France deploys Harfang over Libya

Washington DC
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The French defence ministry has confirmed using the EADS/Israel Aerospace Industries Harfang medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned air vehicle in operations over Libya.

France has deployed 20 personnel to NAS Sigonella, Sicily, to support an unknown number of aircraft. The first operational mission took place on the night of 24 August.

The nation's armed forces have also deployed a number of manned combat aircraft, including the Dassault Mirage F1 and Dassault Rafale, providing reconnaissance cover and conducting airstrikes against the collapsing regime of Col Muammar Gaddafi. France has also deployed special forces personnel to train and equip the advancing rebels.

 
© French air force

The French armed forces have been operating the Harfang, a derivative of the IAI Heron, since 2006. The system has been deployed to other war zones, including Afghanistan. In July, France selected a larger version, the Heron-TP, to replace the Harfang.