This past Saturday the first of three Spanish Army helicopters was received in Mali to join the European Union's EUTM Mali mission.
This step marks the execution of one of the milestones set out in Mandate 5 of the mission. Given the key importance of the activation of the Intra-Theatre Air Transport Unit (ITAT) for the development of the mission, General Gracia wanted to witness the moment when the first NH90 arrived at Bamako airport.
Spain's strong commitment to the mission has been reflected in the leadership of the mission during the first half of 2021 by a Spanish general and now with the ITAT deployment in Mali, equipped with the most modern helicopters currently serving within the Spanish Army.
Mandate 5 of EUTM Mali, approved by the European Union in April 2020, it was established to decentralise the training of the Malian Armed Forces, as well as to extend the mission area to the other four countries of the G5 Sahel. To make this initiative possible, it was necessary to establish an air transport unit at the disposal of EUTM Mali that could provide the required freedom of movement. Spain, as a member of the European Union committed to the stability of the Sahel, applied to deploy such unit for the mission.
The ITAT structure, commanded by Major Miguel Angel Rodriguez Matías, comprises a flight unit, a maintenance unit, a supply unit, a communication unit and the command staff. It is equipped with three latest generation NH90 helicopters, which will increase the transportation capabilities to meet the requirements of the new goals that EUTM is acquiring under Mandate 5.