Two Armée de l’Air & de l’Espace Rafale C fighter jets were involved in a mid-air collision on May 22, 2022, during the airshow which was taking place at the Base Aérienne 709 Cognac/Châteaubernard, France. The aircraft were flying the tactical display of the Vautour Bravo team when, at about 12:40 local time, for causes being investigated, they made contact.
According to the few available info, the two Rafales were rejoining the formation after a high speed pass over the airbase and a formation break Even if they sustained structural damage, both aircraft were able to land safely.
Some leaked photos show that one of the aircraft involved was the “Rogue Spartan”, the special color prepared by the Escadre de Chasse 3/30 “Lorraine” from the Base Aérienne 118 Mont-de-Marsan for the NATO Tiger Meet 2022. The aircraft also won the Silver Tiger Trophy, the most important award handed out during the exercise, as well as the Best Tiger Aircraft award.
The photos clearly show the damage to both aircraft. The “Rogue Spartan” lost in the collision the top of its vertical tail fin, which fell in a nearby village about eight kilometers from the air base and was recovered by civilians. The aircraft also sustained some lighter damage to the left wing and wingtip missile rail.
The second aircraft, wearing the standard low-visibility livery, presented damage and scratches to the right side of the fuselage, as well as a severely bent canard. A Radar Warning Receiver antenna of the Spectra (Système de Protection et d’Évitement des Conduites de Tir du Rafale or, in English, Self-Protection Equipment Countering Threats to Rafale Aircraft) electronic warfare system on the right air inlet.