On 8 April a French Air Force Mirage 2000D intervened in support of a company of the G5 Sahel joint force (FC-G5S) in Burkina Faso, helping repel an armed terrorist group being targeted by a Barkhane force patrol.
During a reconnaissance mission in the north of Burkina Faso, a company of the G5 Sahel force was in contact with an armed terrorist group. From the start of the confrontation, the unit made an air support request to the Joint Command Post (CCP) of the joint force of the G5 Sahel. At the operations centre in Niamey, the CCP took this request into account and coordinated with the Barkhane Force Joint Theatre Command Post (PCIAT), the French Ministry of Defence said.
In coordination with the Joint Force Air Command (JFAC) of Lyon, which provides operational command of the aircraft, a patrol of two Mirage 2000Ds was quickly redirected for a close air support mission for the benefit of the joint force company.
The first contact between the fighter pilot and the Advanced Tactical Air Lookout (GATA) made it possible to transmit the company’s position so that the patrol could better identify it from the air. “The GATA is generally doing the preparatory work for the French joint terminal attack controller (JTAC), qualified for guiding aircraft. It allows us to understand what is happening on the ground before we are even in the area. And if necessary, it designates the threat so that we intervene, in compliance with the rules of engagement of the force,” said Commander Pierre, pilot of one of the two Mirage 2000Ds.
Flying over the area, Pierre’s patrol then noted that the ground action by the company of the G5 Sahel force, combined with the presence of the aircraft, had enabled them to repel the armed terrorist groups. In liaison with the GATA, the patrol then carried out a securing of the zone to ensure the protection of the troops on the ground until their disengagement from the action zone, the French Ministry of Defence said.
Led by the French military in partnership with the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina-Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad), Operation Barkhane was launched on 1 August 2014. It brings together around 5 100 soldiers whose mission is to fight against terrorist groups and to support the armed forces of partner countries.