The Ivory Coast has become the latest country to order the C295 airlifter, with an order for a single aircraft placed by the country’s Ministry of Defence.
Airbus announced the order on 21 January. It said the aircraft, in transport configuration, will enhance the capabilities of the Ivory Coast Air Force with its proven record in hot and harsh conditions, and affordable maintenance and operational costs.
Bernhard Brenner, Airbus Defence and Space Head of Marketing & Sales, said: “The C295 has proven its outstanding capabilities in the exceptionally harsh sub-Saharan Africa operating environment. The aircraft will be a game changer for Ivory Coast and we feel very proud to welcome a new operator into our C295 family.”
Ivory Coast’s new C295, which will be delivered in C295W configuration with winglets and uprated engines, will augment the two An-26 aircraft it acquired in 2018 and the An-12 transport it acquired in 2005. The An-26Bs are ex-Bulgarian examples that were transferred to the West African country in July last year.
The Ivory Coast has a small air force, with only half a dozen Alpha Jets and a single Mi-24 Hind providing some combat capability. Transport aircraft include several SA330L Pumas, several Alouette IIIs, three SA 365 Dauphin helicopters and a single An-12 transport.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the Ivory Coast has only received a few items of military equipment since 2011, including a Predator patrol craft from China, three RPB 33 patrol boats from France and four AT-105 Saxon armoured patrol vehicles for use in United Nations operations in Mali.
Much of the Ivory Coast’s air force was largely destroyed by French troops in November 2004, following a deadly attack on French soldiers. Apparently seven aircraft were destroyed, leaving only eight military aircraft in operation. Further conflict and the second civil war in 2011 took their toll on the air arm, with few operational aircraft in the country’s inventory.
With the new order Ivory Coast becomes the 28th nation worldwide to operate the C295. Airbus Defence and Space has to date sold 91 aircraft to 17 countries in Africa. There is a growing fleet of C295s in the North and West Africa region with up to 35 C295s contracted by Egypt, Algeria, Ghana and Mali.
Recent C295 orders in Africa include from Kenya-based DAC Aviation International, which received its first C295 in September last year; Angola, which ordered three for maritime surveillance in March last year, and Mali, which received a single C295W in December 2016.