> our title:

French Predators Log 500 Hours in Mali

> original title:

Mali: 500 Flight Hours for the Reaper Detachment

(Source: French air force; issued April 17, 2014)

(Issued in French only; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)

On March 31, 2014 -- two and a half months after it stood up -- the Reaper detachment has passed the 500 flight hour milestone in support of Operation Serval.

A few days after its arrival on African soil on January 16, a French air force Reaper drone carried out its first operational missions over Mali. Since then, missions have followed at a steady pace, and Predator crews, consisting of operators as well as intelligence officers and image analysts, have been widely utilized. During these few weeks, the Reaper has demonstrated its capabilities and will be seen as a key ISR (identification, surveillance, reconnaissance) asset at the disposal of French forces.

About 1,600 French soldiers are currently on Malian soil, and are pursuing a mission against armed terrorist groups, while supporting the standing up of MINUSMA and FAMA forces.