eAIP in France list two services on AD-2 (aerodromes) for which I have no clue what they stand for. They are not known to AIXM neither.

Any idea what these services are? Thanks a bunch!


When in doubt, check GEN 2.2 for a list of abbreviations.

  • CEV
    Centre d’essai en vol
    Flight test centre
  • SRE
    Elément radar de surveillance du système radar d’approche de précision
    Surveillance radar element of precision approach radar system
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There are two types1 of flight activities in France, civil and military, they are clearly separate:

  • Civil aircraft activity is known as CAG, Circulation Aérienne Générale / General aircraft traffic. CAG documentation is found in the French AIP published by SIA, the one you looked at. This is the aeronautical information compliant to ICAO recommendations, which is used by all aircraft in France.

  • Military aircraft activity is know as CAM, Circulation Aérienne Militaire / Military aircraft traffic. CAM is specific to military and State aircraft activities, and therefore is not to be used by any civil traffic. CAM is supervised by DirCAM (CAM Department) and documentation is found in the French MilAIP (e.g. this high altitude military navigation chart -- Note the bicolor rectangles, the points near the borderlines, were the traffic can be switched between CAM and CAG). DirCAM can provide common information through the SIA AIP too.

CEV and SRE are ATC services restricted to CAM aviation. That's why you don't see the relevant details in the SIA AIP. The related procedures are available in the MilAIP. Description of them follows.

Contrary to what is observed in some countries (e.g. USA), aerodromes are never shared between civil and military flights. Military have their own air bases which are inaccessible to civil flight (unless exceptional circumstances, including emergencies), except State agencies.

CEV: Centre d'essais en vol (flight testing center)

Tests in flight are under the management of a State administration which performs these flights as CAM traffic, both for civil and military tests.

This administration has been known as Centre d'Essais en Vol (CEV), but has been reorganized a few years ago and is now part of Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA), the French Defense Procurement Agency.

DGA-EV badge
DGA-EV badge. Source

For its test flights, DGA-Essais en Vol (DGA-EV) uses the ATC "CEV service". Only selected ATC centers provide a support to DGA-EV on a specific frequency.

DGA-EV can be seen like an operator, performing only flight testing with specific privileges. You may read about DGA / EV in this Wikipedia article (Google Translate).

One well known CEV aerodrome has been Brétigny CEV. Brétigny was a flight testing aerodrome near Paris, collocated with BA 217. More on CEV history in the French document (pdf, no translation available).

You mentioned LFBD, Bordeaux-Mérignac. There are at Bordeaux some DGA aicraft used for flight testing, e.g. this Fokker 100:

DGA-EV Fokker 100 F-GPXL
DGA-EV Fokker 100 F-GPXL. Photo by Guillaume Carré at Flickr

It seems the tests are related to the missile visible under the tail and / or the Thales pod.

There are flight testing ATC operators at specific positions in the ATC room, which task is to support such aircraft. Regarding the MilAIP documentation for LFBD:

MilAIP for LFBD MilAIP for LFBD. Source

You can see there are two Special Controlled Temporary Airspace used for flight testing, with the corresponding CEV callsign and the schedule for activation (7 am to 4 pm, business days). In France, S/CTA are controlled by military operators. (There is a third S/CTA but under the control of Cognac. I mention it just because Bordeaux and Cognac are well-known, but not for their CTA.)

S/CTA Bordeaux
S/CTA Bordeaux. Source

SRE: Surveillance Radar Element

ATC service used for approach to military bases using a Search Radar Equipment (SRE) renamed Surveillance Radar Element as noted by ymb in his answer

A SRE is a long range panoramic radar, part of a Ground Controlled Approach (GCA) system. The GCA is composed of two segments:

  • One used before the actual approach, using the SRE to determine the position of the aircraft and guide it to the Initial Approach Fix (IAF) where the PAR radar takes over.

  • The Precision Approach Radar (PAR) segment where the PAR is used to guide the aircraft to the runway threshold.

Difference between a SRE radar (left) and a PAR radar (right):

SRE and PAR systems

SRE and PAR systems. Source: Left - Right

As you mentioned LFOA, below is the PAR procedure at Avord base (BA 702 / LFOA) looks like this:

LFOA, PAR procedure
LFOA, PAR procedure. Source

The PAR approach above for example requires a Tacan transponder in the aircraft, something civil aircraft don't have (they have the DME portion but miss the bearing determination one).

See also: What is a SRE approach on PPRuNe. More here in French (Google Translation).

Note1: To be exhaustive, there are two additional types of traffic: CER and COM:

  • Circulation Essais et Réception, used by aircraft manufacturers for prototype testing and customer acceptance flights.

  • Circulation Opérationnelle Militaire, used by military for actual operational missions.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's interesting that France does not provide PAR to civilian aircraft at all -- my understanding is that PAR service at US military bases is available to civil aircraft authorized to use the base (which can be "all of them" at joint civ/mil facilities such as KNYL) $\endgroup$ – UnrecognizedFallingObject Feb 15 '19 at 4:22
  • $\begingroup$ @UnrecognizedFallingObject: Military air bases are for "CAM" only, not open to "CAG". Only civilian allowed are CEV flights. Except emergencies of course, which happen from time to time (Space Shuttle was allowed to land at Istres, but it was a specific agreement with US personnel on the base). There are no jointly managed airspaces, only military representatives at civil ATC enroute centers to facilitate CAM in CAG airspaces. $\endgroup$ – mins Feb 15 '19 at 9:11

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