British Brief French President on Op NEWCOMBE
British Military Personnel Deployed to Mali Briefed French President Macron on Operation NEWCOMBE
British military personnel deployed in West Africa on Operation NEWCOMBE in support of the French counter-insurgency Operation BARKHANE met French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to Mali.
President Macron was meeting French personnel deployed on Op BARKHANE in the region, but was joined by British military personnel as well – led by the senior British officer, Lieutenant Colonel Huw Law Army Air Corps. During the meeting Lieutenant Colonel Law was able to brief the President about the ongoing heavy-lift helicopter support that the RAF are providing to French forces in Mali.
We had the opportunity to speak at length with President Macron and gave him an update on the composition of UK forces supporting Op BARKHANE as well as our significant achievements – notably the level of integration that has been achieved between UK and French aviation.
The briefing was well received and all members of the delegation, including the President, thanked us for our contribution, stating that the deployment of the CH47 force has been a huge success.
Lieutenant Colonel Huw Law, Senior British officer
Following the briefing, British military personnel joined over a thousand other military guests at an open-air dinner hosted by the President. Lieutenant Colonel Law was seated at the President’s table and Flight Lieutenant Florrie Sweet, one of the deployed Chinook pilots, was seated with the French Chief of the Defence Staff.
It was a fascinating trip; it opened my eyes to the wider context of UK Operations in West Africa and the role of Chinook operations in Mali. Flight Lieutenant Florrie Sweet, Chinook Pilot
Three Royal Air Force Chinook helicopters from RAF Odiham, supported by around 90 British troops, are deployed to Mali and providing logistical and troop movement support to the French forces there.
This has been a wonderful opportunity. To be able to meet and personally brief President Macron is a great privilege. This meeting highlights the importance he personally places on the UK’s contribution to French efforts in the Sahel, as well as the continued commitment of our nations to work together to enhance security in Europe and North Africa. Lieutenant Colonel Huw Law, Senior British officer
Operation Barkhane is an ongoing French-led anti-insurgent operation in Africa’s Sahel region against Islamic terrorist groups, such as the Mali-based al-Qaeda branch, Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin’ (JNIM).
Sources: RAF and other sources.
Image: an RAF Weapon Systems Operator (WSOP) from 27 Squadron, RAF Odiham, looking out of the front crewman’s door of his CH-47 Chinook (Crown Copyright, 2018). Three RAF Chinooks are currently deployed to Mali on Operation NEWCOMBE.