The Royal Canadian Air Force has started deploying Chinook and Griffon helicopters to Mali, where they will take part in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission (Minusma).
The deployment is for 12 months and will take over from German and Belgian deployments next week – they will start flying operational missions from 1 August. Apart from the helicopters, 250 personnel are also being deployed to Mali.
Canada’s Air Task Force (ATF) includes three CH-147F Chinook helicopters for transport and logistics and five CH-146 Griffon helicopters for armed escort and protection as well as medical evacuation. One Chinook and two Griffons will be on standby at all times to support the UN mission.
The first helicopters are set to arrive this week in Gao, Mali, aboard C-177 Globemaster transport aircraft, with the first CH-147F already en route via Burkina Faso. An advance party arrived in Gao on 25 June – a Canadian CC-130 was the first large aircraft to land on the newly constructed runway at Gao.
Canada will also deploy a CC-130 Hercules aircraft to the United Nations Regional Support Centre in Entebbe, Uganda.