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Belgium C-130H airlifter to temporarily support French Operation Barkhane


By Nathan Gain

The Belgian Council of Ministers on Friday agreed on to temporarily allocate a Belgian Air Force (BAF) C-130H military airlifter to support the French Armed Forces' Barkhane operation in the Sahel region.


Belgium C 130H airlifter to temporarily support French Operation Barkhane 001 A BAF C-130H deployed in 2013 in Central African Republic in support of the Operation Sangaris
(Credit: Belgian Ministry of Defense)


According to an official statement, the C-130H which will be provided to the operation Bakhane is the one currently deployed within the UN MINUSMA in Mali.

"Missions in favor of MINUSMA always remain priority. During the execution of this support mission, all UN and Belgian security preconditions must be respected," the Council of Ministers said.

Belgian C-130H airlifters regularly supported French military operations in Africa. In 2013, the Belgian government decided to support the Operation Serval with two C-130Hs and two Agusta helicopters. In 2014, a C-130H supported the Operation Sangaris in Central African Republic during three months.

For the duration of one year, Belgium has deployed one C-130H and 55 members in Bamako as of May 8. A dedicated protection team is escorting the aircrew during each flight.

Within the 15th Wing, the 20th Squadron is in charge of transporting cargo and personnel, mainly to theatres of operations (tactical transport). It actually flies 10 C-130H transport aircraft.