Experts in the field of horizontal infrastructure, runways and aeronautical areas, eight soldiers of the 25th Air Engineering Regiment (25th RGA) were seconded from 10 to 22 May for a mission at the request of the Armed Forces in the Southern Indian Ocean Zone (FAZSOI*).

For two weeks, the eight soldiers sounded the ground on the islands of Europa, Juan de Nova and the Glorieuses. This deployment was carried out in order to re-certify the runways for the landing of various aircraft. The latter regularly come to the islands in CASAs and C130s. The land surveys are to be held every three years, to study all the changes in the soil and the surrounding nature. On this occasion, the detachment looked at specific characteristics such as planimetry, bearing capacity or gaps, while checking the respect of the conservation of the environment of the Scattered Islands.

A400M Atlas can land on all three islands

Present in this area of responsibility of the FAZSOI, the air force sappers have also pushed forward their work to study the feasibility of hosting the A400M Atlas (photo), a military tactical transport aircraft, operated by the French Air Force. The objective of opening these runways to A400M operations is to enable the FAZSOI to transport heavy or oversized equipment, rendering it incompatible with other transport aircraft. For almost a year, the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) and the Centre d’Expertise Aérienne Militaire (CEAM) have been conducting a test campaign to increase the A400M’s ability to land on rough terrain. Traditionally, this aircraft lands on runways with a minimum width of 27.4 metres. The current national certification will allow the Atlas to be used on runways with a minimum width of 20 metres. After three successful landings and three successful take-offs, the A400M was able to confirm the opening of the three islands to transport operations for the FAZSOI.

Sources : LNM/FAZSOI

 *The 1,700 military personnel deployed in the FAZSOI guarantee the protection of the national territory and lead regional cooperation from Reunion and Mayotte. The FAZSOI are the main support point in the “Indian Ocean” region to ensure the surveillance of the exclusive economic zones associated with all the islands in the area of responsibility, to contribute to the fight against the emergence of new threats linked to trafficking and to maintain a regional rapid intervention capability.