British Chinook helicopters have now completed 2000 hours of flying in support of the French military counter insurgency operation in Mali, West Africa.
Chinooks began operating in Mali with the French military during July 2018 and since then have moved over one-thousand tonnes of freight and over twelve-thousand passengers, say the Royal Air Force.
“Currently, the CH-47 Chinooks are being flown by aircrew drawn from 18(B) Squadron and are supported by ground-based personnel drawn from across the Army and RAF who carry out three to four-month tours. The current detachment this year has flown three-hundred and forty hours, lifted two-hundred and forty seven tonnes of freight and transported one-thousand one-hundred and fifty passengers since arriving in January. During this time the detachment has operated in temperatures up to forty seven degrees centigrade which have been accompanied by frequent dust storms.”
Wing Commander Si Elsey said in a release:
“We have not lost a sortie due to COVID-19 and the French have maintained a high tempo of operations throughout. Once their troops are in the field, we re-supply them and can lift vehicles in and out as required
The Chinook helicopters bring a unique logistical capability to the operation, allowing French ground forces to operate more effectively across the region.