Start of the Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jet E from the French Air Force (Armée de l'Air) "Patrouille de France"
(also known as the "Patrouille Acrobatique de France" or PAF) at the RIAT 2019, RAF Fairford (United Kingdom)
France's national aerobatic team, the Patrouille de France, displays a formation of eight Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jet E trainers.
Based at Salon de Provence, the team celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2018. It started out on the Republic F-84G Thunderjet, followed by the Dassault Ouragan and Mystère IV, and then the Fouga CM.170 Magister. During its time flying the distinctive butterfly-tailed Magister trainer, the Patrouille appeared at the first ever Air Tattoo at North Weald in 1971. Conversion to the Franco-German Alpha Jet occurred a decade later, and ever since then the type has proved a popular mount.
The Patrouille Acrobatique de France, also known as the "Patrouille de France" or PAF, is the precision aerobatic demonstration unit of the French Air Force (Armée de l'Air), officially commissioned in 1953. Using the French Aerial Aerobatics unit of the French Air Force, the mission is to represent the French Air Force, and lead the ambassadorship role of French Aeronautics overseas. The Alpha Jet became the steel spear of the "Patrouille de France" in 1981 with 7 equipment. This number was increased to eight as of 1982. Each aircraft is painted blue-white-red, with the gun placement replaced with a smoke generator. Search lights are installed on the aircraft nose, and the viewfinder has been removed to improve visibility.
The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) is the world's largest military air show, held annually over the third weekend in July,
usually at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England in support of The Royal Air Force Charitable Trust.
The show typically attracts a total of 150.000 to 160.000 spectators over the weekend.