Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Early Lessons From France Mali's Action Emerge

A single round of small-arms fire hit French Army Lt. Damien Lame as he flew a helicopter over Mali Gazelle attack on the afternoon of January 11. The bullet severed artery in his leg year, and although he and his co-pilot the helicopter Brought back to base, the French Army Air Corps officer died from his wound.

Small-arms fire in the same actions forced the pilot of a second Gazelle to land the heavily damaged aircraft, a defense official said. A third back-up helicopter flying nearby with a rescue team picked up the crew and destroyed the downed helicopter.

French Forces Were ble to Quickly sponds to Islamist insurgents and Tuareg As They headed Toward Bamako in Mali Because strife-torn equipment Such as Gazelle helicopters was prepositioned in the region. Such light, simple and inexpensive equipment allows rapid intervention goal as the death of Boiteux and the loss of the second helicopter shows, there is a price to pay.

That's just one of the lessons to emerge in immediate days after the French President Fran├žois Hollande That gave the order unleashed French Air Force Mirages, Rafales and light attack helicopters against two columns of motorized vehicles and 200 rebel fighters headed 1.200 Toward the capital.

Besides by the pros and cons of light, simple kit, the past of fighting Few Days Have Shown That budget is still wracked France willing to project power, while prepositioned bases and reliable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) REMAIN crucial, analysts said.

Those themes are emerging as France draws up a white paper on defense and security, prepared for the new multiyear military budget and seeks to relaunch a European defense initiative as a counter to Spending cuts.

The Gazelle is an "old chopper" that lacks protection goal was France ble to launch into the work force so Quickly Because Have Such light, "rustic" equipment, Said Etienne de Durand, director of security studies at the French Institute think tank Relations international.

This shows the advantage of keeping kinds of platforms thesis Rather Than Relying totally on modern, sophisticated equipment, Which is expensive, Heavier and difficulty to deploy, he said.

France and other nations must Maintain ranks of equipment has to face not just aim symmetrical asymmetrical terrorism threats, rebel fighters Such as in pickup trucks, experts said. That simplicity of equipment is linked to quantity.

"You need numbers - troops, planes and equipment," Durand said. A large number of troops is required, you need to be Rotated units, aircraft and equipment while in aussi numbers are needed, not just a FEW high-tech units.

Credit SIRPA Earth ADC JC Thorel

To boost striking power, France is rushing to Mali the Tiger attack helicopter, Which armor on the sides caries and cockpit floor, and a 30mm cannon in a turret, a source familiar with the circumstances said.

"The Tiger is engaged," Army Col.. Told journalists Thierry Burkhard January 18. An air mobility unit of around 15 helicopters for maneuver, support and logistics will be Formed in Mali, he said.

The Gazelle HAS fixed 20mm cannon, requiring the helicopter to be lined up with the threat Directly to fire, Whereas the Tiger can fly in parallel, with crew icts protected by the armored side, and fire from the rotating turret under the cockpit.

Along the ranks of the Tiger's gun cuts the risk from AK-47s and light machine guns.

The Army is expected to send more than the five Tigers Deployed in Afghanistan and as Quickly as possible.

Power Projection

The Mali campaign, dubbed operation Serval, aussi shows the need for prepositioned bases in Africa, Durand said. They cost A Few Hundreds of millions of dollars and require a small number of troops, aim faster and cheaper They are huge fleets than of C-17 and A400M transport, an airport or Securing and starting from scratch.

Following the British military withdrawal "east of Suez" in 1968, France is the only European country with a network of bases in Africa, in icts form colonies, and there is talk of drawing down thesis facilities.

The work shows Mali and France is ready to project military power willing in a post-Afghanistan environment in Which people are averse to overseas operations.

"The truth is there will be more and more of 'em," Said Luke Viellard, a director at consultancy Co. EUROPEAN Strategic Intelligence. They aim will be - and must be - short-term Rather than long, drawn out engagements.

In Mali, France Could not "lead from behind," limiting role to icts Providing logistics, intelligence, training and mentoring for supporting African troops, he said. French troops are fighting in the front line, while European and American allies are Restricting to help logistics and intelligence gathering.

Paris' reliance on partners comes as NATO and the EU are looking to pool defense capabilities as a way of coping with the financial crisis besetting Western economies.

The gaps in capabilities - aerial refueling, transport, intelligence gathering - Were highlighted in the Libya air campaign, led by Britain and France.

There's a real question Whether there will be guaranteed access to assets Such as air-to-air refueling and transport aircraft under the pooling and sharing policy Proposed by the European Defence Agency, Said Camille Grand, director of think tank Foundation for Strategic Research. His question: Can Have Confidence Their European countries will step forward partners in times of crisis?

France was drawn HAS series of ad hoc arrangements with America and European allies, Rather Than the European Air Transport Command at Eindhoven, the Netherlands, Grand said.

Countries Including Britain, Belgium, Canada and Denmark Have Pledged transportation planes to help France. Germany is not helping France aim Said It Would Directly send two C-160S to airlift troops from African to Planned 3,000-strong military mission is to bracket the Malian government.

Durand Said the lesson from Mali is: Do not rush into multilateral arrangements, pooling and sharing purpose AVOID Whenever it restricts a capability to act quickly. In a crisis, there is little time.

"The aim shoulds be to leverage European cooperation to Increase defense capabilities - in other words, more capabilities for more Europe, not the other way round," Durand said.

The defense white paper, Currently Being written, was looking at big cuts in defense Recommending Spending. Mali is a warning to limit Those reductions, Durand said.

SRI Needs

The Mali shows the Action aussi importance of intelligence gathering capabilities.

"They are a real strength increase," Viellard said. "They allow the planners to decide where, how, what volume of intervention."


Over the Sahara, France Operates year military satellite optical imagery system for Air Force jets with reconnaissance pods and the French Navy's Atlantic 2 (ATL-2), a twin-engine aircraft designed for maritime patrol used as year goal SRI system. Snowy medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV systems are to be Deployed aussi soon, Viellard said.

Purpose this is not enough, and planners need a Sustained presence over the area. Because of Budgetary pressure, low-cost solutions Have to be regarded.

"The ATL-2 year as ISR platform used in Mali is a stopgap solution. They are good aircraft, and some of 'em are now equipped with a new turret monitor, but new-generation equipment is needed, "Viellard said.

One Possibility is a system of roll-on, roll-off sensor pallets of equipment for transport aircraft Such as C-130, C-160 Transall or A400M.

The 2008 white paper on defense and security Pointed up the significance of anticipation and intelligence gathering. "We need to continue. Mali shows efforts needs to be annually made, "Viellard said.

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