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The Ministry of National Defense is making every effort for the highly trained personnel of the Romanian Air Force to be equipped with modern hardware, said Defense Minister Gabriel Les, attending on Monday the departure ceremony of the 'Carpathian Pumas' airlift helicopter detachment for a UN mission to Mali.

During the event organized on the ceremonial platform of the 'Mihail Kogalniceanu' Air Base - Constanta County, minister Gabriel Les emphasized that through the deployment of four IAR-330 Puma helicopters on the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Republic of Mali (MINUSMA), Romania joins international efforts to assist the government of Mali carry on the implementation of the Peace Agreement, the protection of civilians and preventing the return of hostile armed elements to populated areas.

"The intense training in conditions as similar as possible to those you will find in the African theater of operations, as well as the modernization process undergone by the aircraft you will be operating, are elements that make sure that you have the full ability to accomplish your missions in accordance with the UN principles. (...) And because the Romanian Air Force has extremely well trained personnel who are well appreciated by all our allies, we are making every effort that they are also equipped with modern technology, so that we strengthen our combat capacity and develop new capabilities," said Gabriel Les.

"It is imperative for us to have more modern aircraft in order to continue to gradually build up the Critical Air Operational Capability. The purchase of F16 aircraft, of Patriot air defense systems and the endowment of our radiolocation service with modern radars ensure a high capability to defend Romania's and the North Atlantic Alliance's airspace, which is fully interoperable with the similar systems of our allies," the DefMin said.

The mission of the 'Carpathian Pumas' detachment in Mali will consist in transporting cargo and personnel, fulfilling medical evacuation, reconnaissance, road communication surveillance duties, etc. The Romanian detachment of about 120 members will fly four IAR-330 Puma L-RM helicopters that will be transported in four successive flights with the support of the Royal Canadian Air Force that provides the Romanian Air Force with C-5 Galaxy transport aircraft.AGERPRES(RO - author: Dan Mihaescu, editor: Catalina Matei; EN - author: Simona Klodnischi, editor: Maria Voican)

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