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Djibouti to receive Grand Caravan EX aircraft as US looks to enhance Horn of Africa security

The Djiboutian Air Force is to operate a pair of Grand Carvan EX aircraft (pictured), which the US is selling as part of a wider effort to increase security around the Horn of Africa. (Textron)

Djibouti is to receive two Textron C-208B Grand Caravan EX aircraft as the United States looks to enhance security across the Horn of Africa.

US Army Contracting Command awarded the contract on 13 March, with the manufacturer disclosing that the aircraft will be owned and operated by the Djiboutian Air Force (Force Aerienne du Djibouti: FAD).

โ€œThe two special missions Cessna Grand Caravan EX aircraft will be intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) equipped to ensure the border sovereignty of the country of Djibouti,โ€ Bob Gibbs, vice-president, Special Mission Sales for Textron Aviation, was quoted as saying. โ€œThis multi-year contract allows the US Army Security Assistance Command to rapidly procure commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) aircraft and modifications from Textron Aviation for our Foreign Military Sales (FMS) allies and partner nations.โ€

The contract is valued at USD100 million over a five-year period.

The C-208B EX has been designed specifically for high-payload operations on short and rugged runways. According to company-supplied specifications, the single turboprop aircraft can take off in less than 425 m and climb at a rate of 1,275 feet per minute. It has a cruise speed of 185 kt, a range of 912 n miles, a useful payload of 1,600 kg, and can carry up to 14 passengers.

Besides ISR, the type is used for light transport, passenger transport, and aeromedical evacuation.

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