Uganda buys fighter jets
Written by defenceWeb, Tuesday, 24 May 2011
On April 7 the Wall Street Journal reported that Uganda bought between six and eight fighters and other military equipment from Russia, worth US$744 million.
Uganda is preparing to begin oil production in the Lake Albert region and is buying the military hardware to safeguard oil activities along the border with Congo, according to Ugandan People’s Defence Force (UPDF) spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Felix Kulayigye.
“Acquiring a high air force capacity is in line with that defence policy of protecting territorial integrity and wealth. However, I need to add that this is not a threat to our neighbours. Our policy is defensive and not offensive or aggressive,” he said.
Last December Uganda’s ministry of defence paid US$446m (sh1 trillion) as a first part payment to an ‘unidentified supplier’ for the aircraft as well as tanks, AllAfrica reports. It adds that the equipment is believed to be coming from Russia.
According to The East African, the money came from the supplementary budget and was withdrawn from the central bank without parliamentary approval. "Although the money was not allocated in the 2010/11 financial year, parliament will approve it in the form of a supplementary budget and this is normal,” said Kabakumba Matsiko, Uganda’s information minister. Permission was later granted by parliament, according to The East African.
Matsiko said that the equipment would enable the country to deal with any ‘eventuality’ arising from threats to Uganda’s security. “Every country needs to be well equipped to defend its strategic interests,” she said. Uganda is concerned about instability from neighbouring South Sudan’s secession from Khartoum and instability along the Congolese border.
Uganda has previously accused Sudan and Congo of arming its foes, including the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and Jamil Mukulu’s Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). Uganda itself keeps numerous troops in Central African Republic (CAR) and northeastern Congo to hunt for Lord's Resistance Army rebels who waged a long-running insurgency against Kampala and are now roaming the jungles there.
The UK’s Tullow Oil Plc, France’s Total SA and China’s Cnooc Ltd will spend US$10b project to develop Uganda’s oil fields this year. Uganda discovered oil in commercial quantities in 2006 in the Albertine Rift Basin on its border with Congo. The two countries share the basin. Tension flared in 2007 when armed Congolese killed a geologist contracted by Heritage Oil after accusing the company of prospecting in their territorial waters.
"The executive arm of government which is mandated with the security matters of this country took a decision to buy these jets because we need them," Matsiko told Reuters last month. She declined to give more details of the "highly sensitive and classified matter," or to say how many jets were ordered.
"A government that stealthily withdraws money from the consolidated fund (treasury) and spends it on war machines while its hospitals lack essential drugs -- how can one describe that government? Insanity," said shadow finance minister Oduman Okello.
In April last year, Russian media reported that Uganda had agreed to buy six Su-30 fighters while Algeria had agreed to buy another 16 for a combined price of US$1.2 billion. Uganda supposedly agreed to pay for the aircraft with oil. However, Kulayigye last year dismissed the reports as false.
“We had negotiations with the Russians over the jet fighters but upon realising that the cost was too high, we decided otherwise,” he said. “We never entered into an agreement with them.” Instead, Kulayigye said that Uganda had sent its six MiG-21 for overhaul in Russia. This time government ministers are adamant the deal is going ahead.
Top stories this week
Saab attends Africa Aerospace and Defence 2016
by Saab, 25 August 2016
The company will discuss a number of its solutions, including the Integrated Defence Aids Suite and the Saab 340 Maritime Surveillance system.
Africa Aerospace & Defence Show 2016 coming next month
by Safomar Aviation, 24 August 2016
The Africa Aerospace & Defence Show 2016 will run from 14 to 18 September at the Air Force Base Waterkloof, Centurion.
Truvelo to launch new company during AAD 2016
by Truvelo, 24 August 2016
The company will unveil Truvelo Africa Mechanical Division at the Africa Aerospace and Defence Exhibition, between 14 and 18 September.
Leveraging strategic partnerships is critical for Denel's sustainable growth
by Denel Corporate, 24 August 2016
The defence company is currently working on a number of initiatives to grow and diversify its business offerings.
DCD focuses on saving lives in route clearance
by DCD, 23 August 2016
It will showcase its landmine detection vehicles and mine-resistant personnel carriers at the African Aerospace and Defence Show near Pretoria in September.
Saab receives order from New Zealand For Tactical Engagement Simulation System
by Saab, 23 August 2016
This initial order will provide the New Zealand Army with a proven, off-the-shelf and technically advanced training system.
Indian naval architects choose ShipConstructor
by SSI Corporate, 23 August 2016
When it came time to select the best software for their needs, 21 Knots Design & Consulting in Mumbai chose SSI's ShipConstructor software.
Next generation of Indian naval architects choose ShipConstructor
by SSI Corporate, 23 August 2016
CTO Denis Morais to speak on computer-aided ship design and production at Maritime Future Summit the day before.