|Part of 2011 military intervention in Libya|
Remains of three Palmaria heavy howitzers of the Gaddafi forces destroyed by French warplanes at the south-western outskirts of Benghazi on 19 March 2011
|France||Libyan Arab Jamahiriya|
|Commanders and leaders|
Ali Sharif al-Rifi|
(Air Force Commander)
|See deployed forces||See Libyan Armed Forces|
|Casualties and losses|
|None||Multiple tanks, aircraft, artillery units and ground targets destroyed|
Unknown, unverified claim by Gaddafi-controlled Libyan state media of 48 civilians killed, 150 wounded as a result of all UN operations|
40 civilians killed (in Tripoli; Vatican claim)
Opération Harmattan was the French participation in the 2011 military intervention in Libya. It was named for the Harmattan, which are hot dry winds that blow over the Sahara, mostly between November and March. The United States' counterpart to this was Operation Odyssey Dawn, the Canadian counterpart was Operation Mobile and the British counterpart was Operation Ellamy. The no-fly zone was proposed during the Libyan Civil War to prevent government forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi from carrying out air attacks on anti-Gaddafi forces. Several countries prepared to take immediate military action at a conference in Paris on 19 March 2011.
- French Air Force
- 5 × Rafale fighters from EC 01.007 Provence, based at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy
- 6 × Mirage 2000-5 fighters from EC 01.002 Cigogne, Dijon – Longvic Air Base
- 6 × Mirage 2000D fighter-bombers from EC 03.003 Ardennes, Nancy – Ochey Air Base
- 2 × Mirage F1CR reconnaissance aircraft from ER 02.033 Savoie, Reims – Champagne Air Base
- 6 × C135 aerial refueling planes from GRV 02.093 Bretagne, Istres-Le Tubé Air Base
- An E-3F AWACS plane from 36ème EDCA, Avord Air Base
- A C-160G SIGINT electronic surveillance aircraft from EET 01.054 Dunkerque, Metz-Frescaty Air Base
- Commando Parachutiste de l'Air companies 20 and 30 forward deployed to Solenzara Air Base, Corsica
- French Navy
- Task Force 473
- Aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91)
- Anti-air destroyer Forbin (D620) (later transferred to Operation Unified Protector)
- Anti-air destroyer Chevalier Paul (D621)
- Anti-air destroyer Jean Bart (D615)
- Anti-submarine destroyer Georges Leygues (D640)
- Anti-submarine destroyer Dupleix (D641)
- Anti-submarine destroyer Jean de Vienne (D643)
- Frigate Aconit (F713)
- Frigate Courbet (F712)
- Replenishment tanker Meuse (A607)
- Nuclear attack submarine Améthyste (S605)
- Landing helicopter dock Tonnerre (L9014)
- 2 × Atlantique 2 signals intelligence aircraft based at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy
- Task Force 473
Summary of action
Day 1: 19 March
Eight Rafale fighters patrolled the skies over Benghazi to prohibit the advance of Libyan ground forces. One opened fire on Libyan military vehicles at 16:45 local time. The Telegraph reported four Libyan tanks destroyed by French aircraft southwest of Benghazi.
Day 2: 20 March
Day 3: 21 March
Day 4: 22 March
Aircraft from Charles de Gaulle began operations over Libya, commencing with Rafale F3s conducting reconnaissance and patrols. Forbin and Jean Bart, which were already on station off Libya, joined Task Force 473. The number of combat aircraft forward deployed at Air Base 126 Solenzara was increased to 20 with the arrival of two more Mirage 2000-5 and two more Mirage 2000D, with support aircraft operating out of Saint-Dizier and Avord.
Day 5: 23 March
Rafale and Mirage 2000D aircraft from Solenzara and Rafale and Super Etendard aircraft from the Charles de Gaulle conducted reconnaissance and support sorties over Libya.
Day 6: 24 March
Rafale and Mirage 2000D aircraft attacked a Libyan air base, 250 kilometres (160 mi) inland from the Mediterranean Sea, with SCALP GP missiles. Rafale, Mirage 2000D and Super Etendard aircraft flew four joint interdiction missions against Libyan ground forces. A Rafale destroyed a Libyan Soko G-2 Galeb light attack jet with an AASM air-to-surface missile as it landed at Misrata. A patrol of two Mirage 2000Ds, equipped with GBU-12 laser-guided bombs, attacked loyalist artillery near Ajdabiyah.
Day 7: 25 March
Qatari aircraft attached to Operation Odyssey Dawn and French aircraft conducted joint reconnaissance sorties in the regions of Misrata, Zintan, Sirte and Ajdabiyah. Four Mirage 2000Ds conducted interdiction missions against loyalist artillery near Ajdabiyah. Two French and two Qatari Mirage 2000-5s conducted air interdiction missions. Three French Mirage 2000-5s were moved from Solenzara to Souda Air Base on Crete.
Day 8: 26 March
French aircraft carried out several air strikes around Zintan and Misrata, destroying at least five Soko G-2 Galeb light attack jets and two Mi-35 helicopters on the ground. French and Qatari Mirage 2000-5s continued joint reconnaissance sorties from Souda Air Base.
Day 9: 27 March
Air Force and Navy Rafales attacked a command centre south of Tripoli. French and Qatari Mirage 2000-5s conducted joint patrols and air interdiction missions from Souda Air Base. The number of French Mirage 2000-5s based as Souda was increased to four.
Day 10: 28 March
Air operations were planned to focus on the region around Zintan and Misrata. Air force Rafales and Mirage 2000Ds and a joint patrol of Navy Rafales and Super Etendards bombed an ammunition dump at Gharyan, 100 kilometres (62 mi) south of Tripoli. Mirage F1CRs conducted reconnaissance missions for the first time in the operation.
Day 11: 29 March
Two patrols of Air Force Rafales and Mirage 2000Ds and a patrol of Navy Rafales and Super Etendards attacked anti-aircraft missile sites 100 kilometres (62 mi) south west of Tripoli. Two joint patrols of French and Qatari Mirage 2000-5s conducted air interdiction sorties. Mirage 2000Ds and Super Etendards bombed a military depot 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of Tripoli.
Day 12: 30 March
A joint strike force of Air Force Rafales and Mirage 2000Ds and Navy Rafales and Super Etendards attacked anti-aircraft missile sites 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of Sirte. A patrol of two French and four Qatari Mirage 2000-5s conducted air interdiction sorties.
Day 13: 31 March
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- Libye : DĂŠjĂ 55 sorties pour les avions de l’armĂŠe de l’Air | Zone Militaire
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- "Libye : point de situation opération Harmattan n°10". French Ministry of Defense. 27 March 2011.
- "Libye : point de situation opération Harmattan n°12". French Ministry of Defense. 30 March 2011.
- "Libye : point de situation opération Harmattan n°13". French Ministry of Defense. 31 March 2011.