Support to French operations in Mali
The Canadian Forces are supporting the Government of France’s Operation SERVAL, which is their military intervention in the West African country of Mali.
Air Task Force Mali
From 15 January to 31 March 2013, Canada's contribution to French operations in Mali consisted of one CC-177 Globemaster III heavy lift transport aircraft and about 40 Royal Canadian Air Force personnel: flight and maintenance crews from 429 Transport Squadron and traffic technicians from 2 Air Movements Squadron, both units of 8 Wing Trenton in southern Ontario.
The mandate of Air Task Force Mali is limited to airlift, and specifically excludes combat. The airlifts include assets such as personnel, vehicles and resupply equipment (food, water, medical equipment, etc.).
The CC-177 Globemaster III departed Trenton for Europe on 15 January 2013 and conducted the first operational sortie of this deployment on 17 January, transporting a French light armoured vehicle, medical supplies and ammunition from Evreux, France, to Bamako, the capital of Mali.
Canada's CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft is ideally suited to help support the French mission in Mali. As a state-of-the-art strategic airlifter, the Globemaster is able to rapidly transport cargo over intercontinental distances with only one third the number of flights it would have taken for other cargo planes, like Canada's Hercules aircraft.
In fact, the CC-177 enables maximum efficiency for this operation, requiring less than half the fuel and crews compared to a tactical airlift aircraft. The massive Globemaster is able to transport essential heavy and oversized equipment that smaller aircraft simply could not carry. The capacity and versatility of Canada's CC-177 fleet make it an important strategic resource for heavy airlift operations across Canada or around the world.
Origins of France’s Operation SERVAL
France’s Operation SERVAL began on 11 January 2013, when President Dioncounda Traoré of Mali made an urgent appeal for foreign assistance in his government’s struggle to stop the advance and re-take the territory held by Islamic extremists linked to Al-Qaeda. In response, President François Hollande of France authorized a joint combat operation alongside Malian government forces to protect Bamako, the capital, and re-take Malian territory that was held by the militants.
France’s Operation SERVAL is conducted under United Nations Security Council Resolution 2085 (20 December 2012), which authorized the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) and called upon the international community to support this mission and the Malian Security and Defence Forces.
Canada joins the effort
As of March 31st, the airlift support provided by the Canadian Armed Forces has transitioned from being continuous to episodic, based on evolving requirements. Future missions will be coordinated between Canada and France, taking into account both countries' operational commitments. The Canadian Armed Forces remains committed to supporting our allies and international efforts in the region.
On 14 March 2013, Prime Minister Harper affirmed that the deployment of a CC-177 for strategic airlift between France and Bamako, Mali would continue for as long as Canada identifies a need.
On 14 February 2013, Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay and Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird announced that the mission was extended to 15 March 2013.
On 24 January 2013, Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay and Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird made a joint announcement that the Canadian Globemaster III would continue its work in support of French operations in Mali until 15 February 2013.
On 14 January 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that President Hollande had asked Canada for help in Mali, and that Canada would provide one CC-177 Globemaster III heavy-lift transport aircraft for one week to assist in the transport of French equipment to Mali for Operation SERVAL.
Government of Canada
Statement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on providing logistical support to Mali (Canada News Centre)
Ministers MacKay and Baird Announce Extension of C-17 Mission (Department of National Defence)
Canada Extends Its Support For The French Mission In Mali (Department of National Defence)
Royal Canadian Air Force (Department of National Defence)
Canada's Response to the Situation in Mali (Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada)
Government of France
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