The Ecole de l'aviation légère de l'armée de terre is where future pilots learn to fly the EC665 Tigre attack helicopter, among others. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

France: Tigres and Atlas to Central Africa

The Ecole de l'aviation légère de l'armée de terre is where future pilots learn to fly the EC665 Tigre attack helicopter, among others. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Featured image: a French EC665 Tigre
(Image © Dennis Spronk
France sent two Eurocopter (Airbus Helicopters) EC 665 Tigre attack helicopters to the Central African Republic (CAR), in support of Operation Sangaris.

They join two Aérospatiale SA340 Gazelle scout and four SA330 Puma medium-lift helicopters already supporting 2,000 French ground forces that are in the CAR together with 6,700 troops of the international force MINUSCA.

The Tigres of the Aviation légère de l’armée de terre made their first operational flight on 26 November 2014. France predicts that the current politicization of the various armed groups might lead to new tensions in the area, which is the main reason to send the extra air-to-ground combat assets.

The deployed pair of EC665 Tigre attack helicopters in the air over the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)
The deployed pair of EC665 Tigre attack helicopters in the air over the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)

A400M
November saw also the first operational flight of the new Airbus A400M Atlas when it flew a supply mission to Bangui, marking the first landing of the type at this M’Poko International Airport on 7 November 2014. The tactical airlifter of the French Air Force’s Transport Squadron 1/61 Touraine made a 9:45 hour flight from French Air Force base (Base Aérienne (BA)) 123 d’Orléans to M’Poko airport to unload 7.4 tons of equipment for the Sangaris force. The crew of fourteen (pilots, mechanics and loadmasters) made a stop-over in N’Djamena before returning to Bangui.

Operation
Operation Sangaris started in December 2013 with the deployment of French troops to the international airport of Bangui, after the established government and capital came under direct threat of armed groups.

Source: Ministère de la Défense

7 november 2014 marked the first time an Airbus A400M Atlas landed on Bangui. The French Air Force machine flew in support of Operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)
7 november 2014 marked the first time an Airbus A400M Atlas landed on Bangui. The French Air Force machine flew in support of Operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)
7 november 2014 marked the first time an Airbus A400M Atlas landed on Bangui. The French Air Force machine flew in support of Operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)
7 november 2014 marked the first time an Airbus A400M Atlas landed on Bangui. The French Air Force machine flew in support of Operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)
7 november 2014 marked the first time an Airbus A400M Atlas landed on Bangui. The French Air Force machine flew in support of Operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)
7 november 2014 marked the first time an Airbus A400M Atlas landed on Bangui. The French Air Force machine flew in support of Operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)