French Rafale fighter jets put the capabilities of the Cyprus army’s anti-aircraft umbrella to the test during a joint military exercise on Monday.
The Rafale combat aircraft launched into Cyprus skies from aboard the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, the French navy flagship, and took on the role of attack to test the effectiveness of the Cyprus army’s anti-aircraft warfare.
The Charles de Gaulle was stationed at a distance of 240 metres from the area where the exercise was being conducted. Anti-aircraft systems were activated, which successfully located and trapped the ‘attacking’ aircraft.
More joint military exercises to come
Expressing his satisfaction with the Cyprus army’s performance following the completion of the joint military exercise with France, Defence Minister Savvas Angelides that more such exercises will follow.
“Today’s [joint military exercise] is a good example of our cooperation with France on a military level and I am truly pleased that National Guard personnel are given the opportunity to receive such high-level training,” Angelides said.
“When you’re at the control centre, where you can see how they cooperate, coordinate, and evaluate the situation, you understand that we’re at a very high level,” he added, noting that “the constant efforts being made on the part of the Government demonstrate the role that Cyprus can play in the region.”
More military exercises with France are planned, which will deal with aircraft, anti-aircraft defence, and the navy, Angelides said. The French frigates accompanying the aircraft carrier will also take part in the coming exercises.
On Tuesday, the French Defence Minister, Florence Parley, is set to hold meetings with Angelides and President Nicos Anastasiades in Cyprus.
Angelides said that the visit of the Minister of the Armies of France “will provide the opportunity for discussion, an exchange of opinion, and an evaluation of the dangers of the region,” adding that “further actions to develop cooperation will also be finalised.”