Turkish Air Force A400M Atlas transport aircraft have been flying to and from South Africa over the last several days, delivering donated medical equipment and returning with munitions from Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM).
The first Turkish A400M arrived in Cape Town on 30 April, bringing with it 100 000 surgical masks, 100 N95 masks, 500 protective overalls, 500 face shields, 500 medical safety goggles, 200 litres of hand sanitiser and one disinfectant tunnel.
Turkey’s Ambassador to South Africa Elif Ulgen said the donation is part of a cooperation agreement between the two countries.
The Turkish Air Force A400M was followed into Cape Town by a second A400M, this time empty as both aircraft made the return trip with cargo destined for Turkey. Daily Maverick quoted Ulgen as saying the aircraft were in South Africa to pickup “some kind of military ammunition” purchased from Rheinmetall Denel Munition, which has factories in the Western Cape, including Somerset West. Most of it would be ‘for practice and exercises by the Turkish military.’
Another two Turkish A400Ms arrived in South Africa on Saturday 2 May, and flight tracking data showed another two arriving on Monday 4 May. One of the A400Ms stopped in Somalia where it unloaded humanitarian aid and medical equipment.
This is not the first time Turkish Air Force A400M aircraft have been to South Africa. The first was in July 2018, in support of the visit of the President of Turkish Republic on the occasion of the BRICS Summit.
Turkey has had contracts with RDM for some years. When contacted for comment, RDM said that “due to the nature of our business we may not disclose any information regarding our customers or orders.”