The taking of Tessalit airfield in Mali: air assault as seen from the camera of a Harfang drone

Early in the morning of Feb. 08, the French special forces parachuted into Tessalit, located about 30 miles from the Algerian border, in northern Mali.

Tessalit represents the northernmost location reached so far by the French troops involved in Operation Serval, particularly important for future operations against rebels positions in the Adrar region.

Harfang camera

The paratroopers seized the runway for the arrival of a C-160 Transall airlifter that carried special forces: 50 military of the 1er PCR (Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes – Parachute Chasseur Regiment) secured the airport and launched the first patrols to ensure control of the city.

The first contingent was later strenghtened by an armoured convoy of the 1er RIMA (Régiment d’Infanterie de Marine  – 1st Marine Infantry Regiment) that travelled for 500 kilometers to join the first elements in Tessalit.

The operation, supported by combat choppers and jets, was once again filmed by a Harfang drone involved in an ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) mission.

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About David Cenciotti 3777 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.