Defence: Barkhane’s 3D attacked about one hundred times during 2020.
Defence: Barkhane’s 3D attacked about one hundred times during 2020.

| Jean-Marc Tanguy

Defence: Barkhane’s 3D attacked about one hundred times during 2020.

Aircrafts who took part in Barkhane operation attacked about one hundred times during the first ten months of 2020.

Dassault Mirage 2000D and Reaper UAV

On October 24th, French Army General Staff said to Air & Cosmos that 97 airstrikes were made at this date, since the beginning of 2020. On these strikes, 40 were made by three UAV MQ-9 Reaper, as declared Chief of Staff of the French Air and Space Force to French Deputies of the National Defense and Armed Forces Commission within National Assembly.

French Army also uses French jetfighter seven Dassault Mirage 2000D in Barkhane operation. As Air et Cosmos recently mentioned, two of them would be replaced during November 2020 by two Mirage 2000C.

In May 2020, 120 bombs dropped

A single airstrike can target many objectives at the same place, and there can be many strikes during an airstrike.

For example, there’s no mentions of strikes by ATL2, used by French Navy. This maritime patrol aircraft, who can carry up four bombs GBU-12 (or GBU-51 or GBU-58), and can lead them if he has a EO/IR MX-20, had availability matters. Five of ATL2 were modified to receive a MX20.

At the end of May 2020, in application of the « surge » strategy decided by French President Emmanuel Macron, 120 bombs were dropped during Barkhane operation, using 3D means.

French Special Forces contribution

Mirage 2000D dropped about 70 ammunitions, and UAV Reapers about fifty. It is one of these bombs who « hit » the AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) Emir in june, as we detailled in our special edition about Barkhane operation published in July.

When he was questioned on 22 October on the results of air missions, General Stéphane Mille, deputy chief of Operations in Army Staff and former deputy head of Barkhane operation did not go into detail about 3D's contribution to ground operations. It is nevertheless clear that these strikes are the primary determinant of abrasion by armed terrorist groups, with a contribution also from special forces, the subject of a new special issue of Air & Cosmos (and a chapter in our special edition about Barkhane).

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