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The most senior officer in the French air force is being investigated for allegedly using a fighter jet for his weekly commute, according to local press reports.
General Richard Reboul, the acting commander-in-chief of France’s Armée de l’Air, is accused of using a 620mph Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet to get to work.
French media said Reboul flew between an air base in Bordeaux and his home in Provence around 10 times in the past year.
Le Monde cited an investigation by the French satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné, which detailed Reboul’s alleged use of the jet to make the 373-mile journey.
Reboul was reportedly a passenger in the jet. It would fly him to Provence on Friday in around half an hour, then make the return journey without him. On Monday the trip would be made in reverse.
The journey by fighter jet would have avoided a seven-hour trip by train, six hours in the car, or around an hour on a commercial flight, with added time for transfers.
In response to the reports, French Defence Minister Florence Parly – a member of Emmanuel Macron’s new government – announced an inquiry to find out the full details. She said Reboul could be disciplined as a result.
France’s Alpha Jet has been in service since 1978. It can serve in a light attack role or as a training aircraft, which is how the French air force mostly uses it.
It is the aircraft of choice for the Patrouille Acrobatique de France, France’s equivalent of the Red Arrows.
The Alpha Jet has a top speed of 620mph, can reach heights of 48,000 ft, and has a maximum range of around 1,800 miles. It can be equipped with a machine gun, rockets, missiles, and up to 2,500kg of bombs.
Reboul has been second-in-command of the Armée de l’Air since last year. He became acting commander-in-chief after the previous head of the air force died in May. Serge Soulet was just 55 when he died of cancer.
According to a recent Business Insider ranking, France has the fifth strongest military in the world.
Despite a lower defence budget than many competitors – including the UK – it managed to field an impressive array of hardware, including 1,282 aircraft.