Thursday, January 18, 2018

My publications in January 2018

To get off to a good start this year 2018, two of my stories are published in January issues of "Defense et Securite Internationale" (No.133) and "The Aviation Historian" (No.22). The first analyzes the involvement of Nigerian and Chadian air forces in the fight against Boko Haram since 2011. The second tells the epic story of the Gabonese Presidential Guard squadron in which flew several former pilots of the French Air Force especially on the famous Douglas AD-4 Skyraider.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Nigeria and Allies Launch a Major Attack on Boko Haram

On Jan. 14, 2018, Boko Haram – an Islamist group from northeast Nigeria led by jihadist leader Abubakar Shekau – released a video depicting the remains of a Nigerian air force Mi-171 helicopter the group claimed it shot down.

The alleged shoot-down occurred amid an intensive new offensive targeting the group. On Jan. 8, Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon launched an operation aimed at two Boko Haram factions in the group’s Nigeria stronghold. The day the operation began, another Mi-17 crashed during a mission in northeast Nigeria.

Nigeria has battled Boko Haram since 2011. Cameroon, too, has fought the group for years. In mid-January 2015, the Chadian National Assembly approved Pres. Idris Déby’s request to deploy soldiers to support Cameroon.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A U.S. Air Force C-141 Almost Got Itself Shot Down Over Chad

During France’s intervention in the Chad-Libya war in 1987, the French restricted air traffic over Chad. No aerial traffic was allowed in an area that extended from the 16th parallel to the outskirts of the capital N’Djamena.

Civilian pilots didn’t always respect these air-traffic measures, especially as civil flights that sought to save fuel by cutting through the forbidden zone.

It was dangerous air space. Over the summer of 1987, Libyan Tu-22s and Il-76 cargo planes acting as bombers struck several towns near the 16th parallel, in particular Faya-Largeau. The Il-76s dropped dozens of pallets of bombs on a palm grove near the town, killing several local people.

On Sept. 7, 1987, French troops fired a HAWK missile and shot down a Libyan Tu-22 bomber over N’Djamena. Two days later, an unknown aircraft flew over Chad toward the capital. It was flying at subsonic speed and not responding to radio calls.

A U.S. Air Force C-141 Almost Got Itself Shot Down Over Chad - 1987 was a stressful year over Central Africa

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

What did the French shoot down over Chad in July 1988 ?

After years of conflict, on Sept. 10, 1987, Chad and Libya agreed to a ceasefire the next day at noon. However, Libyan air patrols continued. Indeed, Muammar Gaddafi seemed to believe any military action short of an actual attack was acceptable.

Not coincidentally, in October the United States handed over the first Stinger missiles to the armed forces of Chad. On Oct. 8, the Chadians shot down a Libyan Su-22 and a MiG-23.

In March 1988, French forces in Chad were on alert. Intelligence had warned of  significant troop movements in southern Libya. France added defenses to air bases at Timou, Tanoua and Maaten-es-Sara to make them less vulnerable to Chadian raids.

But the Libyans didn’t attack.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

French Fighter Jets Spent 1986 and ’87 Chasing Libyans Over Chad

In mid-February 1986, French forces launched Operation Épervier — France’s intervention in the Libya-Chad war. The French air force deployed to Chad’s capital N’Djamena around a dozen Jaguar A fighter-bombers and up to six Mirage F.1C interceptors from various units along with a few Mirage F.1CR tactical reconnaissance fighters.

The warplanes spent months chasing away Libyan planes and, more than once, came close to shooting them down.

French Fighters Spent 1986 and ’87 Chasing Libyans Over Chad - Lots of intercepts, no shoot-downs

In 1986, French Troops in Chad Faced Mysterious Attackers

On its arrival in Chad as part of Operation Épervier, France’s intervention in the Chad-Libya war, the French military set up a radar center in the town of Moussoro, north of the capital N’Djamena starting in mid-February 1986.

The radar would become the apparent target of a mysterious raiding force … and the object of a determined French defense.

The 120-mile range SNERI Centaure radar was operated by the air force and protected by infantry from the 2e REI marine infantry regiment plus a Stinger surface-to-air missile team from the 1e REI.

In 1986, French Troops in Chad Faced Mysterious Attackers - Who were the ghosts of Moussoro ?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

My publications for December 2017

This month, in the latest issue of the "Avions de Combat" magazine, I am pleased to sign an article about the Battle of Fallujah, an Iraqi city that could not have been liberated without the air support of the coalition, particularly the Royal Air Force, which had already been widely engaged in the battle of Ramadi. In issue 358 of "Air Forces Monthly", my usual "Flashpoint" is dedicated to the Battle of Marawi. I look at the development of the Philippine Air Force’s offensive capabilities and how these were put to use in the recently concluded campaign to liberate the city.

Ce mois-ci, dans le dernier numéro du magazine "Avions de combat", je suis heureux de signer un article sur la bataille de Fallouja, une ville irakienne qui n'aurait pu être libérée sans le soutien aérien de la coalition, en particulier la Royal Air Force, qui avait déjà été largement engagée dans la bataille de Ramadi. Dans le numéro 358 de "Air Forces Monthly", mon "Flashpoint" habituel est dédié à la Bataille de Marawi. Je me penche sur le développement des capacités offensives de l'armée de l'air philippine et comment elles ont été utilisées dans la campagne récemment terminée pour libérer la ville.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The UAE Is Getting Ready to Deploy Jets to the Libya War

New satellite imagery from Terra Server — dated Sept. 24 and Nov. 10, 2017 — show accelerating construction on Al Khadim air base in eastern Libya.

And that’s strong evidence that the United Arab Emirates is preparing to intervene even more in the grinding Libyan civil war. The imagery of Al Khadim, located in Al Marj province, depicts a new large parking area and aircraft shelters that could accommodate jet fighters.

The UAE Is Getting Ready to Deploy Jets to the Libya War - Base construction hints at air-war escalation

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

LIBYE – Risques de conflagration dans le Croissant pétrolier

Malgré l’expulsion de l’État islamique (EI) en Libye de Syrte et Benghazi en 2016 déjà, le groupe terroriste a commencé à se réorganiser et a pu attaquer à la fois l’Armée nationale libyenne (ANL – fidèle à l’homme fort de l’est du pays, le maréchal Khalifa Haftar, qui règne à Benghazi) et les milices de Misrata. En mai 2017, le groupe a pris pour cible un convoi appartenant à la Troisième Force de Misrata (une milice controversée soupçonnée de crimes de guerre lors du « massacre de Brak al-Shati », base aérienne du sud-libyen où, le 18 mai 2017, la Troisième Force tua 134 personnes dans les rangs de l’ANL et parmi les civils, plusieurs militaires ayant été tout simplement exécutés).

LIBYE – Risques de conflagration dans le Croissant pétrolier

Despite the expulsion of the Islamic State (IS) in Libya from Sirte and Benghazi the past year, the group started to reorganize and was able to attack both Libya National Army and Misrata militias. In May 2017, the terrorist group targeted a convoy belonging to the Misrata Third Force, a controversial militia suspected of war crimes in the so-called “Brak al-Shati massacre” the same month by killing 134 people in LNA ranks, and among civilians some of them simply executed.

LIBYA – Risks of a conflagration in the Oil Crescent

Sunday, November 26, 2017

ISIS Exploits Local Conflict and Moves Back Into Libya

After local forces booted the Libyan branch of Islamic State from Sirte and Benghazi in 2016 and 2017, the terror group reorganized and launched counterattacks targeting both the Libyan National Army and that regime’s rival, the Government of National Accord and associated Misrata militias.

But ISIS’s survival in the region has not motivated the competing regimes in Libya to set aside their differences. An already complex conflict could grow more complex as ISIS again mobilizes in a war-torn country that hasn’t had a single national government since 2011.

ISIS Exploits Local Conflict and Moves Back Into Libya - Rival regimes are too busy fighting each other to oppose the militants

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

One of the first African Mirage 5 pilots made his ultimate flight

Famous Congolese pilot Col. Jean Louis M’pele M’pele (on the left on the photo above), who flew for the Zairian air force, passed away on Nov. 12, 2017. M’pele was one of the first African pilots to fly the French-made Dassault Mirage 5.

Zaire, now called Democratic Republic of Congo, was only the second country in Africa – after South Africa with the Mirage III – to purchase the Dassault delta-wing fighter jet. But the Mach-two plane wasn’t well-suited to the Central African theater and its weather, and never really met Zaire’s needs.

Friday, November 17, 2017

My publication in November 2017

Ce mois-ci, je contribue au n°132 du magazine "Défense & Sécurité International" avec une analyse sur le bilan et les effets de la campagne aérienne de la coalition arabe au Yémen. Il fait suite à un premier article publié dans le n° 119 de Novembre 2015 qui présentait un état des lieux des opérations après six mois de campagne.

This month, I have contributed to Issue No. 132 of "Défense & Sécurité International" magazine with an analysis of the results and effects of the aérial campaign of the Arab coalition in Yemen. It follows a first article published in Issue No. 119 of November 2015 which presented an inventory of the coalition operations after six months of campaign.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New massacre in Libya raises tension between Libyan factions

On Nov. 10, 2017, 28 people were found shot dead southwest of the Libyan capital in Wershafana area. Among the victims were soldiers from the Libyan National Army, one of the main regimes competing for power in the country.

The National Human Rights Commission in Libya called on the Libyan authorities to investigate the massacre. The commission claimed the killings occurred after troops from the Government of National Accord — the LNA’s rival — stormed the Wershafana area.

Some of the bodies reportedly showed signs of torture.

Rival Libyan Regimes Are Busy Slaughtering Each Other - More evidence of mass-killings

Chinese made laser guided artillery shell used in Libya

On Nov. 5, 2017, the website Libya Times published on social media photos of the remnants of an unexploded guided artillery projectile, but misidentified it as a U.S.-made Excalibur.

War Is Boring identified the munition as a Chinese GP1 guided 155-millimeter artillery munition — a licensed copy of the Russian 30F39 Krasnopol guided shell.

Libya Times reported that the shell was fired on Nov. 1 near Wearshafana, on the outskirts of Tripoli, by forces loyal to Osama Al Juwaili as they attacked the Fourth Brigade led by Brig. Bashir Najih.

Somebody’s Popping Off Laser-Guided Shells in Libya

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Iraqi 9th Fighter Squadron has now 21 F-16C/Ds in its fleet

On November 2nd, 2017, Iraqi Air Force's 9th Fighter Squadron took delivery of a new batch of three F-16Cs increasing to twenty one the total of Vipers in service on Iraqi territory. The first four F-16C/Ds arrived in Iraq on July 13th, 2015. Four days before, two single-seater (serial numbers 1607 and 1610), and two two-seaters (serial numbers 1601 and 1604) took off from Tucson and landed at Lajes in the Azores the same day. They landed at Balad AB on July 13th where they joined the new 9th Fighter Squadron. Two months later, they carried out their first combat missions against Islamic State militants. Twenty one aircraft is now enough to sustain intensive operations against ISIS.