France escalates war in Africa: Mirage 2000D bombers hit targets in North Mali

Jan 12 2013 - 9 Comments

Operation Serval: this is the name of the French operation in Mali.

Launched on Jan. 11, 2013, at the request of the Malian authorities and the United Nations, the French operation kicked off with a raid performed by attack helicopters to stop the progression of a column of jihadist elements enroute to Konna, near Mopti in the center of the country.

According to the French MoD, that on Jan. 12 released the first official information about the French activities in Africa, this first action was led by Gazelle helicopters with the 4ème Régiment d’Hélicoptères des Forces spéciales (RHFS), armed with HOT missiles and 20 mm caliber guns and allowed the destruction of four vehicles and led to the withdrawal of the column.

Gazelle

Image credit: French MoD

During the raid, one of the choppers was hit and a French pilot was deadly wounded by small arms fire and died at a local hospital.

However, the air campaign to support the Malian army did not only involve light attack choppers.

On the night between January 11 and 12, four Mirage 2000D jets of the Epervier group, conducted air strikes in the north of the country. The attack planes took off from N’Djamena, in Chad, and were supported by two tankers C135.

Currently two Mirage F1 CRs, six Mirage 2000Ds, three C135 tankers, one C130 and one C160 Transall are deployed to N’Djamena. Rafale multirole fighters are on heightened alert status and ready to deploy, should the need arise. Tigre helicopters are being deployed to Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso.

About 200 soldiers belonging to the ground component of the Epervier have reached the Malian capital, Bamako, by means of C-13o Hercules and C-160 Transall airlifters.

As a consequence of the air campaign in Mali, France has upped the terror threat level for its citizens worldwide.

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  • Yannick

    “one of the pilots was deadly wounded” – speak english, was the pilot killed?

    • elportonative77

      Yes, he was.

    • ecb97068

      Oh c’mon, David’s native language is not English. Give him a break.

      • cencio4

        Thanks,
        I actually thought that a deadly wound would lead to death….anyway, to prevent further confusion, I have added that “he died at a local hospital”.

        • http://twitter.com/TimmyC62 Timothy Choi

          For future reference, you can use the term “fatally wounded” to refer to death resulting from a wound.

  • Snail eater

    Vive la France! Go get them boys. It looks like a major intervention…

  • marc aussure

    I m a little confused as to how small arms fire (presumably 7.62 either from an ak or a pkm) managed to wound the pilot…Even if Gazelles a little helicopter aren’t they somewhat armoured (yet again sorry in advance if the question is in face the dumbest of 2013)

    • cencio4

      Even armored helos are vulnerable to bullets penetrating the cockpit through the observation windows. For instance Huey pilots in Vietnam put helmets on the small observation windows in the rudders area

  • Alan Drabke

    Is this a religious war? You describe the rebels as- ‘Jihadists’. Are the rebels followers of Islam attacking Christians? Is this a Muslim against Muslim war?