Ministry of Defence logo Defence Staff logo
Mapa del mundo

Spanish Air Force personnel belonging to 'Marfil' Tactical Air Detachment, take over

Thiès, Senegal
October 20, 2021
  • After three months in the area of operations, the handover has taken place between the participating contingents in the mission to support France in its struggle against the terrorist threat in the Sahel

In accordance with all protocols implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, the HOTO ceremony between the incoming and outgoing contingent commanders, took place at the facilities of the 'Escale Aéronautique Commandant Lemaitre' at Blaise Diagne International Airport. The ceremony was chaired by Air Force colonel Luis Fernando García-Mauriño Espino from the Operations Command (MOPS). Lieutenant colonel Jacinto Chozas Monforte, took over DAT Marfil's command from lieutenant colonel Fernando Aguilar de la Cámara, who was in command since July 16th.

In a short speech, Colonel García-Mauriño acknowledged the Force Commander of the 34th contingent for his efforts and achievements during his deployment, encouraging his successor to keep on achieving goals, thus reaffirming Spain's commitment to peace and international security, particularly in the Sahel region.

Detachment Marfil

DAT Marfil belonging to Operation A/M operates from the 'Escale Aéronautique Commandant LEMAITRE', within the French Elements in Senegal (EFS) facilities at Blaise Diagne International Airport, a few kilometres from Dakar (Senegal). Under the operational command of the MOPS, it is tasked with intra-theatre tactical and logistical airlift missions, as well as in-flight refuelling, in the event that the air assets deployed allow it, in support of France in its struggle against terrorism within the framework of Operation Barkhane. Moreover, the Detachment also supports the United Nations missions MINUSMA and MINUSCA, to stabilise Mali and Central Africa respectively, as well as the European Union missions EUTM RCA and EUTM Mali, to support training and education of the armed forces of these countries, and the G5 Sahel Joint Force.

The Detachment is made up of 70 military personnel from different Air Force units, mostly personnel from the 35th Wing, the Air Deployment Support Squadron (EADA) and the Mobile Air Control Group (GRUMOCA). It operates with two Airbus C295 (T-21) aircraft belonging to the 35th Wing of Getafe Air Base. The mission's Joint Force Air Component Command (JFACC), located in Lyon (France), is in charge of scheduling the missions of the two Spanish aircraft, which operate H24 in the joint operations area (JOA).

This Detachment is an example of the capabilities provided by the Air Force to other Armed Forces, where availability and operability are a priority. The assets operate in a sub-Saharan environment, often in unprepared camps and in extreme weather conditions of high temperatures and heavy rain due to frequent seasonal storms. These factors, in addition to the large area of operations where missions are conducted, are a constant challenge for the Detachment's aircrews.

For over eight years of operations, DAT 'Marfil' is consolidated as another evidence of the Armed Forces' contribution to Spain's foreign action in its commitment to international peace and security.