first published on January 7, 2020 by Will
France has carried out their very first armed drone strike, killing multiple Islamist insurgents in Mali during a December 2019 Operation.
The French military announced they killed 40 “terrorists” during the operation. Seven of those insurgents were killed in the drone strike. French commandos were were conducting a clearing operation in Ouagadou forest, 90 miles from the town of Mopti, when they were ambushed by a group of Katibat Macina terrorists on motorbikes. They responded decisively.
The drone strike occurred just two days after the French military announced it had finished testing the unmanned aerial attack drones for armed operations. They reportedly have three American-built Reapers operating out of Niamey, Niger.
The French have used the drones in an unarmed, reconnaissance capacity since 2014 in operations in Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso.
“Their main missions remain surveillance and intelligence … but these can be extended to strikes,” said French Defense Minister Florence Parly.
The following video shows the French military carrying out test operations of their armed drones in Africa.