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  • French Numbers from Libya
    Posted by Christina Mackenzie 5:50 PM on Nov 03, 2011

    The French Defense Ministry today issued some figures from what the French had codenamed “Opération Harmattan” in Libya.

    Involved in the Libyan mission were five Rafales and one Harfang unmanned air vehicle based at the Sigonella air base in Sicily, and, based at La Sude air base in Crete, six Mirage 2000-Ds, four Mirage 2000-Ns, four Mirage F1 CRs, an E-3F (AWACS) and a C-135 tanker aircraft.

    blog post photo


    Photo credit: French MoD

    The aircraft flew a total of 27,000 flight hours in 5,600 sorties. These were broken down into:

    • 3,100 offensive sorties

    • 1,200 reconnaissance sorties

    • 400 air defense sorties

    • 340 airspace control sorties

    • 580 refuelling sorties

    These sorties accounted for 25% of the coalition sorties, 35% of the offensive missions and 20% of the strikes -- including the one which led to Colonel Muammar Gadaffi's death on Oct. 20.

    About 4,200 men and women from the air force, navy and army were involved.

    At sea one tanker vessel, three frigates and one nuclear-powered attack submarine accompanied the BPC Mistral class multimission vessel and its air mobility group (18 helicopters).

    These helicopters accounted for 90% of the coalition strikes. They undertook about 40 raids during which 450 targets were destroyed. The French helicopter strike group always included 2 Tigers and then a combination of six to eight other helicopters chosen from the four Pumas, eight Hot Gazelles, two Canon Gazelles and two Mistral Gazelles.

    These helicopter figures prompt the question: where were the British helicopters?

    Tags: ar99, France, Libya

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