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.
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.
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.