Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rafale M goes back to Afghanistan

Rafale M12 over Aghanistan (march/April 2007)
The french Ministry of Defense has announced that the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier will join the NATO operations in Afghanistan for 2 months at the end of the year (no date given yet).
The last deployement of the CdG in the Indian ocean was in february 2007 (task force 473) just before its 1.5 years IPER (maintenance and upgrade stop).
During this tour, 3 brand new Rafale M F2 (M11, M12 and M13) made their first war missions using GBU-12. However, they had to rely on the super-Etendard's Damocles pod to designate the targets.
Today, The Rafale M fleet has changed quite a bit : 18 planes have been upgraded to the F3 standard and the self laser designation and Rover capability will most probably be demonstrated during this mission (at last !).

Edit 09/14/2010 : according to A&C magazine, the french Navy will use 2 Reco-NG pods (from the french air force stock) during this mission

It is also worth noting that the Charles de Gaulle will take part in exercices with the Indian and Saudi Navies before going to Afghanistan.

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