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Nepal contracts two additional M28 airlifters from US

Nepal is to receive two new M28 airlifters, bringing its total fleet to five such aircraft. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Nepal has contracted the US government to deliver a pair of PZL Mielec M28 Skytruck short take-off and landing (STOL) light transport aircraft by the end of April 2025.

Announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 3 February, the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) covers two M28 Block 05 aircraft, and is valued at USD30.4 million.

“This contract provides for two new, commercially produced M28 Block 05 aircraft, associated aircraft training, spares package, medical equipment, six months of field service representative services, and ferry flight service for the M28 Block 05 aircraft from Mielec, Poland, to Kathmandu, Nepal,” the announcement said. PZL Mielec is owned by Lockheed Martin.

According to Janes World Air Forces , the Nepal Army (NA) Air Wing had previously operated two M28 Block 05s, although one was rendered unserviceable following a crash-landing at Kolti Airport in May 2017. A USD18.98 million Foreign Military Financing (FMF) award for two additional M28 Block 05 aircraft was placed in March 2019, with deliveries occurring in December 2019. The two new aircraft will bring the NA's M28 fleet to five.

A westernised development of the Soviet-built Antonov An-28 ‘Cash' light transport aircraft, the M28 made its maiden flight in 1993. When US helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky acquired PZL Mielec in 2007, the fixed-wing M28 largely fell by the wayside as efforts were focused instead on the rotary-wing S-70i Black Hawk. The arrival of Lockheed Martin in 2015, with its C-130 Hercules heritage, has seen a renewed and reinvigorated effort to market and sell the M28 with promotional tours around Latin America and the developing world in particular.

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