Following the decision by the President of the Republic, the armed men gradually repatriate and equipment. If for men, the airway is simple to implement, for equipment, return to the mainland is more complicated to organize.
Every 2 months, a ship chartered by the military, the Eider, sailed from Toulon towards Abu Dhabi.Their holds filled with all the necessary equipment for the military deployed in various theaters can continue to fulfill their mission: replace defective equipment, spare parts, ...
The Eider does not carry material to Abu Dhabi. On the way, he also serves Beirut (French forces participating in the UNIFIL) and Djibouti. Sometimes it continues its journey to La Reunion and Mayotte.Each rotation takes about 2 months.
Other vessels chartered perform rotations destination similar to deployed forces in the Caribbean or the Pacific.
On the way back, the Eider back through these ports and ship equipment (containers or vehicles) returning to France.
Eider trips are only the tip of the iceberg, a long preparation, monitoring carried out by a small team of 3 people depending directly on the Staff of the Armed Forces. This is to fulfill the various formalities - the same as every vessel of commerce - starting with the customs formalities. Because, as surprising as it may seem, military equipment through customs.
It should also organize the loading of the ship. Containers or vehicles, precautions have to be taken: to separate those carrying hazardous materials, taking into account the size, potential difficulties in embarking or disembarking ...
Each arrival in port, either Toulon, Beirut or elsewhere specialists army are there to perform the loading or unloading: the 519th Transit Maritime Group. This regiment is unique (even in Europe!). Its staff consists of specialists who know as much use firearms qu'arrimer containers, lead handling equipment, harbor cranes ...
Once unloaded at Toulon, the material is transported, usually by truck, sometimes by train to its destination: the unit for containers, a maintenance centers of the weapon equipment for vehicles.There may be twenty different destinations.
But before being forwarded must still perform some formalities which can total up to 5 weeks clearance, control command.