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Marfil Tactical Air Detachment 10th anniversary

Thiès, Senegal
February 6, 2023
  • After 10n years, its staff continues to partake in the mission to support France in the fight against terrorism and the stabilisation of the Sahel

05th February 2023 is a very special date for the MARFIL Detachment (DAT) in Senegal as it is 10 years since the declaration of the Final Operational Capability (FOC) and the arrival of our first soldiers in these lands.

A decade of projects finished and demanding objectives achieved. All thanks to the effort and devotion of the 39 contingents that have already passed through here. The 40th contingent has taken up the baton and will face new challenges with enthusiasm.

All of the detachment's personnel, throughout all these years, have proven their faithful commitment to service to Spain, giving proof at all times of their professionalism, devotion and constant motivation. All of this has led to excellent results: 4807 manoeuvres, more than 7,000 tonnes of cargo transported, some 46,000 passengers have arrived safe and sound at their destinations and more than 13,300 flight hours have been flown.

We continue to move confidently towards peace and security in the Sahel with the support of our French allies.

Ten successful years

05 FEB 2013 declared the Final Operational Capability (FOC) of the Marfil Detachment, composed of 48 military personnel and a C-130, which left the Zaragoza air base on 26 JAN for Dakar, to begin operating from this location in the "Support to Mali" operation.

The main mission of this detachment was to maintain an air bridge between Bamako, Mali’s capital, and other airports in the area of operations for the transport of AFISMA (African-led Force in Support to Mali) troops and materiel.

The detachment consisted of:

  • 1 T-10 (C-130 Hercules) of the 31 Wing with air-to-air and air-to-air refuelling capability.
  • 29 components of the 31 Wing, 2 full flight crews for T.10 and the maintenance personnel necessary for the continued operation of the wing.
  • 6 components of the Mobile Air Control Group (MACG) whose role is to operate and maintain the detachment's communication and information resources (CIS), providing secure command and control systems with national territory and with the Ndjamena liaison officer, through a CIS module deployed in two "Shelters", and which included a satellite terminal, network servers and a communications centre.
  • 3 components of the Air Medical Deployment Support from Madrid and Zaragoza, and whose main mission is to provide the detachment with assistance in Emergencies and Emergencies, Primary Care and Aeronautical Medicine for the aircrews. In parallel, the "Medical Site Survey" was being developed to ratify the appropriate standards with respect to health support related to local and allied hospitals and emergency systems.
  • 9 components of the Air Deployment Support Squadron (ADSS), which performs force protection functions, assessing the possible threats to which the force is exposed, advising the Force Commander and establishing self-protection measures. In addition, the ADSS actively participates with two complete aircraft protection teams, which form part of the crew on each flight.

From the first flight on 29 JAN to 5 FEB 2013, crews operated in the camps of Bamako (Mali), Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire), Niamey (Niger) and N'Djamena, Abeche and Faya Largeau (Chad).

In those days, the Spanish detachment carried out a total of 18 manoeuvres, totalling almost 60 flight hours, and had transported 185 passengers and more than 30 tonnes of cargo