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French Rafale fighter aircraft deployed in Middle East with RECO-NG pod to provide intelligence imagery


According to a statement of the French Ministry of Defense released on April 28, 2020, the French fighter aircraft Rafale deployed in the Middle East in the fight against Daesh are now equipped with the RECO-NG, a long-range high-resolution reconnaissance pod designed to provide intelligence imagery.

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French Rafale fighter aircraft deployed in Middle East with RECO NG pod to provide intelligence imagery 925 001 French Air Force Rafale fighter aircraft equipped with the pod RECO-NG.  (Picture source French Air Force)


The French Air Force continues to conduct combat missions in the Middle East. On May 10, 2020, two French jets launched airstrikes against buildings used by ISIS fighters, near Iraq’s city Kirkuk. The French defense ministry said in a statement that the Rafale jets have destroyed a building used by Daesh fighters, west of Kirkuk.

As of March 2020, the French fighter detachment with “Operation Chammal,” French military support to Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, now flies with enhanced capabilities in the fight to defeat Daesh remnants in Iraq and Syria.

French Rafale aircraft are now equipped with a RECO-NG (new generation reconnaissance pod), giving the fighters more imagery collection capability and diversifying their air support to the international Coalition to defeat Daesh. The RECO-NG is a long-range, high-resolution reconnaissance pod designed to provide intelligence imagery installed onto fighter aircraft such as the Mirage 2000 and Rafale. It consists of two large size digital matrix arrays for visible and infrared detection.

The RECO-NG, 4.6 meters long and weighing 1100 kilograms, is positioned under the fuselage of the Rafale. There, pilots use the equipment to document day and night missions and identify Daesh positions and equipment such as weapons caches, tunnels, vehicles and training camps.

The Rafale is a twin-jet combat aircraft manufactured by Dassault Aviation and is capable of carrying out a wide range of short and long-range missions. It can be used to perform ground and sea attacks, reconnaissance, high-accuracy strikes and nuclear strike deterrence.

France remains committed within the international Coalition against ISIS on several fronts: permanent presence of a frigate in the eastern Mediterranean; air missions of the Rafale fighter aircraft stationed in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates; and planning officers within the CJTF-OIR staff.