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French Reaper reaches 500 Mali flight hours

24th April 2014 - 16:04 by the Shephard News Team

French Reaper reaches 500 Mali flight hours

The French Air Force has reported that the Reaper detachment deployed in support of Operation Serval in Mali passed the 500 hour flight milestone on 31 March. The update came on 17 April.

The Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) began operations over Mali shortly after its arrival in Africa on 16 January.

The Reaper UAV is being used by French forces as a key identification, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) asset in Mali; with operators, intelligence officers and image analysts for the system conducting missions at a steady pace since January, according to the French Air Force.

Around 1,600 French soldiers are currently deployed in Mali as part of French action against armed terrorist groups, while supporting the standing up of MINUSMA and FAMA forces.

The French Air Force is also using the Harfang UAV in Mali. In September 2013 the system had logged 2,000 flight hours in support of French operations in Mali since its deployment in January 2013.

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