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Spain continues its mission of support to France, the EU and the UN in the fight against fundamentalist terrorist for stabilisation of the Sahel

Thiès, Senegal
July 24, 2023
  • Spain continues its mission of support to France, the EU and the UN in the fight against fundamentalist terrorist for stabilisation of the Sahel

Handover ceremony and takeover of the Command of Force Commanders of the 42nd and 41st contingents. The ceremony was presided over by Air Commodore Fernando Martín Pascual, Deputy of Staff Support of the Operations Command, in the facilities of “Escale Aéronautique Commandant Lemaitre” at Blaise Diagne International Airport, from where Marfil Tactical Air Detachment (DAT in Spanish) operates.

Following the protocol, Wing Commander César Óscar Acebes Puertas has received the command of Marfil DAT from former Wing Commander Jorge Juan Moreno Fernández.

In his speech, Wing Commander Martín Pascual has highlighted the great work carried out by the outgoing contingent, pointing out the relevance and firm commitment of Spain to international peace and security. He has also encouraged the members of the incoming contingent to continue with their work, as an exemplary model of the contribution of the Armed Forces to foreign action.

Marfil DAT

Marfil DAT of the Air and Space Forces is integrated within Operation A/M. Under the operational command of the Operations Command (MOPS in Spanish), Marfil DAT has missions of intra-theatre Tactical and Logistics Air Transport, as well as in-flight refuelling (whenever allowed by relevant means) in support of France in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel region.

Furthermore, Marfil DAT supports the UN missions MINUSMA and MINUSCA, focused on the stabilisation of Mali and Central African Republic (CAR) respectively, as well as the EU missions EUTM CAR and EUTM Mali, providing support in the training of their respective armed forces and the G5 Sahel Joint Force.

The Detachment is formed by 70 military personnel from different Air and Space Forces units, mainly from the 35th Wing, the Air Deployment Support Squadron (EADA in Spanish) and the Mobile Air Control Group (GRUMOCA in Spanish). It operates with two Airbus C295 aircrafts from the 35th Wing, a unit situated at the Getafe Air Base (Madrid). The Joint Force Air Component (JFAC in Spanish) of the mission, located in Lyon (France), is in charge of programming the missions of the two Spanish aircrafts, which remain alert to operate in D7/H24 in the joint operations area.

The Detachment is an illustrative example of the capabilities provided by Spain, in this case by means of the Air and Space Forces, to other Armed Forces, where availability and operability are paramount. The means operate in a sub-Saharan scenery, which on many occasions translates into landing in unprepared fields and in extreme weather conditions of high temperatures and heavy rain due to frequent seasonal storms. These factors, together with the large operational area where missions are conducted, as well as with health risk situation of some regions, are a constant challenge for air crews of the Detachment.

After more than ten years of operation, the Marfil DAT consolidates as an exemplary illustration of the employment of personnel and material of our Armed Forces, deployed wherever national interests require them, and strengthening the State’s foreign action in its commitment to international peace and security.

During the stay/ permanence of the 41st contingent, the milestone of 8,000 flying hours of the T-21 was reached during its period as Marfil DAT, which, added to the 6,000 hours flown by the Lockheed Hércules C-130 (T-10), make up a total of more than 14,000 flying hours since the creation of the Detachment in Senegal.