Mali orders single C295W


Mali has ordered a single C295W transport aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space, which will deliver the aircraft in the second half of this year.

In announcing the order today, Airbus said that Mali has become the 23rd nation to order the C295. Head of Marketing and Sales, Jean-Pierre Talamoni said: “This order from Mali reflects the C295W’s proven ability to handle the exceptionally harsh operating conditions encountered in sub-Saharan Africa.”

The winglet-equipped C295W is now the standard production version. It was unveiled in 2013 with the aim of improving performance and fuel economy, especially in hot and high conditions. Each winglet adds 30 kg to the aircraft’s weight while structural changes in the wing add another 60 kg to the aircraft. The winglets improve cruise and fuel consumption through a reduction in drag and increase in lift – the C295W features a 200 mile range increase over the baseline model as a result of changes, or a 30-60 minute increase in endurance.

Meanwhile, updated Pratt & Whitney PW127 engines add power in climb and cruise, improving all round performance. The engine changes increase payload by 1 500 kg at 25 000 feet, raise maximum operational altitude from 24 000 to 26 000 feet and increase payload by 1 ton from hot and high airfields.

Mali’s C295 will not be the first to fly in the country – since September 2014, Ghana has been flying its C295s in Mali in support of the United Nations mission (Minusma) there and last year ordered a third C295 from Airbus. Regarding Africa, at the moment Algeria has six C295s in service, and Egypt has ordered 24. Airbus is currently still manufacturing C295s for Egypt. The 140 C295s flying in the world have accumulated more than 230 000 flight hours.

Airbus is offering the C295 in a multitude of guises, including waterbomber, gunship, VIP transport, ground surveillance, signals intelligence, air-to-air refuelling, maritime patrol, search and rescue, oil spill dispersant and airborne early warning and control platform.

The C295W will join Mali’s small fleet of fixed-wing aircraft, which includes nine Mikoyan MiG-21s (although most of these are believed to be unserviceable), one Alenia SF-260, one Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander, two Basler BT-67s and several An-2s, An-24s and An-26s.

In June last year Mali ordered six A-29 Super Tucano light attack and advanced training turboprops from Embraer. The aircraft will deployed for advanced training, border surveillance, and internal security missions, giving a major boost to the Mali Air Force’s combat fleet, which includes the MiG-21s and several Mi-24 attack helicopters.