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Tunisia to receive Grand Caravan EX aircraft

A civil version Textron 208 Grand Caravan EX, four of which ATI Engineering Services is to convert into intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms for the Tunisian Air Force. (Textron)

Tunisia is to receive four Textron 208 Grand Caravan EX aircraft to be used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions over North Africa.

The airframer announced on 7 March that it had been contracted by ATI Engineering Services to deliver the aircraft for military modifications ahead of onward delivery to the Tunisian Air Force. ATI Engineering Services will equip the aircraft with an electro-optical/infra-red sensor, operator console, tactical radio, video data link, and night vision-compatible lighting.

The announcement by Textron follows a September 2021 US Department of Defense (DoD) award to ATI Engineering Services for an ISR system to be fitted to two Grand Caravan EX aircraft for Tunisia. A Textron spokesperson told Janes that this initial award was followed “a couple of months later” by another executing the options for the third and fourth aircraft. This allowed the US government to split the procurement across two different fiscal years of funding. The original DoD award notification gave a completion date on the first two aircraft of 30 November 2022.

As noted by Textron, this sale is part of a wider effort by the US DoD to equip allied air arms with Grand Caravan EX aircraft. Since 2014, the company said, the US government has provided grant aid funding for 16 Grand Caravan EX aircraft procured through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) cases throughout Africa. “US Africa Command (AFRICOM) intent is to field multiple iterations of this configuration throughout Africa, and to streamline logistics support and enhance partner nation interoperability,” Textron said.

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