Madagascar’s military has taken delivery of nine aircraft, including a CN235 transport, AS350 helicopters and Cessna 206 light aircraft.
They were officially handed over in a ceremony at Ivato International Airport on 24 June by President Andry Rajoelina, who also handed over several Russian-made Gaz 4×4 trucks, and a number of all-terrain vehicles.
The three Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 rotorcraft were sourced from South Africa – they were seen with South African registrations when they took part in the 26 June Independence Day parade flypast along with a South African-sourced BK117. In total, 17 aircraft, four helicopters and 208 vehicles took part in the parade.
One of the AS350 helicopters (ZS-RHW) was acquired by Savannah Helicopters and flown by Netcare 911 for at least five years whilst another (ZT-RCC) was manufactured in 2010 and bought by Savannah Helicopters in 2017. It appears to have been flown in Indonesia (as PK-TUA) for a while before being delivered to South Africa, apparently through Mesiglo (Money Aviation). The first AS350 was delivered to Madagascar on 2 May.
The CN235 is a former Botswana Defence Force Air Wing aircraft (serial OG1) that was sold to Rampart Aviation as N820CA in February 2011. It was destined to be delivered to the Togolese Air Force, but after this fell through, it was sold to Canada’s Avcorp in August 2013 and then to South Africa before being delivered to Madagascar as 5R-MUQ.
The BK-117 (ZS-HRK) was built in 1988 and was owned by Aeronautic Solutions SA, a helicopter services company based at Grand Central Airport. It was previously operated by the UK’s McAlpine Helicopters (as G-HMBB) in the 1990s and ADAC Luftrettung in Germany (as D-HBRE) until being sold to South Africa around 2015.
Madagascar’s Presidency said the five Cessna 206 light aircraft and the CN235 will be used for troop transport and medical evacuation, as well as to move supplies and support disaster relief operations.
Prior to the acquisition of the new equipment, Madagascar’s military had a small number of aircraft in service, including a single Socata MS885 Super Rallye, five Sauper Aviation J300 Joker ultralight aircraft, several ex-Belgian SA 316 Alouette II helicopters, and a few light aircraft and transports, including C212s and Cessna Skymasters. Unserviceable aircraft, including MiG-21s, Mi-8s, C-47 Dakotas and An-26s, were scrapped a decade ago.