French Rafales visit Reunion


Two French Air Force Rafale fighters have visited Reunion as part of a force projection exercise, along with an MRTT tanker.

The two Rafale F3Rs arrived in Reunion on 5 January and departed several days later, heading for Djibouti. They were accompanied by an Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT).

The French ministry of defence said the deployment is from 5 January to 3 February and covers Reunion, Djibouti, and Egypt.

In the first stage of the ‘Shikra’ mission, Reunion hosted the two Rafales from the 4th Fighter Wing and an A330 MRTT from the 31st Refuelling and Strategic Transport Wing. They flew 9 000 km over 12 hours from France to get to Reunion, illustrating France’s long-range power projection.

The French ministry of defence said at short notice the military can deploy forces to the southern Indian Ocean and Reunion, whether to respond to a health crisis, a natural disaster or to participate in the protection of French territory.

Rafales have visited Reunion before, notably in January 2019 when they were also accompanied by an MRTT.