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BA116 Luxeuil-St.Sauveur,  28 May 2009

When we arrived at BA116 Luxeuil-St.Sauveur the Mirage 2000s were already flying. Some came in to land, end some other got airborne for their next mission. We parked the car close to the little chapel near the landing area. From here you don't have the best view on the base, but its good to take some landing shots.

 

After an hour we saw about five different Mirages came in for landing when we were visited by the Gerdarmerie. Those guys don't speak one word English, and my French isn't good either. However I managed to make clear to the officer that we didn't take any shots of the base. He also told us it wasn't allowed to take shots of the Mirages, but we didn't understood that part of his story, haha!

 

The weather was a little bit better during our stay at Luxeuil, so we managed to take a few sunny shots of the Mirages. However it was pretty hard to challenge the heat waves during the sunny moments.

   

At the end of the day we had a score of thirteen Mirages, but unfortunately only nine of them were read, due to the heat waves over the airbase. Around five o'clock in the afternoon we decided to leave Luxeuil and drove to the airbase of Saint Dizier. When we came close to the airbase we already saw a Rafale come in for landing. Unfortunately this was the last one of this wave. They had night flying activities at St.Dizier, so from our F1 Hotel in the city of St.Dizier we saw several Rafales become airborne.

 

 

History of BA116 Luxeuil-St.Sauveur

 

As early as 1911 the land of the Zouzette was used for test flights of a Breguet biplane. In 1912 the location of the current base was chosen. In April 1916 the 4th Bomber Group installed itself in Luxeuil under command of Captain Happe. The three escadrilles operated the Farman, the Breguet BM120, the Nieuport 110HM and the Sopwith. After the armistice Luxeuil was used as a support airfield till November 1937 when the Aviation Observation Group 507 arrived here under command of Captain Bise.

 

August 27 1939, the fighter squadron 2/7, equipped with Morane 406, arrived at Luxeuil. Using both the Morane 406 and Dewoitine 520 pilots of the 2/7 shot down 22 enemy aircraft during World War II. In the meantime the fighter squadron 11 was created at Reims airbase. On June 12 1953 the squadron moved towards Luxeuil which resulted in a spectacular move of 75 F-84 Thunderjets. The base inauguration took place November 22 1953, under the presidency of Secratary of State Maroselli.

 

July 18 1958, Luxeuil airbase received its current name: Base AĆ©rienne 116 "Lieutenant Colonel Papin".  June 10 1961, fighter squadron 11 moved towards Bremgarten and the recce squadron 1/33 and the 4th Escadre take his place. The ER 1/33 operated the RF-84F Thunderflash until these were withdrawn from use and replaced by Mirage III in 1966. This squadron transferred to Strasbourg in 1967. May 1966 saw the installation of bomber squadron 3/94 operating the Mirage IV. Herewith Luxeuil receives its first nuclear task.

 

In 1973, the 4th Escadre receives the tactical nuclear weapon type 52; which resulted in a double strategic and tactical nuclear role for Luxeuil. October 1983 saw the disbandment of EB 3/94. To replace the Mirage III of the 4th Escadre the first Mirage 2000N arrived at Luxeuil on March 30 1988. Eight months later, the 4th Escadre carries out its last flights on Mirage III, after 22 years of operational use.

In the year 1993 the 4th Escadre was separated into two fighter squadrons: EC 1/4  "Dauphine" and EC 2/4 "The Fayette". Today, approx. two thousand men at woman work within different units on Base AĆ©rienne 116 to keep the 50 stationed Mirage 2000N operational.

 

 

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