Ministère de la Défense, November 06, 2014 - Two NH90 Caiman from the 1st Regiment of Combat Helicopters (1 RHC) arrived in Gao, Mali on November 3rd.
This deployment aims to benefit the strength of the Barkhane Operation's latest generation material. Deployed in TTH (Tactical Transport) version can carry up to 20 troops or 2.5 tons of cargo. Cayman offers a range twice as large as the Puma and provides better protection in case of crash or fire for both the crew and passengers.
Mainly equipped with electronic flight controls, it has a maneuverability and agility allowing it to perform missions day and night also in conditions harsh as the desert.
Both aircraft will replace two Puma who return to France at the end of November.
They thus reinforce the capacity of airmobile subgroup (sous-groupement aéromobile, SGAM) Desert Battle Group West (groupement tactique désert Ouest, GTD-O) of the Barkhane force.
The two aircraft took off from Phalsburg October 28 and made stops in Malaga, Gran Canaria and Dakar before joining Gao. At the same time, a technical staff of 15 people in charge of maintenance have been deployed to the theater by air. Once placed in Gao, helicopters will perform maintenance and crew achieve their first flights, day or night, to be declared fully operational and be involved in missions against terrorist armed groups.
Barkhane 3000 strong military mission, in partnership with the G5 countries Sahel, is to fight against terrorist armed groups operating in the Sahel-Saharan (BSS).