Pembrey Sands and Castlemartin to host French fighter jets

French fighter jets will be flying over Pembrey Sands and Castlemartin as part of a training exercise taking place next month.

Around 30 French personnel will join UK troops for the exercise which will enable the French Navy Air Wing, based at NAS (Naval Air Station) Landivisau in North West France, to practice a procedure called Joint Fires.

This involves weapons being dropped or fired from aircraft which are then integrated with mortars, artillery and small arms which are deployed by troops on the ground.

From March 11 to 26, UK and French Joint Terminal Air Controllers will take part in the exercise alongside Motar teams from the French Parachute brigade.

The jets, which consist of two squadrons of Rafale M fighters and one squadron of Super Etendard fighters, will fly daily missions to and from NAS Landivisau, dropping practice bombs and firing their cannons in support of the troops.

The exercise will prepare troops for the formation of the future Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) which will see French and British troops working together as a team. It is also being used as pre-training for a large multi-national exercise that will take place in Scotland in April.

Commenting on the forthcoming exercise Col Richard Howard-Gash, Commander DTE Wales and West, said:

“DTE’s priority is to support the Armed Forces as they prepare for operations and we are pleased to be able to support this joint exercise here in Wales. The ranges at Pembrey and Castlemartin are ideal for this type of training.

“It is important for us to share training assets and training areas which help to prepare us for the creation of the CJEF and this joint working will also save both countries money in the long term.”

During the exercise Pembrey will operate weekdays from 9am to 4pm, and Castlemartin will operate weekdays from 9am to 9.30pm. Every effort will be made to keep the noise to the minimum possible.

Picture caption - A Rafale M Fighter Jet. Crown copyright/MOD2013

Notes to Editors

1.The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is responsible for providing, developing and maintaining a safe and sustainable training estate and facilities to meet the requirements of Defence.  The area of DIO which delivers these outputs is called the Defence Training Estate (DTE).

2.The DTE specifically supports the training requirements of Defence by providing a safe and sustainable training estate and facilities. The DTE delivers military training facilities and training advice and support in order to prepare troops for operations worldwide.  Safe operation of ranges and live firing areas, including public safety, is a prime consideration.

3.There will be a significant increase in aviation activity at both ranges during the exercise. 

4.There will be up to six sorties per day at Pembrey and up to ten sorties per day/night at Castlemartin.  The aircraft will conduct both straffing and bombing sorties. 

Further information:

Press enquiries to Emma Sloper, Communications Officer   0121 311 2418 or email

DIO website:




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