Armscor still adjudicating offers for Cessna 185s


Two weeks after tenders closed, Armscor is busy adjudicating offers for six former SA Air Force (SAAF) light aircraft.

Tender E/2018/21 is for the sale of six Cessna 185s and related equipment. The aircraft were in SAAF use and were declared surplus to requirements some years ago. An earlier attempt to sell them met with no success mainly because all documentation relating to the aircraft was lost in a fire at AFB Waterkloof in 2006. The aircraft are not on the SAAF inventory and are being sold as redundant defence materiel by the state-owned defence and security acquisition agency.

The announcement of them being for sale generated much interest in South African aviation circles. Many were of the opinion the aircraft cold be made airworthy – at a cost – and exported to North America where a Cessna 185 in good condition is said to be a sought after aircraft.

South African aviation website Avcom had posters making suggestions for the aircraft to be refurbished and put into service locally. Suggestions included spotters for Working on Fire, para-ships for the military or SA Police Service, anti-poaching operations and even transport of regional and/or municipal police personnel.
“The 185 is easy to maintain, cheap to operate and very serviceable,” one poster wrote adding another option was to make them airworthy again and either donate or sell them to where they could be productively used.

According to military analyst Darren Olivier “someone” has to cover the cost of Non-Type Certified Aircraft (NTCA) “if that’s even possible”.
“It cannot be the SAAF, as it removed the aircraft from its books and ownership when it completed the disposal process and cannot legally conduct any work on assets it doesn’t own. Armscor now owns the aircraft and could do it, but they’d have to take a financial hit unless the receiving government department is willing to put up the money. That may be questionable, given if other departments were interested in the aircraft they could have approached Armscor directly at any time over the past few years,” he said.

There are six aircraft Armscor wants to sell, in addition to three scrapped airframes and assorted spares.

Armscor group executive Solomzi Mbada said in response to a defenceWeb enquiry the acquisition agency “may consider” providing other information, including the number of bids received and the highest and lowest offers submitted once the adjudication process is completed.