The French sure appreciated those UK Chinooks during their Mali operations. So much so they are also considering getting some themselves.
And RAF C17's to get their APC's to theatre! I find it astonishing that the French military with its reasonably large standing army and Legacy colonial commitments (like Mali) lacks both heavy tactical airlift and heavy rotor lift capability!
Maybe, but being the French, they're apparently thinking about renting a couple for a few years, then buying them if it works out after 2025. Kinda crazy really, but perhaps by then a re-engined Chinook will also be on offer. I'd think they could come up with some sort of a joint squadron so they don't have to ever admit to buying US helo's. https://www.meta-defense.fr/en/2020/02/ ... licopters/
When they've had capability gaps which it makes no economic sense to try and deal with locally, they've 'admitted' to F-8 Crusaders, E-2C's, C-130H/J and some KC's for the latter, Predator Drones, E-3F's, SM-1 SAMs, ditto Hawk on land.
All but one of these, F-8's, being post CDG's 1966 NATO hissy fit (to the horror of his general staff and intel people).
We in the UK, after that botched 2010 Defence Review and the 'holiday' an island nation had from MPA's, at times they provided Atlantiques for training and likely some SAR support.
Plus in the history of the RAF CH-47, there was a similar break in initially ordering it, so the requirement was identified, cancelled due to a balance of payments crisis, then in 1978 really ordering.
Ironically, they did build a chopper, which while not of CH-47 nor CH-53 capability, was more than they had for Puma's/Super Pumas.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A%C3%A9ro ... per_Frelon
Mainly used by them in the Naval role, utility ones were exported, here's an export one (Israel) from the underrated 1980's Afghanistan set movie The Beast'.
(Israel later upgraded their fleet with US engines, France could have done the same with local powerplants);https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y03YxzyKsWk
There is a better quality clip but this shows the utility version better.
(A few years later, the filmmakers could have got a Mi-8 rather than using this chopper as a stand in).
Back to RAF CH-47's, you have to wonder if it was known just how many the RAF would end up ordering past the original 33, whether a UK line would have been set up, like the Italians did.
However back then, when a MoD under-spend and the same year's pledge to 3% annual spending upgrade across NATO, the RAF saw their chance and got their long wished for heavy lift choppers.