The French MOD just detailed the airborne equipment used by the French forces for the operation "Serval" in Mali:
- 2 C160 Transall based at Bamako,
- 1 medevac Casa CN235 at Goa,
- 1 medevac Casa CN235 at Libreville (Gabon),
- 1 C-130 hercules and 1 Casa CN235 at N'Djamena (Tchad),
- 16 helicopters in Mali (6 Gazelle, 2 Tigre and 8 Puma),
- 6 Rafale B/C at N'Djamena,
- 3 Mirage 2000D at Bamako,
- 1 C-135R at Bamako and 1 at N'Djamena and 1 at N'Djamena.
In addition, Spain (CN-235) and the USA (C-130) provide on-demand tactical transport.
Obviously France is not the USA.
If we consider that the North of Mali alone is 3 times as big as France, it gives a measure of the task in hands.