A significant portion of Chad’s air force has been destroyed in a powerful storm that recently hit the nation’s capital N’Djamena.
The storm, which struck on 1 July with torrential rain and strong winds, broke tree branches and destroyed hangars and buildings at the airport in N’Djamena, along with a number of aircraft.
According to photos published by Tchad Actuel, at least three AS350/AS550C Fennec helicopters (out of six received second hand from Singapore in 2009/2010) were seriously damaged, with tail booms ripped off and rotor blades destroyed.
The Air Force’s single PC-12 appears to have suffered moderate damage and at least two Su-25s (a single seater and a two seater) received moderate damage. Chad received ten Su-25s from the Ukraine between 2008 and 2013.
A MiG-29 may have suffered minor damage after its hangar was destroyed, with photos showing the aircraft covered in debris – many of the hangars were constructed of fabric with metal supports and appear to have been completely destroyed by the storm. Chad ordered three MiG-29s from the Ukraine around 2013, but only one has been confirmed as delivered.
Tchad Actuel reports that only the presidential aircraft (a Boeing 737), a transport aircraft (one of four An-26s delivered) and a French air force C-135FR tanker were spared. Two French CN235 transports may have been lightly damaged.
It is not clear what the fate of the rest of the Chadian fleet is. This includes over half a dozen Mi-8/17 helicopters, several SA 330B Pumas, half a dozen Mi-24s, two C-27J Spartans, a PC-7 and several C-130 Hercules transports, amongst others.