in Defence

Mauritania turns to vintage classic for ISR needs

Posted 12 December 2014 · Add Comment

Mauritania's latest ISR aircraft is a Basler BT-67 – the turboprop-powered conversion of the 1935-vintage Douglas DC-3/C-47 Dakota!

To produce a BT-67 Basler Turbo Conversions refurbish, strengthen, lengthen (by 40 inches, ahead of the wing) and modernize the basic Dakota airframe, while the avionics are upgraded, and the wingtips and leading edges are modified. Most obviously the original Wright Cyclone radial piston engines are replaced by 1,281-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67R turboprop engines driving five-bladed Hartzell constant speed propellers. This gives the BT-67 much improved hot and high and engine-out performance, and frees the aircraft from reliance on old fashioned Avgas, allowing it instead to operate on more easily obtainable Jet A1. Maintainability and reliability are also considerably enhanced.

Delivered in 1999 to replace ex-French air force Dakotas, the Mauritanian BT-67 was originally used in the transport role, but has now undergone an ISR conversion, with an undernose L3/Wescam MX-15 sensor turret, and unspecified communications and datalink equipment to allow the aircraft to download sensor imagery to Special Forces units on the ground. Mauritania has taken delivery of two MX-15 sensors, but it remains unclear what the second will be used for, or what aircraft type it will be fitted to.

Mauritania’s armed forces are heavily committed to Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara (OEF-TS), part of America’s Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). Under this, the United States and its partner nations in the Sahara/Sahel region of Africa are undertaking counterterrorism operations and are attempting to interdict the trafficking of arms and drugs across central Africa.

Though it has a light attack/air policing element with Embraer Tucanos and Super Tucanos, the Force Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie (Islamic Air Force of Mauritania) is primarily structured for transport and ISR operations.

A pair of Cessna AC-208B Combat Caravans initially bore the brunt of the ISR mission, but these have been augmented by the new A-29 Super Tucanos (which are fitted with FLIR Systems Star SAFIRE III FLIR turrets), two Airbus Military CASA C212-200 maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft and now by the BT-67.
 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Congo Airways poised to go up, up and away…

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) national carrier Congo Airways is progressing with its expansion plans and is seeking an equity investor, despite hitting challenges with its regional expansion. Victoria Moores reports.

ZAF looks east for modernisation programme

The Zambian Air Force (ZAF) is negotiating with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) for the possible acquisition of more advanced fighter and trainer jets, helicopters and heavy-lift transport aircraft, as it forges

Helicopter woes for MINUSMA

A little-known UN mission in Mali celebrates its fourth anniversary this month. Since the deployment began, the multidimensional integrated stabilisation mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has been working to help stabilise the situation

First Air Mauritius A350 takes shape in Airbus' Final Assembly line

Assembly of the first A350 XWB for Air Mauritius is advancing well at Airbus' Final Assembly Line in Toulouse, France.

Bestfly retains ISBAO status

At EBACE this week, Angola-based aviation services company Bestfly announced that it has received confirmation it has retained its ISBAO (International Standard for Business Aviation Operators) status for the second year in a row.

New airline will boost Senegal's economy

Boosting Senegalese commercial air transport and tourism were the prime agenda items at a recent Paris conference.

Honneywell ADS-BSK310517
See us at
Aviation Festival BT25114617GroundHandling BT0303280917