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.


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. In July 2020, the CAF received the authority to extend by 12 months its episodic support to United Nations Peacekeeping operations in Africa for a second year under Operation PRESENCE (Uganda).


The Tactical Airlift Detachment consists of one CC-130J Hercules aircraft, operated and supported by up to 27 CAF members. It deploys for  multiple episodes several times per year 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 - 2021

Since August 2019, the CAF has deployed a Tactical Airlift Detachment on an episodic basis to Entebbe, Uganda to assist the UN’s Regional Support Centre in the sustainment of ongoing UN operations. In doing so, the CAF has played 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. 

In July 2020, the CAF received the authority to extend by 12 months its episodic support to United Nations Peacekeeping operations in Africa for a second year under Operation PRESENCE (Uganda).

While deployed on Operation PRESENCE - Uganda, a Tactical Airlift Detachment operates from Entebbe, Uganda, 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 multiple episodes for the coming year. 

The Canadian Tactical Airlift Detachment is comprised of: 

  • a CC-130J Hercules aircraft
  • Approximately 25 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.

Over the past year, the Tactical Airlift Detachment has flown eight serials.  The first seven serials have transported nearly 500 personnel and more than 475,000 lbs. of cargo with over 150 hours of flight time combined. The transports included:

  • water treatment equipment, an X-ray machine, UN vehicles, an ambulance, aircraft parts, and medical supplies in support of UNMISS and MONUSCO
  • troop rotations for MONUSCO, consisting of Pakistani, Tanzanian, and Moroccan military
  • team of UN ambassadors
Mali, 2018 - 2019

As part of MINUSMA, Task Force-Mali provided consistent and reliable aeromedical evacuation coverage for civilians and UN peacekeepers from August 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019. 

  • The CH-147F Chinook helicopters conducted medical evacuations.  
  • The CH-146 Griffon helicopters flew as armed escorts for the Chinooks. They also carried out other critical missions for MINUSMA as required.

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

Our highly-trained aviators and crews operated our flying emergency rooms. Aboard were:

  • our force protection team
  • a flight surgeon
  • a critical care nursing officer
  • two medical technicians

On July 31, 2019, the CAF began its responsible departure from Mali. 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. The task force ceased transport aviation tasks and focused solely on medical evacuation operations until the mission ended 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 ensured a smooth and efficient transition between the Canadian and incoming Romanian helicopter detachments. The CAF supplied a small transition team to assist Romania in its preparations and provided 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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