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 French National (Bastille) Day Parade Paris 2008

When the author during the fuel stop of a Romanian MiG-21 LanceR C in Erfurt (Germany) learnt about its participation in the French National Day Parade on July 14 in Paris there was no doubt that he had to see this event with his own eyes.

At Arc de Triomphe ...


... French president Nicolas Sarkozy starts the inspection of the troops.


After the president reached his tribune the parade was opened by a fly-pass of 64 aircraft, traditionally led by the Patrouille de France.


It was followed by formations of French and - as France presides the European Union in second half of 2008 - foreign aircraft. Here three Rafale, escorted by each an Italian and Spanish Eurofighter, line up behind a KC-135.


A E-3F leads three Mirage 2000 and a Slovak MiG-29.


French nuclear capabilities were represented by Mirage 2000N and a further KC-135 tanker.


Together with four Mirage 2000D a Hungarian JAS-39 Gripen flew over Champs-Elysées.


The highlight came - though not quite correctly assigned - in the "reconnaissance / conventional strike" section: for the first (and probably the last) time a MiG-21 flew over Paris.


French naval aviation's representatives were three Super Etendard and - instead of the announced two - only a single Rafale M.


Training and transport aircraft, among them two French (one of them can be seen here) and one German Transall, marked the end of the aircraft fly-pass.


Parade over Champs-Elysées lasted almost one hour. Numerous track vehicles, like this self-propelled howitzer AuF1, damaged the pavement.


Also on show were different wheeled vehicles of different purpose, like this Crotale NG surface-to-air missile system.


Fly-pass of 30 helicopters of different types marked finale of the parade.


Among others armed Gazelle as well as ...


... EC 725 Caracal were on show.


The author wishes to thank Lt. Col. Tozzolino and Ms. Costinel of DICoD for their support in accreditation for the parade.