Text: Philippe Decock - Pictures: Philippe Decock & Jacques Vincent
© sbap 2019
 
Mont-de-Marsan Air Base, BA118, is situated in the Landes region, about 130km south of the city of Bordeaux.

History of the base

It all started in 1911 when two civilian pilots (Lafargue and Labouchère) performed dangerous aeronautical demonstrations at the racecourse of Mont-de-Marsan.
During the first World War, the racecourse was transformed into a military airfield and many pilots were trained there, including the emblematic Georges Guynemer .
After the war, a flying club was created by a few enthusiasts.
The increase in the flying activities soon made the cohabitation with the racecourse impossible.
The city of Mont-de-Marsan decided to buy several hundred hectares of land and a brand new airfield opened in 1934.
When the Second World War breaks out, the airfield hosts a part of the "Ecole de l'Air" homebased in Salon de Provence. The german Luftwaffe occupies the airfield as from june 1940.
The Germans undertake gigantic work, build new hangars and a new concrete runway.
The base hosts a fighter school equipped with Messerschmitt 109 and a squadron of Junker 290. It becomes the starting point for aerial reconnaissance missions over the Atlantic for the attack of allied maritime convoys.
At the end of the war, the Air Force Headquarter decided to reorganize the Military Air Experimental Center (CEAM), destroyed in 1940 in Orleans. The Center is moved to Mont-de-Marsan under the command of Colonel Kostia Wladimir Rozanoff. The Air Base 118 is then created on the ruins of the German infrastructures with, as main activity, the experimentation of all the equipments intended to be used by the Air Force.
A Detection and Control Center is established at the base in 1969.
From 1964 to 1988, Mont-de-Marsan hosts a part of the french nuclear deterrence with Dassault Mirage IV bombers on alert carrying a single nuclear bomb.
From 1988, the nuclear deterrence is gradually handed over to the brand new Dassault Mirage 2000N and, from 1996, only 8 Mirage IVP remain active as a strategic reconnaissance platform before being retired in june 2005.
December 2004 sees the arrival of the first Dassault Rafale in Mont-de-Marsan.
In 2011, the base saw the arrival of the last operationnal Mirage F-1 squadron when Reims-Champagne air base closed. They were retired in june 2014.

BA118 today

Today, Mont-de-Marsan host three flying squadrons : ECE1/30 "Côte d'Argent", part of the CEAM, flying a variety of aircraft used by the French Air Force in order to test new equipments before releasing them for operational use; EC2/30 "Normandie-Niemen", whose roots are found in the squadron consisting of french pilots fighting the Luftwaffe in the USSR, flying Rafale B/C and EC03.030 "Lorraine" also flying Rafale B/C. EC3/30 has inherited the traditions of SPA 162 "Tête de Tigre" previously part of Cambrai based EC1/12 Cambresis.

 
 Aerial view of BA 118 Mont de Marsan
(DR / Via web)
 The shooting range of Capiteux is under the control of Mont de Marsan Air Base
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
NTM 2019 Participants
 
NTA Members - Flying Participants

1 Squadron (Austrian Air Force - Linz) SAAB 105Öe (2x)
31 Squadron (Belgian Air Force - Kleine Brogel) F-16AM/BM (6x)
EC 3/30 (French Air Force - Mont-de-Marsan) Rafale B/C (4x)
ECE 1/30 (French Air Force - Mont-de-Marsan) Rafale B/C (4x)
ECE 1/30 (French Air Force - Mont-de-Marsan) Mirage 2000D (3x)
EHRA 3 (French Army - Etain-Rouvres) Gazelle (3x)
TLG51 (German Air Force - Schleswig-Jagel) Tornado IDS (2x) + ECR (2x)
12 Gruppo (Italian Air Force - Gioia del Colle) EF2000 (4x)
21 Gruppo (Italian Air Force - Grazzanise) AB.212ICO (2x)
301 Squadron (Portuguese Air Force - Monte Real) F-16AM/BM (5x)
Ala15 (Spanish Air Force - Zaragoza) EF-18A/B+ (7x)
230 Squadron (Royal Air Force - Benson) Puma HC.2 (2x)
814 Squadron (Royal Navy - Culdrose) Merlin HM.2 (1x)
1 Squadron (NATO - Geilenkirchen) E-3A AWACS (1x)

NTA Members - Cancelled Participants
11 Squadron (French Navy - Landivisiau) Rafale M

NTA Members - Observers
192 Squadron (Turkish Air Force - Balikesir)
393 Bomb Squadron (USAF - Whiteman, Missouri)
335 Squadron (Hellenic Air Force - Araxos)
313 Squadron (Royal Netherlands Air Force - Volkel)

NTA Members - Visitors
TLG74 (German Air Force - Neuburg) EF2000 (2x)
313 Squadron (Royal Netherlands Air Force - Volkel) F-16AM (2x)

External Participants
GFD (Civil - Hohn, Germany) Learjet (1x)
EE 3/8 (French Air Force - Cazaux) Alpha Jet (4x)
EDCA 36 (French Air Force - Avord) E-3F (1x)
RHC 5 (French Army - Pau) Tigre HAP (1x)
 
1 Squadron (Austrian Air Force - Linz) SAAB 105Öe
(Philippe Decock©)
31 Squadron (Belgian Air Force - Kleine Brogel) F-16AM
(Philippe Decock©)
EC 3/30 (French Air Force - Mont-de-Marsan) Rafale C
(Jacques Vincent©)
ECE 1/30 (French Air Force - Mont-de-Marsan) Rafale C
(Philippe Decock©)
ECE 1/30 (French Air Force - Mont-de-Marsan) Mirage 2000D
(Jacques Vincent©)
EHRA 3 (French Army - Etain-Rouvres) Gazelle
(Jacques Vincent©)
TLG51 (German Air Force - Schleswig-Jagel) Tornado ECR
(Philippe Decock©)
12 Gruppo (Italian Air Force - Gioia del Colle) EF2000
(Jacques Vincent©)
21 Gruppo (Italian Air Force - Grazzanise) AB.212ICO
(Jacques Vincent©)
301 Squadron (Portuguese Air Force - Monte Real) F-16AM
(Philippe Decock©)
Ala15 (Spanish Air Force - Zaragoza) EF-18A
(Philippe Decock©)
230 Squadron (Royal Air Force - Benson) Puma HC.2
(Philippe Decock©)
814 Squadron (Royal Navy - Culdrose) Merlin HM.2
(Philippe Decock©)
1 Squadron (NATO - Geilenkirchen) E-3A AWACS
(Philippe Decock©)
  
TLG74 (German Air Force - Neuburg) EF2000 as visitor
(Philippe Decock©)
313 Squadron (Royal Netherlands Air Force - Volkel) F-16AM as visitor
(Philippe Decock©)
RHC 5 (French Army - Pau) Tigre HAP as external force
(Philippe Decock©)
EE 3/8 (French Air Force - Cazaux) Alpha Jet as external force
(Philippe Decock©)
GFD (Civil - Hohn, Germany) Learjet as external force
(Jacques Vincent©)
DGA-EV (French Air Force - Cazaux) TBM-700A
(Philippe Decock©)
Flotille 57F (French Navy - Landivisiau) Dassault Falcon 10 MER
(Philippe Decock©)
EPAA00.315 (French Air Force - Cognac) Pilatus PC-21
(Philippe Decock©)
Tiger action...
 
(Philippe Decock©)
(Jacques Vincent©) (Jacques Vincent©)
(Jacques Vincent©) (Jacques Vincent©)
(Jacques Vincent©) (Jacques Vincent©)
(Philippe Decock©) (Philippe Decock©)
Life-size Flight Simulator
(Philippe Decock©)
Backseater taking a nap ?
(Philippe Decock©)
(Philippe Decock©) (Philippe Decock©)
(Philippe Decock©) (Philippe Decock©)
(Philippe Decock©) (Philippe Decock©)
A tiger trio posing for posterity
(Courtesy Armée de l'Air / Sirpa)
A paint scheme also in memory of the D-Day 75 years ago
(Courtesy Armée de l'Air / Sirpa)
The only way to could see the right side of the Belgian Air Force F-16AM...
(Courtesy BAF / Bart Roselle via FB)
...and the Luftwaffe Toranado from TLG51
(Courtesy TLG51 via Instagram)
(Jacques Vincent©) This is not a tiger, but may have claws anyway
(Jacques Vincent©)
(Philippe Decock©) (Philippe Decock©)
(Philippe Decock©) (Philippe Decock©)
(Philippe Decock©) (Philippe Decock©)
Wet...
(Philippe Decock©)
...you said wet!
(Philippe Decock©)
(Philippe Decock©) (Philippe Decock©)
(Philippe Decock©) (Philippe Decock©)
(Philippe Decock©) (Jacques Vincent©)
(Philippe Decock©) (Jacques Vincent©)
(Philippe Decock©) (Philippe Decock©)
(Philippe Decock©)
(Philippe Decock©) (Jacques Vincent©)
Hard to be humble…all is said !
(Philippe Decock©)
A Jaguar as transtiger
(Philippe Decock©)
Nato Tiger Brush winner...
(Jacques Vincent©)
The final of the public day with the Patrouille de France
(Philippe Decock©)
 
Trophy Winners :

Silver Tiger Trophy : 301 Squadron, Portuguese Air Force
Best Flying Unit : EC3/30, French Air Force
Best Painted Tiger Aircraft : EC3/30, French Air Force
Best Looking Uniform : 1JTS, Austrian Air Force
Tiger Games : EC1/30, French Air Force
Best Skit : EHRA3, French Army
(Courtesy Armée de l'Air / Sirpa)

   
(Jacques Vincent©)

Reports Menu - Homepage