RAF Chinooks currently serving in Mali, have supported the recovery operations after technical damage caused the crew of a French Mirage 2000 jet to eject.
The RAF Chinook detachment is currently serving in support of the French led counter-terror operation there and are fully integrated into the French Groupement Tactique Désert-Aérocombat to provide a heavy lift combat support role. The helicopters were therefore ideally placed to lift under short notice around 60 French troops to the crash site to secure the area as part of the recovery operation.
Once the French troops secured the area, the Chinooks then lifted a French Accident Investigation Team and an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team to the site, south of Hombori. During the Chinook sorties the RAF helicopters were escorted by French Tiger attack helicopters.
“We have been fully integrated into the French aviation Groupement Tactique Désert-Aérocombat for some time now and were able to respond quickly and effectively in support of the French recovery operation. This was an outstanding performance from all involved and yet again demonstrated the excellent interoperability we have developed with our French counterparts here in Mali."
Squadron Leader Brown
Officer Commanding 1310 Flight
The RAF Chinook deployment is in support of the French Operations in West Africa and has been ongoing since 2018. From a British perspective the operation is overseen by Permanent Joint Headquarters and controlled by the UK’s Joint Helicopter Command
“This short notice, crucial operational task in support of the French forces is testament to the commitment, flexibility and adaptability of the team here. This unfortunate event highlights the strong working relationships and fraternité we have built with our French partners in support of Operation Barkhane."
Commander Kiernan Royal Navy
UK’s Senior National Representative
The French aircrew were successfully recovered but one of them did suffer very minor injuries. A full French investigation has begun into the cause of the crash. It has already been established that it was not due to any insurgency activities