Deployement of French maritime patrol aircraft ATL2 in Barkhane operation


According to information published on the Twitter account of the French Defense Staff on February 2, 2021, the French Navy has deployed during four months a Breguet Atlantic ATL2 long-range maritime patrol aircraft for Operation Barkhane, in the Sahelo-Saharan strip.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Breguet Br 1150 Atlantic (ATL2) maritime patrol aircraft (Picture source: Twitter account of the French Defense Staff)


The ATL2 is a long range maritime patrol aircraft, dedicated primarily to the control of the air-sea environment through anti-submarine warfare and against surface ships, from the littoral zone to the open sea.

ATL2 crews successfully performed:
- Intelligence missions (more than 1,000 interception of electronic signals)
- Bombing missions against enemy targets

The Atlantic has been operated by a number of countries, commonly performing maritime roles such as reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare. This aircraft is also capable of carrying air-to-ground munitions to perform ground-attack missions; a small number of aircraft were also equipped to perform ELINT operations. An updated version, the Atlantique 2 (ATL2), was produced by Dassault Aviation for the French Navy in the 1980s. A further improved model, the Atlantique 3, was proposed during the 1990s but ultimately unbuilt. Other operators of the Atlantic have included the German Navy, the Italian Air Force, the Pakistanese Navy, and the Royal Netherlands Navy.

Operation Barkhane is an ongoing anti-insurgent operation started on August 1, 2014 which is led by the French military against Islamist groups in Africa's Sahel region. It consists of a roughly 5,000-strong French force, which is permanently headquartered in N’Djamena, the capital city of Chad. The operation is led in cooperation with five countries, all former French colonies, that span the Sahel: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. These countries are collectively referred to as the "G5 Sahel". The operation is named after a crescent-shaped dune in the Sahara desert.


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