on May 22, 2022, Two Armée de l’Air & de l’Espace Rafale C fighter jets were involved in a mid-air collision during the airshow which was taking place at the Base Aérienne 709 Cognac/Châteaubernard, France.
The incident happened during the Cognac airshow- at Chateaubernard military base.
The two aircraft belonged to the Vautour Bravo tactical display team of the 30th Fighter Wing. The wing had just won the Silver Tiger award for the best display at the NATO Tiger Meet 2022 in Araxos, Greece. “Rogue Spartan,” the leader, also won the Best Tiger Aircraft award for its livery.
“During their tactical presentation, two Rafales from the 30th Fighter Wing touched each other in-flight,” said Colonel Nicolas Lyautey, commander of the 709 Cognac-Châteaubernard airbases where the air show was taking place. “One of them lost a piece of its tail fin, which damaged the roof of a house during its fall.”
Some leaked photos show that one of the aircraft involved was the “Rogue Spartan”, the special color prepared by the Escadre de Chasse 3/30 “Lorraine” from the Base Aérienne 118 Mont-de-Marsan for the NATO Tiger Meet 2022. The aircraft also won the Silver Tiger Trophy, the most important award handed out during the exercise, as well as the Best Tiger Aircraft award.
The photos clearly show the damage to both aircraft. The “Rogue Spartan” lost in the collision the top of its vertical tail fin, which fell in a nearby village about eight kilometers from the airbase and was recovered by civilians. The aircraft also sustained some light damage to the left-wing and wingtip missile rail.
The second aircraft, wearing the standard low-visibility livery, presented damage and scratches to the right side of the fuselage, as well as a severely bent canard. A Radar Warning Receiver antenna of the Spectra (Système de Protection et d’Évitement des Conduites de Tir du Rafale or, in English, Self-Protection Equipment Countering Threats to Rafale Aircraft) electronic warfare system on the right air inlet.
The Bureau Enquêtes Accidents pour la sécurité de l’aéronautique d’État (Bureau of Accident Investigation for the Safety of State Aeronautics) has now opened an inquiry to discover the causes of the collision between the two fighter jets. “A rare thing”, added Colonel Lyautey. “In aviation, there is only one priority: safety. We have to understand what happened”.