Thursday, October 02, 2014
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Mozambican Air Force to get eight overhauled MiG-21s

A MiG-21 Fishbed fighter.The Mozambique Air Force will soon receive eight MiG-21s from Aerostar in Romania once their overhaul is complete, together with an L-39 jet trainer and two Festival light aircraft. This comes on the heels of the delivery of a Hawker 850XP business jet.

According to Air Forces Daily, Aerostar is refurbishing six MiG-21bis and two MiG-21UM trainers for the Mozambique Air Force and is also providing trainer aircraft on which it is training MiG-21 pilots. This would give the Air Force a jet capability not had in years, as its MiG-21s have fallen into disrepair and are grounded.

Two MiG-21s in Mozambique Air Force colours have been spotted at Aerostar’s facility in Bacau, Romania, including one single and one two-seat example. It is believed that one of the MiG-21s destined for Mozambique was involved in an incident on August 27, catching fire after experiencing a technical problem in flight.

According to Air Forces Daily, Mozambique Air Force students have been training at Bacau and at the Boboc Air Force Base for nearly a year, undertaking basic training on Aerostar’s Festival light aircraft and an overhauled Mozambican Aero Vodochody L-39ZO jet trainer.

The Mozambican Air Force has apparently bought two Aerostar Festival side-by-side light aircraft, which were ready for delivery to the country in September.

It is not clear whether the eight MiG-21s are ex-Mozambican examples or were aircraft in better condition acquired from another source. The latter is more likely.

The Mozambique Air Force is slowly rejuvenating, considering that until recently it was almost entirely inoperable, suffering poor serviceability since independence from Portugal in 1975 and the collapse of the Soviet Union and its financial support in the early 1990s.

A recent acquisition came in September this year when the Air Force took delivery of a second hand Hawker 850XP business jet, built in 2005. Another important acquisition came in July 2012 when Portugal delivered a second Cessna/Reims FTB-337G Milirole utility aircraft to the country, as part of the CTM (Cooperação Técnico-Militar) technical military cooperation agreement between Mozambique and Portugal. This agreement also includes training and the Portuguese Air Force is working with the Mozambique Air Force on pilot and ground crew training in both countries.

Indeed, Portuguese advisors are training aircrew and mechanics at the recently formed Escola Prática de Aviação (EPA – School of Practical Aviation) at the Air Force’s base at Maputo-Mavalene International Airport.

The two FTB-337Gs are used for medical evacuations, maritime surveillance and pilot training, alongside a Cessna 152 and a Piper PA-32 Seneca, acquired around 2011. A Cessna 172 is also used for training at the EPA, according to Air Forces Daily.
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