Military

UK to Send Chinooks to Bolster French Counterterrorism Efforts in Mali

By S.L. Fuller | January 19, 2018

A serial of four CH-47 Chinook helicopters assigned to 6th Battalion, 101st General Aviation Support Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) land in Mobile, Ala., Sept. 11. The helicopters stage at the Mobile Regional Airport and are part of a contingency operation to support Hurricane Irma relief operations, if called forward.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Defense

The U.K. is set to deploy three of its air force’s Boeing Chinooks to aid a French counterterrorism operation. According to the prime minister’s office Thursday, the official announcement to send the helicopters to Mali is expected to come during the UK-France Summit at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, began that day.

The office said the Chinooks would provide logistic support to French troops in Operation BARKHANE. The Royal Air Force is already carrying out air transport flights.

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Chinook deployment would also be part of a wider effort to increase stability in the Sahel region of Africa to address Islamist terrorism. The ultimate goal would be to provide greater stability, reducing the global terrorist threat and stemming the flow of illegal migration to Europe.

“British military personnel will not be involved in combat operations, but the deployment of Chinooks will provide a niche capability providing logistical support, but also saving lives by avoiding the need to move troops by ground where they are more vulnerable to attack,” the office said.

The summit marks Macron’s first visit to the U.K. as France’s president, the office said. This year’s event differs from events past due to a broader scope of discussion. The office said previous years focused on defense and security, foreign policy and nuclear energy. The 2018 summit plans to cover the full spectrum of the U.K.-France bilateral relationship including prosperity, innovation, science and education.

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