The Ghana Air Force will lease two Airbus Military C295 transport aircraft to the United Nations for its operation in Mali, with an option to buy the aircraft at the end of the lease.
The Ghana News Agency quoted the Air Force as saying that it beat international competitors to win an air services contract to operate aircraft as part of the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
The Public Relations Directorate of the Ghana Air Force (GAF) told the agency that the Air Force was operating a similar service on behalf of the United Nations in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI).
The two new C295s will be acquired on a lease-to-purchase system, with the UN paying the Air Force for the use of the aircraft.
Ghana received its first C295 in November 2011 and the second in April 2012 as part of the Air Force’s modernisation drive. One aircraft is based in the capital Accra while another is based in Tamale. Last year then-Vice President John Dramani Mahama said the C295s would be used in a variety of roles, from combat support to humanitarian assistance.
“We have very high expectations in this new market,” said Rafael Tentor, Senior Vice President, Programmes at Airbus Military. He was speaking at an industry briefing in late May and was referring to the market in Ghana and the use of the C295 for UN missions.
MINUSMA took over from the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) on July 1. The UN mission will have 12 600 military and police personnel when it is fully operational and will be the third biggest peacekeeping mission in Africa.
Its goal is to support the political process, carry out stabilisation tasks, protect civilians, monitor human rights and allow for the provision of humanitarian assistance and the return of displaced persons, and prepare for peaceful elections, the UN said. The Jane’s Information Group reports the UN as identifying a lack of transport aircraft as a critical problem for MINUSMA.