French Harfang UAV logs 2,000 flight hours in Mali
The French Air Force has announced that the Harfang Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has logged 2,000 flight hours in support of French operations in Mali since its deployment in January 2013.
The Harfang UAV is operated by the French Air Force’s 1/33 Belfort UAV squadron in Mali, where it conducts in-theatre intelligence gathering for combat operations. This includes assisting air force and naval aviation attack aircraft to acquire enemy targets on the ground.
The Harfang Medium Altitude Long Endurance UAV, manufactured by EADS Cassidian, can fulfil a wide range of missions, from surveillance to sensitive peacekeeping, providing real-time information at each level of the operational chain via its SATCOM datalink. It can operate with a 250 kg payload for more than 24 hours at a time.
The French Air Force has operated four Harfang UAVs since 2009, and the system has also been used intensively during operations over Afghanistan and Libya. In July, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that France had requested the purchase of 16 MQ-9 Reaper UAVs, which it also plans to deploy to Mali to meet operational requirements.
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