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Djibouti Air Force gets two Y-12s; Dauphin helicopters

A Y-12E aircraft.Djibouti’s Air Force has taken delivery of two Y-12 transport aircraft from China, joining an MA60 that was delivered two years ago, and is operating Dauphin helicopters.

The two Harbin Y-12Es were delivered in a ceremony on 13 July. According to Djibouti’s La Nation, President Ismail Omar Guelleh presided over the delivery, along with defence minister Ali Hassan Bahdon and Chief of General Staff of the Djiboutian Armed Forces (FAD), General Zakaria Cheikh Ibrahim.

La Nation reported that the Djibouti Air Force had sent three teams of technicians and pilots to China to train on the type. The aircraft can be configured for multiple roles, including cargo and passenger transport, paratrooping, medical evacuation and maritime surveillance. The Y-12 is an improved Chinese copy of the Twin Otter.

After the Y-12E delivery ceremony, President Guelleh then viewed a static display of four Dauphin helicopters acquired with the assistance of Saudi Arabia. It is not clear when the helicopters were acquired but until now Djibouti has not been known to operate the type.

Djibouti in June 2014 received a single Xian Aircraft Corporation (XAC) MA60 transport aircraft for supporting its peacekeepers in Somalia and for VIP transport. It was supplied in terms of an agreement signed between the Djiboutian government and XAC in September 2013. The MA60 is a stretched version of the Xian Y-7, which in turn is based on the Antonov An-24.

Djibouti’s military has recently received substantial amounts of new hardware, including two 20 metre patrol boats from Japan in December last year, General Dynamics Land Systems Cougar and Peace Keeping Security Vehicles, M109 self-propelled howitzers, Iveco Puma armoured personnel carriers, Norinco WMA301 tank destroyers, RG-33 armoured vehicles, and two second hand C-23B transport aircraft from the United States.

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