Overblog Suivre ce blog
Editer l'article Administration Créer mon blog
28 février 2015 6 28 /02 /février /2015 16:30
Anti-IS mission puts hardened French pilot on new flight path (25 Feb.)

 

Feb 25, 2015 By Valérie Leroux Aboard The Charles De Gaulle (AFP)

 

After having flown missions over Afghanistan and Libya, French Rafale fighter pilot "Sharpy" now faces fresh challenges on his new assignment against the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq.

 

"We are well-trained, we know all the procedures but you still need to get used to the territory," he said after landing his fighter on the carrier Charles de Gaulle following a nighttime sortie.

 

French warplanes have formed part of the US-led coalition carrying out raids against IS jihadists in Iraq for several months.

 

As in Afghanistan, the enemy is extremely mobile and often elusive.

 

IS fighters embed in towns among the general population, complicating air strikes and attempts by Iraqi forces to retake territory seized by the extremists.

 

But unlike in previous conflicts, where air power supported an extensive troop presence, "we have very few people on the ground" in Iraq, Sharpy said.

 

"The planes have a role to play in identifying how the enemy moves, changes position. It's really another way of waging war."

 

After takeoff from the Charles de Gaulle, stationed in the Gulf, the Rafale and Super Entendard attack planes fly northwest, conducting sorties over jihadist strongholds, including Tikrit and Mosul.

 

After refuelling from coalition supply planes, the jets spend several hours in and around their operation zone where they mainly conduct aerial reconnaissance.

 

The planes photograph potential future coalition targets and assist Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga forces below with real-time intelligence on IS positions.

 

"With our means of reconnaissance, including models of infrared video cameras, we can see personnel and vehicle movements and give (allies) a better idea of what is happening on the ground," Sharpy said.

 

The pilot said the hardest part was when the jets engage the enemy. "You need to respond quickly and possibly drop a bomb or fire your guns. It is stressful," Sharpy said.

 

- 'Milliseconds from disaster' -

 

Concentration is paramount and even though each flight can last several hours, the pilots cannot afford to switch off for a second.

 

"The adrenaline is pretty concentrated, that keeps you going," according to Sharpy. "There are times during the flight when you can relax a little and that is when the fatigue creeps in."

 

Yet those on mission must keep their guard up, even after the enemy has withdrawn.

 

There is a long series of checklists to complete, and they must maintain regular radio contact in airspace that can grow congested with coalition planes.

 

After up to six hours of solid flying, the pilots need to be especially focused as they come in to land.

 

Although it is one of the biggest aircraft carriers on earth, landing a supersonic jet on the Charles de Gaulle can prove challenging.

 

"You're only milliseconds from disaster," Sharpy said.

 

Even with their wheels down, the coalition pilots also face danger on the ground.

 

The burning to death of captured Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh in a gruesome IS video released last month drove home for Sharpy and his colleagues how the airmen are always in the enemy's firing line.

 

He gave the interview with his face covered, part of the French military's strict policy of anonymity for its servicemen since January attacks by Islamist gunmen in Paris that killed 17 people.

 

Seeing "such abuses inevitably has a psychological effect," Sharpy admitted.

 

"Many pilots ask themselves: 'What happens if I fall into the hands of IS?'"

 

"But this has also increased our determination. Fighting an enemy that is capable of such terrible acts is obviously a great source of motivation for pilots."

Partager cet article

Repost 0

commentaires

Présentation

  • : RP Defense
  • RP Defense
  • : Web review defence industry - Revue du web industrie de défense - company information - news in France, Europe and elsewhere ...
  • Contact

Recherche

Articles Récents

  • News review for Industry - European Defence Agency
    source European Defence Agency If you want to subscribe to the News Review, or if you want to stop receiving the News review: News4Ind@eda.europa.eu News of the News EDA Study on the Impact of REACH & CLP European Chemical Regulations on the Defence Sector:...
  • Chronique culturelle - 13 Février 2017
    13 février 1960 explosion de la première bombe atomique française 13.02.2017 source JFP 13 février 1692 : massacre du clan Mac Donald dans la Glencoe (Ecosse).Le protestant Guillaume d’Orange ayant mis en fuite le catholique Jacques II, les chefs de clans...
  • Le PGHM et le GAM s’entraînent ensemble au secours en montagne
    Equipement de passage en neige - photo GAM Armée de Terre 07.02.2016 source 27e BIM Le lundi 13 février 2017 se déroulera un entraînement conjoint entre le peloton de gendarmerie de haute montagne (PGHM) et le groupement d’aguerrissement montagne (GAM)...
  • ITW SDBR : général Vincent Desportes, Professeur des Universités associé à Sciences Po Paris, Ancien directeur de l’Ecole de Guerre
    23.01.2017 par Alain Establier - SECURITY DEFENSE Business Review N°164 SDBR : Quel regard portez-vous sur la Défense de la France ? Vincent Desportes* : A l'issue de cette mandature, nous voyons un empilement d'actions réactives, à vocations plus politiciennes...
  • Chronique culturelle 9 Janvier
    Hussards du régiment de Bercheny en 1776 09.01.2017 source JFP 9 janvier 1778 : mort du créateur des régiments de Hussards (Luzancy – près de Meaux). Emigré hongrois et excellent capitaine au service de la France, Ladislas Ignace de Bercheny , obtient...
  • Chronique culturelle 04 Jan.
    Insigne général des Troupes de Forteresse de la Ligne Maginot 04.01.2016 source JFP 4 janvier 1894 : signature de l’alliance franco-russe. Préparée par de nombreuses activités bilatérales dans les années précédentes, une convention militaire secrète est...
  • Chronique culturelle 03 Jan.
    Napoléon en Egypte par Jean-Léon Gérome 03.01.2017 source JFP 3 janvier : Sainte Geneviève, patronne de la gendarmerie. Issue de la noblesse gallo-romaine du IVe siècle, elle convainc les habitants de Lutèce de ne pas livrer leur ville à Attila, roi des...
  • Au Levant, contre Daech avec les Forces Spéciales
    photo Thomas Goisque www.thomasgoisque-photo.com Depuis plus de deux ans, les hommes du C.O.S (Commandement des Opérations Spéciales) sont déployés au Levant et mènent, en toute discrétion, des opérations contre l’Etat islamisque.Au nord de l’Irak, ils...
  • Les blessés en Opérations extérieures ne prennent pas de vacances !
    Source CTSA Pendant la période des fêtes de fin d'années, le nombre de donneurs diminue dangereusement. Le site de Clamart du Centre de transfusion sanguine des armées (CTSA) invite fortement les donneurs des communes proches à profiter des vacances de...
  • Interview SDBR de Gaël-Georges Moullec, Historien
    photo SDBR 20.12.2016 par Alain Establier - « SECURITY DEFENSE Business Review » n°162 SDBR: Comment va la Russie aujourd’hui? Gaël-Georges Moullec * : Il n’y a plus d’ascenseur social dans la Russie d’aujourd’hui, ce qui est un problème moins connu,...

Categories