Mali’s rebels are adapting to attacks from above as the 15-day-old air war over West Africa gets a lot more intense. After Paris’ air force last week blasted the militants’ exposed vehicles and headquarters buildings (depicted in the targeting system video above), the survivors of the initial bombing runs learned to camouflage themselves.
“The rebels will quickly adapt their tactics to better conceal themselves and thus complicate targeting from the air,” Christopher Chivvis, an analyst with the California-based think thank RAND, said on Thursday.
More complicated targeting is forcing the French-led coalition to add spy planes to its order of battle. “There’s still more need for [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] platforms,” David Cenciotti, a highly-regarded aviation journalist, tells Danger Room. “You must detect and follow rebels as they move, then you can order, coordinate and manage air strikes.”
“It’s tough to get access for platforms that can collect,” warned Army Gen. Carter Ham, in charge of U.S. Africa Command. But that doesn’t mean the French and others won’t try.