Sunday, April 22, 2018

Publication in April 2018


This month, The Aviation Historian magazine published my story about the too short carreer of the Sepecat Jaguar within the Nigerian Air Force. In Air Forces Monthly, I started a new series of articles - in parallel of my regularly Flashpoints - investigating sub-Saharan Africa’s ‘small air forces’, defined as those with 30 or fewer airframes – and which don’t currently find themselves involved in combat operations. The first part concerns Benin, Ghana, Togo air forces.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 12-18 April


Following the admission of Field-Marshall Khalifa Haftar in a military hospital in Paris, his fate remained unclear as contradicting sources reported his death while his supporters denied it. Wednesday in the evening, French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said in a closed meeting for the French government that Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar was in good health after receiving treatment. The same day, the convoy of Marshall Haftar’s Chief of Staff - Abdul Razek al-Nadori - was hit by a VBIED as it was passing through Sidi Khalifah, north of Benghazi killing one and injuring two. Al-Nadori announced few days before the begining of the military operation to storm the city of Derna. 

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities

To access to the full PDF report (1,397 words, 9 pages), please contact Arnaud Delalande


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 5-11 April


Field-Marshall Khalifa Haftar was announced hospitalizing in Paris. In southern Libya, the LNA’s 6th Infantry Brigade declared a unilateral ceasefire. The Tebu Council of Elders said they had agreed to a ceasefire due to efforts made by Fezzan towns/villages Council of Elders throughout the previous week. Fighting intensified in eastern Libya between LNA and Derna Mujahideen Shura Council. LNA has sent reinforcements toward the city : the 106th, 128th, 155th, 166th Infantry Brigade and the Tariq Bin Ziyad Brigade were ordered to go in the area. A large number of tanks (including T-55s) and tank-transporters have been deployed for the "final" battle announced by the LNA for several days.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities

To access to the full PDF report (1,483 words, 12 pages), please contact Arnaud Delalande


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 29 March - 4 April


Reliable reports confirmed the collaboration between the two governments in the fighting against Chadian militia in southern Libyan. Fighting are still ongoing in Sebha between the 6th Infantry Brigade and Chadian militia. Tension increased in Tripoli when Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade and the 42nd Brigade clashed with the “Kanyat” 7th Infantry Brigade. President Council spokesman announced the launch of a military operation “Nation Storm” to pursue remnants of ISIS. An Islamic State SVBIED detonated at the eastern entrance of the city of Ajdabiya killing seven people and injuring nine.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities

To access to the full PDF report (2,014 words, 11 pages), please contact Arnaud Delalande


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 22-28 March


The ninth airstrike in Libya under Trump administration was performed last weekend by a US Air Force drone in Ubari killing at least two AQIM leaders including Musa Abu Dawud. The Libyan National Army continued to bring reinforcement in the Southern zone by airlifting troops and vehicles from Benina airbase toward Brak al-Shai airport. LNA Air Force maintained the pressure against Chadian armed groups by targeting their positions in the Sebha region. In Tripoli, some forces of the Zintani Brigades were deployed on the outskirts of Tripoli International Airport. In eastern region, Derna continued to suffer artillery shells bombardment.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities

To access to the full PDF report (1,635 words, 8 pages), please contact Arnaud Delalande


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 15-21 March


The Libyan National Army has launched its “law enforcement operations” in southern Libya by deploying reinforcement on the Brak al-Shati airbase. Shells continue to fall in several parts of the city of Sebha. In eastern of the country, LNA members suffered an attack by militants of the Derna Mujahideen Shoura Council (DMSC) which captured tanks and vehicles. Libyan coast guards rescued about 200 migrants while an incident occurred with a Spanish NGO ship which was rescuing 216 migrants in international waters. Coast guards also intercepted a Greek oil tanker with the flag of Togo which was carrying about 950,000 litres of fuel.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities

To access to the full PDF report (1,300 words, 7 pages), please contact Arnaud Delalande


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 8-14 March


The situation in the Sabha region is still unsafe. Heavy fighting are still ongoing between Tebu and Awlad Suliman militias. The Libyan National Army loyal to Field-Marshall Haftar uses Mi-35 helicopters to performed armed-reconnaissance mission over the city.  In the Ajdabiya area, Islamist State militants claimed an attack against a LNA checkpoint and fighting continued in the perimeter of the city of Derna. Off Tripoli, 575 refugees and migrants were rescued by Libyan Coast Guard vessels.

To access to the full PDF report (720 words, 5 pages), please contact Arnaud Delalande


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Four Years After an ISIS Massacre, the Iraqi Air Force Opens a New Academy

Cessna 172 Skyhawks and 208 Caravans used by U.S. Air Force and Iraqi air force instructor pilots to train Iraqi students seen at Kirkuk in July 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

On Feb. 21, 2018, the Iraqi government announced that the Iraqi air force had reopened its academy at Balad air base. U.S. Central Command announced that the Coalition Aviation Advisory and Training Team will help establish standardized training programs. Forty cadets will start their coursework in March 2018.

Before June 2014, the academy was located at Combat Outpost Speicher in Tikrit. Between June 11 and 14, Islamic State insurgents captured the outpost — and the academy — and killed no fewer than 1,500 Shia air force cadets. Cadet training transferred to Al Kut air base in 2015.

The recent history of Iraqi air force training is a complicated one. Iraqi pilot cadets have undergone instruction in Iraq with U.S. trainers, in Jordan and in Pakistan. The current reforms could bring student pilots home to Iraq.



Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Iraq’s Chinese-Made Killer Drones Are Actually Pretty Good


On Feb. 12th, 2018, the Iraqi ministry of defense released a video depicting its Chinese-made CH-4B armed unmanned aerial vehicles. The brief report underscores the type’s success in Iraqi service.

The video claims that the CH-4B drones have executed most of their attack and reconnaissance missions in northwest Iraq. Since their entry into operational service, they have performed no fewer than 260 air strikes against Islamic State targets, with a success rate close to 100 percent.

Iraq ordered its CH-4Bs from China in 2014, probably after the visit to Iraq by the Chinese foreign minister in February of that year. The CH-4 is inspired by the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator and is designed by China Aerospace Long March International.

Iraq’s Chinese-Made Killer Drones Are Actually Pretty Good - CH-4Bs have proved effective against Islamic State


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Egypt Launches a Major Offensive Against Islamic State


On Feb. 9, 2018, Egyptian army spokesman Col. Tamer El Refai announced that the Egyptian armed forces had launched the largest-ever offensive against Islamic terror groups in Sinai, the Nile Delta and the western desert close to the Libyan border.

The Egyptian air force quickly carried out around 30 air strikes south and west of the Rafah and Sheikh Zweid areas, as well as in northern and central Sinai. The day before the beginning of Operation Sinai 2018, Cairo ordered a state of emergency at hospitals in northwest Sinai. Security measures were in place at schools and government buildings.

This is not the first time that Egyptian government has announced a “final” operation against terrorists. The offensives have never yielded the results officials predict. On the contrary, terror attacks have increased in number and intensity.

Egypt Launches a Major Offensive Against Islamic State - Don't expect the terrorists to surrender



Friday, February 2, 2018

My publications in February 2018


In my regular column for Air Forces Monthly magazine - the Flashpoints - I talk about the modernization of the Malian Air Force in the February issue. I examine the slow but steady build-up of the Malian Air Force, which has overcome great odds to tackle both Tuareg rebels and al-Qaeda-linked militants.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

American Rushes to Help After a Storm Nearly Wipes Out the Chadian Air Force


On July 1, 2017, severe wind and heavy rain inflicted significant damage to a large number of Chadian air force aircraft stationed at N’Djamena air base. Three of the air force’s six Fennec helicopters and several hangars were seriously damaged or even totally destroyed.

Less severe damage was observed on at least one MiG-29, one PC-12 and two Su-25s that were struck by debris as hangars collapsed over them.

These losses represented a major blow to Chad’s campaign against the Boko Haram militant group. Recognizing this, the U.S. military rushed to help the Chadians rebuild.

American Rushes to Help After a Storm Nearly Wipes Out the Chadian Air Force - U.S. airmen build shelters, train Chadians on new planes


Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Libyan National Army Targets Sudanese and Chadian Militants

FACT fighters in Libya

Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, head of the Libyan National Army — a top contender for control of Libya — has launched a retaliatory offensive targeting Sudanese and Chadian militias in the war-torn country’s south.

Libya’s civil war grows only more complex.

On Jan. 15, 2018 near the Jaghboub Oasis, close to the Egyptian border in Libya’s northeast, Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement fighters killed six soldiers from the Libyan National Army’s 106th Infantry Brigade and the 501st Brigade. JEM captured one LNA soldier.

The 106th is a salafist Brigade led by Abdulrahman Hashim Al Kilani from the southern Kufrah region. The 501st Brigade is a small reconnaissance unit that is normally responsible for protecting and securing of Tobruk International Airport and Gamal Abdel Nasser air base.

Three days after the ambush, the LNA launched Operation Desert Fury. It began with air strikes targeting militia vehicles.

The Libyan National Army Targets Sudanese and Chadian Militants - Civil war gets more complicated


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

30 years ago, French and American Scooped Up Soviet Weapons in Chad


During the so-called Toyota War in 1987, forces loyal to Chadian president Hissene Habre fought the Libyan army … and won.

In early January 1987, Chadian troops carried out a devastating attack on the city of Fada, killing 784 Libyan troops and capturing six SF.260 light strike planes, one Mi-25 gunship, 13 T-55 tanks, 118 BMP-1 armored vehicles, one P-15/Flat Face radar and 81 soldiers. In addition, the Chadians shot down a Mi-25 on Jan. 4 and a MiG-23 on Jan. 5.

All that captured equipment represented a potential intelligence boon for the United States. As the fighting died down, the Pentagon went shopping in Chad.

The Pentagon Scooped Up Soviet Weapons in Chad in 1987 and ’88 - Libya left behind missiles, jets and helicopters


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.