French Army Aviation set to return to brigade structure

Discussion in 'French Defence Forum' started by Vergennes, Feb 24, 2016.

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  1. Vergennes

    Vergennes Captain Staff Member Ret. Military International Mod

    Oct 10, 2015
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    The French Army Aviation (ALAT) will formally stand up its new unified brigade structure on 1 July, according to the ALAT's commander, General Olivier Gourlez de la Motte.

    The 4th Air Combat Brigade (4ème Brigade d'Aérocombat - BAC) is expected to become the cornerstone of an 'ALAT pillar' created under the umbrella of the French army 'Au contact' (in contact) reorganisation project.

    The ALAT pillar will regroup ground and flying schools, operational training, combat readiness, support, and maintenance under a unique ALAT command - 'comalat'. Like all other French Army brigades, the 4th BAC will be able to co-ordinate different military contributions from all branches of the army, such including the infantry, artillery, combat engineers, and others.

    The 4th BAC will include all three of the ALAT's Combat Helicopter Regiments (RHCs), the 1st, 3rd, and 5th. In total the three RHCs have little more than 150 helicopters and 1,000 personnel.

    Gen Gourlez de la Motte said, "We will benefit from a more integrated aviation command, with a 'ringfenced' Alat." He added, "Restructuring the ALAT towards more consistency and visibility in our functioning was essential as we face strong operational commitments."

    The 4th BAC will be headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand in central France, taking over the 3rd Light Armoured Brigade headquarters and drawing from its staff. Its initial commander will be Brigadier General Gilles Darricau.

    The ALAT currently has 32 helicopters deployed abroad as part of the French military operations 'Barkhane' and 'Sangaris' in Africa, plus a further 23 on alert in France for contingencies.

    The ALAT operates about 300 helicopters, has 5,000 personnel, and a working budget of EUR1.2 billion (USD1.33 billion). The one French Army helicopter unit that will not form part of the new ALAT pillar is the 4th Special Forces Helicopters Regiment, which will remain under the authority of the Special Forces command.
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