The Ecuadorian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana) received the first of three new Airbus (EADS / CASA) C295Ms on 7 August 2014. The plane was escorted by two of the FAE’s Super Tucano light attack aircraft on its way in to Eloy Alfaro de Manta Airbase.
The plances replace the Avro (Hawker Siddeley) HS748 with No. 1112 Squadron, after the HS748 has served the Latin American country for more than 40 years. With the new C295M (FAE-1030) arriving, one of the HS748s discharged of its duties shortly after the arrival ceremony.
The French intervention force in the Central African Republic (CAR) executing Operation Sangaris has a permanent air bridge at its disposal that operates between Libreville in Gabon and Bangui-M’poko in the CAR.
The aircraft are a Lockheed C-130 from l’Escadron de Transport 02.061 Franche Comté marked 61-PD and a CASA/EADS/Airbus CN235M-200 of l’Escadron 03.062 Ventoux from French Air Force Base BA110. They are in theatre since 6 December 2013, when they moved a paratrooper company of the 6th Marine Infantry Battalion (6eBIMa).
The French Ministry of Defence confirmed the existing air bridge on 11 December 2013. Apart from the two transport aircraft the French Air Force supports Sangaris with six Rafale fighters and a C-135 tanker flying from N’Djamena in Chad, plus two AS555 Fennec (5534/WJ an WD) light utility and scout helicopters. The French Army Aviation has fielded at least 4 Puma transport helicopters (DDU, DCL, DBO, unknown markings), plus 2 Gazelles light utility and scout helicopters.
Airlift of supplies and material into the African theatre from Europe was supported again by a British Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster III flight on 11 December 2013, the second time since the French launched operation Sangaris in Central Africa. Like the first time, the RAF C-17 flew vehicles from Istres Airbase near Marseilles to Bangui-M’Poko.
The French intervention force will eventually be 1,600 troops strong and is backed by the United Nations. It has a mandate to last well into 2014. The air bridge from Gabon has officially been added to taskforce Épervier – the French armed forces expeditionary unit that runs French ground operations and protect French interests in Chad (Operation Épervier) and Mali (Operation Serval) as well.
France has ordered 50 A400M aircraft and will be one of the largest operators of the type. Other customers are Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium and Turkey. Currently more than 170 A400Ms are on order. Next up for taking delivery of an A400M is Turkey.
The A400M is seen as a primary replacement for older C-130 Hercules types and C-160 Transalls. The new transporter is powered by four Europrop TP400-D6 engines and has a range of 3298 km at the max take off weight of 141,000kg.
The aircraft goes by the name of Grizzly, but is known by the French Air Force as ‘Atlas’. The aircraft involved has already been flying from Orléans-Bricy airbase for some weeks now.
Airbus Military confirmed it freezes the delivery of six Airbus/EADS (CASA) C295 transport aircraft to the Egyptian Air Force. The steps by the mother company of EADS are a blow to the income of the Spanish aircraft industry, which relied heavily on the C295 order that is totally produced inside the Iberian country.
With the ongoing turmoil in the North African desert country and the Egyptian military actively involved in sometimes quite violent policing actions against civilians, political pressure on Airbus to stop production of the aircraft has been sincere.
The six aircraft are half of the projected 12 new C295 on order by the Egyptian military. The exact implications of the production stand-down are not certain. The C295 does sell, with more than 121 sold to 17 operators, but these are not skyrocketing numbers on which the Spanish part of Airbus can last long.
A small light at the end of the horizon for Spanish aircraft makers: every month the freeze of the Egyptian order will be reviewed.