French Air Force launches local “Top Gun” school for Rafale pilots

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The French Air and Space Force has launched a Qualified Weapons Instructor (QWI) course for Rafale fighter pilots on May 30, 2022. 

The Air Warfare Center (CEAM) located at the Mont-de-Marsan Air Base near Bordeaux follows in the footsteps of the United States Navy and its legendary Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, more commonly known as TOPGUN, and the Combined Qualified Weapons Instructor course of the British Royal Air Force and Navy. 

The QWI Rafale comprises “six intensive weeks of theory lessons, simulator sessions, and real flights,” the CEAM detailed on June 3, 2022. “The objective of this training is to perfect their knowledge and mastery of their weapon system and to deepen the tactics, techniques, and procedures.” 

The first class is composed of three pilots, a navigator from the Air and Space Force, and a pilot from the Naval Aviation. Those who succeed will earn the QWI qualification and will be able to pass on all that they have learned to their unit. “This qualifying course aims to create a network of tactical experts within combat units,” the CEAM explained. 


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