French Harfang UAVs fly 100 sorties over Mali


French Harfang unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have flown 100 sorties over Mali as part of Operation Serval, according to the French Air Force.

The 100th flight took place during the night of June 5-6. Deployed since January 17 in support of French operations in Mali, the Harfang detachment of UAV Squadron 1/33 “Belfort” has flown a total of more than 1 600 flight hours, both by day and at night. The squadron is based in Mali’s neighbour Niger.

Since the start of operations in Mali, Harfang drones have regularly engaged in operations supporting French ground forces, providing a substantial contribution to the collection of information and acquiring targets for French air force and navy aircraft.

The Harfang UAVs accompanied the French forces who liberated Douentza and supported Special Forces operations as well as airborne troops over Timbuktu. The aircraft has provided a decisive contribution to the troops engaged in the recapture of northern Mali, in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains.

The EADS Harfang (based on the IAI Heron) medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV has an endurance of over 20 hours – one flew for 26 hours between January 25 and 26. After Afghanistan and Libya, the Sahel desert is the third theatre to which the unarmed Harfang has been deployed.