DGA Essais en Vol

Operator Profile

Key Facts

Current Title:
DGA Essais en Vol
English Title:
French National Flight Test Centre
First Established:
ICAO Code:


Narrative Summary

The organisation now known as the DGA Essais en Vol, was formerly called the Centre d’Essais en Vol (CEV). It was first established in 1944 as the national flight test centre for aeronautical weapons and aircraft prior to their use for military or civilian purposes. It operates on similar lines to the RAE (now Qinetiq) in Britain. It’s work includes evaluation and certification of all civil and military government owned aircraft, and developmental testing of new aircraft, weapons and systems. The CEV also includes the EPNER (Ecole du Personnel Navigant d’Essais et de Réception) test pilots school.

Key Dates

1944    CEV first established.
1946    EPNER frist established.
2009    CEV renamed DGA Essais en Vol.

Current Status

DGA Essais en Vol aircraft are used for the testing and development of aircraft, systems and weapons.

Future Plans

No plan known.


Special Markings

Combat aircraft operating with the DGA/CEV normally retained their service markings, often with the addition of areas of orange high-visibility paint. Second line aircraft currently wear an overall white colour scheme with a dark blue fuselage cheatline and areas of orange on the fin and wingtips. An air force-style national roundel appears on the rear fuselage. The titles DGA ESSAIS EN VOL are shown on the fuselage sides. A three-digit fleet number is displayed vertically on the rudder.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

DGA/CEV aircraft carry military serials or French civil registrations in the sequence F-Zxxx, e.g. MS.760 Paris F-ZJNB.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used


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

No false reports known.


Main Headquarters

DGA Essais en Vol, BA 125 Istres-Le Tubé, 13804 – ISTRES CEDEX.

Organisational Structure

The CEV had four main bases:
Bretigny-sur-Orge – prototype testing, aircraft equipment, radar and radios.
Istres/Le Tube – prototypes, helicopters, powerplants, simulators, test pilots school.
Melun-Villaroche – specialism not known.
Cazaux – armament.

Bretigny and Melun and now closed.

Current Unit Assignments

Not applicable

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List


Air Bases

Current Air Bases

All aircraft are now based at Cazaux and Istres.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

The CEV had four main bases: Bretigny-sur-Orge, Istres-Le Tube, Melun-Villaroche and Cazaux.

More Information


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


World Air Power Journal No.10 p.157


wikipedia.fr: DGA Essais en Vol
École du personnel navigant d’essais et de réception
La DGA Essais en Vol, ou le renouveau du célèbre CEV

Any further photographs illustrating this air arm would be welcome.

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