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C-295 aircraft

Airbus Military is offering its C-295 transport aircraft to the South African Air Force (SAAF) as its new light transport and maritime surveillance aircraft, to help support national and multi-national peace and humanitarian missions in Africa and surrounding waters.

The company is currently demonstrating the aircraft’s capabilities in South African National Defence Force (SANDF) mission configurations for tactical transport, medevac, anti-piracy, counter smuggling and economic exclusion zone protection operations during exercises with the nations’ security forces.

Airbus Military Africa sales director Martin Sefzig was quoted by Defence Web as saying that the C-295 is ideal for both transport and maritime patrol roles as required by South Africa.

The company also supports SAAF’s C-212 and CN-235 aircraft, which means that if the air force purchases the C-295, it would require very little added infrastructure and maintenance for operations, Sefzig added.

As part of Project Saucepan, SAAF is planning to purchase new maritime surveillance and patrol aircraft, but has not yet issued a formal specification or requirement for the type.

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The proposed C-295 for SAAF features standard equipment, a cargo handling and aerial delivery system (CHADS) and is also equipped to support paratrooping, medical evacuation and humanitarian relief missions.

The aircraft is capable of carrying carry payloads of up to 9t in standard cargo pallets or 71 soldiers in transport missions, or can accommodate 50 paratroopers alternatively.

Saab is also offering its 340 Maritime Security Aircraft (MSA), featuring maritime surveillance radar, and SATCOM links, while Raytheon has proposed its Beech King Air 350ER, equipped with maritime search radar, EO/IR sensors and onboard mission workstations.

Powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW127G turboprop engines, the C-295 is an EADS CASA twin-turboprop tactical military transport aircraft designed to conduct tactical airlift, search & rescue (SAR), and maritime patrol and environmental surveillance missions.

The aircraft has also been sold to customers and operators in Algeria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Finland, Indonesia, Jordan, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

Image: A C-295 aircraft being exhibited at ILA 2002 International Aerospace Exhibition in Germany. Photo: Jwnabd.