West Africa - Sahel

Training the Malian army is good, equipping it is better

The Malian army must be equipped with robust and easily repairable equipment – ​​here an all-terrain VLRA (credit: Acmat)

(BRUSSELS2) The Malian army also needs equipment to carry out its missions. “ It is first and foremost a responsibility of the Malian state. It is up to him to equip himself. explains General Lecointre. Corn " we can't leave him alone to face this responsibility ". Mali is a poor country. He is " important – underlines the general – that the European Union also assumes in the logic it launched to provide equipped units, so that we can train and restructure them ". The equipment of the Malian army can be provided through joint financing – the Athena system – which, however, can only finance dual equipment. For example tents, beds, camping equipment. A device " in the study » currently in the working groups. " I do not despair ". For military equipment, it is up to the Member States to act. " There is a real urgency for Member States to intervene and make donations ". Although the first battalion will have equipment, it is important to prepare for what follows.

Two mistakes to avoid in the equipment of the Malian army

In equipment, however, the general warns against two negative trends. First of all, " we must avoid the patchwork effect which would have (more) negative effects » – that is to say disparate equipment, requiring several logistics chains, etc. Second, we must “ avoid redoing a Malian army on Western, NATO, extremely sophisticated guns that would not be adapted to the terrain "" We need simple and robust equipment. Clearly, weapons, vehicles and transmission elements ". No more no less ! The right model "in terms of equipment and hardiness » is that of the Chadian army. In this type of configuration and climate – explained a French officer to B2 – “ there is no need to have equipment so efficient and sophisticated that it can no longer be maintained or repaired when we are no longer here. The right model is the Acmat VLRA. It's solid, robust, with a good supply of fuel and water. In the event of a breakdown, the engine is placed on a piece of rock. We repair… and we leave. »

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).