PARIS — The French Navy's three-strong fleet of Hawkeye E-2C spy planes increased its 2015 operational availability to 32.3 percent from 24.7 percent in the previous year, and last year's maintenance bill for the aircraft was €30 million (US $33 million), according to the French Ministry of Defense.
The details on cost of maintenance were in the ministry's Nov. 8 written response to François Cornut-Gentille, a member of the French parliament, who had asked the Navy how much the service paid to maintain its aircraft.
The average age of the Northrop Grumman Hawkeye airborne warning and control planes flown by the French Navy was 15.9 years at the end of 2015.
The 23 Dassault Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft had the lowest availability, with 26.2 percent compared to 25.9 percent, and cost €117.3 million to maintain. The average age was 26.2 years.
A 39-strong fleet of Dassault Rafale "M" fighters was available for use 53.6 percent, up from 46.6 percent, with a maintenance bill of €158.9 million. The average age was 7.1 years.
The 21 Dassault Super Étendard Modernisé fighter saw its availability climb to 46.5 percent, up from 26.8 percent, with a maintenance cost of €18.8 million. The Navy this summer withdrew the jet from service, as the plane had an average age of 46.5 years. Navy pilots had flown the Super Étendard from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle for bombing missions over Iraq and Syria.
The highest availability was with the five Dassault Falcon 200 Gardian surveillance jets, with 69 percent compared to 65 percent, at a cost of €25.6 million. The average age for the aircraft was 25.6 years.