British Chinooks deployed to Mali in support of the French military efforts have begun operations and are now contributing a heavy lift helicopter capability for the counter insurgency mission there, say the Royal Air Force.
The three Chinooks are being used to transport French troops and supplies around the country, providing vital logistical support in the ongoing campaign against the insurgents. The RAF helicopters have already conducted 30 sorties, flying for up to 6 hours on each trip and so far have moved over 700 French troops and more than 70 tons of equipment.
The commander for the deployed British Military personnel in Mali is Wing Commander Matt Roberts, he said:
“Our French partners have done absolutely everything to ensure we are integrated into this operation with all the support required to reach full operating capacity.”
According to a release, Wing Commander Roberts also explained that during one week during just three missions the Chinooks lifted just short of 25 tons in support of French ground troops.
On another occasion a Chinook was able to lift two badly damaged vehicles to a forward operating base, saving the French troops hours of towing them, and possibly compromising their mission.