Belgium to deploy NH90s to Mali next year


The Belgian military is planning to deploy two NH90 transport helicopters to Mali next year in support of the United Nations mission there.

Belgium’s RTBF quoted military sources as saying the deployment is planned for next year but still has to be approved by government. The NH90 TTH transport models would be deployed between March and July 2018 to replace German helicopters at Gao.

Belgium received its final NH90 in March, of eigh ordered in June 2007. The country now has four NH90 Caimans in naval configuration, which will from 2018 replace its Sea Kings. Also acquired were four NH90s in tactical transport (TTH) configuration. The latter are operated by 18 Squadron from Beauvechain air base. The first TTH entered service in October 2013 and the last was delivered in November 2014.

Germany currently has four Tiger attack helicopters and four NH90s deployed to Mali as part of its contribution to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Its first two NH90s arrived in Mali on 31 January and the other two following on 4 February while the first two Tigers arrived on 21 March. They replaced four Dutch AH-64 Apaches and three CH-47 Chinooks.

In Mali the German NH90s are used to transport and rescue injured people, in addition to escort and surveillance.