German Tigers arrive in Mali


On 25 March the first two German Tiger attack helicopters arrived in Gao in northern Mali, where they joined the United Nations (UN) mission there.

They arrived in Gao after covering the 1 000 kilometres from the capital Bamako, the Bundeswehr said. Last week the two Tigers were transported from Leipzig to Bamako via an Antonov An-124-100 transport aircraft after being partially disassembled. They arrived in Bamako on 21 March.

The other two Tigers will follow shortly, when they will join the first two in providing the Minusma mission with protection and support flights.

Germany’s cabinet on 11 January approved the deployment of four NH90 transport helicopters and four Tigers as well as 350 additional soldiers to Mali. The helicopters are replacing those of the Dutch army, and the additional troops will service and maintain the fleet. The Royal Netherlands Air Force had deployed Apache attack helicopters and Chinooks to Mali.

The first NH90 helicopter, configured for medical evacuation, was flown to Bamako on 27 January by an Antonov An-124-100. A day after taking over medical evacuation duties from the Royal Netherlands Air Force, two German NH90 helicopters carried out a medical evacuation in support of the MINUSMA mission there on 2 March.

Germany from July 2016 took over responsibility for the intelligence unit in Mali from the Netherlands and is flying Heron I unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in support of this. The first operational Heron mission took place on 1 November from Gao airport. On 1 February 2017, the United Nations was informed of the “Full Operational Capability” of the system.