The German Army is planning to deploy five CH-53 helicopters and soldiers to support UN mission in Mali in a couple of months.
Confirming the development, the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) tweeted Friday that it will deploy 120 soldiers and five CH-53 helicopters in the middle of this year.
The U.N. mission in Mali (MINUSMA), has deployed more than 13,000 troops to contain violence by armed groups in the north and centre of the country. It has recorded about 230 fatalities since 2013, making it the deadliest of the UN’s peacekeeping missions.
Mali has been in crisis since Islamist militants seized its desert north in 2012, forcing France to intervene the following year to push them back. But they have regrouped and extended their operations into central Mali and neighboring countries in Sahel region.
Following some four years of testing and evaluation, Germany chose the Sikorsky CH-53G helicopter to fulfill its heavy lift requirement, and in the fall of 1969, the first two Sikorsky CH-53G aircraft (pictured here) were transferred to West German officials after being built in Stratford, Connecticut.
Germany has operated 70 CH-53G helicopters at Holzdorf and Laupheim Airbase and in missions all over the world, primarily in Afghanistan, for more than 18 years. The helicopters, procured and continually upgraded since the 1970s, provide airlift capabilities including troop and cargo transport, Personnel Recovery Operations, and humanitarian, medevac, aerial firefighting, and disaster relief missions.