Tag Archives: Mali

Recap: defense orders at Paris Air Show

UPDATED 19 June | As always its the orders for airliners that fight for attention at the Paris Air Show, but on the military side, things are happening as well. Most interesting little fact was the apparent first export order – announced on Monday – for the Pakistan-made JF-17 Thunder, although no country was mentioned. Let’s not be surprised however when it turns out to be Myanmar.

Pakistan Air Force officials only described the country that soon may add the JF-17 to its military inventory, as ‘Asian’. The same officials reported that current turmoil in the Middle East has slowed down export talks. The JF-17’s development meanwhile continues, with a possible two seat version on the way.

On the slower spectrum, Mali and Ghana agreed to buy six and five A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft respectively, while Saudi Arabia signed for four Airbus C295W medium transport and patrol aircraft. Perhaps the most prominent deal was the purchase of four Boeing C-17s for the Qatar Emiri Air Force.

As far as helicopters are concerned, Malaysia placed an order with Airbus Helicopters for two AS365 Dauphins for SAR duties.

Unnoticed by many was the first sale for Aero Vodochody of its new L-39NG aircraft. More on that is here.

Dassault’s Rafale was the most numerous aircraft. Three Rafales were on the ground, while a fourth gave a flying display. In the trade halls, models of Rafales in the colours of Qatar, India and Egypt were seen. Given the recent orders from those countries, further Rafale sales are unlikely.

Also in the halls, Alenia Aermacchi was pitching its M-345 jet trainer. France is reportedly interested in this trainer aircraft. Elsewhere, Antonov was pitching its new An178 transporter. The Ukrainian company also announced the An188, a military transport aircraft in the A400M and Boeing C-17 category, powered by four turbofan engines.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): Caught by its tail: a Black Panther’s JF-17 from Pakistan. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Fatal Dutch AH-64 Apache crash in Mali

Update 21 March: helicopter involved was serial Q-15, according to the Dutch
Ministry of Defense. | A Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) AH-64D Apache has crashed in Mali on Tuesday 17 March, according to news reports. The two crew members were  killed in the accident, which happened in the northern province of Gao.

The helicopter went down at 2pm local time during a live shooting exercise, some 45 kilometers north of Gao. One of the pilots died on the scene, while the other one died in a French army hospital. Both were members of 301 squadron, home based at Gilze Rijen airbase in the southern part of the Netherlands.

The RNLAF deployed four AH-64D Apache attack helicopters and three Boeing CH-47D Chinook transport helos to the African nation to support UN peace keeping operations. The first helicopters arrived here in May 2014.

The accident marks the second time the Dutch loose an Apache during operations abroad. On 29 August 2004, an Apache crashed while in Afghanistan. The cause was later determined to be crew error. The Netherlands now operates a fleet of 28 remaining Apaches, of which a small number is kept in the US for training purposes.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

Q-15, the Dutch AH-64D Apache involved in the crash in Mali. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Q-15, the Dutch AH-64D Apache involved in the crash in Mali. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Moving to Mali: Swedish Hercs essential

A pair of Swedish Air Force TP 84s (C-130 Hercules) have been very busy in November helping projecting the soon to come Swedish detachment to the EU / UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The two aircraft operated out of Bamako for a period of two weeks, commuting with Swedish armed forces personnel and materiel to Timbuktu. Close to Timbuktu Swedish military camp Nobel, as the official names goes, opens in the beginning of 2015 with 125 Swedish troops tasked with gathering intelligence and engage in reconnaissance patrols.

The Swedes will contribute to an almost 10,000 men and women strong UN force that is there to stabilize security in the country. Advancing extremist forces in Mali were pushed back last year by a French invasion backed by the international community. Swedish F7 Wing from Såtenäs Airbase sent 17 people to Mali, together with a platoon of combat troops for security. With the deployment the TP 84s did make it to Mali after all, although not as a steady airlift contribution that was foreseen back in Summer 2013.

Timbuktu Airport
The Hercules flights lasted 1.5 hours one-way. All sorties were flown during daylight, because of the higher than normal dangers of flying in the dark in the area of operations. Security at the landing zone, Timbuktu Airport, seems very good. A French Army camp is surrounding it, while UN troops from Burkina Faso occupy a terrain north of the airfield.

Next year
On the ground two convoys of 90 trucks transported part of the 400 containers of 20 foot each between Dakar via Bamako and Mopti to Timbuktu. Since Sweden earlier this year decommissioned two of its original eight TP 84s, only four Flygvapnet tactical transport aircraft were available for other tasks while the Mali flights took place. But that won’t stop the future Swedish Hercules flights back and from Africa while the Swedish contribution to MINUSMA is underway for real.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, based on source information provided by Försvarsmakten

Related: Press Play: RNLAF Apaches deploy to Gao in Mali
And: France sends Tigre attack helos to Central Africa

The pair of Swedish Air Force Hercules aircraft on the airport of Bamako, Mali, in November 2014 (Image © Försvarsmakten)
The pair of Swedish Air Force Hercules aircraft on Bamako-M’poko Airport, Mali, in November 2014 (Image © Försvarsmakten)

AN-124 will “eat” Chinooks this week

From the backdoor, a gunner of this RNLAF CH-47F is checking the area!. Archive photo. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
From the backdoor, a gunner of this RNLAF CH-47F is checking the area!. Archive photo. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
The first two of three Royal Netherlands Air Force CH-47 Chinook medium-transport helicopters will be transported to the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) the coming week. On 8 September a rented Antonov AN-124 with a hired crew will “eat” the choppers at Gilze Rijen Airbase in the south of the Netherlands, to let them go loose at the international airport of Bamako in Mali. Bamako is a main logistic and support airbase for both international and French operations in the area.

The Chinooks will have to be partly disassembled for the transport, and put together again after arrival. After systems and flight tests the choppers will head for Camp Castor in Gao in the east of Mali, where they join four RNLAF AH-64D Apaches already based there since May this year (WITH VIDEO).

All three RNLAF Chinooks should be operational at 1 October at the latest. They are being sent after a decision in March this year, when the Netherlands Ministry of Defence discovered there might be too little resources from French or other forces in the area to perform medevac or other support duties for the Dutch ground forces deployed to MINUSMA.

Fun for local aviation enthousiasts: because of the arrival and departure of the huge

A Volga-Dnepr An-124-100 coming in to land (Image © Antonov)
A Volga-Dnepr An-124-100 coming in to land (Image © Antonov)
the road directly adjacent to Gilze Rijen Airbase will be closed down on several periods of time on 8, 9, 10 and 11 September. The road is famous for low-flying aircraft landing at Gilze Rijen, like on this image.

Source: Ministerie van Defensie, with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

A Volga-Dnepr An-124-100 coming in to land (Image © Antonov)
A Volga-Dnepr An-124-100 coming in to land (Image © Antonov)

RNLAF Apaches deploy to Gao in Mali

The first pair of Royal Netherlands Air Force Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) AH-64D Apache attack helicopters have arrived at Camp Castor in Gao, Mali, on Friday night 16 May 2014. They will support the Dutch forces deployed there as part of UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

Press footage provided by © Ministerie van Defensie

The second pair of Apaches will make the ferry flight from the Malian capital airfield of Bamoko to Gao the coming week. All choppers arrived earlier from Gilze Rijen Airbase, the Netherlands, by hired Antonov AN-124-100-150. In October three CH-47 Chinook helicopters will follow.

Unlike the Chinooks, which will have medevac and troop transport as primary roles, the RNLAF AH-64s will engage actively in gathering intel for MINUSMA – like many of the ground forces the Dutch deployed to the area.

Source: Dutch MoD

One of the first two RNLAF AH-64Ds deployed to Mali lifting off from Bamoko, May 2014 (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)
One of the first two RNLAF AH-64Ds deployed to Mali lifting off from Bamoko, May 2014
(Image © Ministerie van Defensie)