French jets strike ISIS targets in Mosul, Iraq

French Rafale jet fighters struck a suspected Islamic State target in Iraq for the first time yesterday, (Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 09:40 ET) expanding a U.S.-led military campaign against ISIS. The French Rafales hit "a logistics depot of the terrorists" near the city of Mosul.

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First French strikes against ISIS in Iraq. French Rafale jet fighters struck ISIS targets near Mosul for the first time yesterday, September 19, 2014. Photo: French MOD SIRPA
Two Rafales return from the strike mission at Mosul, 19 September 2014. Note the two missing bombs on each of the fighters. Photo: French Air Force, SIRPA AIR
Two Rafales return from the strike mission at Mosul, 19 September 2014. Note the two missing bombs on each of the fighters. Photo: French Air Force, SIRPA AIR

French Rafale jet fighters struck a suspected Islamic State target in Iraq for the first time yesterday, (Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 09:40 ET) expanding a U.S.-led military campaign against ISIS. The French Rafales hit “a logistics depot of the terrorists” near the city of Mosul. The mission lasted five hours, and included three aerial refuelling from KC-135 FR tankers.

First French strikes against ISIS in Iraq. French Rafale jet fighters struck ISIS targets near Mosul for the first time yesterday, September 19, 2014. Photo: French MOD SIRPA
First French strikes against ISIS in Iraq. French Rafale jet fighters struck ISIS targets near Mosul for the first time yesterday, September 19, 2014. Four air strikes were carried out in the space of 18 minutes, destroying a storage facility containing vehicles, arms and fuel. Photo: French MOD SIRPA

A previous mission which took place earlier last week involved The mission involve two Dassault Rafale fighter jets from No 3/30 squadron “Lorrain”, flying intelligence gathering missions carrying the RecoNG recce pod.

Rafale carrying RECO-NG reconnaissance pod on a mission over Iraq, 2014 Photo: French Air Force SIRPA
Rafale carrying RECO-NG reconnaissance pod on a mission over Iraq, 2014 Photo: French Air Force SIRPA

French Navy Atlantique 2 maritime patrol and Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft that was assigned to patrols over the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean was also diverted to carry out intelligence gathering missions over Northern Iraq. The aircraft carried out 10 hour patrols last week and also supported the French Air Force air attack on Friday.

Yesterday’s mission also involved two Rafales, each carrying GBU-12 laser guided bombs, a Boeing KC-135 aerial refuelling plane and a Dassault Atlantique 2 Naval reconnaissance plane, which provided  electronic surveillance support for the strike force. The French air an naval contingent operating over Iraq is currently operating from the UAE air base of Al Dhafra.

On Saturday, French Rafales resumed operations under operation Chammal, flying two-hour air strike readiness mission over the Baghdad area. On those sorties the Rafales flew “dynamic targeting” missions, standing by to deliver strikes in case of identification of targets of opportunity on the ground or calls for close air support by Iraqi ground troops. However, no such calls were required. The management and control of those missions were provided by the Coalition Air Operations Center (CAOC) in El Udeid air base Qatar.

The French Rafales performed the strike with GBU-12 laser guided, marking their targets with Damocles targeting pods. Photo: French Air Force, SIRPA
The French Rafales performed the strike each loaded with GBU-12 laser guided bombs, marking their targets with Damocles targeting pods. Photo: French Air Force, SIRPA
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GBU-12 laser guided bombs loaded on a Rafale jet fighter. Photo: French Air Force, SIRPA
A French Navy Atlantique 2 maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft participated in the recent strikes, providing intelligence support and battle damage assessment. Photo: French MOD, SIRPA
A French Navy Atlantique 2 maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft participated in the recent strikes, providing intelligence support and battle damage assessment. Photo: French MOD, SIRPA