in Defence / Features

Military gains for Indonesia in Africa

Posted 12 November 2018 · Add Comment

Indonesia is making inroads into the African military transport market. Jon Lake reports.

During the Indonesia-Africa Forum held earlier this year in Bali, Indonesia announced the $75 million sale of two NC-212-200 maritime surveillance aircraft and a CN235-220 maritime patrol aircraft to Senegal, plus a transport-configured CN235-220 to the Ivory Coast.
Formal contracts for the sales were expected to be signed as African Aerospace was going to press.
Close links between Spanish aircraft manufacturer, CASA, and Indonesian Aerospace – or PT Dirgantara Indonesia, also known as Persero (IPTN) – led to Indonesian licence production of the CASA C-212 Aviocar. This is now known as the C212, or as the NC-212 in Indonesian-built form.
It also led to the co-development of the larger CN-235 tactical transport (now designated as the CN235 when offered by Airbus).
Some 477 C212s and NC-212s have been produced for 92 operators over a 43-year production lifespan.
This total includes at least 103 NC212-200s produced by PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI), the successor to IPTN.
In 2010, Airbus Military (Airbus Defence succeeded CASA) said that it could no longer afford to produce the C212 in Europe and the last C-212 produced in Spain was delivered in late December 2012. All necessary jigs and production tooling for the NC212-400 was relocated from San Pablo to Bandung and PTDI became the sole source for the C212/NC-212 family.
PTDI stopped production of the NC212-200 and NC212-400 in 2014, concentrating on the more advanced NC212i, which has new digital avionics and a cabin for up to 28 passengers.
On the CN-235, PTDI manufactures the outer wings, horizontal stabilisers, vertical fins and doors, while Airbus produces noses, cockpit sections, and centre wing boxes.
C212s serve in Angola, Botswana, Chad, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Aircraft delivered to Bophuthatswana, Transkei, and Venda were absorbed into the South African Air Force.
CN235s are in service in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Guinea, Morocco and Senegal, and were also delivered to the Bophuthatswana and South African air forces, which have retired the type with civilian aircraft going to Madagascar’s Tiko Air and Air Namibia.
The C295 is a derivative of the CN235 with a stretched fuselage, 50% more payload capability and new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127G turboprop engines. Airbus has delivered significant numbers to African air arms, including those of Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana and Mali.
PTDI is now seeking to increase its share of this lucrative market. Company president, Elfien Goentoro, said “the African market is promising”, explaining: “Geographically, African countries and Indonesia have similarities, so they need several light and medium turboprop aircraft. We are offering countries in Africa the development of human resource skills and knowledge in the aircraft manufacturing industry.”
He also noted there were opportunities for African countries in the upgrade, modification and maintenance and overhaul of the NC-212 and CN-235.
PTDI delivered a CN235-220 transport aircraft to the Senegal Air Force in December 2016, following a November 2014 order placed via AD Trade Belgium. It was delivered in a quick-change configuration with a reconfigurable interior, allowing it to undertake VIP, transport, paratrooping, and medical evacuation missions.
In August 2017, Senegal placed a further order with AD Trade Belgium for a single CN235-220 maritime patrol aircraft.
The next customer for an Indonesian-built CN-235 was Burkina Faso, which acquired two aircraft from PTDI and AD Trade Belgium.
The latest orders were again signed with the Belgian company and formed the basis of the framework agreement during the Indonesia-Africa Forum in April 2018.
The addition of two NC-212-200 maritime surveillance aircraft and a CN235-220 maritime patrol aircraft to the Armée de L'Air du Senegal will transform the west African nation’s surveillance capabilities. The aircraft are expected to be based at Dakar/Yoff.
Force Aérienne de la Côte d'Ivoire (previously known as the Groupement Aérien de Transport et de Liaison) is another small air arm, and the addition of a CN-235 at Base Aérienne de Abidjan will mark a major improvement in capability. The unit currently operates only Cessna 402s and 421s and SA365 and IAR330 helicopters.
 

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