The handover/takeover (HOTO) ceremony between the contingents’ commanders took place at the facilities of the 'Escale Aéronautique Commandant LEMAITRE' of the Blaise Diagne International Airport, base of the 'Marfil' Tactical Air Detachment.
The ceremony was presided over by Colonel Ignacio Asensi Catalán, representing the Operations Command. According to the existing protocol Lieutenant Colonel José Gabriel Gárriz Hernández handed over the command of the 'DAT Marfil' to Lieutenant Colonel Miguel Ángel Tobías Martínez.
Colonel Asensi Catalán thanked the 37th contingent commander for the effort made and the achievements reached during his command and encouraged his successor to work towards achieving new goals, reaffirming Spain's firm commitment to international peace and security, and specifically in this mission, within the sub-Saharan zone.
The Air Force's DAT Marfil belonging to Operation A/M operates from the French Elements in Senegal (EFS) facility at "Blaise Diagne" International Airport, a few kilometres from Dakar (Senegal). Under the operational control of the MOPS, the Detachment is tasked with intra-theatre tactical and logistical airlift missions, as well as in-flight refuelling, should the air assets deployed so permit, in support of France in its fight against terrorism within the framework of Operation Barkhane.
Similarly, 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 the education and training of the armed forces of these countries, and the G4 Sahel Joint Force.
The Detachment is made up of 70 military personnel from different Air and Space 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 the 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 Spanish Armed Forces, in this case through the Air and Space Army, to other Armed Forces, where availability and operability prevail. These resources operate in a sub-Saharan environment, often in unprepared fields and in extreme weather conditions of high temperatures and intense rain due to frequent seasonal storms. These factors, along with the extensive area of operations where the missions are carried out, are a constant challenge for the detachment's aircrews.
After more than nine years of operation, the DAT Marfil is consolidated as an exemplary example of the contribution of the Armed Forces to the State's external action in its commitment to international peace and security.