3 Chinook helicopters from RAF Odiham are now fully operational in Mali, ready to support Operation Barkhane, the French counter-terrorism mission.

They’re providing ‘niche logistical support’ to the 4,000 French troops spread across the ‘G5 Sahel’: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

‘This deployment demonstrates the vital role our Armed Forces play, working alongside our French allies to tackle terrorism and reduce threats to European and UK security’

Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster

The deployment was announced back in January when Prime Minister Theresa May met French President Emmanuel Macron. The helicopters arrived in July, supported by over 90 British troops.

It is widely understood that the UK offered the Chinook to make up for shortfalls in French helicopter numbers.

The MoD deployment is complemented by ‘£50m of UK Aid providing lifesaving humanitarian support’, according to Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin MP.

The UK has consistently supported UN and EU military operations in Mali in recent years. The intention is to prevent extremists of any nature from operating in the anarchic Sahel region, and in particular to prevent them planning attacks on Europe.

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2 years ago

The MoD deployment is complemented by ‘£50m of UK Aid providing lifesaving humanitarian support’, according to Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin MP.

It would be interesting to see if this deployment is coming out of the MOD budget rather than the foreign aid one. If as I believe it is, then questions should quite rightly be asked why, especially when the PM and the Minister for Africa are happy to promote their own causes at the expense of the MOD budget .

David Steeper
2 years ago

Farouk. It comes out of the MoD budget as do the training bases we’re going to keep open in Germany. Then we’ve got the NATO air policing to chase Russian aircraft in international airspace. It must add up to at least tens of millions but there’s zero chance we’ll ever know the true figure.

2 years ago

You would think the treasury and MOD would be working together to rinse every spare penny out of the FA budget they could given how much they know they waste every year just to meet the 0.7% target. The MOD could wash so much of is logistics expenditure through the FA budget and save for equipment and additional man power. All of our expeditionary deployments could be classed as FA.
A hospital/supply ship for the RFA could also be classed as FA.

2 years ago

Come on, we aren’t as petty as the Americans who only allow their foreign aid money to be spent on the purchase of American produced food and goods (USAID also mandates that nearly all salaried staff must be US citizens as well, no employing locals for anything other than manual labor) even if sourcing locally is cheaper/more beneficial to rebuilding a nations war-torn economy.