12 November 2015 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb
The Ghana Air Force has acquired a third C295 transport aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space, confirming plans announced last year. The company is finalising three new C295 contracts in East and West Africa, with two already having been signed.
Ghana’s third C295 was seen at Airbus’s final assembly plant in Seville, Spain, in late October.
Ghana received its first C295 in November 2011 and the second in April 2012 as part of the Air Force’s modernisation drive. One of the C295s was used to support the United Nations-led MINUSMA mission in Mali. In November 2014 Ghana’s president John Dramani Mahama announced that Ghana would acquire an additional C295, in addition to other aircraft, including five Super Tucanos, Mi-17s and four Z-9s.
Antonio Rodriguez Barberan, Head Of Sales, Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space, said that two African C295 contracts have been signed while the third depends on certain financial obligations being met. He told defenceWeb that he sees sales of 50 aircraft in the next decade to the continent.
At the moment Algeria has six C295s in service, Ghana three and Egypt has ordered 24. Airbus is currently still manufacturing C295s for Egypt.
Barberan said he sees Egypt as having a need for additional C295s and said that the North African country is an important customer for Airbus. The Egyptian Air Force is an enthusiastic operator of the type, having accumulated 10 000 flight hours in its first four years of operation, with several pilots reaching 1 000 flight hours.
In total, the 139 C295s flying in the world have accumulated more than 230 000 flight hours while the CN235 fleet of 236 aircraft has accumulated more than 1.35 million flight hours.
Elsewhere, Airbus is hoping to sell its C295 to Canada to meet its requirement for a Buffalo and C-130 replacement. The aircraft would be configured for search and rescue and maritime surveillance. The C295 is the only finalist in India’s competition for an Avro replacement and may be produced locally in India, and Barberan said that he expects to see more C295 orders from Latin America in 2016.
Airbus is offering the C295 in a multitude of guises, including waterbomber, gunship, VIP transport, ground surveillance, signals intelligence, air-to-air refuelling, maritime patrol, search and rescue, oil spill dispersant and airborne early warning and control platform.