1/7 fighter squadron Provence is a combat unit of the French air force. Based at Saint-Dizier – Robinson Air Base, in 2006 it was the first unit to fly the Rafale. The Squadron's aircraft are marked 113-HA to 113-HZ.
History[edit | edit source]
1/7 Provence fighter squadron originated as 1/7 fighter group Dijon in 1932 which itself traces its origin back to two World War I wings: SPA 15 (Casque de Bayard) and SPA 77 (Croix de Jérusalem). In January 1939 the fighter group 1/7 relocated to Tunisia, and subsequently moved to Egypt after the 1940 armistice. It was disbanded in October 1942.
1/7 fighter group was recreated in September 1943 using Spitfire MK VB and participated in the North Africa campaign, the campaign to liberate Corsica and the Provence landings, thus giving it the name Provence. At the end of World War II, the unit was awarded the "Croix de guerre 1939–1945 (France)" and from December 1945 to January 1946, the fighter group received a consignment of captured Japanese Nakajima ki-43 "Hayabusa" fighter planes. 1/7 fighter group received its first Mistral in April 1953, participated in the Algerian war and was reequipped with Mystère IV operating out of Dijon military base. It was disbanded in September 1961.
1/7 Provence fighter squadron was recreated in March 1962 at Nancy – Ochey 133 Air Base, using Mystère IV. In 1973, the Squadron became the first Air force unit to be equipped with SEPECAT Jaguar and relocated to Saint-Dizier-Robinson 113 Air Base. 1/7 Provence Jaguars engaged in combat missions in Mauritania (1978), in Chad (1980's), in the Gulf War (1990-1991) and in Bosnia. After the 2/11 Vosges fighter squadron was disbanded, 1/7 Provence Squadron was expanded to 3 flights: la SPA 91 (Eagle on a skull) in December 1996.
In July 2001 the squadron received several two-seat Jaguars and the Alpha Jets previously used by 2/7 Argonne Squadron. The Jaguars were retired in July 2005 and replaced by Rafale one year later. In January 2007 1/7 Provence Squadron had twenty Rafale B and C. In March 2007 three Rafales were deployed to Dushanbe in Tajikistan, and carried out their first patrol over Afghanistan two days later.
Constituent flights[edit | edit source]
- SPA 15 Bayard knight's helmet
- SPA 77 Jerusalem crutch cross
- SPA 91 Eagle with a skull(since December 1996)
Bases[edit | edit source]
- Saint-Dizier-Robinson 113 Air Base (since 1973)
Aircraft[edit | edit source]
- Nakajima Ki-43 II Hayabusa (from 1945 to 1946)
- Mystère IV (from 1962 to 1973)
- SEPECAT Jaguar (from 1973 to 2005)
- Alpha Jet (2001–2007, aircraft marked 7-PA to 7-PZ)
- Dassault Rafale (since 2006)
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
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