Royal Navy pilots forced to learn French and fly Rafale M

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Neil, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2010
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    The Naval aviators are training with the French, whose jets they may have to use while they await the arrival of the new Joint Strike Fighters, which are unlikely to be delivered before 2020.

    The first five of 30 Royal Navy pilots have begun French language training at the defence college in Paris before they join the carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, where they will fly Rafale jets.

    They will spend 16 weeks studying French so that they are able to communicate with their colleagues on board the vessel.

    While they will wear their own uniforms they will sleep, eat and work alongside French fighter pilots, in what has been described as a major test of co-operation for the two Navies.

    A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “The relationship with France is strategically important and discussions are ongoing about Royal Navy personnel being based on Charles de Gaulle as part of the bilateral agreement between our two countries. This will allow us to maintain our skills and help to develop an enhanced capability in the future.”

    But Naval sources have expressed some unease about the arrangement.

    One senior Royal Navy officer said: “Who would have thought that more than 200 years after the Battle of Trafalgar, we would be asking the French to train our Naval fighter pilots? Our relationship with the French has always been a bit tense, so this will be a big test of co-operation.”

    One benefit for the Royal Navy personnel however will be the quality of cuisine offered on board the Charles de Gaulle, which is said to be of a much higher standard than that available on board British ships.

    Royal Navy pilots forced to learn French and fly Rafale M |

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