Angola has become the 38th global export customer for the Airbus C295 family of medium-lift tactical airlifters, with the company announcing that the nation has placed a firm order for three aircraft to perform multi-role operations on April 21. No contract value or delivery schedule was disclosed in the announcement.
Of the three examples ordered for the Força Aérea Nacional de Angola (FANA, National Air Force of Angola), two will be specifically configured for maritime surveillance operations, while the third will be used to conduct transport missions. The latter aircraft will be capable of carrying out day-to-day tactical cargo/troop transport operations, along with additional airdropping, paratrooping and humanitarian missions.
Airbus states that the two maritime surveillance-configured C295s will be tasked with conducting search and rescue (SAR), illegal fishing and border control, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) and intelligence-gathering operations, among others. “They will be equipped with the Airbus-developed Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) mission system as well as state-of-the-art sensors. All three aircraft will be equipped with the latest version of the Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion avionics suite,” the firm adds.
This deal comes five years after it was initially announced that Angola would purchase three maritime patrol-configured C295s on March 9, 2018, to carry out monitoring and surveillance missions in the Exclusive Economic Zone. AirForces Intelligence data states that the initiative was aimed at securing national sovereignty and followed a Presidential Order issued on March 2, which authorised the signing of an agreement (worth €159.9m) between Airbus Defence and Space and Simportex. At the time, it was believed that these three C295s may have been operated by the Marinha de Guerra Angolana (MGA, Angolan Navy).
The Angolan aircraft involved in this latest deal will be based on the latest variant of the C295 family – the new-generation C295W, which features winglets and uprated engines. Powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney PW127G turboprop engines, the C295W boasts a maximum cruising speed of 259kts (480km/h) and has a service ceiling of 25,000ft (7,620m). In its transport configuration, the aircraft can carry up to 71 passengers or nine tons of cargo.
With this purchase, the FANA joins 37 other global operators in selecting the platform to fulfil its military requirements. Variants of the C295 are currently in military service with Algeria; Bangladesh; Brazil; Burkina Faso; Canada; Chile; Colombia; Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast); Czech Republic; Ecuador; Egypt; Finland; Ghana; Indonesia; Kazakhstan; Mali; Mexico; Oman; the Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Spain; Thailand; the United Arab Emirates (UAE); the US; Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The type is also operated by the Saudi Ministry of Interior and has also recently been ordered by both India and Ireland. The Royal Jordanian Air Force operated the C295M until 2018.