French Fennecs in Central African Republic complete 500th mission


French Air Force AS 555 Fennec helicopters in the Central African Republic have completed their 500th mission, having been deployed in the country since December 2013.

The French Ministry of Defence made the announcement on Wednesday. The 500th sortie took place on March 5 as part of a reconnaissance mission in the southwest of the country.

The French Air Force has maintained a Fennec detachment at M’Poko in the Central African Republic (CAR) since 7 December 2013, crewed by personnel from Escadrons de Hélicoptères 3/67 ‘Parisis’ and 5/67 ‘Alpes’. The helicopters are supported by mechanics from Aeronautical Technical Support Squadrons 2E/060 “Yvelines” and 2E/005 “Barronies”.

The Fennecs conduct daily intelligence and fire support missions for the Operation Sangaris force. They are supported by six Puma helicopters and four Gazelle light attack helicopters. Tiger helicopters have also been used in the Central African Republic – on January 29, Tigers destroyed several vehicles that were considered a threat in the town of N’Dele. They also attacked targets in Bria on February 10.

Launched in December 2013 by France, the Sangaris force aims to restore basic security in the Central African Republic and to facilitate the establishment of the United Nations-led MINUSCA force. France deployed some 2 000 troops in support of Sangaris. Around 8 500 troops form the MINUSCA force.