Chinook helicopters have been offered to assist in the transport of French troops taking part on Operation Barkhane in Africa.

According to The Telegraph here, Britain has offered the transport aircraft to make up for shortfalls in French helicopter numbers.

Back in March 2016, during the UK-France Summit in Paris, the British government announced that it would consider providing support to Operation Barkhane. Subsequently, then Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced that the UK would provide monthly strategic airlift support to French forces in Africa.

To that end, then Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced that the UK would continue to provide C-17 support to French counter-terrorist operations in Africa for at least the next six months. Fallon said at the AirPower 2017 conference:

“We’re not just strengthening bi-lateral ties with the US and Norway, but with our close French partners. Six years ago, when the Lancaster House treaties promised ever closer cooperation some were sceptical as to what that might mean. Yet today our aircrews are flying in each others’ aircraft against the Daesh, our defence companies are producing world-leading missiles, and we are supporting French operations, by providing air transport to assist French counter-terrorism operations in Africa.

This agreement made at Amiens last year expires at the end of this month. But the need does not. So, as we look forward to the next UK-French Summit this autumn, I have agreed to continue providing this air transport support for at least the next six months.”

According to a statement from the MoD:

“France is one the UK’s most important European Ally on defence and security matters and both nations aim to uphold the security of Europe through sharing capabilities in the most efficient way.”

In March 2016, during the UK-France Summit in Paris, the British government announced that it would consider providing support to Operation Barkhane. British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon then announced that the UK would provide monthly strategic airlift support to French forces in Africa. The operation is “to become the French pillar of counterterrorism in the Sahel region.”

According to French Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the main objective of Operation Barkhane is counter-terrorism:

“The aim is to prevent what I call the highway of all forms of traffics to become a place of permanent passage, where jihadist groups between Libya and the Atlantic Ocean can rebuild themselves, which would lead to serious consequences for our security.”

French President, François Hollande, has said the Barkhane force will allow for a “rapid and efficient intervention in the event of a crisis” in the region. The operation will target Islamist extremists in Mali, Chad and Niger and will have a mandate to operate across borders.

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Despite not being a big fan of the French (the amount of times they screwed us in defenses deals and their actions against us in the EU), they have helped with the shortfall in martime patrol planes so this is a good show to repay that.


It would be nice to see more reports where France is providing British support. Every news article I ever see only appears to be one way traffic. Glad to hear they have been helping provide maratime patrol.


It was part of NATO and one of the countries I saw in the list participating was France. The scale or length of time they helped I’m unsure of.

Whatever you think about NATO they are good for that, covering the gaps in nations defenses that they can’t cover for one reason or another. In our case it was feckless politicians who didn’t care for the defenses of their country.


Yeah the PM just made the call to scrap the capability and rely on nato to cover it is they provided extra cover elsewhere but it still came up short on multiple occassions. The UK and France really should have teamed up with airbus on a 50/50 as it would have been much more exportable than their domestic options.

Harry Bulpit

The new french president has said he will punish us for brexit, is threatening to push back the border and the government is contemplating cutting helicopter numbers. Why are we doing this.


Harry – exactly. My reply would be rather blunt but basically be along the lines of:
“Mr Le President. We are happy to make up for your lack of investment in your defence (like your German friends) but we need to see a new EU Free Trade Deal first. Oh and ‘Bon Chance’ funding the EU after we leave in 2019”

Alexis TK27

Chris, countries always have a combination of cooperation on shared interests and competition when their interests are opposed.

It is a fact that French and British interests are opposed on the subject of Brexit.

However, France and Britain have close interests on the subject of defense, and here cooperation goes both ways: France has helped for maritime patrol as recalled above, also there is sharing of French scientific tools for simulation of nuclear tests for common research with Britain. Look up here

Daniele Mandelli

Yes but as usual our government are as weak as expected.


France always put their own interests first and whilst they pretend to be totally pro European it is only if they can run things and any EU policy suits them. Anything else gets a firm non. They are allies but you wouldn’t want to rely on them. Anglo French defence cooperation has been forced upon both countries as our economies are too weak to fund our pretentions of being global players.


And France is STILL demanding that Britain takes more of their illegals.

The government should have leveraged this assistance into France being less of an obstacle on Brexit and their illegal immigrants.

What is Britain getting out of this so-called “alliance” exactly?


this is a difficult topic; since if you see it from Frances perspective the illegal immigrants are just passing through France on their way to their destination which is the UK. Because we are an island we are pretending it isn’t our problem. Combine that with the reality that we caused most of the mess that they are running away from.


It isn’t “difficult” Jeremy.
If they are refugees then they claim their asylum in France
If they want to go to Britain they can do what millions of others do and enter LEGALLY.

None of these people are illegal migrants because of anything Britain did.
A large proportion are Ghanaian.
Every reader knows that Britain isn’t doing anything to hurt Ghana, or any country for that matter.

You are siding with criminality & immorality.


Joe – Very succinctly put Sir. What the liberal left do is blur what is an illegal migrant with a refugee and cry ‘sympathy’. None of the people in Calais have any right whatsoever being there, or in France, or in the EU, or the European Continent come to that. It is actually very simple and not difficult. If you are a refugee and fleeing for your safety you are obliged under International Law enforced by the UNHCR to go to ‘the first country of safe refuge’ (the clue is in the name isn’t it?) So for the UK that… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Spot on Chris and Joe. These are economic migrants, not Refugees.

If you are fleeing from terror you claim asylum in the first safe country.

France let them in, allowed them to travel, and now wants to dump them on us.

And you know what. We are SO BLOODY STUPID we will take more of them, and they then go on our bloated benefits bill.

Makes me mad at how stupid and PC riddled we are.

Alexis TK27

Actually, the very reason those illegal migrants come here in France is because they aim at entering the UK. French police prevents them from passing the Channel, but they are not ready to accept being in France, that is to settle for less than their dream of a British paradise. Hey, you should be flattered that the UK along with Germany and Sweden is being aimed at, rather than our poor so disagreeable country 🙂 ! Seriously: I totally understand the point about migration which should be only legal and I obviously approve. However, we are speaking of people who… Read more »

Lee H

We have got 60 Chinooks, those aircraft need to be flown, aircrews need operational flying time and as always, we are always happy to help the French in their time of need.
Good people, or countries for that matter don’t necessarily need something in return for doing helpful things ??


Lee – Indeed. But this IS the French we are discussing …..


Some people make the same mistake with France as they do the US. We are friends and allies but remain competitors. Trump’s America First is BS because all countries have done that to the best of their ability at the time.

We are military allies because it suits both countries and as with rest of NATO we share broadly similar views of the world. I wouldn’t rely on anyone else or their kit in a time of war but it very sensible we work, train and share assets together.

David Steeper

I’ve read the article and your comments but there’s one thing missing. Who is going to pay for this deployment ? Yes they’d be flying anyway. But shipping them out to a place with no spares, facilities or experience with Chinooks is going to cost millions which the defence budget simply hasn’t got.


As Lee said, if we have them then we should use them. The instability there is spread across Mali, Niger, Libya and elsewhere, making it one of those areas where instability is driving a lot of the asylum seekers and immigrants to head for Europe. It’s always been official British policy (with good justification) to try to deal with refugees at source rather than bringing them into the UK, as it’s ultimately cheaper in the long run. This is a military application of the policy that sees British foreign aid money go towards care, education and resourcing of refugee camps… Read more »


As a French observer, I find many of the comments on this page amusing


I dare say the French will reciprocate in the future. Perhaps use of the mistral class or other naval assets. I don’t see a problem with it personally, it’s probably only a small number of choppers

David owen

The French are our allies and friends,the French are fighting the Islamist bastards in Africa,not to help them is a traitorous act of backstabbing, they are in the same boat as us except the terrorist attacks in France were worse than London or Manchester,god rest the souls of all the victims of both countries, kill all Islamist bastards in all countries ,ones being suspected being one of these scum arrested, if they are ,execute them for that alone,stand shoulder to shoulder with them ,some have wrote on this site they don’t like the French,is that the little englanders ooh england… Read more »