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Operation Chammal: New Configurations for French Aircraft
French Air Force ^ | November 25, 2015

Posted on 11/25/2015 8:45:20 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki

In recent weeks, the French Air Force has significantly expanded the scope of its strike opportunities within Operation Chammal, its air strikes against Daesh.

On October 14, 2015, a Rafale for the first time dropped fired a BLU-126 bomb fitted with the Air-to-Ground Modular Weapon (AASM) with GPS / laser guidance. The introduction of this weapon into operational service was decided on October 1 by the air force command, in the wake of operational test and evaluation carried out by the program team at the air force’s Centre d’Expertise Aérienne Militaire (CEAM) trials unit at Mont-de-Marsan air base.

On October 5, an AASM weapon was loaded onto an operational aircraft for the first time.

Derived from the MK82 gravity bomb body, which also is used by the GBU-12, the BLU-126 is a 250 kg bomb fitted with a smaller explosive charge, reduced from 87 kg to only 13 kg. This reduces collateral damage, and makes the AASM particularly well-suited for use in urban areas, while maintaining accuracy.

In addition, the Mirage 2000N, which also are heavily engaged in Operation Chammal, have had their capacity of two GBU-12 doubled. These fighters are now able to carry up to four munitions of this type.

After making an initial sortie in this configuration on November 13, 2015, Mirage 2000N armed with four GBU-12s for the first time launched these weapons on November 15, during a raid over Raqqah in Syria.

Since the beginning of Operation Chammal on September 19, 2014, the aircraft of the French Air Force have carried out more than 300 airstrikes.

Chammal has deployed over 700 French soldiers. At the request of the Iraqi government, and in coordination with France's allies in the region, Operation Chammal aims to provide air support to Iraqi forces in fight against the Daech terrorist group.

France’s expeditionary force currently consists of twelve air force combat aircraft (six Rafales, three Mirage 2000Ds and three Mirage 2000Ns) and an Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft (used for ISR missions—Ed.)

It also includes soldiers deployed to Baghdad and Erbil for training and counseling of Iraqi soldiers. Since September 24, 2015, the anti-aircraft frigate Cassard joined the French forces, while the Carrier Battle Group (GAN) carried out its first mission in the Levant on November 23, 2015.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Syria
KEYWORDS: aerospace; france; gbu12; mirage2000

A French air force Mirage 2000N takes off on a strike mission from its advanced air base in Jordan. It has been modified to carry four GBU-12 laser-guided bombs, doubling its payload for close air support missions. (French AF photo)

1 posted on 11/25/2015 8:45:20 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

The “N” was for “nuclear”. A “D” is for “diverse”, aka multi-role, and could carry 10 of the GBU-12s...

2 posted on 11/25/2015 9:40:25 AM PST by Calvin Locke
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