October 25, 2018 (Google Translation) – Since the beginning of October, an Atlantic 2 maritime patrol aircraft (ATL2) of the 21F fleet has been deployed at the proposed Niamey airbase. This is his second deployment in 2018 as part of Operation Barkhane.
Regularly committed to the benefit of Operation Barkhane in the Sahelo Saharan Strip (BSS), the ATL2 makes it possible to complete the capabilities of “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance” (ISR) permanently implemented by the Air Force on theater. It thus participates in this combined action of the air means intended to provide an autonomous capacity of appreciation of the situation on a desert territory as vast as Europe. Missions of recognition, of surveillance, even of support and designation of objectives are all actions that are carried out in concert by the experts of the two armies.
A real flying command post, the ATL2 relies on a crew usually made up of about fifteen sailors of different specialties. In this vast territory straddling 5 countries (Burkina-Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad), ATL2 offers Operation Barkhane a communication capacity with both ground troops, command and control of conduct including the PCIAT (Joint Command Post on Theater) located in N’Djamena.
This aircraft, originally designed for maritime patrol and anti-submarine missions, also has proven capabilities in the air-land area, especially over desert areas. This mastodon flying over 40 tons has a very large range and a long endurance allowing it to operate until 14:00: an undeniable advantage to “last” and provide permanence on area. It also has extensive detection capabilities to collect intelligence day and night thanks to its multiple sensors, including infrared imaging. The versatility of this maritime patrol aircraft also allows it to conduct armed reconnaissance missions in coordination with fighter aircraft.
Lieutenant-Commander Fabrice, head of the ATL2 detachment in Niamey, explains the added value of this deployment in favor of Operation Barkhane: “The crews of maritime patrol fleets 21F and 23F have acquired for years a rich experience of Lybian theaters. , Iraqis and the sub-Saharan band. The deployment of an ATL2-type aircraft allows the Operation Commander Barkhane to have a means of intelligence search, real-time reporting and offensive capabilities with a high degree of autonomy. The currently deployed crew has completed many missions and has extensive operational experience gained over the past three years. ”
Led by the French armies, in partnership with the G5 Sahel countries, Operation Barkhane was launched on August 1, 2014. It is based on a strategic approach based on a logic of partnership with the main countries of the Sahel-Saharan region ( BSS): Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina-Faso. It brings together around 4,500 military personnel whose mission is to fight against armed terrorist groups and to support the armed forces of partner countries so that they can take this threat into account, notably within the framework of the joint G5 Sahel force currently under way. operationalization.