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Belgian Government oks BAF plan to deploy NH90s to Mali in 2018.

| 2017
World Aviation Defense & Security News - Belgium
Belgian Government oks BAF plan to deploy NH90s to Mali in 2018
It now official: the Belgian Council of Minister on November 23 agreed to send two BAF NH90 Caïman helicopters in Africa to support the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), marking the helicopter's first operational deployment.
Belgian Government oks BAF plan to deploy NH90s to Mali in 2018 640 001A Belgian Air Component performing demo flight during the Helidays 2017 air show
In addition to the country's current participation in the MINUSMA, lead by the Belgian Major General Jean-Paul Deconinck, Brussels will send two helicopters to Gao, along with around 50 soldiers, to support the German NH-90 detachment already present.

This deployment is scheduled for February 2018. After a one month-long preparation, the helicopters will start operations from March 2018 for a period of four months, eventually extendable by up to two months.

According to the Belgian Defense Minister, Steven Vandeput, the mission "will not be risk free" as the helicopters "would have to fly over dangerous areas".

The two NH90s will come from the 18th Squadron, 1st Wing, based in Beauvechain AB (South-East of Brussels). They will essentially perform transport, MEDEVAC and reconnaissance missions and will be deployed for a maximum of seven months.

Two NH90s operated by the 18th Squadron were previously involved in Tropical Storm exercise organized in September 2017 in Gabon in preparation to the UN mission in Mali.

Belgian Air Force received four NH90 TTH platforms, all operated by the BAF's 18 Squadron out of Beauvechain Air Base. Belgium's first NH90 TTH entered service in October 2013, and the last was delivered on 13 November 2014.


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