In accordance with guidelines set by the President of the Republic, the French Air Force have successfully weaponised Reaper UAVs. Primarily for surveillance and intelligence missions, the French Reapers were equipped with GBU-12 laser-guided bombs.
The French forces were trained in the installation and removal of the weapons by US counterparts. Following ground training to ensure that equipment and procedures were suitable for local conditions, successful test firing took place from Niamey airbase in Niger.
Part of Operation Barkhane, the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly welcomed the success of the tests as a reflection of the French military’s constant commitment to building modern and efficient armies.
It is thought that the introduction of armed drones will effectively utilise the discretion and endurance capabilities of fixed wing UAVs whilst enabling faster and more effective reaction times to forces on the ground.