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Madagascar receives new aircraft

04 July 2019
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Madagascar’s new CN235 transport aircraft and two of the three AS350B2 helicopters are seen during the official handover ceremony at Ivato International Airport on 24 June. Source: Presidence de Madagascar

Madagascar’s military has received three Airbus AS350 helicopters, five Cessna 206 light aircraft, a single Airbus CN235 transport aircraft, and various vehicles.

President Andry Rajoelina formally handed over the three helicopters, the CN235, several Russian-made Gaz 4×4 trucks, and a number of all-terrain vehicles to the military on 24 June. His office identified the helicopters as Ecureuil B2s, a likely reference to the AS350B2, an older variant of the Airbus Helicopters H125.

The three helicopters appeared to include one that local media reported being delivered to the Malagasy Armed Forces in May.

In his address, President Rajoelina also announced the delivery of five Cessna light aircraft for use in the coastal surveillance role. While he did not specify the type, the Malagasy Ministry of Defence identified them as Cessna 206s when they took part in the 26 June Independence Day parade.

A single Airbus Helicopters BK117 twin-engine helicopter, most likely an earlier acquisition, also took part in the parade, together with the three AS350B2s.

The presidency said the new helicopters will enable the military to deploy to the country’s most inaccessible areas, while the CN235 will be used for troop transport and medical evacuation, as well as to move supplies and support disaster relief operations.

While the presidency did not provide details on the origins of the aircraft, Malagasy media reported that the AS350s were acquired from South Africa, which was confirmed by the fact that they still had South African registrations, as did the BK117.

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