Swedish ‘Black Hawks’ have joined the Takuba mission in Mali
STOCKHOLM, (BM) – The Swedish UH-60 “Black Hawk” helicopters, which arrived in Mali at the beginning of the year to be part of the European special forces “Takuba,” are now operationally capable of performing the assigned tasks at total capacity.
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Takuba is a European military program from the EU and Britain that should provide protection and support to its Malian army. Takuba is a program run by France. Takuba has a crucial role in intelligence and intervention in Mali.
The Swedes sent 150 troops to the country in January to provide a rapid reaction force by air. Therefore, the three Swedish UH-60 “Black Hawk” helicopters urgently needed to obtain the necessary permission to conduct military operations in Mali. That is already a fact.
If necessary, Stockholm can increase the Swedish Rapid Reaction Force in Mali to 250 troops. In addition to the three helicopters, the Swedes also sent a C-130 Hercules military transport plane to Mali, which landed in neighboring Niger.
“The arrival of these helicopters [in Menaka] was the subject of upstream preparations: a final take-off area [FATO] was built for the landing of the machines and plots nearby were designed for refueling,” says the EMA.
The conditions are difficult
The French website opex360.com says conditions in Mali’s Sahel area, where European troops are concentrated, are complicated and specific. That is why the Swedes had to undergo slightly different training than the standard one.
It is a matter of many clouds of dust and sand, making eye contact and natural landmarks or landmarks disappear during the flight. The Swedes say that it doesn’t matter if you are an experienced pilot or not – under these conditions, everything starts from the beginning. Some soldiers compare pilot skills to “parking in an underground garage with your eyes closed without touching the walls.”
But in addition to piloting skills, the technique must also be up to standard. Magnificent desert sand is everywhere, and the equipment must be constantly cleaned, which significantly complicates the work of mechanics and maintenance personnel.
What’s next for the Swedish “air aces”?
All the military believe that the arrival of the three helicopters and their adaptation to the conditions of the desert weather in Mali will bring flexibility and air mobility, despite the limitations that nature and time give.
“The colonel who commands the group of helicopters must solve a real Tetris daily to determine how to maintain such an operation at the same time, to provide medical evacuation of such or to respond to any request for an appropriate operation, because each time this” information what is considered appropriate, it arrives, we must use it as soon as possible to get a result against the enemy,” explained General Mark Conwright, the leader of the forces.
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