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Russia delivers more aircraft to Mali

One Su-25, five L-39s, and two Mi-8s lined up for the handover ceremony at Bamako's international airport on 19 January. (Presidence Mali)

The Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) formally inducted another consignment of Russian jets and helicopters in a ceremony on 19 January, including a Su-25 ground-attack aircraft to replace the one that crashed in October 2022.

The FAMa did not say how many aircraft had been delivered, but media coverage of the event showed five L-39 light attack/trainer aircraft, a single Su-25 attack aircraft, and two Mi-8 transport helicopters lined up for the event at Modibo Keita International Airport. All had previously unseen FAMa serial numbers.

Four of the five L-39s had been repainted a two-tone desert camouflage, the fifth in a previously unseen darker camouflage scheme. The FAMa released a photograph showing two L-39s with the darker camouflage flying, suggesting at least six of the jets have been delivered.

The previous handover event was held on 9 August 2022, when four L-39s in Russian camouflage, a single Su-25, an Mi-24P attack helicopter, and an Mi-8T transport helicopter were shown. However, satellite imagery showed six L-39s at the airbase next to the airport four days earlier.

The FAMa confirmed the Su-25 crashed in the vicinity of Gao airport on 4 October, killing the pilot and a member of the ground crew.

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