Brief blogair defense

Military strike in Syria. Some failures in the sending of the missiles

(B2) The Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly refused on Friday (April 20) to comment on press reports reporting technical hazards experienced by the French armies during Western strikes in Syria, which would have prevented as many missiles from being fired as planned .

No comment on classified information

« I do not intend to comment on the performance of this or that weapon system, this information, whether true or false, is classified, I will not comment on it “, reacted the minister on France Bleu Provence. " Our objectives have been achieved and we have nothing to add regarding the performance of the weapon systems “, she argued. The general staff of the armed forces, contacted on Friday, is naturally not more verbose: “ The military effect has been achieved. We do not comment on operational planning details ».

A Missing Scalp

During the strikes, Paris announced that it had fired twelve cruise missiles (9 from Rafale, 3 from a frigate) out of the hundred that targeted Syria as part of these strikes. According to the blog Le Mamouth, followed by other media, a Rafale failed to fire one of the ten Scalp missiles to be launched from the air by French planes.

NB: in general, the Rafale are equipped with two missiles which are fired at the same time. The figure of 9 shots, provided by 5 Rafale, officially announced, was therefore quite strange. The missile was eventually released at sea.

And a maritime misfire

At the same time, according to Letter A, and several other colleagues, the navy also experienced some problems with its missiles. The Aquitaine frigate, which was to carry out the first shots, suffered a launch failure and was unable to carry out its mission. It was the frigate Languedoc which had to take over, to ensure the launch of three naval cruise missiles (MdCN).

NB: a failure which did not really hinder the general mission. This type of misfire is common in strike missions. Hence in general, quite broad planning in terms of the number of missiles sent to targets. In this case, with 103 missiles on three “small” objectives, the allies had planned very, very broadly!

A first operational use

This is the first time that France has used this type of missile, with a range of 1.000 km, thus joining the exclusive club of countries with, like the United States and Russia, cruise missiles embarked on ships of surface. “ For the first time, without amphibious assets, without special forces, without aircraft carriers, with frigates our country has a missile that can hit installations deep in enemy territories », Declared to AFP the Chief of Staff of the Navy, Admiral Christophe Prazuck,

A unique capacity in Europe

« Within the European Union, France is the only one to have this capacity. " he added. " The objectives were achieved. This is a first operational demonstration of the effectiveness of the system. However, we always have an experience to take away from the whole process, this is what we will do in the coming weeks “, he added, without further details. These naval cruise missiles are expected to soon equip the French Barracuda nuclear attack submarines, the first example of which is due to enter service in 2020.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde, with AFP and Romain Mielcarek, in Paris)

Article completed on 22.04

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).