The C-17 flight was to deliver supplies to the RAF Chinook Detachment currently deployed supporting French operations there, say the MoD.
According to a statement, the arrival of the C-17 marks the first time that the Royal Air Force has been able to directly support the Gao based Chinooks since they deployed in June this year.
Previously, supplies would have been flown to the neighbouring country Niger and then shipped. The C-17 flight signals an intent to now supply the detachment with monthly direct flights.
Flying Officer Matt Nowicki, The Detachments Logistics Officer said:
“Flying directly into Gao significantly shortens the logistics chain, which until now has relied on onward movements of freight from Niamey Air base in Niger. Being able to fly to Gao has made an immense difference to supporting operations.”
In a statement, the RAF say that as well as carrying essential mission equipment and urgent aircraft spares, the C-17 also transported the first relief in place of RAF personnel to and out of Mali, bringing to an end the first rotation of Airmen supporting the French Operation Barkhane.
“The RAF Chinook detachment are deployed over 3000 miles away in Mali and relies on both RAF and French transport support to get supplies moved from the Chinook’s base at RAF Odiham out to sub-Saharan Africa.”