The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) supports France under Operation FREQUENCE. Using military aircraft, the CAF moves French military equipment and personnel between France and the Sahel region of Africa.

The Operation FREQUENCE flights support global efforts in the region against terrorism. Doing so helps make the region more secure and stable. It also helps with security and stability across the globe.

This operation strengthens the Canada-France partnership. It also helps their armed forces to work better together.

The CAF has helped French missions in West Africa with military transport in the past. It was then called Strategic Airlift Support to France’s Operation BARKHANE.

Contributing forces

The CAF supports France’s military with logistical airlift.  Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircrews and support crews run the operation with CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft. The aircraft and crews are based at 8 Wing, Trenton. CAF members and equipment are not stationed in the Sahel region.

Past activities

The CAF provided airlift support between France and the Sahel region of Africa four times from November 20, 2016, until March 31, 2017.  The flights delivered around 30 970 kilograms of cargo. They took place on the following dates:

  • First flight: November 20, 2016
  • Second flight: January 25, 2017
  • Third flight: February 12, 2017
  • Forth flight: February 22, 2017

In late February 2018, a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-177 Globemaster III flew between France and the Sahel region of Africa. It transported over 30,000 kilograms of cargo. 

Mission context

French counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel region

The French Armed Forces’ Operation BARKHANE began in August 2014. It took over from the former French Operation SERVAL.

Operation SERVAL was a joint combat operation. French forces served alongside Malian government forces. The purpose was:

  • to protect Bamako, the capital
  • to re-take Malian territory that was held by the militants

Operation BARKHANE is a regrouping of French military forces that are already in West Africa.  3,500 personnel are being sent into five countries in the Sahel region. These countries have formed a group called the “G5 Sahel”:

  • Burkina Faso
  • Chad
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Niger

Previous CAF support to French operations in Africa

The CAF flew three previous airlifts from France to Niger in 2015. These took place from September 28 to December 31. This was support to Operation BARKHANE. The CAF delivered about 79,700 kilograms of cargo in total. Flights took place on the following dates:

  • September 28
  • November 24
  • December 12

The CAF supported France with airlifts in 2013. These took place from January 15 to March 31.  The RCAF sent one CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft. It carried about 1,618,600 kilograms of cargo on 48 flights. The French had sent military forces into the West African nation of Mali. This French operation was known as Operation SERVAL.  It aimed to:

  • stop the advance of Islamic extremists linked to Al-Qaeda
  • take back lost territory

Related Links

Support to French operations in Mali (Operation SERVAL)

Support to French operations in West Africa (Operation BARKHANE)


Date modified: