French Transall conducts African farewell tour

The last French Air Force Transall C-160R deployed overseas completed a memorial tour of African countries in August, marking the end of its 50 years of operations on the continent.

Transall C-160R [EMA]
The last French Air Force Transall C-160 on overseas operations, C-160R - serial R211 ‘64-GK’ (c/n 214) - from ET.64, takes on paratroops for the final time in Abidjan during its farewell tour of Africa. EMA

During the tour, paratroopers from the 43rd Marine Infantry Battalion boarded the aircraft at Forward Operating Base (BAP) Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, for their last jump from the type. In addition to being welcomed by the French Forces in Côte d’Ivoire at Abidjan, the C-160 and its crew also visited other French BAPs in Central and West Africa.

The permanent French Transall detachments to the region officially came to an end on July 31. On that date, a French Air Force Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules arrived at BAP Niamey, Niger, to take over responsibility for the detachment as part of the operational transport group (GTO).

As with the Transall, one Hercules will be permanently based with the GTO to support French missions in the region. Although operations with the Transall are winding down, the type will continue in French Air Force service for a few more years. The last few are scheduled for retirement in 2023.