Belgian Air Force Demo Team 2012
   Text: Serge Van Heertum  -  Pictures : French MOD, Belgian Defence page © sbap 2013

The operation “Serval”, (referring to the African feline) is a military intervention of the French army in Mali, that started January 11, 2013, on request of the Malinese Government.
The operation aims to support
Malinese troops trying to fend off armed Islamist groups who took control of the Azawad area, in the northern part of the country. The goal of this intervention, as expressed by the French president François Hollande, is to stop the advancement of jihadist forces to Bamako, secure the Malinese capital and help the country to regain its territorial integrity.

Dassault Rafale (French MOD) Dassault Mirage 2000 D (French MOD)
Dassault Mirage F-1CR (French MOD) Aerospatial Gazelle (French MOD)
Airbus A310 (French MOD) C-160 Transall (French MOD)
Belgian participation at Operation "Serval"

For this operation the French authorities requested the help of the NATO partners and Belgium accepted this request with the detachment of 2 C-130H “Hercules” and 2 Agusta A109 in Medevac version.
The restricted Cabinet has decided that the Belgian contribution provided to the French army enters in the frame of the Security Council of the United Nations resolutions 2056 and 2085. The two C-130H will ensure the troops and material transportation from neighboring countries and the Agusta helicopter will provide medical support for the evacuation of the wounded.
A C-130H was already in the Mal
inese area when the second plane left Melsbroek air base on January 15th in the afternoon to rejoin Abidjan (Yvory coast) via Solenzara to start their mission.
Thirty-five soldiers that are being deployed as part of the French operation Serval, left Belgium on Wednesday January 16th, on board the Airbus A330 of Air Component. This brings the number of Belgian soldiers deployed to 75.
The two MEDEVAC Agusta helicopters made available to the French operation in Mali have left Melsbroek military airport (Brussels) Tuesday afternoon and should be operational as from Wednesday afternoon at Bamako ... but their base is located at hundreds of kilometers from the front line. They were shipped largely dismantled aboard an Ilyushin Il-76TD-90VD of the Volga-Dnepr company chartered by the Belgian Ministry of Defence. They arrived at Bamako on Wednesday and were immediately reassembled to be operational as quick as possible. The location of the deployment is still a point of debate within the Belgian government. Socialist Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, has pledged that the Belgian military involved in the operation will not find themselves in the "combat zone." But the French army would like to have those two MEDEVAC helicopters settle closer to the front line ...currently they are positioned at around 1200 km south of the front line.
Minister of Defence Pieter De Crem said “Belgium is always ready to help its partners. The return of our soldiers is still not planned but an evaluation of the situation will be done on March 1st at least”. Other countries involved in the French army support are Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, Spain, United States and Canada.

France
2 Mirage F1 CR
6 Mirage 2000D
4 Rafale B
2 Rafale C
2 C-160 Transall
5 C-135FR
2 drones MALE Harfang
5 Atlantic 2 (French Navy)
RHFS helicopters (ALAT)

Great Britain
2 C-17A Globemaster III

Canada
1 C-17A Globemaster III

Belgium
2 C-130H Hercules
2 Agusta A109 Medevac
Germany
2 C-160 Transall

Denmark
1 C-130J Super Hercules

Spain
1 C-130H Hercules

Russia
Civilian transport vectors (Antonov 124)

Belgian C-130H CH01 and...(Serge Van Heertum) CH10 are involved in the Operation "Serval" (Serge Van Heertum)
c
The CH10 at Abidjan (Ivory Coast) (© Christian Decloedt - mil.be) Boarding for the next mission (© Christian Decloedt - mil.be)
Agusta H30 and... (Christian Debrabanter) H39 ready for transport to Bamako (Christian Debrabanter)
largely dismantled (Christian Debrabanter) Boarding in the Volga-Dnepr Ilyushin  (Christian Debrabanter)
(Christian Debrabanter)
Foreign participation at Operation "Serval"
Royal Air Force C-17A (French MOD) Royal Canadian Air Force C-17A (French MOD)
US Air Force C-17A (French MOD) Danish Air Force C-130J (French MOD)
Luftwaffe Transall (French MOD) Russian civil aircraft involved in the French Operation (French MOD)
Belgian Agusta helicopters are operational

January 30th, the Agusta helicopters were transferred to Sévaré, home base of the Belgian MEDEVAC team. The transfer operation was performed by the Belgian C-130H. Around four hours after the arrival of the H30, the helicopter was assembled back by the technician team of Beauvechain. On January 31st, the helicopter did his test flight. An imperative test after the assembly and this one was successful. February 1st the MEDEVAC team was already involved in an operation after an accident with Togolese soldiers

January 31st:
Abidjan-Bamako-Mopti-Abidjan (CH01)
Abidjan-Bamako-Mopti-Abidjan (CH10)
February 1st:
Abidjan-Ouagadougou-Abidjan (CH01)
February 2nd:
Abidjan-Ndjamena-Bamako (CH01)
Stand by (Det Heli)
February 3rd:
Bamako-Gao-Timbuktu-Abidjan (CH01)
Stand by (Det Heli)
February 4th:
Abidjan-Bamako-Gao-Abidjan (CH01)
Stand by (Det Heli)
February 5th:
Flight back to Belgium (CH10)
Abidjan-Bamako-Timbuktu-Ouagadougou (CH03)
Stand by and night flight training (Det Heli)
February 6th:
Abidjan-Bamako-Gao-Bamako (CH01)
Ouagadougou-Bamako-Gao-Bamako (CH03)
Stand by and night flight training (Det Heli)

On bard a C-130H for transfert to Sévaré   (© Christian Decloedt - mil.be) January 30th, unloading at Sévaré  (© Christian Decloedt - mil.be)
Go for assembly  
(© Christian Decloedt - mil.be)
The bigest problems are the hight temperature and the sand
(© Christian Decloedt - mil.be)
Beauvechain technician on duty for the re-assembly
(© Christian Decloedt - mil.be)
Quite as ready
(© Christian Decloedt - mil.be)
January 31st, towing out for the test flight  (© Christian Decloedt - mil.be) Run up  (© Christian Decloedt - mil.be)
and take off  (© Christian Decloedt - mil.be) On the parking with the French Super Puma  (© Christian Decloedt - mil.be)
Go for a mission  (© Christian Decloedt - mil.be) Refueling  (© Christian Decloedt - mil.be)
February 1st, involved in a first operation  (© Christian Decloedt - mil.be) The A109 with unusual background  (© Christian Decloedt - mil.be)

February 7th:
Bamako - Gao - Bamako - Timbuktu – Ouagadougou (CH01)
Bamako - Mopti - Gao – Abidjan (CH03)
S
tandy MEDEVAC; Recce flight (Det Heli)

February 8th: The Belgian Air Force C-130H registered CH01 was damaged after a bird strike during landing process at Timbuktu airport. The right wing was damaged at leading edge. The crew was able to land safely and did the needed temporary reparations to could flight back to Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) were the definitive reparations could be made with the needed parts delivered from Belgium. The plane is now back operational.

Abidjan - Ouagadougou – Abidjan (CH03)
S
tandy MEDEVAC (Det Heli)

February 9th:

Ouagadougou repair after birdstrike and ferry flight to Abidjan (CH01)
Abidjan - Mopti - Gao (CH03)
S
tandy MEDEVAC and maintenance flight (Det Heli)

February 10th:

Abidjan repair after birdstrike (CH01)

Gao whells repair (CH03)

Standby MEDEVAC (Det Heli)

February 11th:

Abidjan repair after birdstrike (CH01)

Gao whells repair (CH03)

Standby MEDEVAC 24/7 and training flight

February 12th:

Abidjan – Bamako – Gao – Abidjan (CH01)

Gao whells repair (CH03)

Standby MEDEVAC 24/7 and training flight

February 13th:
Abidjan – Bamako – Abidjan (CH01)
Gao – Abidjan
(CH03)
MEDEVAC mission for a French soldier from Timbuktu to the campaign hospital located at Sévaré. Take off at 11:00 and landing at 12:30. After 10 minutes needed for the loading the Agusta took off for the transportation. The mission was completed at 15:00 local.
At this date the C-130H fleet totalised 280 tons of material and 399 passengers transported. (Det Heli)

 (© mil.be)  (©  mil.be)
The MEDEVAC detachment
 (© Det Heli - mil.be)
The CH01 at sunrise on February 14th ready for a flight Bamako - Abidjan
 (Gérard Gaudin)

February 14th:
Abidjan-Bamako-Mopti-Gao-Abidjan (CH01)
Standby MEDEVAC (Det Heli)
February 15th:
Melsbroek-Abidjan (CH04)
MEDEVAC training with French troops (Det Heli)
February 16th:
Abidjan-Gao-Mopti-Bamako-Abidjan (CH01)
Abidjan-Timbouktou-Bamako (CH04)
MEDEVAC training with French troops (Det Heli)
February 17th:
Abidjan-Gao-Abidjan (CH01)
Abidjan-Melsbroek (CH03)
Bamako-Niamey-Abidjan (CH04)
Standby MEDEVAC (Det Heli)

February 18th:

The belgian government decided to took part in the European training mission (EUTM) to answer positively the French authorities request and to Mrs Catherine Ashton, European commission representative of foreign affairs and international security.

This means that the Agusta will remain in operation to the French army profit and the C-130H fleet will stop the operation end of February.

Crew Rest Abidjan (CH01 & CH04)
Training flight with flying nurse (Det Heli)

February 19th:

Maintenance (CH01)

Abidjan-Lomé (Togo)-Abidjan (CH04)
Stand by MEDEVAC (Det Heli)
February 20th:
Maintenance (CH01)
Abidjan-Gao-Tessalit-Ouagadougou (CH04)
Stand by MEDEVAC (Det Heli)

February 21st until 28th:
No informations

End of a sunny day at Gao  (© Malek Azoug - mil.be) One more mission for a Belgian crew (© Malek Azoug - mil.be)
Visit at GAO from Mr P De Crem MOD with General Van Caelenberge CHOD and General C Van de Voorde Chief of the Air Force (© Malek Azoug - mil.be) A 109 arrival for an evecuation (Exercise)
(© Malek Azoug - mil.be)
 
Evacuation of a wonder (© Malek Azoug - mil.be) Take off with a typical Malian red sand cloud (© Malek Azoug - mil.be)

March 1st :
The Belgian authorities decided to maintain the support to the French army. This means that the C-130H detachment will continue the transport missions and remain at Abidjan (Ivory Coast). Since the begin of "Operation Serval" the C-130H fleet accomplished 133 flight (256 flight hours) for a total amount of 777 passengers and around 500 tons of equipement. The A109 detachment remain also in operation from Gao (Mali) homebase. Currently only one real evacuation was performed, showing that the French operation is running as safe as it can for the french troops. The cost of this prolongation is evaluated at 0,2 million € for the C-130H detachment and around 0,3 million € for the Det Heli. The French authorities underlined with this decision that belgium remain a relible partner in the operation.

March 2nd until 6th:

No informations

March 7th:
Bamako – Melsbroek (CH13)

Ouagadougou – Bamako – Kidal – Ouagadougou (CH04)

standy MEDEVAC 24/7 + a reserve helicopter at Gao + French MOD on visit (Det Heli)

March 8th:

Ouagadougou – Bamako – Gao – Abidjan (CH04)
Melsbroek – Ghardaia – Abidjan (CH11)

standy MEDEVAC 24/7 + a reserve helicopter at Gao (Det Heli)
March 9th:

Crew rest (CH04)

Abidjan – Bamako – Abidjan (CH11)

standy MEDEVAC 24/7 + a reserve helicopter at Gao (Det Heli)
March 10th:

Abidjan - Bamako - Tessalit – Bamako (CH04)
Abidjan – Ouagadougou – Mopti – Abidjan (CH11)

standy MEDEVAC 24/7 + a reserve helicopter at Gao (Det Heli)
March 11th:

Bamako - Tessalit - Gao – Abidjan (CH04)
Abidjan - Bamako - Tessalit – Bamako (CH11)

standy MEDEVAC 24/7 + a reserve helicopter at Gao + Mission MEDEVAC from Menaka to Gao (Det Heli)
March 12th:

Abidjan (CH04)
Bamako - Tessalit - Gao – Abidjan (CH11)

standy MEDEVAC 24/7 + a reserve helicopter at Gao (Det Heli)
March 13th:

Abidjan (CH04)

Abidjan – Gao – Bamako (CH07)
Crew Rest (CH11)

standy MEDEVAC 24/7 + a reserve helicopter at Gao (Det Heli)

In Air & Cosmos April 2013. An report of the operation by our colleague Gerard Gaudin

March 14th until March 27th:
No informations
March 28th:
Crew rest CH07
Abidjan – Gao – Abidjan – Niamey – Abidjan (CH11)
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
March 29th:
Abidjan – Bamako – Gao – Abidjan (CH07)
Abidjan – Gao – Abidjan (CH11)

Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
March 30th:
mars: Abidjan – Gao – Abidjan (CH07)
Abidjan (CH11)
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
March 31st:
Abidjan – Tessalit – Timbouctou – Mopti – Abidjan (CH07) End of Serval mission
Abidjan (CH11)
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 1st:
Abidjan – Dakar – Abidjan (CH11) End of Serval mission
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 2nd:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 3rd:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Note: Between March 28th and April 3rd the Det Heli did also
some recce flight at Koulikoro and navigation training missions
April 4th until April 10th:
no informations
April 11th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Plus night RECCE flight of different possible landing zone
April 12th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 13th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 14th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 15th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 16th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 17th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 18th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 19th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 20th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Training flight with H39
April 21st:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 22nd:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 23rd:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Night training flight
April 24th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 25th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 26th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Training flight for both helicopter
April 27th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
MEDEVAC from Koulikoro to Bamako + MEDEVAC training
April 28th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
April 29th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Recognition of landing zone
April 30th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Preparation for second batch arrival
May 1st:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
May 2nd:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Handover 1st and 2nd detachment
Navigation flight training
May 3rd:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Handover 1st and 2nd detachment
Recognition of landing zone
May 4th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Handover 1st and 2nd detachment
May 5th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Handover 1st and 2nd detachment
Navigation flight training
May 6th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
May 7th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Navigation flight training in the operations area
May 8th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
May 9th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
May 10th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
May 11th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
2nd detachment fully ready
May 12th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
May 13th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Recognition of landing zone involving all pilots
May 14th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Training about the "Serval" operation procedures with French doctors and para-medic's
May 15th until May 29th:
No information's
May 31th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
June 1st:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
June 2nd:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
June 3rd:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
June 4th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Training
scramble take off
June 5th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Training
scramble with protection task support (procedures)
June 6th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Training
flight
June 7th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Training flight
June 8th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Training flight
June 9th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Training flight day and night
June 10th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Training flight
June 11th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Training flight with 2 helicopter and scrambe take off
June 12th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
June 13th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
2 Training flight and 1 training scramble take off canceled due technical problems
June 14th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
June 15th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
June 16th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
June 17th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Training flight and maintenance
June 18th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Training flight and maintenance
June 19th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
June 20th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
June 21th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
June 22th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Support mission for the Waraba bataillon at Sikasso
June 23th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Ferry flight from Sikasso to Bamako
June 24th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
2 Training flight
June 25th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
One navigation flight and one emergency flight
June 26th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
2 navigation flight
June 27th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
One navigation flight, one emergency flight and one maintenance flight
June 28th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
3 flight day and night
Arrival of the first Starlite elemnts
June 29th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Handover with
Starlite
 
  (Courtesy Starlite Aviation Group)
(Courtesy Starlite Aviation Group) (Courtesy Starlite Aviation Group)

June 30th:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
Official end of the "Serval" operation for the Belgian component
July 1st:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
2training and recce flight with personnal of the civilian company
Starlite
July 2nd:
Stand-by MEDEVAC 24/7 (H39) - Reserve (H30)  (Det Heli)
3 last flight with
Starlite personnal.
Preparation for the come back in Belgium
End of the "Serval" deployment, Good show 15th Wing and Heli Wing

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