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|French Customs Service|
The French customs service is officially known as the Directorate-General of Customs and Indirect Taxes (Direction générale des douanes et droits indirects, DGDDI), but more informally called the Douanes Françaises. A French Customs Service was first formally established in 1791, and survived the revolutionary period due to the need to maintain government income. Prior to WW2 it included a para-military section that acted in tarrif enforcement and border guard roles, but this was disbanded under the Vichy government in 1940. After WW2 the Customs Service was modernised and a single helicopter was leased on a short term basis in 1950. The trial ended the same year with a fatal accident. Ten years later, the service borrowed an Alouette II from the Navy for more trials, which were much more successful. Two Alouette IIs were delivered in 1962, and a Customs Helicopters Group established in 1963.
The helicopter force expanded gradually, and fixed-wing aircraft were added in 1969. In 1985 the extension of territorial waters to 200 nm demanded additional fixed wing aircraft. In 1987 a detachment was established on the Carribbean island of Martinique, and marine pollution monitoring began. In 2000 a fleet rationalisation took place, during which a number of aircraft were retired.
|1791||French Customs Service first established.|
|1950||First helicopter leased – Hiller 360.|
|1962||First full-time helicopters delivered.|
|1969||First fixed-wing aircraft delivered.|
|1985||Additional maritime patrol duties assigned.|
|2000||Fleet rationalisation carried out.|
The DF aircraft are used for air-ground monitoring, pollution patrol and maritime policing.
No plans known.
Douanes aircraft operate in an overall white colour scheme with a red and blue fuselage cheatline. No national insignia are carried except for the national flag as a fin flash. The service title DOUANES FRANCAISES is carried on the fuselage sides.
Aircraft Serial Numbers
Douanes aircraft and helicopters carry civil registrations in the F-ZBGx and F-ZBLx ranges, eg: Cessna F406 F-ZBGA. Earlier registrations are reused as older types are withdrawn.
Coding system not used
None – Manufacturers designations used
Current Aircraft Inventory
All-Time Aircraft Used List
Aircraft NOT Used
False reports of aircraft on order or in service – none known.
Douanes Francaises, 11, Rue des Deux Communes, Montreuil, Seine-Saint-Denis, France.
The aviation branch is the Section Aerienne. The aviation units are grouped into two directorates: Surveillance Aeromaritime (Maritime Air Surveillance) and Surveillance Aeroterrestre (Land Air Surveillance). The former is divided into Mediterranean, Atlantic and English Channel divisions. In addition there is an overseas unit in Martinique.
Current Unit Assignments
Historical Unit Assignments
All-Time Flying Units List
Groupement Douanier d’Hélicoptères
Section Aerienne Mediterranee
Section Aerienne Atlantique
Section Aerienne Normandie/Manche
Section Aerienne Le Bourget
Section Aerienne Toulouse
Section Aerienne Martinique
Brigade de Surveillance Aeromaritime Hyeres Avion
Brigade de Surveillance Aeromaritime Hyeres Helicoptere
Brigade de Surveillance Aeromaritime Merignac
Brigade de Surveillance Aeromaritime Lorient
Brigade de Surveillance Aeromaritime Le Havre
Brigade de Surveillance Aeroterrestre Dugny Le Bourget
Brigade de Surveillance Aeromaritime Le Lamentin
Current Air Bases
See organisation table above.
All-Time Air Bases Used List
Section Aeriennes at Dijon and Pau were closed in 2006.
French Aviation Bibliography – to be added
World Air Power Journal No.10 p.157