The French armed forces are keeping up their combined force fighting the so-called Islamic State rebels in Iraq (and Syria), called group Daech in French.
During the last week of January the French Air Force rotated three of its nine Rafale fighter jets at Al Dhafra Airbase in the United Arab Emirates. During their six-hour non-stop flight the planes from squadron 1/7 “Provence” from Base Aerienne 118 Mont-de-Marsan (1 jet) and 2/30 “Normandie-Niemen” (2 jets) were accompoanied by a Boeing C-135FR from 2/91 “Bretagne” from BA125 Istres. The tanker refuelled the jets three times during the flight. The Rafales relief the triplet sent as reinforcement on 5 October.
Nine Rafales, six Mirage 2000D (based in Jordan), a C-135FR and a Aéronaval Dassault Atlantique 2 are deployed to the Gulf region. Moreover the French Navy air-defence frigate Jean Bart is deployed with the USS Carl Vinson Carrier Battle Group in the Persian Gulf. Six hundred French military personnel are engaged in what the French call Operation Chammal, but the Americans have named Inherent Resolve. The French launched their ops on 19 September 2014, upon request by the Iraqi government.
Source: Ministère de la Défense
Featured images (top): One of the Rafales sent to the UAE on the latest rotation of Operation Chammal (Image © Ministère de la Défense). The pilot’s face has been made unrecognizable by the French Air Force to protect his identity.