French air defense radar systems

The French air defence organization is integrated in the military Armée de l’Air (ALA), the French Air Force.The defence of the French national airspace has always been based on 2 main aspects.

1st aspect: the peacetime security of the French airspace.

This assignment is executed according to the fixed conditions of the French prime minister collaborating with the ministers of transport, foreign affairs, industrial, postal and communication services, interior management and colonial management.

2nd aspect: the national military air defence consisting of all defensive and counteroffensive measures against eventual aggressors.

In peacetime the air defence and air operations command is developing and evaluating all possible classic assets of air operations in all kinds of theaters. In times of crises or at war the air defence and air operations command is responsible for all offensive and defensive air operations.

The "Commandement de la défense aérienne et des opérations aériennes" (CDAOA) is the air defence and air operations command and it has the following primary missions.
* to decelerate and to evaluate any possible threats for the country by controlling the French and surrounding airspace by radar
* to present an actual airpicture on a 24/7 basis to all civilian and military authorities on which strategic decisions may be made
* to secure the airsuperiority in the national airspace at all times
* to prevent or to stop the use of the national airspace by any kind of aggressor
* to alert all civilian and military authorities in case of surprise air attacks

CDAOA secondary, peacetime, missions are.
* to command and control all military air traffic in coöperation with the civil air traffic under authority of the minister of transport
* to command and control all search and rescue operations in case of civilian or military air accidents

In case of need the main CDAOA functions will always be guaranteed on all theaters by the activation of air, ground or sea mobile detection units of all French armed forces. These units may be deployed at any time to support the fixed operational systems.

ystem elements

*STRIDA. The CDAOA, the CCOA, the CDC’s and the UDA are all equipped with the STRIDA air defence system; STRIDA stands for "Système de Traitement et de Représentation des Informations de Défense Aérienne", it is the radar detecting, handling, information air defence system which allows the operators to detect, to visualize and to handle with certain threats in the airspace and to communicate with the other units in the chain of command.

*PALMIER. All CDC’s receive the information about the actual air picture by means of "3 dimensional and 2 dimensional PALMIER radars" working in 23 cm wavelength. The air picture will always be completed by the radar inputs of the other CDC’s, of foreign allied NATO CRC’s and of the E-3F and E-2C planes.

*VISU- IV/ -V. The CDC’s and UDA are equipped with VISU consoles. A number of "computerized workspaces" manned by military controllers. The consoles may be operated in the control or surveillance modes. The operators are being supervised by their shiftleader, the senior controller in charge.

*METEOR and ETEC. These systems are the primary means of "radio and datalink communication". The telephone and radio transmissions may also be sent via other specific sources in the defence network such as Socrate or MTBA and eventually via the installations of France Télécom.

Air defence chain of command

The operational air defence chain of command consist of 3 main parts.

*The Centre de Conduite des Opérations Aériennes (CCOA), the air operations command and control center where the overall air picture is generated and evaluated, is responsible for all air operations and for the security of the French airspace. This military authority is directly under the French president Mr. Sarkozy.

The CCOA, is located in an underground facility on Taverny Air Base ("Base aérienne 921 ‘Frères Mahe’") near the town of Taverny. In radiotraffic it uses the tactical callsign (tacticall) “Veilleur’

*The Centres de Détection et de Contrôle (CDC), the control & reporting centers are placed in the commandstructure of the Commandement Air des Systèmes de Surveillance, d’Information et de Communications (CASSIC) and are the subordinating units to the CDAOA.

There are 5 fully operational CDC’s in the new ALA structure. These command & reporting centers are
* "CDC 05.901 Drachenbronn" located on Drachenbronn Air Base ("Base aérienne 901 ‘Capitaine de Laubier"') at the town of Birlenbach with the tacticall “Riesling radar”.
* "CDC 05.942 Lyon/Mont Verdun" located on Lyon - Mont Verdun Air Base ("Base aérienne 942 ‘Capitaine Robert’") at the city of Lyon with the tacticall “Rambert radar”.
* "CDC 05.943 Nice/Mont Agel" located on Nice Air Base ("Base aérienne 943 ‘Capitaine Auber’") at the town of Roquebrune-Cap Martin with the tacticall “Rhodia radar”.
* "CDC 04.930 Mont-de-Marsan" located on Mont-de-Marsan Air Base ("Base aérienne 118 ‘Colonel Rozanoff’") north of Mont-de-Marsan city with the tacticall “Marina radar”.
* "CDC 07.927 Cinq-Mars la Pile" is an air detachment of Tours - Saint-Symphorien Air Base ("Base aérienne 705 ‘Commandants Tulasne’") at Tours with the tacticall “Raki radar”.

The former CDC 05.902 located on airbase 902 at Contrexéville and the former CDC located on air detachement 922 at Doullens have been deactivated and transformed into radiocommunications and satellite control stations. Although their infrastructure is still present and conserved the radarstations are not operational anymore.

*The Unité de détection aéroportée (UDA), the French airborne early warning (AWACS) unit located on airbase 702 ‘Cne Georges Madon’ near the town of Avord with the unit tacticall "Cyrano". This airborne early warning unit, has been created in 1989 on the Avord airbase and consists of

"36th Escadre de détection aéroportée" (36 EDA), becoming operational in 1990 and equipped with 4 E-3F AWACS planes during 1990-1992.

"Escadron de détection aéroportée" (EDA 01.036) "Berry" and "EDA 02.036 Nivernais" are the 2 operational E-3F squadrons

"Escadron de préparation des missions et simulation"(ESMT 10.036) and "Escadron de soutien technique spécialisé"(ESTS 15.036), the mission supporting and the technical maintenance squadrons.

ee also

*Austrian air defense
*Swiss air defense


* [ Armee de l’air official website]
* [ French website information about BA901 Drachenbron]
* ['air/Commandement%20de%20la%20d%C3%A9fense%20a%C3%A9rienne%20.htm Explanation of the air defense system]
* [ ANTAC historical website]

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