British helicopters have arrived in West Africa as the UK’s support, to a key French counter-terrorism operation, in Mali reaches its next phase. Three Royal Air Force Chinook helicopters from RAF Odiham, supported by RAF ground personnel, have now arrived in Mali and are preparing to begin providing logistical and troop movement support to our allies. “The UK and France have a unique security and defence relationship that has lasted for more than a century and this deployment demonstrates our shared commitment to tackling terrorism, instability and reducing threats to European security” Mark Lancaster Armed Forces Minister The Chinooks will provide niche logistical support and will also help improve safety by moving troops by air, rather than ground, where they are more vulnerable to attack. The UK has been a long-standing supporter of UN and EU military operations in Mali and has worked with international partners to prevent extremists from using the ungoverned space in the Sahel to plan and launch attacks on Europe, as well as counter the illegal trade in people, drugs, weapons and wildlife. This deployment increases the RAF involvement in Africa.