Operation PRESENCE

Operation PRESENCE is the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) contribution to the Government of Canada’s peace operations strategy. This includes the commitment of high-value military capabilities to various United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Mission update


August 31, 2019

After more than a year of operations in Mali, the Canadian Armed Forces air task force deployed in Gao completed its mission. An important aspect of Canada’s multi-faceted support included providing critical aeromedical evacuation, logistic and transport capabilities as part of Operation PRESENCE-Mali.



On August 15, 2019, The Government of Canada announced that the CAF will provide the UN with tactical airlift support out of Entebbe, in Uganda, during the next 12 months beginning as early as August 2019.

The Tactical Airlift Detachment will consist of one CC-130J Hercules aircraft, operated and supported by up to 25 CAF members. It will deploy for up to five days each month to assist with transporting troops, equipment and supplies to the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

How many people are deployed?

The number of deployed personnel varies depending on the requirements of the mission.

Canada traditionally has been a strong supporter of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping. On November 15, 2017, Canada pledged high-end military capabilities in support of UN Peace Support Operations, including making available an Aviation Task Force and tactical airlift support for possible deployment on UN peace operations.

What are they doing?

The CAF is supporting UN needs to sustain its missions with the CAF delivering critical resources to military and police personnel as well as civilian staff on peace support operations in multiple locations across the African continent.


Uganda, 2019 - 2020

Starting August 2019, the CAF will deploy a Tactical Airlift Detachment on a monthly basis to Entebbe, Uganda to assist the UN’s Regional Support Centre in the sustainment of ongoing UN operations. In doing so, the CAF will play an important role in helping to supply approximately 80,000 military and police personnel as well as thousands of civilian staff on peace support operations across the African continent with critical resources. 

While deployed on Operation PRESENCE - Uganda, a Tactical Airlift Detachment will operate from Entebbe, Uganda, able to transport personnel, equipment and supplies on behalf of the UN to sustain ongoing missions in the region. This capability will be provided to the UN for up to five days a month for approximately one year. 

The Canadian Tactical Airlift Detachment will be comprised of: 

  • a CC-130J Hercules aircraft; and

  • Approximately 20 personnel.*

*This includes crew and support staff, to assist in the sustainment of several ongoing UN operations from the UN’s Regional Support Centre in Entebbe, Uganda.

Mali, 2018 - 2019

As part of MINUSMA, Task Force-Mali provides consistent and reliable aeromedical evacuation coverage for civilians and UN peacekeepers. 

  • The CH-147F Chinook helicopters are available to conduct medical evacuations.  

  • The CH-146 Griffon helicopters fly as armed escorts for the Chinooks. They also carry out other critical missions for MINUSMA as required.

This support allows our partners the freedom to conduct long-range security operations in remote and vulnerable areas of the country.

Our highly-trained aviators and crews operate our flying emergency rooms. Aboard are:

  • our force protection team;

  • a flight surgeon; 

  • a critical care nursing officer; and 

  • two medical technicians.

As of July 31, 2019, the CAF has begun its responsible departure from Mali. The task force has ceased transport aviation tasks and is focused solely on medical evacuation operations until the mission ends on August 31, 2019.

 Over the past year, our peacekeepers conducted more than 100 transport missions, flying nearly 3,500 hours in support of UN security operations. These missions enabled the secure movement of our peacekeeping partners to remote and vulnerable areas of Mali as part of our contribution to stability in the region.

This phased departure ensures a smooth and efficient transition between the Canadian and incoming Romanian helicopter detachments. The CAF will supply a small transition team to assist Romania in its preparations and will provide four C-17 aircraft flights to help them deploy personnel and equipment to theatre. This minimizes disruption in the availability of critical capabilities to MINUSMA forces and helps set up the Romanian contingent for operational success.


Infographic showing elements that were involved for the Op PRESENCE Mali mission Air Task Force Two rotations of 250 peacekeepers 3 CH-147F Chinook helicopters 5 CH-146 Griffon helicopters Conducted 11 Forward Aeromedical evacuations Treated more than 40 casualties Flew 4,000 hours Transported 2,800 passengers Delivered 370,000 pounds of cargo Tactical Aviation Detachment and Interim Operational Support Hub 1 CC-130 Hercules aircraft Flew more than 1,550 hours Delivered 2,000,000 pounds of cargo Transported 3,700 passengers MINUSMA Headquarters Up to 10 positions

Mali Video Gallery

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