Operation Barkhane: First Air Refueling of Helicopters
A French Caracal helicopter, using an U.S. C-130 Hercules, made for the first time an aerial refueling during Operation Barkhane in Africa.
France Ministry of Defence, November 05, 2015 - At the end of October 2015, the helicopter squadron "Pyrenees" (EH01.067) deployed at N'Djamena conducted an in-flight refueling of a Caracal by a U.S. C-130 Hercules.
This was the first refueling made in a overseas operation and opens the doors to new possibilities in terms of planning and conduct of operations.
Indeed, in the vast Sahel desert, represents a major challenge to maintain the logistics of an air mobile force that is continuously supporting the troops engaged on the ground. Refueling helicopters overcomes this limitation.
Helicopters movement and logistical support is a complex maneuver in such a big area. The air-refueling, combined with cargo transport and maintenance, now offers the air mobile component greater possibilities.
The area of intervention of helicopters can now be multiplied and is only limited by the physiological capabilities of the crew and the weather conditions.
The air mobile component of the Barkhane Force has 17 helicopters spread over Gao, N'Djamena and Madama bases. 5000 flight hours so far have made possible the support of the force throughout the Sahel-Saharan strip.
Operation Barkhane includes 3500 french military personnel whose mission, alongside the G5 countries, is to fight against terrorist armed groups acting in the Sahel-Saharan strip.