The Super Mystère Aircraft Collection

Photographer: Jean-Michel Lefebvre ©
: 22 June 1972
: B&W 135 negatives
: Cazaux Armament & Weaponnery Center
: Cazaux N° 120 French Air Force Base
: France

: Taken after take-off for Paris, this view gives an idea about the important Cazaux area. Above the dark grey oblique line of the runway 06/24 is a great part of the firing range. White, below mid-runway, the central tower control at left of wich the parking with the 5 or 6 Crusaders seen from rear in part one. A little more left the main parking (were I did pictures of Canberra, Meteor, Mirage 5F, Mirage IVs, Jaguars and towed Crusaders "35" & "40" as seen in part one) in front of the Weapons Test Center and Firing Range hangars and buildings and Strategic Air Force zone, the whole very much extending left on the picture with considerable quantities of avgas and kerozen, ammunitions of all types from bulletts to AN-22 nuclear bombs for Mirage IVs passing by all these, fully classified, being under experimentation.
Below the tower, lined with the very long taxiway, the six or seven buildings and hangars where is installed the 8th Fighter Wing and its Mystere IV As pictured in this issue. All the low part of the picture is shared between administrative offices, barracks etc and at extreme right the officers mess where begins the Cazaux Pond very appreciated by all for sailing, motor-boating or possibly to ditch after a missed take-off...


Nothing to highlight about this second part of a visit to the Cazaux Air Base except the great interest of pilots and other specialists during this unique occasion to watch and examine closely their future combat materials. It's sure that in 1972 the aircraft equipment of Armée de l'Air was becoming obsolete though Mirage III and IV gave to France an unsurpassed position in Europe concerning domestic-built combat aircraft. Ageing Vautour bombers and night-fighters, Mystère IV As and Super Mystère B2s as so as F-100 Super Sabres and also naval Dassault Etendards had to be cleaned and replaced to give again to France consequent defense and tactical means.
I remember one of my introducing papers about the 1973 or 1975 Paris Air Show telling my fear to see France's Armée de l'Air becoming step by step a full-scale Air Museum and this with less and less combat aircraft. Military people surely were not faulty but successive Governments and Parliaments always had good reasons to try to gain time and, though types and quantities of new materials to acquire were fully established, persisted to pass ridiculous yearly orders. With time elapsing, things became worse and the most evident example is the Rafale fighter of which, year after year, the introduction in AdlA and Aéronavale was lated, this finally and surely introducing considerable increase in the program costs and downing the technological advance which melted as quickly as a finest of chocolates in a mouth...
I have not spoken about the Charles De Gaulle and a necessary second nuclear carrier to maintain our Navy and Aéronavale at a credible level... It's pity of pities!

JMJ Lefebvre