in Defence / Features

France offers light relief to combat terror

Posted 24 March 2021 · Add Comment

The French Government is to assist west African nations in the fight against Jihadist insurgents and terrorists by supplying more Tétras CS and CSM light intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, writes Jon Lake.

Medical drop: Mali Air Force Tétras drop a box of medical supplies during a training exercise at the Mopti Airfield in Sevare. Picture: US Army Spc Kimberly Trumbull.

The CSM is intended specifically for military users.

The Humbert Tétras (Grouse) is a two-seat ultralight of similar configuration to the Piper Cub – a high-winged, single-engine taildragger.

The aircraft is available as a kit for home-building, or as a complete aircraft, and it has been in production by Humbert Aviation of Ramonchamp since 1994.

France’s move is aimed at boosting the surveillance capabilities of Benin and Burkina Faso, countering the spread of Islamist operations in the border zone between the two countries and also in the region that borders Benin and Niger.

The original Tétras, which first flew during 1992, was powered by a 72hp Humbert-Volkswagen HW 2000, but production versions use an 80hp Rotax 912 UL or a 100hp Rotax 912 ULS.

The Tétras CS and CSM now being marketed for ISR use are powered by the 100hp engine, and have a shorter span wing. Tétras CSL and CSLM versions, with undercarriage fairings, are also available.

The Armée de l'Air Cameroun received nine Humbert Tétras BSM/CSM aircraft from about December 2000, eight of which remain in use.

The Armée de l'Air Malgache received an initial example of the Tétras B in about 2004, and two more in 2009 and 2013. At least one remains in service.

The Escadrille Nationale de Niger received eight Tétras CSM surveillance aircraft from France. Three are currently in operational service.

Three Tétras CSL aircraft were donated to the Force Aérienne de Burkina Faso by France in October 2012 for surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

The Force Aérienne de Guinée received a pair of CSLM aircraft in about 2013, and three further Tétras CSMs in May 2015. One was lost on October 5 2016.

The Force Aérienne de la Republique du Mali received 13 Humbert Tétras CS aircraft from 2014, and six remain in service.


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