Mali's new Airbus C295W transport aircraft arrived in Bamako on 15 December, a military source told IHS Jane's .
The source said the aircraft was formally handed over at Airbus Defense and Space's facility in Seville, Spain, where Malian aircrews have been trained to operate the type at the company's International Training Centre. It then left Seville on 15 December and arrived in Bamako on the same day after a stopover at Gando Air Base in the Canary Islands.
Airbus DS announced the delivery flight on 20 December, when it released a photograph of the C295W taking off from Seville for Mali.
The aircraft (TZ-11T) will be based in Bamako and will provide logistics support, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), and troop transport capabilities to the Malian ground forces.
The contract for the procurement of the Malian C295W was announced by Airbus Defense and Space on 16 February 2016.
The Malian military's interest in the type was sparked by the deployment of a Ghana Air Force (GAF) C295M in support of the UN mission in Mali from September 2014, a GAF officer told IHS Jane's .
The officer said the Malian military was impressed with the C295's endurance, which allows it to fly from Bamako to the airstrips at Thessalit or Kidal in the north of the country and back without refuelling (a round trip of more 2,500 km in the case of Thessalit).
The aircraft's ruggedness and its ability to land on unpaved runways such as the one at Thessalit with only limited visibility was also of great interest to the Malians, who had the chance to appreciate its MEDEVAC capability as Malian Army casualties have been moved back to Bamako by the GAF aircraft on several occasions.
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