in Defence / Features

More helicopters for Burkina Faso

Posted 20 March 2018 · Add Comment

Burkina Faso signed two agreements covering the delivery of two Mil Mi-171Sh transport helicopters and associated weapons during Russia’s Army 2017 exhibition, according to Sergei Kornev, the deputy director general of the Russian state arms export agency Rosoboronexport.

The contract was reportedly signed on August 25 2017.
The Force Aérienne de Burkina Faso (FABF – Burkina Faso air force) has undergone a modest expansion and capability improvement programme in recent years, partly in response to events in neighbouring Ivory Coast.
The FABF received two Mi-35s from Russia in 2005, later augmenting these with three Mi-17s and a handful of lighter Alouette III, AS350 and AS365N Dauphin helicopters.
The air force also took delivery of three Embraer Super Tucanos from Brazil in 2011, and an AgustaWestland AW139 was delivered in 2016.
On June 6 2017, Burkina Faso inducted a pair of ex-Taiwanese Bell UH-1H Huey helicopters. These have been armed for combat roles and Burkinabe air and ground crew have been trained by a US Air Force training mission.
The new Mi-171Sh helicopters are due for delivery in 2018 and will be the most capable rotary-winged aircraft in the inventory. They can accommodate up to 36 soldiers or 12 stretcher cases, and can lift a 4,000kg cargo, either in the cabin or under-slung. The Mi-171Sh can be armed with Shturm-V missiles or unguided rockets for close air support missions.
There have been suggestions that the aircraft for Burkina Faso could be the new Mi-171Sh-VN version. This was first unveiled at the MAKS 2017 air show at Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, and is a specially modified variant intended for special operations missions and developed as a result of combat experience in Syria.
The new variant has composite main rotor blades and a new X-type tail rotor.
Despite all of the recent acquisitions of combat aircraft, the air force is still primarily geared up for limited border surveillance missions, relying on neighbours and allies to boost actual combat capabilities.
 

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