Saturday, November 10, 2018

Marshall Haftar air power capacity could increase as UAE airbase in Libya is now ready to host fighter jets

Marshall Haftar air power capacity could increase as UAE airbase in Libya is now ready to host fighter jets
Version : November 10th, 2018
Number of pages : 8 (1430 words)

9,99€

Satellite imagery taken on November 10th, 2018, shows that al-Khadim airbase is now operational to receive a fleet of fighter jets. Indeed, the parking area under construction for two years is now “opened” on the runway. The expansion of the al-Khadim airbase which had been paused for more than half a year suddenly accelerated since October 2017. Al-Khadim is a former airport located in al-Marj province in eastern Libya. Since June 2016, Emirates IOMAX AT-802 “Air Tractor” turboprop aircraft and Chinese-made Wing Loong UAV have been deployed on this airbase on which extension works started to increase its capacity. The existing parking area was equipped with a dozen of shelters, half of them used to house aircraft and drones. This small fleet was engaged in airstrike and reconnaissance missions in support of Libyan National Army troops fighting islamist groups in Benghazi, in particular the Islamic State et the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, or BRSC - a group with ties to Al Qaeda.






Friday, October 19, 2018

The Libyan National Army: assessment and mapping of the ground forces

The Libyan National Army: assessment and mapping of the ground forces
Version : October 2018
Number of pages : 13 (3200 words)

19,99€

More than four years after the split of the two governments that brought East and West Libya into a civil war and almost three years after the signing of the UN-brokered "Libyan Political Accord" (LPA) in Skhirat, Morocco, which has confirmed the House of Representatives (HoR) as an internationally recognized parliament in Libya, and institutionalized a Government of National Accord (GNA) with a Presidential Council (PC), Libya is still not a stabilized state and most warring factions are fragmented each with their own agenda.  The LPA was supposed to expire two years after a vote of confidence by the House of Representatives, but since the agreement has not yet been approved by the HoR, some consider it still in force. The armed wing of the HoR is the so-called Libyan National Army commanded by Marshal Khalifa Haftar. It is actually a group of militia around a regular army nucleus representing a force of around 25,000 men. It does not form a solid and coherent block. Each militia has its agenda and its ambitions.


L'Armée Nationale Libyenne : évaluation et cartographie des forces terrestres

L'Armée Nationale Libyenne : évaluation et cartographie des forces terrestres
Version : Octobre 2018
Nombre de pages : 13 (3470 mots)

19,99€

Plus de quatre ans après la scission des deux gouvernements qui a amené la Libye orientale et occidentale dans une guerre civile et près de trois ans après la signature de « l'Accord politique libyen » négocié par l'ONU (LPA) à Skhirat, au Maroc, qui a confirmé la Chambre des Représentants (HoR) en tant que parlement internationalement reconnu en Libye, et institutionnalisé un gouvernement d'accord national (GNA) avec un Conseil présidentiel (PC), la Libye n'est toujours pas un état stabilisé et la plupart des factions belligérantes sont fragmentées chacune d'entre elles ayant leur propre agenda. Le LPA était censé expirer expiré deux ans après un vote de confiance par la Chambre des représentants, mais l'accord n'ayant pas encore été approuvé par le HoR, certains considèrent qu’il est toujours en vigueur. Le bras armé du HoR est la soi-disant Armée Nationale Libyenne commandé par le Maréchal Khalifa Haftar. Elle n’est en fait qu’un regroupement de milices autour d’un noyau d’armée régulière représentant une force de 25 000 hommes environs. Elle ne forme pas un bloc solide et cohérent. Chaque milice a son agenda et ses ambitions.


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

My publication in July 2018


Dans son n°136 du mois de juillet, DSI Magazine publie mon dernier papier sur "l'utilisation des appareils de transport dans des missions de frappe". Le concept n'est pas nouveau et est intéressant sur le plan opérationnel et prend beaucoup de sens dans l’environnement budgétaire des armées d’aujourd'hui. La conversion d’avions de transport en bombardiers, si cela est réalisable, pourrait améliorer la flexibilité et offrent un meilleur rendement sur un investissement coûteux.

In its July issue, DSI Magazine publishes my latest article on "the use of transport aircraft in strike missions". The concept is not new and dates back to the Second World War. Nevertheless, it is operationally interesting and makes a lot of sense in the budgetary environment of today's armies. The conversion of transport into bomber aircraft, if operationally and technically feasible, could improve flexibility and provide a better return on a costly investment.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 28 June - 4 July


Last week, Khalifa Haftar had ordered the all ports ‘liberated’ by LNA to be handed over to the Benghazi-based National Oil Corporation (NOC). U.S., UK, France and Italy in a joint statement demanded Libyan oil terminals be returned to UN-backed government. France, which has previously been seen as sympathetic to Haftar, is said to be furious with him, warning him he faces a political backlash if he continues on the current course. Following the coming of Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini on June 25th, Rome wished to open migrants sorting and detention centers in southern Libya. Despite Italian Ambassador to Libya, Giuseppe Perrone denied that Italy was planning to establish a military base in southern Libya, it seems that GNA planned to re-habilitate al-Wigh airbase positioned in the south near smuggling routes from Niger and Chad and used by thousands of migrants attempting to reach the African coastline. On the humanitarian side, almost 1350 people were rescued by Libyan Coast Guards and NGO ships off Libyan coast while at least 170 died or are presumed missing. In Derna, clashes continued in the urban center, despite Marshal Haftar announced the complete liberation of the city from DPF/DMSC on June 28th. In the Oil Crescent, most the brigades that came in reinforcement following the attack by the Benghazi Defend Brigade and Ibrahim Jadhran’s militia returned to their home camps in Ajdabiya and Benghazi. The death toll for LNA in Derna increased to 89 killed for June (53 in May) and 45 killed in the Oil Crescent operations. Security Forces of Sirte announced a state of alert after receiving information about suspicious movements of ISIS militants in the valleys southern of the city. Patrols were conducted and checkpoints set up in anticipation of any attack.

This report includes :
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Situation in southern Libya
- Humanitarian situation (refugees/migrants)
- Political aspects
- Demining activities
- Foreign military flights

3,99€



Thursday, June 28, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 21 - 27 June 2018


Fighting are still going on in the urban center of Derna city. Remnants of DPF/DMSC harassed LNA units with SVBIEDs. 10 LNA members were killed in the city as a result of the final operations to control the city increasing the death toll to 80 killed for June in LNA ranks in Derna (53 killed in May). In the Oil Crescent, Marshall Khalifa Haftar ordered the launch of a counter-offensive operation against the ‘Benghazi Defence Brigades’ (BDB) backed by tribal fighters led by Ibrahim Jadhran and Chadian mercenaries. In one day, LNA forces retook the control of the oil infrastructures thanks to UAE support and probably France with ISR. Marshall Haftar lost 25 of his men due to clashes in the Oil Crescent bringing the total number of killed to 44. In Tripoli, tension is still high. The fear of confrontation between armed forces possibly the 301st Brigade and Abdul Ghani Al-Kikli's (“Ghneiwa”) militia on the airport road increases. On the political aspect, LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari stated that Khalifa Haftar had ordered the all ports ‘liberated’ by LNA to be handed over to the Benghazi-based National Oil Corporation (NOC). U.S., UK, France and Italy in a joint statement demanded Libyan oil terminals be returned to UN-backed government. Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini came in Tripoli to discuss migration with Interior Minister, Abdel Salam Ashour.

This report includes :
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in the Oil Crescent
- Situation in western Libya
- Situation in southern Libya
- Humanitarian situation (refugees/migrants)
- Political aspects
- Demining activities
- Foreign military flights


3,99€



Friday, June 22, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 14 - 20 June 2018


On June 14th, forces of the so-called ‘Benghazi Defence Brigades’ (BDB) backed by tribal fighters led by Ibrahim Jadhran and Chadian mercenaries attacked Libya’s Oil Crescent Region. As-Sidra and Ras-Lanuf oil terminals were seized. Three oil reservoirs took fire after being hit by shell, one in As-Sidra and two in Al-Harouj oil storages of Ras-Lanuf. At least, 30 LNA members were killed in the fighting. In the early hours of the attack, LNA Air Force hi back with multiple airstrikes. The rapid progress of Haftar's troops in the Derna campaign has allowed half of the thirty brigades to be disengaged and reassigned immediately in the Oil Crescent. LNA claimed its air force performed between 10 to 15 air raids per day between Ras Lanuf and Sirte. Some of them were very accurate. The number of strikes (days and nights), as well as their precision suggests that they were not only due to the LNA, probably by UAE. Moreover, U.S. Air Force conducted a new precision airstrike near Bani Walid this time against al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The latest was carried out on June 6th by a drone 30 km southern Bani Walid against ISIS members including one leader of Islamic State in Sirte. In Tripoli, pro-GNA units are under pressure. RADA Special deterrent Forces as Nawazi Brigade were deployed many times close to the airport and on the road to Tajoura.

This report includes :
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Situation in southern Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Demining activities
- Foreign military flights


3,99€



Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My publications in June 2018


Dans son numéro Hors-Série du mois de juin spécial Eurosatory, DSI Magazine publie mon dernier papier qui dresse une cartographie des forces terrestres de l'Armée National Libyenne du Maréchal Khalifa Haftar constituée d’un regroupement de milices autour d’un noyau d’armée régulière représentant une force de 25 000 hommes environs et ne formant pas un bloc solide et cohérent. Côté historique, Avions de Combat publie un récit concernant l'Opération Mount Hope au Tchad en 1988 qui avait pour but la récupération d'un hélicoptère de combat Mil Mi-25 abandonné par les forces libyennes sur la base de Ouadi-Doum.

In its June Special issue dedicated to Eurosatory, DSI Magazine publishes my latest article which draws a map of the ground forces of the Libyan National Army led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar, consisting of a group of militia around a regular army nucleus representing a force of about 25,000 men and not forming a solid and coherent block. On the historical side, Avions de Combat publishes a story about Operation Mount Hope in Chad in 1988 aimed at recovering a Mil Mi-25 combat helicopter abandoned by Libyan forces at the Ouadi-Doum base.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 7-13 June


The rapid progress of Haftar's troops in the Derna campaign has allowed a third of the thirty brigades to be disengaged. Nevertheless, the operations are not completed since fighting persists in the urban center. DPF militants have launched several suicide missions via SVIEDs on LNA positions in eastern Shiha neighbourhood. At least 20 LNA members were killed this week in Derna increasing the death toll to almost 87 since the beginning of the offensive. Part of the units that left the area were reassigned to other fronts, notably in the Oil Crescent which have been put on state of emergency on June 11th following reports claiming Saraya Defend Benghazi militants (also called Benghazi Defend Brigade) were prepared an attack on the oil terminals. Air strikes were carried out 60km south of Sirte city on 12th. Foreign aerial activities close to Libyan coast and over the country suggest that the threats on the oil infrastructure were taken very seriously. Indeed, French and US Boeing C-135 tankers performed refuelled missions the day of the strikes. Moreover, CAE Aviation’s King Air 350 ISR aircraft based at Al-Khadim is used to monitor the area. This aircraft was previously engaged over Derna the past month. The threat was confirmed on Thursday 14th when ‘Benghazi Defence Brigades’ (BDB) backed by tribal fighters led by Ibrahim Jadhran attacked As-Sidra terminal which was closed. In Western Libya, Grand Mufti Sadiq al-Gharian condemned France and UAE support for LNA in Derna and called for Jihad and rising money against them.

This report includes :
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities


3,99€



Friday, June 8, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 31 May - 6 June


The battle for the liberation of Derna is still going on. Fighting intensified this week. LNA forces have progressed rapidly in several neighbourhoods in the urban area. According to LNA spokesman, 75% of the city has been captured to DPF militants. In southern Libya, armed groups believed to belong to Chadian opposition and Benghazi Defend Brigade attempted to storm Tamanhint airbase in the hand of LNA. LNA and local forces in Brak al-Shati are on high alert after suspicious military movements were reported in the area, to anticipate a possible attack on the military infrastructures by Chadian and other foreign militias. In western Libya, a US Air Force drone carried out an air strike 30 km southern Bani Walid targeting a car and killing four people including Abdul Ati Ashtewi Abustah, one leader of Islamic State in Sirte. Two Sirte residents were killed between Waddan and Zillah by presumed ISIS militants. Many ISIS movements have been reported toward Haruj and Tmassah. In the Oil Crescent area, ISIS members carried out an attack on police station in Qanan.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities


3,99€



Thursday, May 31, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 24 - 30 May


On 29 May, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a summit in Paris about Libya designed to bring together GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, President of the HoR Agilah Saleh, President of the HCS Khaled Mishri, and Commander of the LNA, Marshal Khalifa Haftar. After the summit, it was announced that an agreement was found to hold parliamentary and presidential elections on December 10th, 2018. On May 24th, a VBIED detonated on Jamal Abdel Nasser Street beside the Kashafa Park and near Tibesty Hotel in Benghazi killing eight people and wounded 20. This attack is the second VBIED explosion in less than 18 months and the fourth in Benghazi this year. In Derna, LNA took control of al-Fatayah neighbourhood, western entrance of the city and Temsket. At least 13 LNA members were killed and 21 wounded this week increasing the death toll to about 45 killed in four weeks of fighting. Seven civilians were killed by a landmine while trying to get out of the city.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities


3,99€



Thursday, May 24, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 17 - 23 May


The past week, ISIS proved again that its members were still very active in the Ajdabiya region by attacking two LNA military checkpoints in the southern axis. Heavy fighting are still ongoing around Derna. According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for Libya (OCHA), since the latest escalation of armed conflict in Derna on May 15th, at least six civilians were killed and 14 injured. In three weeks of fighting, the death toll in LNA ranks increased to 39, including 15 during the past week. In Tripoli, four improvised explosive devices (IED) ready for detonation were dismantled at the highway in Abu Salim area and near the ministry of justice in Souq Tulata. Seven members of the People's Front for the Liberation of Libya (linked to Saif Islam Gadhafi) were arrested in joint operation.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities



3,99€



Thursday, May 17, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 10 - 16 May


Fighting between Libyan National Army brigades and "Derna Protection Force" (former Derna Mujahideen Shura Council) militants are still ongoing in and around the city of Derna. Following the latest reinforcement, LNA Omar Mukhtar Operations Room has now about twenty brigades in the area (on almost hundred LNA units). LNA claimed seized Al-Hila, al-Fatayeh, suburbs of Sie Aziz, Sie Aoun, al-Khabta and the Haysha camp. Ground forces are supported by LNA Air Force and UAE Wing Loong drones and AT-802s turboprop aircraft flying from al-Khadim airbase in al-Marj. In Sebha, fighting continued in and around the historic castle which was partly destroyed. Since the beginning of May, more than 31 people have been killed and 121 wounded in the clashes. In western Libya, several networks of migrant traffickers were dismantled by Zuwara Police Forces seizing several boats and engines.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities


3,99€




Wednesday, May 16, 2018

My publication in May 2018


Dans son n°135 du mois de mai, DSI Magazine publie mon dernier papier qui dresse un état des lieux des forces aériennes des pays du G5 Sahel - le Burkina Faso, le Mali, la Mauritanie, le Niger et le Tchad - notamment les moyens ISR, la force de frappe, le transport/liaison/reconnaissance ainsi que leur engagement au combat depuis 2015.

In its May issue, DSI Magazine publishes my latest article which draws up an inventory of the air forces of the G5 Sahel countries - Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad - in particular ISR means, the strike force, the transport / liaison / reconnaissance as well as their engagement in combat since 2015.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 3 - 9 May


AQIM is preparing to broadcast a statement from Libya to Mauritania threatening “Western companies and particularly France who plunder these countries”. In Derna, LNA forces lost about ten soldiers in fighting with DMSC militants. During the commemoration of the 4th anniversary of Dignity Operation, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar declared zero hour campaign for Derna. ISIS militants carried out a suicide attack at Gate 90 east of Sirte using three vehicles; only one detonated, the two others escaped. Three people were killed : one LNA member and two civilian. In Benina airbase, the ceremony for the 4th anniversary of Operation Dignity took place on May 7th with 7,000 LNA members. Libyan Coast Guards rescued about 900 illegal migrants off western Libya coasts between May 4th and May 7th.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities


3,99€




Thursday, May 3, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 26 April - 2 May


On May 2nd, two ISIS suicide bombers attacked and blew themselves up inside the Higher National Election Commission Headquarter in Ghout Shaal district of Tripoli. Sixteen people were killed (including 5 HNEC employees and 4 members of the security forces) and nineteen other wounded. UAE might have been involved in airstrikes in Derna using a drone (Wing Loong) on Monday 30th according DMSC spokesman. On April 29th, a Libyan Air Cargo company C-130 Hercules coming from Mitiga, chartered by Oil Repsol company crashed due to technical failure after taking off from Sharara oilfield near Ubari in southwestern Libya. Three crew members were killed and one wounded. This Libyan Air Cargo C-130 has had another incident three days before the crash when the main cargo door opened during the flight.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities

To access to the full PDF report (1,501 words, 11 pages), please contact Arnaud Delalande


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 19-25 April


Despite LNA spokesperson, Ahmed al-Mesmari, announced on Wednesday that Marshall Khalifa Haftar will arrive to Benghazi on Thursday 26th, uncertainties remain about his health and his ability to lead the Libyan National Army in the near future. The coming battle for the liberation of the city of Derna will test the cohesion of this army. Despite the ceasefire, fighting resumed around the city of Sebha. In Tripoli, Mitiga International Airport was shelled again by Bogra militia. In Bani Walid area, the LNA Air Force carried out three air-strikes on a camp occupied by the so-called ‘Benghazi Defence Brigades’ near al-Saddada. In Derna, fighting between LNA and DMSC militants increased.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities

To access to the full PDF report (1,708 words, 14 pages), please contact Arnaud Delalande


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Publication in April 2018


This month, The Aviation Historian magazine published my story about the too short carreer of the Sepecat Jaguar within the Nigerian Air Force. In Air Forces Monthly, I started a new series of articles - in parallel of my regularly Flashpoints - investigating sub-Saharan Africa’s ‘small air forces’, defined as those with 30 or fewer airframes – and which don’t currently find themselves involved in combat operations. The first part concerns Benin, Ghana, Togo air forces.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 12-18 April


Following the admission of Field-Marshall Khalifa Haftar in a military hospital in Paris, his fate remained unclear as contradicting sources reported his death while his supporters denied it. Wednesday in the evening, French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said in a closed meeting for the French government that Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar was in good health after receiving treatment. The same day, the convoy of Marshall Haftar’s Chief of Staff - Abdul Razek al-Nadori - was hit by a VBIED as it was passing through Sidi Khalifah, north of Benghazi killing one and injuring two. Al-Nadori announced few days before the begining of the military operation to storm the city of Derna. 

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities

To access to the full PDF report (1,397 words, 9 pages), please contact Arnaud Delalande


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 5-11 April


Field-Marshall Khalifa Haftar was announced hospitalizing in Paris. In southern Libya, the LNA’s 6th Infantry Brigade declared a unilateral ceasefire. The Tebu Council of Elders said they had agreed to a ceasefire due to efforts made by Fezzan towns/villages Council of Elders throughout the previous week. Fighting intensified in eastern Libya between LNA and Derna Mujahideen Shura Council. LNA has sent reinforcements toward the city : the 106th, 128th, 155th, 166th Infantry Brigade and the Tariq Bin Ziyad Brigade were ordered to go in the area. A large number of tanks (including T-55s) and tank-transporters have been deployed for the "final" battle announced by the LNA for several days.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities

To access to the full PDF report (1,483 words, 12 pages), please contact Arnaud Delalande


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 29 March - 4 April


Reliable reports confirmed the collaboration between the two governments in the fighting against Chadian militia in southern Libyan. Fighting are still ongoing in Sebha between the 6th Infantry Brigade and Chadian militia. Tension increased in Tripoli when Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade and the 42nd Brigade clashed with the “Kanyat” 7th Infantry Brigade. President Council spokesman announced the launch of a military operation “Nation Storm” to pursue remnants of ISIS. An Islamic State SVBIED detonated at the eastern entrance of the city of Ajdabiya killing seven people and injuring nine.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities

To access to the full PDF report (2,014 words, 11 pages), please contact Arnaud Delalande


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 22-28 March


The ninth airstrike in Libya under Trump administration was performed last weekend by a US Air Force drone in Ubari killing at least two AQIM leaders including Musa Abu Dawud. The Libyan National Army continued to bring reinforcement in the Southern zone by airlifting troops and vehicles from Benina airbase toward Brak al-Shai airport. LNA Air Force maintained the pressure against Chadian armed groups by targeting their positions in the Sebha region. In Tripoli, some forces of the Zintani Brigades were deployed on the outskirts of Tripoli International Airport. In eastern region, Derna continued to suffer artillery shells bombardment.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities

To access to the full PDF report (1,635 words, 8 pages), please contact Arnaud Delalande


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 15-21 March


The Libyan National Army has launched its “law enforcement operations” in southern Libya by deploying reinforcement on the Brak al-Shati airbase. Shells continue to fall in several parts of the city of Sebha. In eastern of the country, LNA members suffered an attack by militants of the Derna Mujahideen Shoura Council (DMSC) which captured tanks and vehicles. Libyan coast guards rescued about 200 migrants while an incident occurred with a Spanish NGO ship which was rescuing 216 migrants in international waters. Coast guards also intercepted a Greek oil tanker with the flag of Togo which was carrying about 950,000 litres of fuel.

This report includes :
- Situation in southern Libya
- Situation in eastern Libya
- Situation in western Libya
- Coast guards activities
- Foreign military flights
- Demining activities

To access to the full PDF report (1,300 words, 7 pages), please contact Arnaud Delalande


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Libya - Weekly situation report 8-14 March


The situation in the Sabha region is still unsafe. Heavy fighting are still ongoing between Tebu and Awlad Suliman militias. The Libyan National Army loyal to Field-Marshall Haftar uses Mi-35 helicopters to performed armed-reconnaissance mission over the city.  In the Ajdabiya area, Islamist State militants claimed an attack against a LNA checkpoint and fighting continued in the perimeter of the city of Derna. Off Tripoli, 575 refugees and migrants were rescued by Libyan Coast Guard vessels.

To access to the full PDF report (720 words, 5 pages), please contact Arnaud Delalande


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Four Years After an ISIS Massacre, the Iraqi Air Force Opens a New Academy

Cessna 172 Skyhawks and 208 Caravans used by U.S. Air Force and Iraqi air force instructor pilots to train Iraqi students seen at Kirkuk in July 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo)

On Feb. 21, 2018, the Iraqi government announced that the Iraqi air force had reopened its academy at Balad air base. U.S. Central Command announced that the Coalition Aviation Advisory and Training Team will help establish standardized training programs. Forty cadets will start their coursework in March 2018.

Before June 2014, the academy was located at Combat Outpost Speicher in Tikrit. Between June 11 and 14, Islamic State insurgents captured the outpost — and the academy — and killed no fewer than 1,500 Shia air force cadets. Cadet training transferred to Al Kut air base in 2015.

The recent history of Iraqi air force training is a complicated one. Iraqi pilot cadets have undergone instruction in Iraq with U.S. trainers, in Jordan and in Pakistan. The current reforms could bring student pilots home to Iraq.



Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Iraq’s Chinese-Made Killer Drones Are Actually Pretty Good


On Feb. 12th, 2018, the Iraqi ministry of defense released a video depicting its Chinese-made CH-4B armed unmanned aerial vehicles. The brief report underscores the type’s success in Iraqi service.

The video claims that the CH-4B drones have executed most of their attack and reconnaissance missions in northwest Iraq. Since their entry into operational service, they have performed no fewer than 260 air strikes against Islamic State targets, with a success rate close to 100 percent.

Iraq ordered its CH-4Bs from China in 2014, probably after the visit to Iraq by the Chinese foreign minister in February of that year. The CH-4 is inspired by the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator and is designed by China Aerospace Long March International.

Iraq’s Chinese-Made Killer Drones Are Actually Pretty Good - CH-4Bs have proved effective against Islamic State


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Egypt Launches a Major Offensive Against Islamic State


On Feb. 9, 2018, Egyptian army spokesman Col. Tamer El Refai announced that the Egyptian armed forces had launched the largest-ever offensive against Islamic terror groups in Sinai, the Nile Delta and the western desert close to the Libyan border.

The Egyptian air force quickly carried out around 30 air strikes south and west of the Rafah and Sheikh Zweid areas, as well as in northern and central Sinai. The day before the beginning of Operation Sinai 2018, Cairo ordered a state of emergency at hospitals in northwest Sinai. Security measures were in place at schools and government buildings.

This is not the first time that Egyptian government has announced a “final” operation against terrorists. The offensives have never yielded the results officials predict. On the contrary, terror attacks have increased in number and intensity.

Egypt Launches a Major Offensive Against Islamic State - Don't expect the terrorists to surrender



Friday, February 2, 2018

My publications in February 2018


In my regular column for Air Forces Monthly magazine - the Flashpoints - I talk about the modernization of the Malian Air Force in the February issue. I examine the slow but steady build-up of the Malian Air Force, which has overcome great odds to tackle both Tuareg rebels and al-Qaeda-linked militants.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

American Rushes to Help After a Storm Nearly Wipes Out the Chadian Air Force


On July 1, 2017, severe wind and heavy rain inflicted significant damage to a large number of Chadian air force aircraft stationed at N’Djamena air base. Three of the air force’s six Fennec helicopters and several hangars were seriously damaged or even totally destroyed.

Less severe damage was observed on at least one MiG-29, one PC-12 and two Su-25s that were struck by debris as hangars collapsed over them.

These losses represented a major blow to Chad’s campaign against the Boko Haram militant group. Recognizing this, the U.S. military rushed to help the Chadians rebuild.

American Rushes to Help After a Storm Nearly Wipes Out the Chadian Air Force - U.S. airmen build shelters, train Chadians on new planes


Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Libyan National Army Targets Sudanese and Chadian Militants

FACT fighters in Libya

Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, head of the Libyan National Army — a top contender for control of Libya — has launched a retaliatory offensive targeting Sudanese and Chadian militias in the war-torn country’s south.

Libya’s civil war grows only more complex.

On Jan. 15, 2018 near the Jaghboub Oasis, close to the Egyptian border in Libya’s northeast, Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement fighters killed six soldiers from the Libyan National Army’s 106th Infantry Brigade and the 501st Brigade. JEM captured one LNA soldier.

The 106th is a salafist Brigade led by Abdulrahman Hashim Al Kilani from the southern Kufrah region. The 501st Brigade is a small reconnaissance unit that is normally responsible for protecting and securing of Tobruk International Airport and Gamal Abdel Nasser air base.

Three days after the ambush, the LNA launched Operation Desert Fury. It began with air strikes targeting militia vehicles.

The Libyan National Army Targets Sudanese and Chadian Militants - Civil war gets more complicated


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

30 years ago, French and American Scooped Up Soviet Weapons in Chad


During the so-called Toyota War in 1987, forces loyal to Chadian president Hissene Habre fought the Libyan army … and won.

In early January 1987, Chadian troops carried out a devastating attack on the city of Fada, killing 784 Libyan troops and capturing six SF.260 light strike planes, one Mi-25 gunship, 13 T-55 tanks, 118 BMP-1 armored vehicles, one P-15/Flat Face radar and 81 soldiers. In addition, the Chadians shot down a Mi-25 on Jan. 4 and a MiG-23 on Jan. 5.

All that captured equipment represented a potential intelligence boon for the United States. As the fighting died down, the Pentagon went shopping in Chad.

The Pentagon Scooped Up Soviet Weapons in Chad in 1987 and ’88 - Libya left behind missiles, jets and helicopters


Thursday, January 18, 2018

My publications in January 2018


To get off to a good start this year 2018, two of my stories are published in January issues of "Defense et Securite Internationale" (No.133) and "The Aviation Historian" (No.22). The first analyzes the involvement of Nigerian and Chadian air forces in the fight against Boko Haram since 2011. The second tells the epic story of the Gabonese Presidential Guard squadron in which flew several former pilots of the French Air Force especially on the famous Douglas AD-4 Skyraider.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Nigeria and Allies Launch a Major Attack on Boko Haram


On Jan. 14, 2018, Boko Haram – an Islamist group from northeast Nigeria led by jihadist leader Abubakar Shekau – released a video depicting the remains of a Nigerian air force Mi-171 helicopter the group claimed it shot down.

The alleged shoot-down occurred amid an intensive new offensive targeting the group. On Jan. 8, Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon launched an operation aimed at two Boko Haram factions in the group’s Nigeria stronghold. The day the operation began, another Mi-17 crashed during a mission in northeast Nigeria.

Nigeria has battled Boko Haram since 2011. Cameroon, too, has fought the group for years. In mid-January 2015, the Chadian National Assembly approved Pres. Idris Déby’s request to deploy soldiers to support Cameroon.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A U.S. Air Force C-141 Almost Got Itself Shot Down Over Chad


During France’s intervention in the Chad-Libya war in 1987, the French restricted air traffic over Chad. No aerial traffic was allowed in an area that extended from the 16th parallel to the outskirts of the capital N’Djamena.

Civilian pilots didn’t always respect these air-traffic measures, especially as civil flights that sought to save fuel by cutting through the forbidden zone.

It was dangerous air space. Over the summer of 1987, Libyan Tu-22s and Il-76 cargo planes acting as bombers struck several towns near the 16th parallel, in particular Faya-Largeau. The Il-76s dropped dozens of pallets of bombs on a palm grove near the town, killing several local people.

On Sept. 7, 1987, French troops fired a HAWK missile and shot down a Libyan Tu-22 bomber over N’Djamena. Two days later, an unknown aircraft flew over Chad toward the capital. It was flying at subsonic speed and not responding to radio calls.

A U.S. Air Force C-141 Almost Got Itself Shot Down Over Chad - 1987 was a stressful year over Central Africa


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

What did the French shoot down over Chad in July 1988 ?


After years of conflict, on Sept. 10, 1987, Chad and Libya agreed to a ceasefire the next day at noon. However, Libyan air patrols continued. Indeed, Muammar Gaddafi seemed to believe any military action short of an actual attack was acceptable.

Not coincidentally, in October the United States handed over the first Stinger missiles to the armed forces of Chad. On Oct. 8, the Chadians shot down a Libyan Su-22 and a MiG-23.

In March 1988, French forces in Chad were on alert. Intelligence had warned of  significant troop movements in southern Libya. France added defenses to air bases at Timou, Tanoua and Maaten-es-Sara to make them less vulnerable to Chadian raids.

But the Libyans didn’t attack.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

French Fighter Jets Spent 1986 and ’87 Chasing Libyans Over Chad


In mid-February 1986, French forces launched Operation Épervier — France’s intervention in the Libya-Chad war. The French air force deployed to Chad’s capital N’Djamena around a dozen Jaguar A fighter-bombers and up to six Mirage F.1C interceptors from various units along with a few Mirage F.1CR tactical reconnaissance fighters.

The warplanes spent months chasing away Libyan planes and, more than once, came close to shooting them down.

French Fighters Spent 1986 and ’87 Chasing Libyans Over Chad - Lots of intercepts, no shoot-downs


In 1986, French Troops in Chad Faced Mysterious Attackers


On its arrival in Chad as part of Operation Épervier, France’s intervention in the Chad-Libya war, the French military set up a radar center in the town of Moussoro, north of the capital N’Djamena starting in mid-February 1986.

The radar would become the apparent target of a mysterious raiding force … and the object of a determined French defense.

The 120-mile range SNERI Centaure radar was operated by the air force and protected by infantry from the 2e REI marine infantry regiment plus a Stinger surface-to-air missile team from the 1e REI.

In 1986, French Troops in Chad Faced Mysterious Attackers - Who were the ghosts of Moussoro ?