The United States military has contracted Evergreen Helicopters, a subsidiary of Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated, to provide a mixed fleet of fixed and rotary wing aircraft for personnel and cargo transport for the Special Operations Command in the Central Africa theatre of operations.
Erickson Air-Crane chief executive officer Udo Rieder said Evergreen Helicopters was given two contract options worth $8 million which came into effect towards the end of September. The contracts run up to 2015.
The contracts are one of many in support of the US-led Central African military operation to track down fugitive Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony.
The operation involves military forces from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Uganda. Reider said the company is pleased to provide critical support to Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA). “We are pleased to continue to provide critical transport capacity for the Department of Defense in Central Africa.
“We intend to leverage our work with SOCAFRICA to build a meaningful strategic presence in the region. We believe there is an opportunity to capture new customers across a broad range of missions, and that our mix of capabilities is an excellent match for high levels of regional demand for both transport and infrastructure construction capacity,” Reider said.
He said the company has in the past provided the US Department of Defense with aerial services, critical supply and logistical services for deployed military personnel, humanitarian relief, fire-fighting, construction and crewing services.
US military leaders have reportedly asked the government to consider deploying sophisticated CV-22 Osprey aircraft in Uganda to support the faltering search for Joseph Kony.
Colonel Kevin Leahy, the commander of the 100 US special forces personnel deployed to support regional armies in searching for Kony, said that despite various operational complications, the forces are closing in on the fugitive LRA leader.
“We are at a new stage in this mission. All of the pieces are coming together, and we’re pushing on all fronts. This is not searching for a needle in a haystack. It is searching for a needle in 20 haystacks.”
Meanwhile, the US Navy’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme has contracted Halter Marine to build and supply three 5.4 metre Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBS) for the Egyptian Navy. Launched from a larger naval platform offshore, the three boats will be used for rescue and patrol missions.