Neighbouring air forces are re-arming

EDITOR - Quietly, and over the past few years, some of our neighbouring airforces have either ordered or taken delivery of new fighter aircraft to re-equip their air forces to stay abreast of new trends in military aviation.

The Mozambican Air Force is set to get eight refurbished MiG aircraft from Aerostar, a Romanian company, along with an overhauled Aero Vodochody L-39ZO jet trainer. This will give back the Mozambican Air Force a jet capability it had long lost.

Reports continue to swirl online that the Zambian Air Force has signed a deal for six L-15 Falcon jet trainers made by Hongdu Aviation Industry of China. These come hot after the delivery of 16 K-8 Karakorum jet trainers and seven Z-9 attack helicopter gunships, both made in China.

The discussion between Botswana and South Korea for the acquisition of new aircraft are at a very advanced stage. The Botswana Air Force is set to place an order for 16 T-50 advanced jet trainers and the FA-50 Golden Eagle fighter aircraft. The FA-50, built jointly by Korea Aerospace Industries (KIA) and United States aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, is largely derived from the F-16 Fighting Falcon and they have many similarities.

Perhaps the most significant order for new military aircraft was signed by South Africa, which took delivery of 28 Saab JAS-39 Gripen fighters from Sweden, 24 BAe Hawk-120 fighter trainers from Britain and a whopping 30 Augusta A-109 helicopters from Italy. With an order of this magnitude, the South African Air Force elevated itself to become, arguably, one of the best air forces in Africa.

With no imminent aerial threat from any quarter at the moment, Zimbabwe still has the luxury of waiting until she checks out the capabilities of the aircraft to be delivered to Mumbwa, Grootfortein, Thebephatswa and Nampula, together with what is already available at Makhado Air Force bases. Then, perhaps, we will go, obviously east, to shop for a multi-role combat aircraft that will be able to defend our airspace against an enemy of any size and shape, in any weather, day or night. May our wings continue to be our fortress. – Cassius Sande, Harare

Post published in: Letters to the Editor
  1. Joab Mudzanapabwe

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