The Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air (French for "Fusilier commandos of the Air (force)") of France's Armée de l'Air (French Air Force) are equivalent to the United Kingdom's RAF Regiment, Germany's Objektschutzregiment der Luftwaffe or the United States Air Force Security Forces. They are airmen armed and trained as infantry, who provide ground defense of air bases and secure forward base areas. They also participate in forward air control, combat search and rescue missions, and as air assault ground soldiers.
During the Algerian War, the Air Force deployed its own Fusiliers de l'Air ground regiments, which used the traditional French half-brigades (démi-brigades) unit type. They were formed between September of 1955 and June of 1956, relying heavily on officers and NCOs posted from the Army. These units were subordinated to the three GATACs. The infantry units of the Air Force were transferred to the Army by the end of 1957.
The command elements of the half-brigades (Unités à administration distincte (UAD)) actually belonged to the 5th Air Force Region's territorial administrative center (Centre administratif territorial de l'air (CATA) 860) in Blida and were attached to the infantry units.
The elite Parachute Commandos were retained at the central level of the 5th Air Force Region.
Each combat commando had an established strength of 102 men (5 officers, 22 NCOs and 75 ranks), but in the course of the war it could occasionally increase up to 180 men. The building block of the units was the Team (équipe) of 5 or 6 men. A Commando Group (groupe de commando) combined two teams for a total of 10 - 12 men, transportable by a single H-34 or two H-19 helicopters. A Commando Platoon (section de commando) combined two commando groups (total of four teams): two Command and Fire Teams (deux équipes de commandement et de feu) and two regular commando teams (deux équipes simples de commandos)
Two experimental commandos of reduced strength were added later:
Due to their active involvement in the Algiers putsch of 1961 at the end of April all four were disbanded effective immediately. To fill up the void on May 1 two new units were formed at the BA 146 Reghaia air base:
These units discarded the commando nomenclature in order to break with the previous units and the reason for their disbandment. The new companies also differed in their established structure with a strength of 5 officers, 33 NCOs and 100 ranks each.
The Fusiliers-Commando units are part of the Intervention and Security Force Brigade (Brigade aérienne des forces de sécurité et d'intervention).
This training unit, founded in 1974, manages four different courses ;
Responsible for the protection of defense-sensitive points of the Air Force and air bases, intervention in the context of overseas operations or special missions, participation in the tasks assigned to Special Operations Command. Employed in unit protection or intervention. The 34 Protective Squadrons man patrols to deter, detect and intervene to neutralize and delay, by force if necessary, any malicious act against facilities of the Air Force, air bases on the mainland (Dijon, Saint-Dizier, Luxeuil, Nancy, Drachenbronn, Évreux, Villacoublay, Orleans, Avord, Tours, Creil, Brest, Mont-de-Marsan, Cazaux, Cognac, Orange, Istres, Solenzara, Lyon, Paris) and on external sites : (Chad, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Djibouti, United Arab Emirates, French Guiana, Reunion, New Caledonia ...).
The three Air Parachute Commando fulfill specific missions requiring advanced training and specialities.
The Commando n° 10 is a specials forces unit acting under the umbrella of the Commandement des opérations spéciales.
The main missions of Commando n° 20 are long-range protective patrols in armored cars, protection from potential low-level air attacks in helicopters and forward air control.
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