2015-11-07 At the end of October, a French Caracal was refueled by a USAF C-130 which was the first time this was done in an overseas operations.
Operating in the Sahel desert is a logistical challenge of the first order
The Sahel is zone of transition in Africa between the Sahara Desert to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south.
The C-130 can carry the support crew and freight while the helo flies to the objective area and can be refueled in transit to the area of interest.
Put in other terms, the expeditionary logistics allow for the insertion of the helos and their operation in an extended area of operations.
The airmobile component of the French force Barkhane has 17 helicopters distributed on the bases of Gao, N’Djamena and Madama.
Credit: French Ministry of Defence
According to Wikipedia:
Operation Barkhane is an anti-terrorist operation in Africa’s Sahel region beginning in August 2014. It consists of a 3,000-strong French force, which will be permanent and headquartered in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.
The operation has been designed with five countries, and former French colonies, that span the Sahel: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
The operation is named after a crescent-shaped dune in the Sahara desert.