Royal Air Force Chinooks currently deployed in Mali in support of French Military Operations there have passed a significant milestone after recording 3000 hours of operational flight time, say the Royal Air Force.

The milestone was passed by 1310 Flight, the RAF detachment that operates the CH-47 Chinooks in Mali and is primarily committed to conducting flight operations in support of the French Operation Barkhane, a counter-terrorist operation across the Sahel region of West Africa.

The RAF Odiham based helicopters from Joint Helicopter Command, first arrived in West Africa during July 2018 to provide a heavy lift helicopter support capability to Op Barkhane.

Since the start of the deployment, the British Chinook detachment has have moved over 1,500 tonnes of freight and over 18,000 French soldiers.

The aircraft are currently flown by pilots and crewmen from 27 Sqn, supported by personnel from across the RAF, British Army and Royal Navy drawn from Joint Helicopter Command.

The RAF Detachment Commander, Squadron Leader Sam Bennett, said in a news release:

“The crews and individuals who are deployed on Op Newcombe have maintained a high tempo of operations throughout our time in theatre, delivering support to the French in their efforts to counter the militant Islamist threat. This deployment has been particularly challenging due to COVID-19, however, our mitigations have kept the detachment 100% free of the virus, resulting in no lost sorties. In addition, the harsh conditions in which we operate have added a number of substantial technical issues, that test the engineers on a daily basis. Despite this, the team has managed to provide over 100 flying hours per month and so achieve our mission to support our French allies.”

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julian1
julian1
15 days ago

Talk in the papers of Macron pulling out citing a lack of Mali government support. Repeated changes/collapses in Malian leadership has caused this. There is now a senior army officer leader the government and they think he could make a deal with the terror groups.

Steve
Steve
14 days ago
Reply to  julian1

Not really surprising, when France entered the conflict they were talking about a short deployment and rapid victory. Kinda like afgan/Iraq or northern ireland before that, it appears mission success is impossible without making peace with the terror groups. I suspect the only way to win an insurgency war is large numbers of boots on the ground and hearts/mind campaigns with the locals. Volume is what the western armies lack, and no amount of tech will make up for not having mass to hold the ground. I suspect constant attacking and retreating to base, just helps recruit more fighters rather… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve

The issues with “normal” hearts and minds is that the insurgents would/could have support of the local population as most would have a similar outlook and and generally an anti Government local issues. This is where Government forces would need to be implementing proper hearts and minds strategy. However in Mali and other religious dominated conflicts, the local population are in absolute fear, and as you said, once the Government/western troops have passed through, the scum bags return and terrorise the locals. Locals know that they have no option but not to assist the Government forces for fear of torture… Read more »

BB85
BB85
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve

It is scary how few rebels it takes though to bring some of these givernments to their knees. I doubt very much they are supported by the local population Muslim or not but through fear they are powerless to stop them without a lot of bloodshed.

Steve
Steve
14 days ago
Reply to  BB85

Support through fear is still support. Plus if you’re propping up an unpopular / corrupt government then your not exactly starting from a high point. Fear also aids recruitment as people have no choice. Fear can only be countered by boots on the ground, to stop the fear, in other words an effective police force, and that requires huge numbers as you would need to properly police ever major town. If your an insurgent, you know the western force will enter a village and then leave again, so easy tactic is retreat once they arrive and return behind them, meaning… Read more »

Mark Forsyth
Mark Forsyth
15 days ago

Given how back in 2018 the cost was listed as £3500 per hour, should we be sending the French Government a bill for £10m +
They are certainly quick to bill us for all other things !

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/osprey-vs-chinook-cost-vs-capabilities/#:~:text=An%20Osprey%20costs%20%2411%2C000%20(%C2%A3,Osprey%20does%20have%20extra%20capabilities.

dan
dan
15 days ago
Reply to  Mark Forsyth

Reminds me of that story when the French government sent a bill to the U.S. for the hedgerows the USArmy had to destroy to liberate their country during WW2. lol

Richard Wakefield
Richard Wakefield
15 days ago

Our Nato allies seem to let us burn through the life expectancy of our equipment could be a reason why the military are cutting back so much! It’s about time Nato/UN members who don’t or can’t contribute pay for the countries that do step up! Look how much Afghanistan’s cost us in lives/equipment and money and all’s we get for it is a diminished military!

Deep32
Deep32
15 days ago

Yep, if the yearly flt hours are the same as aircraft (approx 300 pa), that’s the equivalent of 10 years of life off our Chinook flt – it makes one think!

dan
dan
15 days ago

Didn’t France finally order some of their own CH-47Fs?

Warren
Warren
14 days ago
Reply to  dan

They have expressed an interest, but no orders have been confirmed publicly so far.

BB85
BB85
14 days ago
Reply to  Warren

The French and Germans don’t seem to buy anything that isn’t domestically produced, a classic example is Brimstone. They are happy to just go without the capability until they eventually develop their own.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
14 days ago

Great effort. Well done to all concerned.

Ian M.
Ian M.
14 days ago

You’d think the MOD would spring for a seat for the Air Gunner, must be hell on the knees!

Nic
Nic
14 days ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Doesn’t look the most comfortable and not the safest in battle

SD67
SD67
10 days ago

Why are we involved in this?

France depend on neighbouring Niger for 80% of their electricity (uranium), hence why they get involved in these colonial policing operations.

Operation Serval was a French unilateral intervention, not NATO.