Airbus has delivered a C295W transport aircraft to the Burkina Faso Air Force, just under two years after the contract was placed.
The aircraft (XT-MBH) carried out a test flight on 11 November and was delivered to Burkina Faso on 16 November, according to Scramble Magazine. The aircraft will be operated by Escadron de Transport 511 at Base Aérienne 511 Ouagadougou (BA511).
Airbus announced the order for a single aircraft in December 2019, saying the aircraft was ordered as part of Burkina Faso’s 2018-2022 Military Acquisition Law. This was approved by the country’s Parliament in 2017, which gave a budget of FCFA725 billion ($1.2 billion) to reform and re-equip the nation’s armed forces.
Burkina Faso joins Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Mali and the Ivory Coast as another African operator, with nearly 40 aircraft operating in the region.
Burkina Faso’s air force has a limited transport aircraft capability, with its single PTDI NC235-220 grounded for several years after being acquired from Indonesia second hand in 2007 to replace a Hawker Siddeley HS 748. The Air Force is believed to have a single Aero Commander 500B, Beech King Air 200, Cessna 337, N-262 Fregate, Boeing 727 and Air Tractor AT-802 in its inventory for transport duties but the serviceability of these platforms is unknown.
Over the last decade, Burkina Faso has taken delivery of several small batches of aircraft, including three Super Tucanos from Brazil in 2011, three donated Tetras light aircraft from France in 2012, a single AW139 helicopter from Italy in 2016 and two armed Mi-171Sh armed helicopters from Russia in 2018. Taiwan donated two second hand Bell UH-1H helicopters in 2017.
Burkina Faso’s air force was until relatively recent incapable of combat but has been undergoing expansion in recent years, receiving two Mi-35s from Russia in 2005 and then the Super Tucanos in 2011. In spite of the acquisition of combat aircraft, the air arm is geared for border surveillance and similar missions.