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Support to Central African Republic

Support to Central African Republic

Operation : Sangaris - MISCA (International Support Mission to the Central African Republic )

Objective: Air transport logistics in the form of transfer of cargo and personnel, throughout the JOA (Joint Operation Area) which encompasses much of the Sahel countries of West Africa ( Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast , etc .. ) and part of Central Africa ( Central African Republic, Gabon) .

Detachments : The Air Force’s “Mamba” Detachment consists of a total of 50 people from different units. The aircraft serving in the Detachment is a C-295 ( T.21 ) of the 35th Wing, so crews and maintenance personnel are also from said Wing. The Mobile Air Control Group ( GRUMOCA ) ensures communication between the detachment and the national territory and the Air Deployment Support Squadron (EADA) is responsible for providing protection to crews and cargo while the plane is on land and security of other personnel of the detachment and a medical section that takes care of any Role-1 medical contingency. And finally, a small staff composed of a secretary, an interpreter, an economic unit, a legal officer and a public information officer, are responsible for managing, advising and supporting the leader of the Force in the mangaement and control of the detachment.

The Operation

The Operations Plan (OPLAN) 0063 of the Operations Command of the Staff of the Defence 'Support to Central African Republic' determines how the Spanish Armed Forces provide support to the French Armed Forces involved in the Operation Sangaris, and the Armed Forces of various African countries grouped in MISCA (International Support mission to the Central African Republic ) mission , all deployed on the ground to tackle the humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic .

The Air Force, according to the OPLAN mentioned presented a detachment which operates a C-130 Hercules from the 31st Wing and deploys it in Libreville, Gabon, from where it makes logistical airlift missions of personnel and cargo, mainly for the French forces involved in Operation Sangaris.

This detachment is called Tactical Air Detachment (TAD) Mamba.

The control of flight resources made available to France for all its operations in Africa is handled from the JFACC (Joint Force Air Component Command) in Lyon, where a Spanish liaison officer participates in programming their deployment. 


On 13th December , 2013 , by agreement in the Coucil of Ministers, a proposal from the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Defense, authorized the deployment and participation of Spanish military units in support of the UN mission to resolve the crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR).

The contingent would use a C-130 " Hercules " to provide logistic transport to the regional operation. The maximum number of troops would be 60, including Headquarters representatives. The Council of Ministers authorized the Minister of Defense to make the necessary operational adjustments according to the changing situation on the ground and the different operating conditions of the moment.

The authorization of the council of ministers was part of Resolution 2127 of the Security Council of the United Nations, adopted on December 5th, 2013, approving the deployment of French forces supporting the international mission to the Central African Republic was authorized to lead African (MISCA) for a period of six months. The objectives of the mission in support of CAR are:

  • Restore security and public order.
  • Cooperate in restoring state authority throughout the country .
  • Create security conditions for humanitarian aid.
  • Facilitate the process of disarmament and restructure the defense and security sectors .

France, besides increasing its military presence in CAR had committed to collaborate and support the political transition process prior to the presidential elections scheduled for early 2015. France decided to launch the Operation Sangaris, which approved an increase of troops in CAR, in support of MISCA, to help restore and ensure safety in the area . From that time on France requested of different nations, including Spain, collaboration by sending means of tactical airlift to the area.

Spain, as a reliable, committed partner with bilateral agreements with France, provided a C-130 which would operate from Libreville, Gabon, thus generating a Tactical Air Detachment for deployment and maintenance.

The TAD depends, for all purposes, on the Chief of Staff of Defence through the Commander of Operations Command, but all the logistical support is provided by the Air Force.

On March 21st, 2014 TAD Mamba began with the arrival of the first flight of a C-130 Hercules to Libreville, and personnel began assembling the equipment necessary for the functioning of the TAD on the site provided by the French Armed Forces in Gabon.

The part of the contingent that supports the Chief of the Air Detachment was established in the French Marines camp, 'Camp de Gaulle ', while the operational and maintenance parts related to the operation of the C-130 was installed at the air base 'Guy Pidoux ' of the French Air Force. On March 23rd, 2014, once the entrire detachment was fully operative, the first intratheater flight of the Spanish participation took place in its mission to support CAR.

Logistical support flights transport equipment and personnel to support military operations in different parts of the CAR, reducing response times and providing greater flexibility for ground units. Without such flights within the theater, due to poor infrastructure, the inability to supply by road and extremely harsh climate in the area field operations would be unsustainable.

Using support flights made by Spanish military aircraft on a regular basis, humanitarian aid donated by different private and non-governmental organizations has been possible, enhancing civil-military cooperation by transporting quick and effective aid to its destination.

The 31st Wing’s crews are relieved every 45 days, while for the rest of the contingent usually remain for an estimated duration of three months.

Thus the first relief crew arrived on 15th May, 2014, with a few days of overlap to adapt to the peculiarities of the operation in this equatorial Africa.
On 28th June, 2014 , the 1st contingent of the “Mamba” Detachment was relieved. The event was chaired by Colonel Barahona, assigned to the staff of Air Combat Command.

During the “Mamba” Detachment’s first three months of activity, 328:30 hours of flight were performed in 115 departures carrying 366,508 kilos of cargo and transporing 1255 passengers. Lt. Col. Rafael Muñoz García, assigned to the 15th Wing, was the head of the first contingent of TAD Mamba, with Lt. Col. Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Orduna entering as the new head of the Force currently stationed at the 11th Wing.

Mission orders are issued by the JFACC in Lyon, France, where there permanently featured a Spanish liaison, helping the effective management of our resources in the area of operations.

In the first 6 months of mission a total of 639 : 30 flight hours have been made, transporting 750,495 passengers and 2695 kg of cargo.

On 7th October, 2014 the 2nd contingent was relieved and C-130 aircraft was exchanged for a C-295 (T.21). The 35th Wing Lt. Col. Gonzalo Marti Regalado, assigned to the Command Staff, took over the leadership of the “Mamba” Detachment after relieving Lieutenant Colonel Rodriguez Orduna.