voyager
Some reportedly used by ALAT, but none recorded. Some may have served with the Free French Air Force, but not the Army.

All-Time Units Listing

of the French Army

This page lists all the aviation units of the French Army, since its formation.

Commands
Commandement ALAT – COMALAT
Commmandement d’Aviation Legere de Corps d’Armee
COMALCA 1
COMALCA 2

Groups
Groupe d’Aviation Legere de Corps d’Armee:
GALCA 1
GALCA 2
Groupe d’Aviation Legere de Division:
1 GALDiv
3 GALDiv
4 GALDiv
7 GALDiv
8 GALDiv
11 GALDiv
Groupe d’Aviation Legere de Regional:
1 GALReg
2 GALReg
3 GALReg
4 GALReg
6 GALReg
8 GALReg
9 GALReg
Groupement ALAT 103
Groupement ALAT 104
Groupe d’Helicopteres Legers:
1 GHL
2 GHL
3 GHL
4 GHL
5 GHL
11 GHL
GHL Phalsbourg
GHL Freidrichshafen
Group Interarmees d’Helicopteres

Regiments
Regiment d’Helicopteres de Combat
1 RHC
2 RHC
3 RHC
4 RHC
5 RHC
6 RHC
11 RHC
4 RHFS

Brigades
4eme Brigade Aeromobile

Battalions
Battalion d’Helicopteres de Maneouvre et d’Assaut – BHMA
Battalion d’Helicopteres de Reconnaissance et d’Attaque – BHRA

Escadrilles
1 EHL/GLACA 1
1 EHL/GALCA 2
2 EHAC/GALCA 1
2 EHAC/GALCA 2
3 EHM/GALCA 1
3 EHM/GALCA 2
4 EHM/GALCA 1
4 EHM/GALCA 2
EA/1 GALReg
EA/2 GALReg
EA/3 GALReg
EA/4 GALReg
EA/6 GALReg
EA/8 GALReg
EA/9 GALReg
EH/1 GALReg
? EH/1 GHL
? EH/1 GHL
? EH/2 GHL
? EH/2 GHL
? EH/3 GHL
? EH/3 GHL
? EH/4 GHL
? EH/4 GHL
? EH/5 GHL
? EH/5 GHL
? EH/11 GHL
? EH/11 GHL

EHL/1 GALReg
EHL/2 GALReg
EHL/3 GALReg
EHL/4 GALReg
EHL/6 GALReg
EHL/8 GALReg
EHL/9 GALReg

1 EHL/1 RHC
2 EHL/1 RHC
1 EHL/2 RHC
2 EHL/2 RHC
1 EHL/3 RHC
2 EHL/3 RHC
1 EHL/4 RHC
2 EHL/4 RHC
1 EHL/6 RHC
2 EHL/6 RHC
1 EHL/5 RHC
2 EHL/5 RHC

EHA/6 RHC
1 EHAC/1 RHC
2 EHAC/1 RHC
3 EHAC/1 RHC
1 EHAC/2 RHC
2 EHAC/2 RHC
3 EHAC/2 RHC
1 EHAC/3 RHC
2 EHAC/3 RHC
3 EHAC/3 RHC
1 EHAC/4 RHC
2 EHAC/4 RHC
3 EHAC/4 RHC
1 EHAC/6 RHC
2 EHAC/6 RHC
3 EHAC/6 RHC
1 EHAC/5 RHC
2 EHAC/5 RHC
3 EHAC/5 RHC

EHAP/1 RHC
EHAP/5 RHC
1 EHAP/3 RHC
2 EHAP/3 RHC
1 EHAP/6 RHC
2 EHAP/6 RHC
1 EHAP/5 RHC
2 EHAP/5 RHC

? EHL/GHL Phalsbourg
? EHL/GHL Phalsbourg
? EHL/GHL Phalsbourg
? EHL/GHL Freidrichshafen
EHLE-1/EAALAT
EHLE-2/EAALAT
EHLA-3/EAALAT
EHM-6/EAALAT

1 EHM/1 RHC
2 EHM/1 RHC
3 EHM/1 RHC
4 EHM/1 RHC
1 EHM/2 RHC
2 EHM/2 RHC
1 EHM/3 RHC
2 EHM/3 RHC
1 EHM/4 RHC
2 EHM/4 RHC
1 EHM/6 RHC
2 EHM/6 RHC
3 EHM/6 RHC
1 EHM/5 RHC
2 EHM/5 RHC
3 EHM/5 RHC

EHR/1 RHC
EHR/3 RHC
EHR/5 RHC
EHR/6 RHC
EHOR/1 RHC
EHRA/5 RHC

EALAT/17 Alpine Brigade
EALAT/27 Apline Brigade
EALAT/9 Brigade

1 EOS
2 EOS
3 EOS
4 EOS
5 EOS
6 EOS

Pelotons
1 PHL/1 GALDiv
2 PHL/1 GALDiv
1 PHL/3 GALDiv
2 PHL/3 GALDiv
1 PHL/4 GALDiv
2 PHL/4 GALDiv
1 PHL/7 GALDiv
2 PHL/7 GALDiv
1 PHL/8 GALDiv
2 PHL/8 GALDiv
1 PHL/11 GALDiv
2 PHL/11 GALDiv
3 PHAC/1 GALDiv
3 PHAC/3 GALDiv
3 PHAC/4 GALDiv
3 PHAC/7 GALDiv
3 PHAC/8 GALDiv
3 PHAC/11 GALDiv
4 PHM/1 GALDiv
4 PHM/3 GALDiv
4 PHM/4 GALDiv
4 PHM/7 GALDiv
4 PHM/8 GALDiv
4 PHM/11 GALDiv
Peloton Mixte Avions-Helicopteres – PMAH Philipeville
Peloton Avion de ETCM
Peloton Pilatus de ETCM

Overseas Units
Detachement d’Helicopteres Armes TFAI Djibouti
? West Indies
? West Africa
? Central Africa
? Indian Ocean
? New Caledonia
? Polynesia
Department du Materiel de Troupes de Marine Zone d’Outre Mer – DDMTMZOM Dakar
DMTMZOM CHad
DCM
DetALAT Djibouti
DetALAT Tchad
DetALAT Bangui
DatALAT Gabon
SFOR
KFOR

DetachmentsSupport Units
Annexe Establissement Regional du Materiel de Vayres – AERMV
Centre de Formation Interarmee NH90 – CFIA NH90
CISALAT
Direction Central du Materiel

EALAT AEI
EALAT EA ABC
EALAT EAT
EALAT CC FFA

Ecole d’Application – EAALAT
Ecole d’ALAT – EALAT
Ecole de Specialisation – ESALAT
Ecole de Specialisation du Materiel
Ecole Franco-Allemande Tigre – EFA

Escadrille ALAT Ecole d’Application Artillerie – EEAA
Escadrille ALAT Ecole d’Application Academie de Cavalerie – EEAC
Escadrille ALAT Ecole d’Application Infantrie – EEAI
Escadrille ALAT du Commandement Centrale Forces Francais Allemange – ECCFFA
Escadrille Avions de l’Armee de Terre – EAAT
Escadrille de COMALAT
Escadrille de Haute Montagne
Escadrille de Moyens Aeriens – EMA
Escadrille de Transport et de Convoyage du Materiel – ETOM
Escadrille de Convoyage Helicoptere – ETOM
Escadrille Helicoptere de l’Armee de Terre – EHADT

GAM/STAT
GAM/ETAMAT
1 GSALAT/ETAMAT

Groupe de Manoeuvre de l’Ecole D’Application – GM EA
Groupe d’Experimental ALAT
Groupe ALAT Section Technique de l’Armee de Terre – GALSTA

“Helicopter storage base”
Ile Base de Soutien Materiel -IleBSMAT

Current Order of Battle

of the French Army
Unit Escadrille Base Type
  Escadrille du COMALAT Villacoublay SA342M
  Escadrille Avions de Armee de Terre (EAAT) Rennes TBM 700
4e Brigade Aéromobile (Force d’Action Rapide)
1 RHC EHAP Phalsbourg SA 341F Canon
  EHR Phalsbourg SA 341F/SA 342L1
  1 EHA Phalsbourg EC665 Tigre HAD
  1 EHAP Phalsbourg SA 342L1
  2 EHAP Phalsbourg SA 342L1
  1 EHM Phalsbourg SA 330B Puma
  2 EHM Phalsbourg NH90-TTH
  4 EHM Phalsbourg AS 532
  1 EHR Phalsbourg SA 341F
3 RHC 1 EHA Etain SA 342M
  1 EHAP Etain SA 341F Canon, SA 342L1
  2 EHAP Etain SA 341F Canon, SA 342L1
  1 EHM Etain SA 330B Puma
  2 EHM Etain SA 330B Puma
  1 EHR Etain SA 342M
4 RHFS 1 EOS Pau AS 532UL
  2 EOS Pau SA 341F, SA 342L1, SA 342M
  3 EOS Pau EC725
  4 EOS Villacoublay SA 330B Puma
  5 EOS Villacoublay SA 330B Puma
  6 EOS Pau EC665 Tigre
5 RHC 1 EHRA Pau SA 342M
  1 EHAP Pau EC665 Tigre
  2 EHAP Pau EC665 Tigre
  1 EHM Pau SA 330B Puma
  2 EHM Pau SA 330B Puma
  3 EHM Pau AS 532UL
  DAOS Pau SA 330B, AS 532UL, SA 342M
Overseas Units
DetALAT Cameroun   Douala-Aeroport SA 330B, AS 532UL
DetALAT Central African Republic   Bangui-M’Poko SA 330B Puma, SA 342M
DetALAT Djibouti   Ambouli SA 330B Puma, SA 341F
DetALAT Gabon   Libreville SA 330B, AS 532UL
DetALAT Mali   Bamako-Senou NH90-TTH
DetALAT Cap Vert   Dakar-Yoff, Senegal SA 330B Puma
DetALAT Tchad   N’Djamena SA 330B Puma
Ecole de l’ALAT (EALAT)
  HeliDax Dax EC120
Ecole d’Application (EAALAT)
  3 EHLA Le Luc SA 341F/342M Gazelle
  6 EHM Le Luc AS 555UN Fennec, SA 330B Puma
  EFA Le Luc SA 342M, EC665 Tigre
  CFIA NH90 Le Luc NH90-TTH
Ecole de Specialisation du Materiel   Bourges Misc. Helicopters
GAM.STAT   Valence-Chabeuil Misc. Types
GAM.ETAMAT-Versailles   Villacoublay SA 341F
ETCM   Montauban Pilatus PC-6B
AERMV   Dax SA 341F

Historical Order of Battle for 2008

of the French Army
Unit Escadrille Base Type
  Escadrille du COMALAT Les Mureaux SA 341F, SA 342M
  EHADT Les Mureaux SA 341F, SA 342M
  Escadrille Avions de Armee de Terre (EAAT) Rennes TBM 700, Cessna F406 Caravan 2
  Escadrille de Haute Montagne Gap SA 341F, SA 342M
4e Brigade Aéromobile (Force d’Action Rapide)
1 RHC EHAP Phalsbourg SA 341F Canon
  EHR Phalsbourg SA 341F/SA 342L1
  1 EHA Phalsbourg SA 342M
  2 EHA Phalsbourg SA 342M
  1 EHM Phalsbourg SA 330B Puma
  2 EHM Phalsbourg SA 330B Puma
  3 EHM Phalsbourg AS 532
  4 EHM Phalsbourg AS 532
  EHOR Phalsbourg AS 532 Horizon
3 RHC 1 EHA Etain SA 342M
  2 EHA Etain SA 342M
  EHR Etain SA 342M
  1 EHAP Etain SA 342L1
  2 EHAP Etain SA 341F Canon
  1 EHM Etain SA 330B Puma
  2 EHM Etain SA 330B Puma
5 RHC EHR Pau SA 341F, SA 342M
  EHAP Pau SA 342L1/F Canon
  1 EHM Pau SA 330B Puma
  2 EHM Pau SA 330B Puma
  3 EHM Pau SA 330B Puma
  DAOS Pau SA 330B, AS 532UL, SA 342M
6 RHCM 1 EHAP Compiegne SA 341F Canon
  2 EHAP Compiegne SA 342L1
  EHA Compiegne SA 342M
  EHR Compiegne SA 342M
  1 EHM Compiegne SA 330B Puma
Overseas Units
DetALAT Djibouti   Ambouli SA 330B Puma
DetALAT Tchad   N’Djamena SA 330B Puma
DetALAT Bangui   Bangui SA 330B Puma
DetALAT Cameroun   ? SA 330B Puma
DetALAT Cote d’Ivoire   ? SA 330B Puma
DetALAT Gabon   Libreville SA 330B Puma
DetALAT Senegal   Cap Vert SA 330B Puma
SFOR   Ploce, Croatia SA 342 Gazelle, SA330B Puma
KFOR   Kumanovo, Macedonia SA 342 Gazelle, SA 330B Puma
Ecole de Specialisation (ESALAT)
  1 EHLE Dax SA 341F Gazelle
  2 EHLE Dax SA 341F Gazelle
Ecole d’Application (EAALAT)
  3 EHLA Le Luc SA 341F/342M Gazelle
  6 EHM Le Luc AS 555UN Fennec, SA 330B Puma
  ? Le Luc EC665 Tigre
Ecole de Specialisation du Materiel   Bourges Misc. Helicopters
GAM.STAT   Valence-Chabeuil Misc. Types
GAM.ETAMAT-Versailles   Villacoublay SA 341F
ETCM   Montauban Pilatus PC-6B, SA 341F
AERMV   Dax SA 341F

Current Aircraft Inventory
French Army Aviation

Aircraft Type Total Del’d Total Active Still on Order Role
Aerospatiale SA 330B Puma 140 89 0 Transport/Trainer
Aerospatiale SA 341F Gazelle 122 50 0 Recce/Liaison/Trainer
Aerospatiale SA 342L1 Gazelle 30 29 0 Anti-Tank
Aerospatiale SA 342M Gazelle 167 144 0 Anti-Tank
Aerospatiale AS 532UL Cougar 24 23 0 Assault
Aerospatiale AS 555UN Fennec 18 17 0 Trainer/Liaison
Canadair CL-289 54 ? 0 Surveillance UAV
Eurocopter EC120B Colibri 36 35 0 Training
Eurocopter EC665 Tigre HAP 40 40 0 Recce/Liaison
Eurocopter EC665 Tigre HAD 40 6 33 Recce/Anti-Tank
Eurocopter EC725 Caracal 8 8 0 Special Forces Transport
NHI NH90TTH Caiman 10 10 58 Transport/Assault
Pilatus PC-6B Turbo Porter 5 5 0 Logistics
SAGEM Crecerelle 12 12 0 Surveillance UAV
SAGEM Sperwer 18 18 0 Surveillance UAV
SOCATA TBM-700 11 8 0 Liaison