French Naval Aviation
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Naval Aviation

Current Title: Aeronautique Navale
Title in English: French Naval Aviation
Abbreviation: Aeronavale


Narrative Summary:
1910 first Naval officers sent for flying training. 1910 formation of Service Aeronautique. 12 March 1912 creation of Commandement Superieur de l'Aviation Maritime. 1925 Aeronautique Maritime formed, later renamed Aeronautique Navale. 10 May 1940 onwards Naval units operated in tactical role supporting land forces. June 1940 Vichy naval aviation under German control. 1944 French control of naval aviation restored. November 1956 major participant in Suez campaign.
Key Dates:
1910    First French begin flying training
1910    Service Aeronautique established
12 March 1912    Renamed Service de l'Aeronautique de la Marine
1925    Renamed Aeronautique Maritime
19??    Renamed Aeronautique Navale
10 May 1940    Support to land forces in Battle of France
June 1940    Vichy France under German control
1944    French regain control of naval air arm
1955    First helicopters received - Sikorsky H-19
November 1956    Major participant in Suez Campaign
1958    First productio jet aircraft delivered - MS.760 Paris
7 May 1994    Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle launched

Current Status:
To be added

Future Plans:
Introduction of 60 Rafale M (12 two-seaters and 48 single-seaters) from 2001: equipping 12F in 2001, 11F in 2007, 17F in 2010.
Possible procurement of a 4th E-2C.
Replacement of the Lynx by 27 NHI NFH.90 from 2005, and also of the Super Frelon by the TTH version later.
Replacement of Super Etendard by Rafale before 2010.
Order second aircraft carrier in 2005 for delivery in 2012.


National Insignia:
Current --- Historical

Aircraft Serial Numbering System(s):

French Navy aircraft carry French military serial numbers which are usually based on the manufacturers construction number for the airframe concerned. There is thus no overall numbering sequence, but a numbering sequence from 01 or 1 for each individual type. For example, Super Etendard 46 shares the same number as Alize 46.


Aircraft Designation System(s):
None - Manufacturers designations used.

Current Aircraft Inventory:
Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List:
Alphabetical Order --- Chronological Order

Aircraft NOT Used:
False reports of aircraft on order or in service


Main Headquarters:
Service Centrale de l'Aeronautique Navale, 2 Rue Royale, 75800 Paris.

Current Organisational Structure:
The three major components of the Aeronavale are: Service Central de l'Aeronautique Navale (Central Aviation Services), Aviation de Patrouille Maritime (Maritime Air Patrol) and Aviation Embarquee et le Groupe des Porte-Avions (Embarked Aviation). The navy is geographically divided into Atlantic Region (HQ Brest) and Mediterranean Region (HQ Toulon). Frontline units are Flotilles (Squadrons), second line units are Escadrilles de Servitude (Support Flights).

Current Order of Battle:
Table of Current Order of Battle

Historical Orders of Battle:
List of Historical Orders of Battle - to be added.

All-Time Flying Units List:
To be added.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases:
See current order of battle.

All-Time Air Bases Used List:
In addition to the main base, a number of smaller airports and airfields around the country which are sometimes used by the Navy.
Military Air Bases Listing - to be added.

More Information


French Military Aviation Bibliography - to be added.


World Air Power Journal No.10 p.148
Air International March 1997


Official Homepage of the Aeronavale

wikipedia: French Navy
wikipedia: Aviation Navale
wikipedia: Marina Militare

Scramble: French Air Arms

Air-Britain Photos: French Navy

Les Helicopteres de l'Aeronautique Navale

French Fleet Air Arm

AAAN - Amicales des Anciens de l'Aeronautique Navale

Aeroforum Aeronautique Navale

Mer et Marine

Aeronautique Navale



B.A.N. Aspretto

French Wings Over Algeria

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First Created: 12 December 1995 - Last Revised: 18 August 2008
Copyright 1995 John Hayles.    e-mail: