Last Friday the first Dutch transport aircraft assisting the French lead “Operation Serval” in Mali took off from Eindhoven Air Base. Before reaching its final destination N’Djamena/Chad, where the French forces established a logistic hub, the KDC-10 stopped in France to pick up supplies. Due to the current security situation in Mali, the Dutch government decided to initially limit the KDC-10 operation to the neighbouring countries of Mali. When the situation has improved, the aircraft will also fly missions to Bamako, Mali’s capitol.
This mission was officially requested by France and managed by the EATC. The KDC-10 is the largest aircraft of the RNLAF. It can carry a maximum of 65 tons of cargo, alternatively 165 passengers over a distance of max. 9760 kilometers.
After Belgian A330s and French A340s the Dutch multirole aircraft is the third strategic aircraft type that has been launched by the EATC to assist “Operation Serval”, while a forth type, the German Airbus A310 MRTT, is expected to be employed for refuelling French Mirage and Rafale jets operating in the Mali theatre soon.
Text: Norbert Thomas
Picture: Martin Gesenhoff