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Ethiopian Air Force to undergo fleet renewal

Ethiopian Air Force to undergo fleet renewal

Acquires new trainer aircraft

The Ethiopian Air Force has proceeded with its fleet modernization program aimed at replacing the aged Soviet Era aircraft; and as part of the renewal program, the Ethiopian Air Force has recently taken delivery of six new German made trainer aircraft.

The trainer aircraft, G 120TP, were procured from Germany’s aerospace company, Grob. The Ethiopian Air Force, which plans to replace its aging trainer aircraft, is looking at acquiring additional six G 120TP trainer aircraft.

Grob Chief Operating Officer, Ishan Sahgal, told Jane’s Defence Weekly that the initial contract was signed in June 2019. Deliveries started in August and were completed in September.

Sahgal said Grob expects the Ethiopian Air Force to order another six G 120TPs before the end of this year, which would entail deliveries commencing almost immediately.

The G 120TPs are replacing 30-year-old SF 260TPs based at the Ethiopian Air Force’s training facility at Dire Dawa Air Base.  The Ethiopian Air Force is believed to only have several SF 260 and half a dozen L-39 Albatros trainer aircraft in service.

According to Jane’s Defense, the first G 120 operator in Africa was the Kenya Air Force, which acquired six G 120A piston-engine basic trainers in November 2013 to replace its fleet of Scottish Aviation Bulldogs.

The all-composite airframe G 120TP has a service life of 15,000 hours and is certified for aerobatic training. The modern glass cockpit features multi-function displays, a digital standby flight display and a digital engine display. Grob says the G 120 has one of the lowest maintenance costs in the industry.

The G 120TP is powered by the Rolls-Royce M250-B17F turbine engine, with a maximum cruise speed of 380 km/h. The trainee pilot can be seated either in the left hand or right hand ejection seat, both with individual throttle levers.

The G 120TP first flew in 2010 and has since been adopted by a number of air forces, including those of Indonesia, Mexico, Myanmar and Jordan.

Sources told The Reporter that the Ethiopian Airforce is undergoing on a fleet modernization program aimed at substituting the rickety Soviet Era aircraft. As part of the fleet renewal program Ethiopia reportedly made a request to purchase French military aircraft.

The weekly French political news magazine Le Point recently revealed a document containing a list of requests by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) to the Élysée Palace, including Rafale fighter jets, helicopters, and nuclear missiles. This list included 12 fighter jets (including Rafale and Mirage 2000), 18 helicopters, two military transport planes manufactured by Airbus, 10 Dassault Drones, electronic jamming systems, and about thirty M51 missiles with a range of more than 6,000 kilometres capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Ethiopia and France signed a military cooperation accord in March 2019 during President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Addis Ababa. The deal includes helping the landlocked nation build a navy. The accord also provides for air cooperation, joint operations and opportunities for training and equipment purchases.