Botswana to get F-16 “Fighting Falcons”

EDITOR - According to recent posts on the Internet, Botswana is going to get 16 American made F-16 'Fighting Falcons' (all Block-40s) for its air force. These are high performance multi-role combat aircraft whose arrival at the massive ultra-modern Thebe Phatshwa Air Base will greatly enhance Botswana's military aviation capabilities and definitely write a new chapter in the book of military aviation in Southern Africa.

This is not an isolated development as other neighbouring air forces have also been beefing up their air forces. Zambia had eight of its MiG-21s upgraded by Israel Aircraft Industries to MiG-21-2000 series. Namibia acquired a dozen F-7NMs, one of the most lethal variants of the F-7s to come out of China. Zimbabwe has ex-Libyan MiG-23 ‘Floggers’ and BAe Hawk-60s in storage- operates a squadron of F-7IIs and placed an order for 12 Chengdu FC-1 ‘Fierce Dragons’ from China.

Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe use K-8 ‘Karakorum’ trainers they acquired from China. Significant resources are required in order to get Mozambique’s MiG-21s air borne again.South Africa is taking delivery of some 24 BAe Hawk-120 fighter trainers and 28 JAS-39 ‘Gripen’ multi-role fighters giving it an edge over regional air forces for a long time.

Cassius Sande, Harare

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