France withdraws Rafales from Chad


The French Air Force has withdrawn its four Rafale fighters from N’Djamena, Chad, as their support for Operation Barkhane in the region has come to a close.

The French Ministry of Defence said on 3 August that the Rafale detachment in Chad has returned home, with the four aircraft deployed there departing on 29 July for Base Aerienne 113 at St Dizier. They were accompanied by two C-135FR tankers, which provided in flight refuelling to the jets.

The Rafales have completed more than 879 missions, totalling 3 683 flight hours, with the Barkhane mission. The four jets have been replaced by four Mirage 2000s, which arrived in Niamey, Niger, on 26 July. France is now keeping only one type of aircraft in each area of operations to ease logistics and maintenance.

Operation Barkhane, launched in August 2014, includes 3 000 troops whose mission, in partnership with the countries of the Sahel G5, is to combat armed terrorist groups in the Sahel-Sahara region. France has also deployed some twenty helicopters, 200 logistics vehicles, 200 armoured vehicles, six fighter aircraft and ten transport aircraft to Africa for operations in countries like Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso.