Why are French Forces Dominating Djibouti?

Explore the compelling presence of French forces in Djibouti. Discover the specifics of the key bases and their respective , as well as future plans.

The Presence of French Forces in Djibouti

French forces continue to hold a significant presence in Djibouti, home to approximately 1500 . The French forces in Djibouti include Base Aérienne 188, a naval base, the Djibouti Desert Combat Training and Hardening Centre, the 5th Overseas Mixed Regiment and a detachment from the French Army's Light Aviation.

A Look at the Specifics

Base Aérienne 188 houses four Mirage 2000-5s, a CN-235 transport plane and three Puma helicopters. The French Army's Light Aviation detachment operates with an additional four Pumas and three Gazelle helicopters.

The Future of French Military Aviation in Djibouti

There are plans to replace the four Pumas with NH-90 Caïman TTHs by 2025. The NH-90 is a more manoeuvrable aircraft than the Puma, thanks to its electronic flight controls, and also boasts greater autonomy and payload capacity. The three Puma helicopters belonging to the French Air and Space Force stationed in Djibouti are also slated for replacement, possibly with H225M Caracals.

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Upcoming Acquisitions

According to the Programming Law for 2024-30, the French Army's Light Aviation is set to have 81 NH-90 aircraft in its fleet, including 18 of the “special forces” version, plus 24 AS532 Cougars.

Continued Cooperation

The presence of French forces in Djibouti is based on a defence cooperation treaty signed between and Djibouti in 1984, which was renewed in 2011. Negotiations are currently underway for its further renewal.

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