Taverny Air Base
is located in the communities of Taverny
Taverny is a commune in the northwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.Inhabitants are called Tabernacians.-History:...
Bessancourt is a commune in the Val-d'Oise department in Île-de-France in northern France.Bessancourt is twinned with: Holmes Chapel, United Kingdom since 1979-References:** -External links:* * *...
in the Val d'Oise département of France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...
, twenty kilometers north of Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...
. It is the headquarters of the French Air Force
The French Air Force , literally Army of the Air) is the air force of the French Armed Forces. It was formed in 1909 as the Service Aéronautique, a service arm of the French Army, then was made an independent military arm in 1933...
nuclear strike force, with an underground command center.
The base is divided into three tiers with an area of approximately 15 hectares:
- The first tier is underground in a former gypsum
Gypsum is a very soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate, with the chemical formula CaSO4·2H2O. It is found in alabaster, a decorative stone used in Ancient Egypt. It is the second softest mineral on the Mohs Hardness Scale...
A quarry is a type of open-pit mine from which rock or minerals are extracted. Quarries are generally used for extracting building materials, such as dimension stone, construction aggregate, riprap, sand, and gravel. They are often collocated with concrete and asphalt plants due to the requirement...
beneath the Forest of Montmorency. The facility comprises the hardened command facility for the French Air Force.
- The second tier is on the surface, and provides support services for the underground command center.
- The third tier is at the top of the hill, with facilities for secure military communications.
There are no aviation facilities apart from a heliport.
The base is located on the flank of the heights of the community of Taverny, with the hardened facility between 70 and 80 meters below the surface in the former quarries. The tunnels are large enough for trucks to enter. The underground climate is described as warm and dry, but the tunnels require monitoring for water penetration and dissolution of the gypsum . Somewhat more than 1000 personnel are employed at the base.
The facility is provided with backup power and an independent water supply. A 2000m² Faraday Cage
A Faraday cage or Faraday shield is an enclosure formed by conducting material or by a mesh of such material. Such an enclosure blocks out external static and non-static electric fields...
was completed in 1993 after six years of construction - one of the largest in Europe.
- 1815: First commercial exploitation of the gypsum.
- 1941-1944: During World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
, the Germans have converted some of these tunnels and have transferred the factory ball bearing SKF south of Paris. No evidence of air attack on the tunnels is Taverny. At the time of the Allied invasion, the manufacture of ball bearings had been started but the Germans destroyed all the equipment before evacuating Paris. The inspection of tunnels proved that the Germans had built gates at the entrances binoculars, camouflaged by a mesh now destroyed, and had connected the two parallel main tunnels. In several places in the area of the plant, there is evidence of fire. A villager said it was the oil fires that lit the Germans to destroy the equipment. Fire, to some extent, had caused ruptures and falls of rock: according to the head, some mines and booby traps were left in tunnels and in the woods by the Germans but they were removed by U.S. Army when the remains of the plant have been eliminated.
- 1946: The French Air Force used the quarry as a depot.
- 1957: The creation of the Air Defense Operations Center (Centre d'Opération de la Défense Aérienne - CODA).
- 1961: The creation of the Territorial Air Defense Staff (Etat-major de la Defense Aérienne du Territoire - DAT) and the Air Force Air Defense Command (Commandement Air des Forces de Défense Aérienne - CAFDA). These organizations were dissolved in 1994 and replaced with the Air Defense and Air Operations Command (Commandement de la Défense Aérienne et des Opérations Aériennes - CDAOA) and its Air Operations Center (Centre de Conduite des Opérations Aériennes - CCOA).
- 1963: Creation of BA921, attached to the 2nd Air Region, and the installation on the surface of the Strategic Air Forces Command (Commandement des Forces Aériennes Stratégiques - CFAS).
- 1967: Installation of the Strategic Forces Operations Center (Centre d'Opérations des forces stratégiques - COFAS) underground.
- 1988: BA921 takes the name "Frères Mahé" ("Brothers Mahé" in English) in homage to three brothers killed in the command of their aircraft.
- 1992: Installation of the Special Operations Command (Commandement des Opérations Spéciales
The Commandement des Opérations Spéciales is the organisation which coordinates the use of the French special forces of all military branches . The COS was created on 24 June 1992, following the Gulf War...
- 2000: BA921 was attached to the Northern Air Region.
- 2006: Special Operations Command (COS) moves to BA107 at Villacoublay.
- 2007: The Air Operations Center moves to BA942 at Lyon Mont-Verdun. At the same time, the Air Defense and Air Operations (CDAOA) moves to BA117 in Paris and the Air Information Center (Centre de Renseignement Air - CRA) moves to BA128 at Metz
Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...
Taverny provides information to the following organizations:
- The commander of the strategic air forces (Commandement des forces aériennes stratégiques - CFAS), which constitute one leg of France's nuclear deterrent.
- The Analysis and Simulation Center for the Preparation of Air Operations (Centre d'Analyse et de Simulation pour la Préparation des Opérations Aérienne - CASPOA).
- The Military Air traffic Control (Direction de la Circulation Aérienne Militaire - DirCAM).
- The Meteorology Center for External Operations (Centre de Météorologie des Opérations Extérieures - CMOE)
A similar underground Air Force facility exists northwest of Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....
at BA942 Lyon-Mont Verdun. The French Navy
The French Navy, officially the Marine nationale and often called La Royale is the maritime arm of the French military. It includes a full range of fighting vessels, from patrol boats to a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and 10 nuclear-powered submarines, four of which are capable of launching...
's counterpart facility, controlling the ballistic missile submarine
A ballistic missile submarine is a submarine equipped to launch ballistic missiles .-Description:Ballistic missile submarines are larger than any other type of submarine, in order to accommodate SLBMs such as the Russian R-29 or the American Trident...
strike force (Force océanique stratégique
The Force océanique stratégique is the ballistic missile submarine force of the French Navy. It is one of the two components of the submarine forces of the French Navy and the sea-based component of the French nuclear deterrent.- History :The FOST was created in the early 1960s, around the need...
- FOST), is located about 20 km to the south at Houilles
Houilles is a commune in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France. It is located from the center of Paris.-Transport:...
Yvelines is a French department in the region of Île-de-France.-History:Yvelines was created from the western part of the defunct department of Seine-et-Oise on 1 January 1968 in accordance with a law passed on 10 January 1964 and a décret d'application from 26 February 1965.It gained the...