Naval Rafales Launch First Combat Mission over Libya

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Rafale F3 from the 12e naval aircraft squadron, flew today their first combat mission over Libya. The aircraft carried the RECO NG recce pod and MICA air/air missiles. Photo: French Navy.

On Tuesday morning of March 22, early morning, the French aircraft carrier launched its first mission supporting operation Hartmattan, as Squadron 12E launched two of its Rafale F3 fighters on a four hour combat recce mission over Libya, with the fighters carrying air/air missiles and RECO NG reconnaissance pods, able to transfer aerial imagery in real-time to the combat operations center on the ship.

Rafale F3 from the 12e naval aircraft squadron, flew today their first combat mission over Libya. The aircraft carried the RECO NG recce pod and MICA air/air missiles. Photo: French Navy.
Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, commander of Joint Task Force U.S. Odyssey Dawn, visited the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle upon arrival at the theater of operation Monday. Photo: EMA / French Navy

The French Naval contingent supporting operation the operation includes the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, two escort frigates, Dupleix and Aconite and two additional frigates already operating in theater – the Forbin and the Jean Bart.

Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, commander of Joint Task Force U.S. Odyssey Dawn, visited the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle upon arrival at the theater of operation Monday, March 21, Where he met Admiral Philip Coindreau, commander of Task Force 473 operating from the French carrier. Admiral Locklear directs is campaign from the U.S. command ship USS Mount Whitney operating off Libya.

The French Naval contingent supporting operation the operation with Task Force 473 includes the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, two escort frigates, Dupleix and Aconite and two additional frigates already operating in theater – the Forbin and the Jean Bart. Photo: EMA / Marine nationale