French Naval Aviation in Dakar

February 27, 2019 (Google Translation) – At Senghor Military Air Station, a Falcon 50M, a legendary business aviation model adapted for maritime surveillance and rescue, is deployed. It is part of the Detachment of Naval Aeronautics (DETAERO) integrated with French elements in Senegal (EFS). Belonging to the 24F flotilla of the naval aviation base (BAN) Lann-Bihoué, this detachment is under the operational control of the commander of the Atlantic Maritime Zone (CECLANT). The 24F flotilla is composed of 12 crews spread over 8 Falcon 50M, one of which is permanently present in Dakar to keep the SAR (Search and Rescue) alert in West Africa.

The crew of a Falcon 50M consists of five members, including a pilot, a skipper, a radio operator, a radar operator and an observer, and two technicians who maintain and repair the aircraft. They are deployed in Senegal for one month before being relieved by a new team.

Three EFS soldiers, located at the Geille Ward command post, are working closely with DETAERO to organize and coordinate their various missions in the region. This permanent team which constitutes the office of the “J3 Air-Mer” is in constant liaison with CECLANT. She is in charge of the maintenance of the alert, the planning of the trainings as well as the missions of surveillance.

The DETAERO of Dakar has for first mission to ensure a permanent alert of SAR within the framework of a protocol between France and Senegal which dates from 1966. It can thus take off to any alert, in case of accident aeronautics, but also to rescue a ship in distress.

This detachment is also part of the collective security and peacekeeping system in the region and, as such, participates in numerous missions in cooperation with West African countries. The DETAERO carries out missions of surveillance of the fisheries, fight against the maritime pollutions, against the illicit traffics (narcotics, contraband …), and against the piracy or brigandage. Finally, the DETAERO also takes part in training missions within the framework of the Operational Instruction Detachments (DIO).

The Falcon 50M ships for its rescue missions with up to six lifeboats that give it a total rescue capacity of more than a hundred people. These are dropped from a hatch located under the plane. “We have to fly at only 30 meters high, take into account the wind and be very precise in the piloting to successfully dump this equipment to the shipwrecked” testified the pilot.

The device is also equipped with a Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) camera for night detection at several hundred feet in height. To communicate, the device is equipped with a satellite link system (AVIASAT) and a set HF-V / UHF. This equipment ensures a constant connection with the authorities on land. It is also equipped with an IFF decoder, an AIS receiver and a data sharing system called SPATIONAV.

The Falcon 50 was transformed in the early 2000s for the needs of the Navy to be deployed on our different EEZs (Exclusive Economic Zones) to ensure the maritime defense of the territory, and the action of the State at sea.

Created on August 1st, 2011, by the treaty signed between France and Senegal, the 350 French elements in Senegal (EFS) constitute, in Dakar, a “POC” with regional vocation, whose main missions consist to ensure the defense and security of French interests and nationals, support our operational deployments in the region and contribute to regional operational cooperation. EFS also has the capacity to host, support or even command a planned joint force.