Panic gripped the residents of Paris, France when they saw, what appeared to be a commercial aircraft, Airbus A330, being trailed by a fighter jet. The incident took place on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the US.
The large plane was seen being “shadowed” by a Rafale fighter jet across the sky over Paris on Saturday. The Airbus A330 was heard roaring at a lower altitude, causing panic among the people on the ground.
“It sounded like a blast – we didn’t know whether it had crashed,” BFMTV quoted a resident as saying who noted that the incident took place on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the US. “Of course, we think about that!” the resident exclaimed.
C’est quoi ce délire d’avion de chasse là pic.twitter.com/5RknwDPUyW
— Maahdi hn 🇱🇧 (@MaahdiHn) September 11, 2021
It was later reported that the A330 was a military plane, which was taking part in an exercise with the Rafale jet. Prime Minister Jean Castex and Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly were on board the Airbus plane.
The PM’s office said that the Rafale fighter jet conducted a refueling exercise with the Airbus A330.
“He (the PM) was on the Airbus because of his responsibilities in matters of national defense”, his office stated. Video footage of the incident was shared by local residents on their social media handles. Some also expressed their concern over this, calling it “fighter jet nonsense”.
Yesterday, 911, the French Air Force flew low over Paris to commemorate the day.
But, it wasn't a flight of military jets.
It was a 747 with a single military jet trailing in formation.
People FREAKED OUT!!
Headline: "Maybe Not A Good Idea"https://t.co/OIsvY6qheZ
— Frank Flag (@rightlyaligned) September 12, 2021
BFMTV commented on the incident by saying that “in the end, it was just an exercise. People will take their own view about the timing”.
The military plane was recently involved in the evacuation of civilians from Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan. The two aircraft landed at Vélizy-Villacoublay air base, southwest of Paris, on Saturday afternoon – just as the 9/11 commemorations were being held across the Atlantic, BBC reported.
France introduced the A330 Multi Role Tanker Transports (MRTTs) in 2018, with the goal of progressively replacing older assets with the objective of having a modern, multi-role fleet composed of a single aircraft type, according to Airbus.
“Capable of ‘topping off’ two combat aircraft simultaneously while airborne, the A330 MRTT carries up to 110 metric tonnes of fuel.
When fitted with the “Morphée” patient resuscitation module in its cabin, the French A330 MRTTs offer a unique medical evacuation capacity that was first utilized in 2020 during the transfer of COVID-19 patients,” the aerospace company said.
Rafale Fighter Jet
Developed by French aerospace giant Dassault Aviation, the Rafale is a twin-jet fighter that can operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base.
The fully versatile Rafale can carry out all combat aviation missions: air superiority and air defense, close air support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes, and nuclear deterrence.
As reported by The EurAsian Times, Dassault Aviation has announced the development of an advanced F4 variant of the 4.5-generation fighter aircraft. According to Dassault, “the F4 standard marks a new step coming in the wake of the standards F1 (specific to the first aircraft of the French Navy), F2 (air-to-ground and air-to-air capabilities), F3, and F3R (extended versatility)”.
The F4 is expected to offer additional capabilities such as a helmet-mounted display to provide better situational awareness to the pilot in the form of an enhanced image of the battlefield. It will also have better radar sensors and front sector optronics, which provides surveillance, tracking, and identification of multiple targets.