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Equatorial Guinea flying new Chinese helicopters

One of the new Z-9WE helicopters at Malabo airbase. (Partido Democrático de Guinea Ecuatorial)

The Armed Forces of Equatorial Guinea (FAGE) is now operating two new Harbin Z-9 helicopters, the country's ruling Democratic Party (Partido Democrático de Guinea Ecuatorial: PDGE) revealed on 9 April when it reported that Vice-President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue had inspected the aircraft.

The PDGE released photographs showing the vice-president with at least one of the new helicopters at a location that could be identified as the airbase at Malabo International Airport. It was fitted with a gimballed electro-optical system under its nose and pylons for weapons that can include guns, rockets, and anti-tank missiles.

The Z-9 is the Chinese-made version of the Airbus AS365 Dauphin. The PDGE identified the new helicopters as the Z-9WE variant. It added that Equatorial Guinea is considering acquiring additional combat helicopters.

The FAGE was not previously known to have any Chinese aircraft in its fleet, which consists almost entirely of Soviet-era types.

For more information on the Z-9, seeHAIG (Airbus Helicopters) Z-9 Haitun .

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