UPDATE SEPT 14: Sweden cancels Mali C-130
The Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet) is preparing one of its eight TP 84 (C-130H) Hercules aircraft for deployment in Mali next month.
The Swedish C-130s are amongst the oldest of the type still in service in Europe, with 32 to 48 years of age. They operate out of F7 Såtenäs base at giant lake Vänern in the southern part of the country. Despite frequent talks about a replacement of the TP 84s, no decision has been made nor does one seem imminent.
The Swedish Armed Forces are, however, one of the largest users of the NATO/EU C-17 strategic transport fleet centrally based at Papa in Hungary to compensate for their lack of long-range air transport capacity.
It’s the decision of the Swedish parliament to send the Flygvapnet C-130 together with 70 personnel to the UN force Minusma, the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali. The Swedish task force is designated FM 01 and will use September to build up its operations just outside the Mali capital of Bamako. Officially the unit will be operational on October 1, serving till Januari 31, 2014.
The Swedish Armed Forces FM 01 will mainly be tasked with transport of materiel and personnel from southern to northern Mali in what officially is called ,,establishment of increased security in the turbulent northern areas”.
A French intervention force pushed back extremist rebels when they started Operation Serval at January 11, 2013. The later joint French-African operations, supported by several EU countries, has now been turned into a United Nations mission.
© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger