Progress on Caravan order for Cameroon and Chad

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The United States Department of Defence has awarded Cessna a $24 million contract to supply six Caravan aircraft for Cameroon, Chad and the Philippines. They will be configured for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).

This follows two contracts in May this year covering the modification of Caravans to ISR configuration for Cameroon, Chad, Niger and the Philippines.

The US Department of Defence on 21 September said Cessna will provide six Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX aircraft, three spare Pratt & Whitney PT6A-140 engines, and aircraft spares and ground handling equipment to the US Africa Command and Pacific Command areas of responsibility in support of counterterrorism measures in Chad, Cameroon, and the Philippines.

Work is expected to be complete by 30 September 2017.

Under the May 2016 contracts, L-3 Communications Corporation – Communication Systems West was awarded a $14 185 927 contract for ISR equipment and spares. North American Surveillance Systems of Titusville, Florida, was awarded $39 983 647 for the modification of the aircraft and integration of ISR capabilities, together with training and field support. Financing for both contracts came from Fiscal Year 2016 counter-terrorism partnership funds.

The contract announcements did not indicate how many aircraft each country would be getting, but it now appears Cameroon and Chad will each receive two.

The US military in September 2014 awarded Cessna a $13.67 million contract to provide three Grand Caravan EX aircraft to Niger, Kenya and Mauritania in support of counter-terrorism operations, but it is believed this contract is unrelated to the most recent ones. L-3 Communications Systems West also received a $31.2 million contract in 2014 to add intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to the three Cessna 208Bs.

The United States has donated a number of Caravans to African countries in support of peacekeeping and counter-terror operations. The Niger Air Force received two donated Cessna 208Bs in July 2013, but configured for transport tasks. In June 2014 the US government donated two new Caravans to the Mauritania Islamic Air Force to boost its capacity to conduct patrols to counter maritime crimes and regional terrorist groups.



Another recipient of Caravans from the United States is Uganda, which received two aircraft on 16 March 2015, to support the Ugandan contingent battling al Shabaab militants in Somalia. The aircraft, worth $15 million including spare parts and training, were donated by the US Department of Defence.