The crash of two military helicopters, Friday 2 in the Var, killed at least five people. It was a training flight of the Army Light Aviation School (EALAT) Le Cannet involving Gazelle helicopters.
Devices that equip the army since 1973 and are at the end of their career in the French army but remain “reliable and robust” explains to France-Soir Arnaud Delalande, specialist in defense issues. Although launched decades ago, these devices have of course been “modernized over time”, says he.
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“They have proven themselves, they have been in all operations for 30 years, during + Desert Storm + (the first Gulf War in 1991, Ed) , in Chad. Their last major campaign took place during Operation Harmattan in Libya (in 2011) but they have also been used in Mali ” .
These attack helicopters equipped with barrels but not shielded are therefore less used, but not because of technical problems according to Arnaud Delalande. The French helicopter Tigre, more modern has indeed gradually replaced it for the attack missions.
It is such a use that was made this Friday during the tragedy, which according to the first elements unveiled would be due to a collision in full flight. And if the investigation has not started yet, Arnaud Delalande believes more to a human error or a problem related to the weather than a problem related to the age of the Gazelle.