Cool cockpit image of the Rafales at their petrol station in the skies above Iraq in September 2014 (Image © Armée de l'Air)

French fighters strike Iraq, Atlantique 2 into action

France has been quick in putting words into action. On the day that Airheadsfly.com reported the French president’s announcement of possible French bombing of so-called Islamic State forces (ISIS) in Iraq, the two Rafale fighters deployed initially for recon duties to the United Arab Emirates already executed their first air strike.

Paris confirmed on Friday 19 September that the Armée de l’Air (AdlA) Dassault Rafales dropped live ordnance on and destroyed a depot in the northeast of Iraq, near the city of Mosul. The French government said it will continue and possible increase the number of air strikes on terrorist group Daech (called ISIS or ISIL in other countries) over the coming days.

With this action France becomes the fifth nation – after Syria, Iraq, Iran and the USA – that actually have fired for real at ISIS positions with its combat aircraft. Australia might follow soon, as well as Belgium and the Netherlands.

Both Rafales used laser guided GBU-12s on the target, were refuelled in mid-air by the C135FR also flying from UAE’s Al Dhafra Airbase. A French Navy Breguet Atlantique 2 maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft made an assessment flight over the destroyed targets after the strike.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

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GBU-12 loaded French Rafales on their way to the target, image likely taken from the C135FR tanker that refuelled them (Image © Armée de l'Air)
GBU-12 loaded French Rafales on their way to the target, image likely taken from the C135FR tanker that refuelled them (Image © Armée de l’Air)
Cool cockpit image of the Rafales at their petrol station in the skies above Iraq in September 2014 (Image © Armée de l'Air)
Cool cockpit image of the Rafales at their petrol station in the skies above Iraq in September 2014
(Image © Armée de l’Air)
The French Navy Breguet Atlantique 2 performed after-strike assessment of the bombed target (Image © Armée de l'Air)
The French Navy Breguet Atlantique 2 performed after-strike assessment of the bombed target (Image © Armée de l’Air)
One of the two Rafales taking part in the first air strike on ISIS / Groupe Daech taxiing for take-off on Al Dhafra Airbase, United Arab Emirates (Image © Armée de l'Air)
One of the two Rafales taking part in the first air strike on ISIS / Groupe Daech taxiing for take-off on Al Dhafra Airbase, United Arab Emirates (Image © Armée de l’Air)