DAVID WILL PUBLISH
GABORONE, Botswana — The government of Equatorial Guinea acquired two Airbus C-295 aircraft with one ear-marked for deployment in troop transportation while the other is set to fly maritime surveillance missions over the Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) of the Gulf of Guinea island nation.
Quoting a government statement, media in Malabo reported last week that the agreement was signed following a meeting held between the government and Airbus Defense and Space representatives at the company's aerospace manufacturing facility in Seville, Spain.
The first aircraft is due for delivery in September 2016.
"This trip [was] in accordance with the desire of the government to strengthen security measures around the coastal areas of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea," the government statement read. "The government of Equatorial Guinea has acquired two military aircraft for the transportation of troops and the surveillance of national territory,"
The agreement also covers the provision of training and support services for Equatorial Guinea crews who will operate and maintain the aircraft.
The acquisition makes Equatorial Guinea the second major West African buyer of the C-295 after Ghana, which already operates one and is believed to be seeking two more to meet the airlift needs of troops engaged in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
The new aircraft will bring additional capabilities to the island nation's air force, which operates a small fleet made up of old Antonov An-72 transport, four Sukhoi Su-25 combat aircraft and two Aero Vodochody L-39 jet trainers.
The country also is actively seeking new attack, trainer and transport helicopters as it prepares to take part in United Nations peacekeeping missions in Africa.