The Ghana Air Force (GAF) will acquire four new Harbin Z-9 helicopters from China and five new Embraer Super Tucano trainer and light attack aircraft from Brazil, President John Dramani Mahama has announced.
Mahama confirmed the orders at the General Headquarters 2014 West African Soldiers Social Activities (WASSA) celebration at Burma Camp in Accra on 13 February, according to the Ghana Air Force. He also announced that the Air Force would receive a new 500-bed hospital in Kumasi in southern Ghana.
The acquisitions were first announced in November last year but no quantities were mentioned. At the time, Mahama said the Ghana Air Force would acquire Super Tucanos, Z-9s, additional Mi-17 helicopters and a single C-295 transport aircraft. The aircraft would be used for training, peace support and combat operations.
Mahama told the Graphic that the Z-9s would be delivered in June 2015 and added that there were plans to establish a flight training school in Tamale to serve as a training base for the region.
Ghana already operates the Mi-17 and C-295, with ten Mi-17s and two C-295s in service.
“We must prepare and train for any eventuality – hostage situations, bombings, and attacks on shopping malls among others. Government would therefore continue to work with you, in our progressive effort to upgrade GAF into a vibrant force in the sub region and enhance your capacity in contributing to the sustainable growth of our economy,” Mahama said on Friday.
He added that the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College had been upgraded with a new auditorium, lecture halls etc. to make it a fully-fledged military university and said the government would expand the facilities of the Ghana Military Academy and Training Schools in order to double the officer cadet intake.
The military’s Chief of Staff, Major General Bobson Saagbul, said the Ghana Air Force was willing to assist the international community in bringing peace and security to troubled parts of the world and therefore it was important for the GAF to keep its equipment upgraded. The GAF is using one of its two C295 transport aircraft in Mali to support the United Nations-led MINUSMA mission there, as it continues to operate its transport aircraft on behalf of the United Nations.