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French Reapers prepare to add hitting power in Africa

28th June 2021 - 09:00 GMT | by Jean-Marc Tanguy


On 5 June 2021, a Reaper flew a mission from France in support of the EU Mediterranean maritime security operation Irini. (Photo: Jean-Marc Tanguy)

Change is afoot for the French fleet of MQ-9 Reapers.

The French Air and Space Force is poised in July 2021 to put GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs into service on three of its Block 5 MQ-9 Reaper UAVs deployed to Niger in support of Operation Barkhane.

The 33rd Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Attack Wing (SRAW) operates 12 Reaper UAVs. Six are Block 1 aircraft (one of which has been leased since 2020 to make up for the loss of another Block 1 in 2018 to a crash shortly before landing) and the other six are Block 5s. 

The first Block 5 system was delivered in January 2020 but remained ...

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