The Togolese Air Force appears not to have taken delivery of an ex-Botswana Defence Force CASA CN235M transport aircraft, as previously indicated.
In August last year it was reported that the CN235 was destined for Togo as it was seen in Togolese Air Force markings at Lanseria airport in July, after undergoing maintenance in Johannesburg. On July 11 it was cancelled from the US register upon transfer to Togo.
However, last week Air Forces Daily reported that the sale may have fallen through as the aircraft remained at Lanseria until at least January this year. Then, on August 5, it was registered in the United States as N124CL to Avcorp US Registrations LLC Trustee of Wilmington, Delaware.
The aircraft is one of two ex-Botswana Defence Force Air Wing CN235s that were retired after being replaced with new production CN235M-300s from December 2009. Botswana was the second African customer for the CN235 and received its two examples in 1987-88. The older aircraft were subsequently placed in storage at Lanseria.
The second example was registered with Fayard Enterprises of Wake Forest, North Carolina. This company primarily provides skydiving operations with aircraft and aircraft maintenance services. The aircraft was then sold through Skywest International LLC to Paramount Logistics Corporation under a contract announced on June 5, 2012. It was removed from the US register on May 25, 2012, as it was sold in South Africa.
Air Forces Daily reports that in January this year it was painted as TN-228 for the Congolese Air Force. It has presumably been delivered to Brazzaville.
Congo-Brazzaville has a very small air force geared towards providing transport, especially to the president and government ministers, according to Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessment. Janes adds that since 1997, the air force has “effectively ceased to exist as a viable and effective military organisation. Even before the civil war, most types had been withdrawn from service.”
The Congolese Air Force’s only combat capable aircraft are two ex-South African Air Force Mirage F1s acquired several years ago after being refurbished by the Paramount Group (the Air Force’s dozen MiG-21s are all grounded).
The Congolese Air Force has a motley collection of transport aircraft and helicopters. These include an An-12, five An-24s, one An-26, a Boeing 727, one Fokker F-28 and an N-2501 Noratlas, according to the IISS’s The Military Balance 2012.
Only a few helicopters are in flying condition, including a Mi-26, AS 365 Dauphin, SA 316 Alouette III and SA 318 Alouette II. Other aircraft in the Congo’s inventory include four L-39 Albatros jets. A number of Mi-8/17s may also be in service.
The CN235 is able to carry up to six tonnes of payload. Its two General Electric GE CT7-9C3 turboprop engines, each delivering 1 870 shp, give it a maximum cruise speed of 240 kt (450 km/h). CN235s have accumulated more than a million flight hours.
Cameroon became the most recent CN235 operator when it received a single example last month. Its CN235 was the 276th to be ordered from Airbus Military. A total of 43 operators around the world have ordered the aircraft in transport and surveillance versions, and it is currently in service with 28 countries.