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Botswana military receives Super Puma helicopter

An H225 helicopter.The Botswana Defence Force Air Wing has taken delivery of a single Airbus Helicopters EC225LP Super Puma helicopter, which was acquired second hand from Spain.

The aircraft was delivered to Botswana last week, being flown down aboard an Antonov Airlines An-124 transport aircraft on September 14, reports Air Forces Daily. The aircraft was overhauled by Airbus Helicopters in Spain earlier this year.

The EC225LP Super Puma Mk II+ was formerly flown by the Spanish Police, which acquired it in 2010 for the National Police Corps Special Operations Group. In 2013 it was returned to Airbus Helicopters in part payment for a new batch of EC135s for the Spanish police, reports Air Forces Daily. It was subsequently stored before being bought by Botswana.

Botswana has recently bought new defence equipment and is planning further acquisitions. In June this year Micro Aviation of South Africa delivered six Bat Hawk light aircraft to the Botswana Defence Force, which plans to arm them with dual 5.56 mm Minimi machineguns. (Four Bat Hawks were also sold to the Botswana Police Service, and four to the country’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks.)

In May it emerged that Botswana was in discussions with Sweden over the purchase of eight Gripen C/D fighter jets. Botswana’s The Sunday Standard later reported that the Botswana Defence Force is planning to buy K2 Black Panther tanks from South Korea. On 16 May the newspaper said that Botswana was on the cusp of spending 2 billion Pula on 45 General Dynamics Piranha 8x8 armoured vehicles armed with 30 mm cannon turrets. The BDF already has 45 Piranha IIIs in service, which were delivered in 2003.

The Sunday Standard reported in February that Botswana was in talks with MBDA over the acquisition of Mistral and VL Mica air defence systems for a combined 5 billion Pula. “BDF commander Lt Gen Galebotswe accompanied by Lt Col Mokgadi and Lt Col Motlaleng were in France last December for a demonstration of the missile systems. The systems are to be delivered in 2017,” the newspaper said.

It added that over a billion Pula will be spent on a military college in Paje, through an Economic Stimulus Package.

In October 2015, President Ian Khama visited South Korea and a KAI headquarters where the T-50 aircraft is manufactured – it is one of the aircraft Botswana is considering, along with the Gripen. Apparently, Botswana will decide later this year which new combat aircraft it will be buying.

Botswana has not acquired much military hardware in the last ten years, with the most recent acquisitions being, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), five PC-7 Mk II trainers in 2013, two CN235s in 2009-2010 and a single Do 328 aircraft in 2009.

According to SIPRI data, a single C-130B was acquired in 2001, 20 SK-105 Kurassiers lights tanks were delivered in 2000 along with two 4K-7FA armoured personnel carriers, five F-5A fighters were received by 2000, 37 VBL armoured vehicles were delivered in 2002/3 and four AS350/AS550 Fennecs were delivered between 2000 and 2003.

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