Five Rafales, one Atlantique 2 and one C-135 involved in France’s air strike in Syria

The French contingent has struck IS positions in Syria earlier today.

On Sept. 27, five Rafale jets, an Atlantique 2 and a C-135 tanker aircraft “launched by airbases located in Jordan and the Persian Gulf,” were involved in the first mission against an ISIS training camp in Syria as part of Operation Chammal.

Launched on Sept. 19, 2014, Chammal has seen a contingent counting now 12 tactical jets (six Rafale, three Mirage 2000D and three Mirage 2000N aircraft) and one Atlantique 2 MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft) take part in the air strikes (bombing targets and flying reconnaissance missions) against Islamic State positions in Iraq.

The first air strike in Syria was preceded by 12 ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) missions conducted from Sept. 8 to 24, that helped to identify targets of interest located in the regions controlled by the terrorist organization: a “self-assessment” capacity, as the French MoD dubbed it in an official statement released after the mission.

The air strike targeted a training camp located in the Euphrates valley, south of Deir Ez Zor: a “deliberate strike” on a target previously recognized and cross-checked with the help of the US-led coalition.

The mission lasted five hours (with a take off time at 06:30AM French time) and the target was successfully destroyed.

Image credit: French MoD


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a 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 five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. all those jets and 5 hours of flying just to destroy some insignificant camp. mosquito bites, as a Syrian man said.

    • Agreed, even if none can really tell how insignificant this camp was (our MoD doesn’t talk much about this strike), but so far better than nothing, don’t you think ?

      Also Syrian people can say whatever they like about the coalition’s air strikes, but they must admit first that their own air force is absolutely helpless against ISIS, they even lost a few jets to ground fire using dumb bombs / rockets during dive attacks. So they should be grateful to anyone (especially the US) who drops effective ordnance against ISIS.

      • I believe the air campaign is actually making them worse, as they are claiming to be fighting ‘crusaders’ to a stalemate, which is true, making them a more attractive group for prospective jihadis. They are also learning how to mix in with civilian targets to avoid the air strikes. Finally, the air strikes are also killing civilians which the coalition is trying to hide by manipulating the intel.

        As for the Syrian air force, they are too busy dropping barrel bombs on civilians. Fighting ISIS is not Assad’s priority, since ISIS is busy attacking the rebels, Assads main enemy.

  2. This is a direct Challenge to Russia. How close were they to the new Russian zone? France was not going in stealth and they could easily be seen by NO35 PESA radars of the Su-30SM if they were on patrol – they have up to 160km range from head on and that’s for tracking, they can scan 400km.
    How long before the first F22 or Rafale gets targeted and possibly shot down? Its going to get wicked after that.

    • Well, I don’t want to imagine what would happen then…

      Although I’m pretty sure if they flew five Rafale fighters for the strike, instead of the usual two or three, quite probably some of them were in air defense config, full of Micas, with no ground ammo, and fit with the AESA radar. Then it is the hostile SU-30M wich will statistically get shot down first in you scenarii.

      Not that it changes the end result though, so fingers crossed that we don’t get the answear…

    • there are Rules of Engagement – also USA/NATO/ Russia allies will not do that in front of a common enemy (see hitler) – syria is a welcome live-fire exercise for all air forces who can afford to send planes – also do not forget that even f-22 will get shot down by ISIS or FSA or go down by technical failure and the pilots will be brutally tortured and murdered… so proactive pilot rescue (forced recon) by the russian will be welcome by any pilot fighting ISIS

      also and i quote Starbuck here “did they not teach you interception protocol in flight school? look before you shoot” – any pilot violating RoE will have a fun time in stockade

    • Dreaming…Su-35 rcs is huge 4-5 m2 : it is gonnabe seen much sooner from rafale and furthermore su35 trun rate in supersonic is awful, like a sitting duck, not mentioning fuel consumption in supersonic…On the other side eurocanards are designed to fight exclusively in bvr at supersoni speeds: EF typhoon can sustain and keep a G6 CTR at mach1,6…Alla sukoys are very draggy and manouvrable just in subsonic: ancient era design dinosaurs..better even not to mention F22s…400kms scan of su35 is referred to boing 747 RCS figures…May be gonna detect a rafale in 120km +- distance; rafale gonna detect a 4-5 m2 plane 300kms far more or less, f22 can detect such a huge rcs plane in 500kms range more or less…Currant mechannicly radr of typhoon, the best in the world, can track an f22 probably 40km away, even if it seems that at langley, in jsut 1 occasion, it tracked th f22 80kms far…The new aesa radar for typhoon is beeing integrated during the next 2-3 years; russians ahave no AESA; full stop, and would be not very useful anyway in a plane with huge rcs and that cannot feffectively ifght in supersonic just like the old americans f15s…Russian are 30 yo behind; never gonna be able to catch up…Not mentioning maintenace and planned life of engines and airframes…Just to let you now, all russia mig 29 have been declared not operative by russian autorities in marc 2015 after 3 crashes in early 2015…

      • Don’t under estimate F15C with AIM120D. APG-63v3 radar is in an elite class, it does move in supersonic dogfights and its specialty is BVR – looking at the tables its toe to toe with Su series with the low speed won by Su. There is the more likely F15E confrontation with its APG-82v1 even making the odds even better.
        Have you seen the new 16 AIM 120D setup for the F15?
        Having played a lot of Command MANO I am surprised how many F15C and E go in and do the job when the F16 and F18 do not.
        Don’t forget its little friend the EF2000 w/ Meteor. That is just as lethal and even longer range than 120D.

    • he was probably doing ground intel, battle management, it can be used as a french equivalent to a US E-8C J-STAR,only it was designed for the Marine so its a bit less crowded in it.

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