Mozambican Air Force gets VIP jet


The Mozambican Air Force has taken delivery of a Hawker 850XP business jet, the latest acquisition for the country’s small air arm and a major boost to its capacity.

The aircraft entered service in September, according to Air Forces Daily, after being bought second hand from the United States. It left Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport in Florida on its delivery flight on September 9 and had its US registration cancelled on September 18 following its transfer to the Force Aerea de Mocambique (Mozambique Air Force).

The aircraft will most likely be used for VIP duties and is a major boost to the Air Force, which is almost entirely inoperable, although efforts of late have been made to restore some flying capacity. The Air Force has suffered poor serviceability since independence from Portugal in 1975 and the collapse of the Soviet Union and its financial support in the early 1990s.

Portugal, due to its historic relationship with the country, has over the last several years provided much assistance to Mozambique’s military. In July 2012 Portugal delivered a second FTB-337G Milirole utility aircraft to the country, as part of the CTM (Cooperação Técnico-Militar) technical military cooperation agreement between Mozambique and Portugal. This agreement also includes training and the FAP is working with the Mozambique Air Force on pilot and ground crew training in both countries.

Indeed, Portuguese advisors are training aircrew and mechanics at the recently formed Escola Prática de Aviação (EPA – School of Practical Aviation) at the Air Force’s base at Maputo-Mavalene International Airport.

The two FTB-337Gs are used for medical evacuations, maritime surveillance and pilot training, alongside a Cessna 152 and a Piper PA-32 Seneca, acquired around 2011. A Cessna 172 is also used for training at the EPA, according to Air Forces Daily. These aircraft fly approximately 650 hours per year.

According to the IISS’s The Military Balance 2012, none of the Air Force’s combat aircraft are operational, with only a few transports (two An-26s, two CASA 212s and a Cessna 182) and several Z-326 trainers still flying.