Tag Archives: Mali

Export milestone for Airbus C295

Airbus on Tuesday 16 February reported the sale of one winglet-equipped C295W to Mali.

Th aircraft for Mali marks the first export order for the C295 this year. Delivery is due in the second half of this year, according to Airbus. Mali was the 23rd nation to order the C295.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A Philippines Air Force C295, which was transferred in December 2015 (Image © Airbus)

Norway to send Hercules to Mali operations

The Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) will dispatch one of its Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules with 50 personnel in support of the UN backed multinational operations in Mali in Africa. The government in Oslo decided on 24 June 2015 that the tactical airlifter should be operational at Bamako-M’poko Airport in Mali in the beginning of 2016.

The Herc will provide airlift to the international forces in Mali – with a heavy French involvement – limiting the movement and fighting rebel forces in the north and northeast of the country. However, Norway will withdraw the about 20 intelligence officers from Mali in November this year, the Norwegian newspaper VG reports.

In the recent past Bamoko has seen Hercules’s many times. Norway’s neighbour Sweden uses its older TP 84 versions regularly in support of its troops in Mali.

© Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Royal Norwegian Air Force C-130J (Image © Nils Skipnes / Luftforsvaret / Forsvarets mediesenter)

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)