France deploys unitary rocket launchers as part of Operation Barkhane

22 June 2016 (Last Updated June 22nd, 2016 18:30)

The French Ministry of Defence has announced that three unitary rocket launchers (URL) were deployed to Tessalit in northern Mali as part of Operation Barkhane this year.

Army

The French Ministry of Defence has announced that three unitary rocket launchers (URL) were deployed to Tessalit in northern Mali as part of Operation Barkhane this year.

Barkhane is an anti-insurgent operation led by the French armies in the Sahel region in Africa.

Nearly 3,000 soldiers, 20 helicopters, 200 logistics vehicles, 200 tanks, six fighter jets, three drones and ten transport aircraft took part in the operation.

"The URL brings fire support capabilities to the Barkhane Force engaged on the ground, especially in mountainous areas."

Since their deployment, the URLs fired 18 rounds, demonstrating their effectiveness by hitting logistics installations of the Groupes Armés Terroristes (GAT) located in the Adrar des Ifoghas region.

All the 18 rockets were fired at distances ranging between 50km and 71km by using various firing patterns, such as vertical or oblique shot, fusing, impact, or retarded warhead explosion.

The URL brings fire support capabilities to the Barkhane Force engaged on the ground, especially in mountainous areas.

The URL, which can deliver long-distance fire support an entire day, can fire munition with 90kg of explosives, up to a maximum range of 84km.

The deployment in northern Mali took place via a well-tested logistics manoeuvre.

Besides URLs, the French army uses several other fire-support systems such as 120mm mortars, the CAESAR wheeled self-propelled gun, and attack helicopters.

The operation is also backed by air support provided by combat aircraft.


Image: The French army's three unitary rocket launchers fired 18 rockets in total. Photo: courtesy of French Ministry of Defense.