West Africa - SahelBlog AnalysisMissions Operations

Serval lacks tanker planes. Assessment of committed allied means (updated)

(credit: Royal Air Force)

(B2) The lack of tanker aircraft is felt for Operation Serval. The French have a total of five supply ships. And only one aircraft was provided by the coalition – the Dutch KDC 10 – which can also be used to transport equipment. Paris therefore turned to London – which has tanker capacity – as well as Berlin to ask them to provide planes. The answer is not negative. But it drags... In total when all means are used, the French will have 8 tactical aircraft, 8 heavy transport aircraft and 1 surveillance aircraft (not counting the Ukrainian Antonovs used within the framework of the NATO Salis contract, or even military transport aircraft within the framework of the European Air Transport Command EATC).

It's dragging

The negotiation concerns not only the availability of materials but the invoicing of travel (especially on the British side). Are we talking about additional costs (such as gasoline) or do we also include personal and material costs? On the German side, we know that the obstacle is also parliamentary consultation. We can, however, hope that this request and negotiation could have a positive effect on the European EATC military transport system. We know that the extension to supply tankers had been considered. The study of this possibility may be accelerated.

Confirmed British and C-17 surveillance aircraft

At the same time, the British government confirmed the dispatch of a surveillance plane Sentinel of the 5th Squadron, equipped with an Astor surveillance radar. This took off on Friday (January 25) from the RAF (Royal Air Force) base at Waddington towards a French air base in Africa (the destination was not specified: N'Djamena?). This shipment is part of a package of decisions adopted by the National Security Council last Tuesday, which studied the various requests for French aid. He also confirmed that the provision of C-17s would continue.

Reminder of the means committed, on the allied side

European Union = 8 tactical aircraft (C-130/C-160), 3 heavy transport aircraft (C-17), 1 surveillance aircraft, 2 helicopters

  • Germany: 2 C-160s
  • Belgium: 2 C-130 (in Ivory Coast) + 2 A109 helicopters (Medevac – medical evacuation)
  • Denmark: 1 C-130
  • Spain: 1 C-130 (it takes off from the Zaragoza base on Saturday to Dakar)
  • Italy: 2 C-130s
  • Netherlands: 1 KDC 10 tanker/transport aircraft
  • United Kingdom: 2 C-17 heavy transport aircraft (already in action) + 1 Sentinel surveillance aircraft
  • Sweden: 1 C-17 aircraft (from Papa base)

Outside the European Union

  • Canada: 2 C-17 heavy transport aircraft (the Canadian government has extended the contribution of its C-17s until February 15)
  • United States: 2-3 C-17 heavy transport planes (the first left from the Dover base towards Istres and landed in Bamako on January 21, announced the Us Air Force. On Wednesday, 5 rotations had been completed allowing to transport 80 soldiers and 124 T of equipment)
  • United Arab Emirates : 2 C-17 heavy transport aircraft

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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