RAF CH-47 Chinook in Mali

RAF Chinooks Pass 2,000 Flying Hours Mark In Mali

The Royal Air Force helicopters first began working in Mali with France's military in July 2018.

RAF CH-47 Chinook in Mali

Royal Air Force Chinooks deployed to Mali have completed 2,000 flying hours in their role supporting the French military in the country.

The UK is part of a continuing mission in the west African nation to support French-led counter-insurgency operations.

The RAF first began working with the French military in Mali in 2018, and has since moved more than 12,000 passengers and more than 1,000 tonnes of freight.

The three CH-47 Chinooks currently on the mission are from RAF Odiham, flown by 18 (B) Squadron aircrew, with support from the British Army and Royal Air Force.

RAF CH-47 Chinook in Mali
British personnel are in Mali in a non-combat role (Picture: RAF).

"We have not lost a sortie due to COVID-19 and the French have maintained a high tempo of operations throughout," said RAF detachment commander, Wing Commander Si Elsey.

"Once their troops are in the field, we re-supply them and can lift vehicles in and out as required."

So far this year, the current detachment has flown 340 hours, working in temperatures as high as 47°C and in regular dust storms.

"The deployed personnel have endeavoured to maintain communications with their families and generate a level of mutual support for isolated loved ones back home during this period of worldwide turmoil caused by COVID-19," Wg Cdr Elsey added.

"Unfortunately, terrorism does not recognise pandemics, so the deployed personnel have maintained their operational focus while observing COVID-19 measures."

Cover image: RAF Chinook in Mali (Picture: RAF).