Africa Aerospace & Defence 2016

Sudan spreads its wings [AAD16D2]

15 September 2016

Appearing for the first time at AAD, the SAFAT Aviation Group (SAG) from Sudan has brought its two aircraft products to the show, as well as a presence (Hangar 3, Stand CE15) that showcases the company’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), training, logistics support and R&D activities. Exemplifying the latter is a new precision glide bomb.

SAG has built a major MRO organisation that undertakes work on a wide range of aircraft, almost exclusively of Russian or Chinese origin. The company maintains the Sudanese air force’s fleet, including the MiG-29, MiG-23, Su-24 and Su-25 from Russia, and the A-5II, F-6 and K-8 from China.

SAG holds approvals from Antonov and Mil to perform work on a range of transports and helicopters in both civilian and military fields, and performs work on aircraft from a range of African nations, including Angola, Burkina Faso, Chad, Libya, Niger and South Sudan, as well as supporting United Nations agencies. The company also operates a large fleet of Thrush and An-2 crop-sprayers through its Crop Protection Sudan subsidiary.

For its MRO operations, SAG is accredited by the Sudanese air force and civil aviation authority, as well as by the CAAs of several other African nations. Currently SAG is in the process of gaining EASA Pt 145 approval for its MRO work, and Pt 147 approval for training.

Training is provided through the company’s High Level Aviation Academy, which operates a fleet of Tecnam trainers, and a range of simulators to provide training for civilian and military aircrew. Ground crew training courses are also undertaken, along with those for parachuting, aircraft services and academic instruction. The academy provides training to other nations, and currently has students from Libya, South Sudan and Yemen, in addition to domestic students.

From its experience as an MRO organisation, SAG has now grown to become an aircraft producer.

The SAFAT 02 on display at AAD is a light helicopter manufactured as a joint venture with the rotorcraft’s designer, Aerokopter of Ukraine.

Based on that company’s AK1-3 helicopter, the SAFAT 02 can be used for a range of light duties. SAG has built about 30, of which 20 are in use with the Sudanese police.

For basic fixed-wing training and activities such as glider towing, SAG has produced the SAFAT 03, which has basic aerobatic capability.

The company has built about 45 aircraft, with an annual production capacity of 50.

Other activities include research and development for defence applications. Here at AAD the company is displaying the Burkan glide bomb with precision guidance.

The weapon was developed to meet a Sudanese air force requirement, and is apparently in the inventory.

Another product being shown at AAD is a powered parachute.

(448 words)