Downing Street said the RAF Chinooks would offer a “niche capability”, providing logistical support for the French operation in Mali, but that Britain would not be committing combat troops.
In return France is sending troops to support Britain in the NATO-led forward presence in Estonia. The UK Government said that its contributions would help combat extremism and reduce the flow of migrants into Europe.
The summit between Mrs May and the French President Mr Macron, at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Berkshire today, also featured the first meeting of the heads of Britain and France’s five intelligence agencies, and was attended by British cabinet ministers and their French counterparts.
France and the UK have also signed a treaty to speed up the processing of migrants in Calais.
Mr Macron said the treaty would offer a “more humane approach” and be “more efficient”.
But he suggested France would not bow to UK demands to include financial services in any post-Brexit trade deal.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) January 18, 2018
Mrs May praised the “uniquely close relationship” between the two nations.
She said both leaders remained committed to the “Le Touquet” border agreement in Calais – the UK has announced an extra £44.5m to be spent on beefing up Channel border security.
The Prime Minister also confirmed that by 2020 up to 10,000 troops would be able to be deployed “quickly and effectively” in the face of any threat as part of the UK-France Combined Joint Expeditionary Force.
As Europe’s “foremost military powers”, Mrs May said it was “incumbent” on Britain and France to “demonstrate leadership” in upholding international laws.