Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — A French Air Force squadron visited Hà Nội yesterday on its way back to France from an exercise in Australia.
The squadron is on a mission projecting wingspan aerial devices in Southeast Asia, known by the name of PÉGASE, to reinforce France’s presence in the region.
Comprising of three Rafale fighters, one A400M transport aircraft and one C-135 re-fuelling tanker, the squadron has 100 crew members, led by General Patrick Charaix.
The A400M transport aircraft yesterday afternoon departed Nội Bài International Airport in Hà Nội for Hạ Long City as part of a flight test in Việt Nam.
Apart from its visit to Việt Nam during August 26-29, the squadron will also visit some other countries in Asia-Pacific, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and India.
The visit is part of the commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the strategic partnership between Việt Nam and France.
Speaking at a press conference on the squadron’s visit yesterday, French Charge d'Affairs to Việt Nam Olivier Sigaud said it bears significant political, defence and military meanings.
“This is the first visit of a French aircraft squadron to Việt Nam in a long time,” he said. “This is the first time since 1954 that French military aircrafts appeared on Việt Nam’s sky and landed at a Vietnamese airport.”
On the same day, Nguyễn Đức Chung, Chairman of Hà Nội People’s Committee greeted General Charaix. Chung applauded the squadron on its successful manoeuvres in Australia and emphasised the significance of the visit in tightening friendship and military ties between the two countries.
Responding to Chung, General Charaix expressed his hopes to set the foundation for future Việt Nam – France collaboration in military aviation.
During his visit to France in March per an invitation from French President Emmanuel Macron, Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng expressed his wish to strengthen the defence aspect of the two country’s bilateral ties, said Sigaud.
“His visit outlined a specific agenda for reaching this improvement, and the implementation of the PÉGASE mission n in Việt Nam is one of the specific steps to actualise that agenda,” he said.
The visit of the squadron is also an opportunity for the French Air Force to introduce to Việt Nam its advanced aircraft technologies and air force capability, said General Charaix.
“We are delighted to introduce to Việt Nam the advanced features of the Rafale fighter and the A400M transport aircraft,” he said. “These are the devices that are frequently used in our military activities, and we are very pleased with their performances.”
“As we have discussed with representatives from the countries that we will be visiting on the possibility of collaboration on military training, we hope this visit plays a part in promoting cooperation between France and Việt Nam on this area,” he said. — VNS