25 Aug 16. France carries out large SCALP-EG attack on targets in Syria. The French Air Force launched a large strike against Islamic State targets in Syria using only MBDA SCALP-EG cruise missiles on 21 August.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the raid involved four Rafale multirole fighters, four Mirage 2000D jets, and a French Navy Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft.
It released photographs showing the four Rafales each armed with two SCALP-EGs and the four Mirages each with a single SCALP-EG. It said “about 10” SCALP-EGs hit and destroyed Islamic State facilities that were used to store and maintain heavy weapons in the eastern Syrian province of Al-Raqqah.
A MoD source told IHS Jane’s that 11 SCALP-EGs were launched; a malfunction was detected in the 12th missile before it was released and it was brought back to base for maintenance.
As part of Operational ‘Chammal’, the French Air Force has Mirage 2000D jets deployed at Jordan’s Prince Hassan Air Base, but the MoD refers to this location as the ‘deployed airbase’ in Jordan. The Rafales are deployed to Al-Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The SCALP-EG is designed to destroy hardened targets in areas protected by air defences. Although the Islamic State has only limited short-range air defence capabilities, the French Air Force has used at least 50 against the Islamic State since 15 December 2015, including ones launched from Rafale-Ms flying from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. The largest previous raid involved four Rafales launching eight missiles against targets in the Aleppo region on 2-3 January.
In comparison, the UK has announced that the RAF has used its Storm Shadow version of the SCALP-EG just once in the campaign against the Islamic State. The missiles targeted a large Saddam-era bunker in Iraq being used by the extremist group on 26 June.
One of the founding fathers of Europe’s long held plan for a unified army has said the UK exit from the European Union is the perfect time to realize the ambition, following years of British “sabotage” of the concept. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Aug 16. Gen. Vincenzo Camporini, a former head of the Italian general staff, told Defense News that the EU’s plans for a series of multinational battle groups run by an EU military headquarters could now flourish after the UK voted to leave the EU in June, which has been dubbed.
“The UK’s opposition to setting up the EU military HQ put a stop to it,” Camporini said.
Camporini was one of four European military officials who formed a working group in 1999 to map out a European army, a plan known as the Helsinki Headline Goal. He is now vice president and a security and defense analyst with the IAI think tank in Rome.
Some battle groups have been formed, including an Italian-Slovenian-Hungarian group, but others exist only on paper.
“Those that exist have never been tested,” Camporini . “When will we follow the NATO example and have annual exercises?”
Another way Europe has sought to integrate armed forces was by setting up the European Defense Agency, a pan-European office designed to encourage joint procurement.
Camporini said the agency remained weak and ineffective, thanks in part to the UK undermining it.
“The UK always opposed funding increases, and three quarters of the agency’s budget is absorbed by salaries, leaving it as a body whose scope is survival,” he said. “It was clear that after its early enthusiasm, UK sentiment for EU defense cooled.”
Camporini said the military cooperation deal struck by the UK with France in 2010 was emblematic of the UK approach to European defense.
“The treaty clearly stated it was not to be extended to other countries. When a few months later as Chief of Staff I met in a ‘quad’ format my colleagues from France, Germany and UK, [then-Chief of the Defence Staff for the UK] Gen. [David] Richards and [then-Chief of the Defense Staff for France] Adm. [Edouard] Guillaud were really embarrassed to h