Ghana has signed an agreement with a Brazilian firm for the acquisition of five A-29 Super Tucano aircraft for the Ghana Airforce Training School.
The aircraft are being purchased at the cost of $88million, with a loan from the Brazilian Development Bank.
A Brazilian-based company, Embraer Defence and Security, has been contracted to manufacture the aircraft.
Replacement of contract
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The contract includes logistics support for the operation of the aircraft, as well as a training system for pilots and mechanics in Ghana.
The purchase of the Super Tucano aircraft replaces the contract for the purchase of the 90-seater Embraer 190 Aircraft for the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) approved by Parliament in 2011.
At a short ceremony in Accra, the Minister of Defence, Dr Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbuor, signed for the government, while a representative of the Embraer Defence and Security, Mr Frederico Lenos, signed on behalf of the manufacturers.
Explaining the replacement of the contract, Dr Kunbuor said after the approval for the purchase of the Embraer, experts advised that the force purchased the Super Tucano which would be required for the Airforce Training School which was underway in Tamale in the Northern Region.
Currently, he said, students of the Ghana Airforce were trained outside the country because the aircraft to be used had become dormant.
Therefore, he said, authorities found the Super Tucano aircraft more appropriate and economical.
Dr Kunbuor added that the A-29 Super Tucanos would be deployed for advanced training, border surveillance and internal security missions.
In his remarks, Mr Lenos indicated that hopefully, the first aircraft would be ready in the next 14 months.
He described the airplane as “a robust, powerful and versatile turboprop aircraft” with proven experiences as well as capable of carrying out a wide range of missions, including close air support and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
With more than 130 weapons configurations certified, among other advance technologies, Mr Lenos said “this makes the A-29 Super Tucanos highly reliable and allows for an excellent cost-benefit ratio for a wide range of military missions, even operating from unpaved runaways and in hostile environments”.