Although the military campaign in Mali still lasts, bring some lessons that received the armed forces of France in the air operation of low intensity.
1. The need for large quantities of air surveillance. French Air Force use three UAVs Narfang, two of them are deployed in Niger. For clock surveillance on two fronts, usually need to have 5 UAVs.
UAV Narfang used to monitor the area airports and cities where the paratroopers have to plant. Need more drones to find insurgents look suspicious activity and accompany convoys / special operations in large areas of central and northern Mali.
French UAVs are not armed and they observed the goal needs to build fighter-bombers. In these cases, help U.S. drone (some of them are armed MQ-1) is of prime importance.
Last, but more fundamental, French planners are in need of tracking the rebel forces. For this reason, the British were involved in the operation Sentinel R.1 from Senegal and the United States offered their Tipo E-8 JSTARS.
2. The problem with the tanker aircraft. Even a small number of combat aircraft participating in the air strikes, the French Air Force can not provide the desired fleet tanker aircraft. That is why the United States sent its KC-135 from the British air base Mildenhall, other countries also offered their tanker aircraft.
In a relatively small military operation «Serval» transport planes had to use other states to assist in the transfer of French troops in Mali. Advanced combat aircraft and transport aircraft must be maintained.
3. Currently, the French Air Force group in Mali includes 6 Mirage 2000DS, 6 Rafale, two Mirage F1CR, four tanker aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and two C-160, C-130 and CN-235 operating from Bamako, N’Djamena, Niamey, Dakar and Abidjan.
As in Libya, the air campaign in Mali confirmed the need for a cheap light combat aircraft «Rafale» is a multipurpose aircraft that can do a wide range of combat tasks, including exploration. But it is rather expensive on the basis of belief cost per flight hour, like most of the most modern fighters.
The fact that the use of the French Air Force Mirage F1CR should reduce the costs of long-term operations abroad.
4. Even if the Mirage 2000 and Rafale flew with precision-guided munitions, nevertheless, in Mali in handy not only severe (precious) instrument, taking into account the number legkoporazhaemyh ground targets.
That is why Mirage F1CR taken as the main bomb load (and a cheap) four 500-pound bombs unguided Mk-82 filled with air fuses DSU-33 to initiate detonation above the surface.