"Those French dogs".....FRA Army Aviation over Libya

#1
Article on the key role played by French Army Aviation (ALAT) in the fall of the Libyan regime.

The involvement of French combat helicopters in Libya, from May 3, played a key role in the campaign against pro-Gaddafi forces.

Intelligence agencies realized that during the eighth raid -at the end of May - when they intercepted the communications of Libyan soldiers who swore against "those French dogs." For the first time, enraged Libyans were really hit very hard, and their morale was suffering.

The effect of the strikes of the French Airmobile Group (GAM, 19 Army aviation (ALAT) helicopters onboard a French Navy LPH) were also psychological, gradually destroying the will to fight of the enemy. This is called a strategic effect.

The need to engage attack helicopters was soon found necessary by the staff of the armed forces, given the geography of Libya, a country which concentrates its nervous nodes on its coasts. The GAM was deployed on a BPC (LPH of the French Navy)

(…)

This "air-land" action from the sea has been supported continuously by naval assets (NGFS) . Naval artillery fires (100 mm and 76 mm) and frigate-based helicopters supported the raids by destroying enemies surface to air threats. To this end, the frigates had to come very close to the coast sometimes less than ten kilometers. It was during those actions that most of the French Navy naval artillery fire (3000 rounds) were shot.

This combined action is a first for the French military: no such helicopter raids had ever been launched from the sea with naval artillery support. The different services have shown in this case both a great technical mastery and an agressive nature. This will leave its mark.

The raids were made up of up to ten helicopters (Gazelle, Puma and Tiger) and were controlled from an airborne command and control helicopter. A Puma systematically flew alongsides with a team of Air Force commandos (belonging to the CPA 30) in order to carry out an immediate extraction if a helicopter had to land or was shot down. Whereas at the beginning of the operation, some felt that each raid would probably lead to the loss of a helicopter, all have returned. No casualty whatsover was suffered.

This does not mean that he Libyan defense remained inert. Very well camouflaged, the pro-Gaddafi forces strongly responded with portable SA-7 missiles or 23 mm or 14.5 mm guns and HMGs. The French helicopters only attacked at night and at very low altitude. Years of flight training tactics have paid off, to the chagrin of the Libyans.

The pro-Gaddafi forces were harassed mercilessly, as evidenced by the number of ammunitions used during each raid: fifteen HOT missiles, about 150 rockets and 30 mm shells. The raids were not hit and run but they lasted for long periods since the proximity of the French Navy LPH allowed the French helicopters to refuel and re-arm and then return to the fight time and again...

If men and equipment have given full satisfaction, the military engaged in these operations, however, regretted the absence of a MALE UAV that would have provided constant information on the area.

The action of the French was very different from those of their counterparts in the British Army.

The British had four Apaches deployed on a helicopter carrier, but never seem to have committed more than two simultaneously.

The Apaches operated in the same manner as fighter jets, firing Hellfire missiles on their pre-programmed targets, from a high altitude.

Nothing to do with "those French dogs" ...

Translated by Fantassin from

Secret défense
 
#2
No need to crack open the 'Break Glass In Case of Attack' box and pull out the white flag and cheese then you monkey - well done!
 
#4
Yaaaaaay The Fench are heroooooz init, Booooooo dirty Brit pigdogs with their 4 knock off Airwolf model kits.
Not heroes - but admit it takes more balls to go to war at night in a Gazelle which reaches at 4,000 metres max with its HOT ATGWs and has zero armour than with a Hellfire equipped WAH-64 which will select and kill its target from the comfort of a titanium "bathtub" 8,000 metres away....
 
#5
Not heroes - but admit it takes more balls to go to war at night in a Gazelle which reaches at 4,000 metres max with its HOT ATGWs and has zero armour than with a Hellfire equipped WAH-64 which will select and kill its target from the comfort of a titanium "bathtub" 8,000 metres away....
Don't go blaming procurement...
 
#6
Not heroes - but admit it takes more balls to go to war at night in a Gazelle which reaches at 4,000 metres max with its HOT ATGWs and has zero armour than with a Hellfire equipped WAH-64 which will select and kill its target from the comfort of a titanium "bathtub" 8,000 metres away....
So they were doing exactly what the Brit pilots were doing on Telic 1 with Lynxs?

Hats off to the French on this one actually, they led the charge and it was good to see them getting stuck in.
 
#7
Maybe, instead of the usual whining about the French, we should look at how they managed to generate a lot more operational effect then we did using kit we'd turn our noses up at. All the gear and no idea might not just apply to the US these days.
 
#8
Not heroes - but admit it takes more balls to go to war at night in a Gazelle which reaches at 4,000 metres max with its HOT ATGWs and has zero armour than with a Hellfire equipped WAH-64 which will select and kill its target from the comfort of a titanium "bathtub" 8,000 metres away....
Or, alternatively, grow up and realise that talking about which armed forces have the biggest balls is more suited to 14 year-olds who **** over 'Deadliest Warriors' than adults who are supposed to be professional soldiers.
 
#9
Maybe, instead of the usual whining about the French, we should look at how they managed to generate a lot more operational effect then we did using kit we'd turn our noses up at. All the gear and no idea might not just apply to the US these days.
True, but the French are not hanging out of their hoops after fighting for 10 years in the Middle East. We are now skint.

Taking nothing away from the French and also yes we are in a bad way. It would be interesting to see what out Military would have looked like with out our latest desert adventures. Maybe we would not have changed and would still be identical, still have all our big airplane boaty launch jobbies. Maybe we were always going to end up this way and its being a a 20 year plan all along.
 
#10
We are skint too - 220 millions Euros were taking from the FRA MoD budget yesterday to compensate for the effects of the financial crisis.

And guess what ? There are now talks about cutting the Tiger combat helicopter order by 50%.

Makes a lot of sense innit ?
 
#13
We are skint too - 220 millions Euros were taking from the FRA MoD budget yesterday to compensate for the effects of the financial crisis.

And guess what ? There are now talks about cutting the Tiger combat helicopter order by 50%.

Makes a lot of sense innit ?
And you have had to pay everyone since 1996 too, so no more cheap labour mon ami!
 
#14
Not heroes - but admit it takes more balls to go to war at night in a Gazelle which reaches at 4,000 metres max with its HOT ATGWs and has zero armour than with a Hellfire equipped WAH-64 which will select and kill its target from the comfort of a titanium "bathtub" 8,000 metres away....

You me ze stoopid Phrench arnmy, eet as bought a stoopid elicopteur and an non plus plus missile?

That will teach you to buy French!;P
 

Travelgall

LE
Kit Reviewer
#15
"Gazelle, Puma and Tiger". "The action of the French was very different from those of their counterparts in the British Army. The British had four Apaches deployed on a helicopter carrier, but never seem to have committed more than two simultaneously". Well done to the French, met one of their chopper pilots in Reunion a couple of months back and he was a good egg. But if, as the tone of the article suggests, we're getting into a pissing contest. 10 of them against 2 Apache Longbow on the battlefield. Want to bet which ones are a more capable and lethal asset (ignoring the Puma of course that is a Transport wellycopter)?

Re the SA-7. This is a Vietnam era Manpad. As much use as tits on a fish against a modern EW/ECM suite. And besides, you don't get points in war for putting yourself pointlessly in harms way, I refer the writer of the article to the famous Patton doctrine. War isn't the Eurovision song contest. The simple fact is that the Apache is capable of tracking and taking out targets way further than either of those other two assets. It can carry more kit higher and faster (albeit not by much in terms of speed) Hot missiles maximum range is about 4km, the Helfire range is double that. Rather than bragging about it, I suggest the French Rotary forces are in desperate need of an upgrade and should to get their wallets out and buy some Helfire missiles. The Tiger is capable of firing them.
 
#16
I don't see a pissing contest in the article; the author only points out a difference in TTPs which is born of a difference in helos and tactics and it takes only one line in the whole article.

Understandably, most ARRSERs see that as a pissing contest and as a challenge to the superiority of everything British but I do not.

On the other hand, talking about facts, current figures point out that out the targets destroyed by Helos in Libya, French helos were responsible for 85% of the hits which is not surprising considering there were 5 times more FRA helos than UK helos.

As for the weapon suite, France will receive Hellfire in 2012-2013, including the "enhanced blast" version.

France To Buy Hellfire Missiles at U.S. Price - Defense News
 

Travelgall

LE
Kit Reviewer
#17
fantassin.
I don't automatically see a pissing contest, but this one certainly is as the quotes I used demonstrate. Had they simply said "This is what our guys did" in Co-operation with the British I would have merely said "Good job" and left it at that. The French TTP's are born out of necesity because of outdated weapon systems, and of course I am glad that the French didn't loose any guys because of that.
 
#18
It is often said that the Gazelle is "outdated" when compared to more recent AH but the truth is and remains that actually the Gazelle has performed splendidly in all theaters it has or is being deployed to.

In 2011 alone it has seen combat action with the ALAT in Ivory Coast, Afghanistan and now Libya. No combat related loss was recorded in any of those theatres (even though one non combat related crash with resulted in one crew member killed took place in Afghanistan earlier this year).

The ALAT crews dot on their Gazelle and they know that they will lose in terms of availability of assets when the Tigre replaces the last SA 342Ms. They know that the Gazelle still has a lot to offer and they have time and again surprised critics, if only for one reason: they do deploy, they don't cost an arm and a leg to operate and maintain and they get the job done...as demonstrated in Libya.
 

Travelgall

LE
Kit Reviewer
#19
It is often said that the Gazelle is "outdated" when compared to more recent AH but the truth is and remains that actually the Gazelle has performed splendidly in all theaters it has or is being deployed to.

In 2011 alone it has seen combat action with the ALAT in Ivory Coast, Afghanistan and now Libya. No combat related loss was recorded in any of those theatres (even though one non combat related crash with resulted in one crew member killed took place in Afghanistan earlier this year).

The ALAT crews dot on their Gazelle and they know that they will lose in terms of availability of assets when the Tigre replaces the last SA 342Ms. They know that the Gazelle still has a lot to offer and they have time and again surprised critics, if only for one reason: they do deploy, they don't cost an arm and a leg to operate and maintain and they get the job done...as demonstrated in Libya.
As a Battle Taxi and Recce asset I reckon the Gazelle is great. Not as convinced as an AT platform any more. All of those theatres mentioned are low AA threat.
 
C

cloudbuster

Guest
#20
You can only piss with the cock you've got. Considering the cab, the ALAT do a pretty-good job with it.
 

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