GABORONE, Botswana — The Ghanaian Air Force (GAF) says it will in 2016 expand its Air Force in 2016 with the acquisition of four4 more new Super Tucano A-29 turboprop, multirole light attack and trainer aircraft. to meet increasing operational and training needs.
Addressing guests at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Number 4 Squadron, which is the vanguard of the air command, at the main Air Force Base in Accra last week, Ghanaian Air Force Friday, GAF Chief of Air Staff Air Vice Marshal Michael Samson-Oje said they are on the verge of concluding pre-delivery negotiations with Brazilian aerospace company Embraer Defense.
If confirmed, the new deal will increase Ghana's 2015 Super Tucano A-29 acquisitions to nine as it follows a pre-existing contract for the supply of five A-29s, which was confirmed by both parties during the Paris Air Show in June. this year. The contract also covered the provision of logistical support and training in A-29 operational systems for Ghanaian pilots and mechanics.
Air Vice Marshal Samson-Oje said GAF Number 4 Squadron is a critical component of the national security system as it continues to play a lead role in protecting the protection of the country’s airspace. It is also provides essential airlift and logistical support services to Ghanaian peacekeeping troops in Lebanon and Mali, among other international engagements.
In the 1990s, the squadron actively provided airlift and logistical support for Ghanaian battle groups which were deployed to the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peacekeeping forces during the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Since its formation in 1965, the squadron has operated an inventory that includes the 326F, 339A, and 326K combat and trainer variants of the Italian-made Armaechi Barrocchi-MB. It has also flown trainer and combat variants of the Czech-made Aero L-29 and L-39 Albatros turbo-fans.
The squadron now operates a core fleet of four Chinese-made Karakorum K-8 light attack and trainer jets, which are used for advanced pilot training and high-priority aerial defense operations.
In December 2014, President John Drammani Mahama said the government has long-term plans to acquire several Embraer Super Tucano EMB-314 light attack and trainers from Brazil, Harbin Z-9 helicopters from China, Russian-made Mil Mi-17 helicopters, and C-295 heavy-lifter aircraft from Airbus Defense and Space.
He said the new aircraft would enable the Air Force to meet pilot training needs as well as provide external airlift services to Ghanaian troops in UN nited Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions.
The order was partially fulfilled in October when Chinese aircraft manufacturer Harbin delivered five Z-9 helicopters, which have since been deployed to secure the country's newly discovered offshore hydrocarbon wealth.
On Nov. 16, Spanish defense news site defensa.com said a third C-295 could soon be delivered after an aircraft painted in Ghanaian colors was spotted late October at the Airbus Defense and Space plant in San Pablo, Spain.
Ghana already operates a fixed-wing fleet made up of a single Dassault Falcon 900 executive jet, two Airbus C-295 transporters, three Diamond DA 42 MPPs, four HAIC JL-8 light attack jets and three Cessna 172 basic trainers.
The GAF fleet also includes seven Mi-17s, two Agusta-Westland AW109s, Power, two Bell 412 SPs, two Aerospatiale SA 316s and some Alouette III utility helicopters.