The French air force has completed an operational deployment of its Eurocopter EC725 combat search-and-rescue helicopters, with two of the aircraft having returned home after a nine-month mission to support French personnel serving in Afghanistan.

Based in Kabul from December 2006, the EC725s - also dubbed Caracals - were transported to Cazaux air base in France using an Antonov An-124-100 operated by Volga-Dnepr through NATO's strategic airlift interim solution service. The French CSAR commitment - which also totalled around 45 personnel - has been replaced by an eight-month air force deployment of AS330 Cougars.

 EC725 Antonov
© French Ministry of Defence

The air force says its EC725s amassed over 670 flight hours during their tour, with operations including 27 medical evacuation flights, 221 tactical transport sorties and 130 reconnaissance missions. The French air force's EH 1/67 Sqn has so far received six EC725s, according to Flight's HeliCAS database.

 EC725 Afghan
© French Ministry of Defence

The Sirpa Air-produced video includes operational footage of EC725s in Afghanistan, and includes a rare glimpse of the Republic of Singapore Air Force's training detachment of Douglas A-4 Skyhawks on the ground at Cazaux.