in Maintenance / Features

Why the Ethiopian Air Force is 'going spare'

Posted 17 September 2016 · Add Comment

Ethiopia's air force has turned northwards far northwards in its efforts to keep some members of its elderly transport and training fleet airworthy.

The authorities in Addis Ababa have contracted Lithuanian maintenance specialist, FL Technics, to provide a spares supply for several of the Soviet-era types in the Ethiopian Air Force inventory: the Antonov An-12 medium transport, Antonov An-32 tactical transport and the Czech-built Aero L-39ZO Albatros advanced jet trainer.
The air force, Ye Ithopya Ayer Hayl in the English translation of the nation’s Amharic language, has suffered long-term decline, with only small numbers of aircraft still operational in what used to be one of Africa’s most powerful air arms.
Accurate estimates of the number of serviceable aircraft are difficult to come by. Some sources say as many as nine of the 1960s-vintage, four-turboprop An-12s are on strength, which would make them by far the most significant component of the force’s transport fleet. However, African Aerospace reported last year that as few as two may still be operational. The other main transport type is the Lockheed C-130. According to Flight International’s annual review of world air forces in 2015, two examples may still be usable, a single C-130E donated by the US in 2014 and an even more elderly B model.
The transport fleet has seen recent service employed on sorties as part of peacekeeping efforts in Sudan and South Sudan.
The force is believed to have a single example of the An-32, whose oversized ZMKB Progress AI-20D turboprops provide sufficient power to cope with Ethiopia’s hot-and-high conditions, as well as a handful of airworthy L-39ZOs, which can be used both as advanced trainers and for initial weapons training.
The new contract is the first Ethiopian order for FL Technics’ military aircraft division, which has only recently been granted approved supplier status by the African nation’s defence ministry. An initial batch of spares had already been delivered by the time the contract was formally announced in mid-March and the remainder of the contract was due to be completed by late spring.
“We greatly value our cooperation with the Ethiopian Air Force and hope that the successful execution of this contract will help us win the trust of the Ethiopian Ministry of Defence in future tenders,” commented FL Technics CEO Zilvinas Lapinaskas. “We also anticipate that this tender will facilitate our communication with other military, as well as governmental aircraft operators, across Africa and the Middle East.”
An FL Technics spokesman said the company would be providing “a wide range” of spares to Ethiopia, but that it was barred by the terms of the contract from going into details on the type of items to be supplied. A confidentiality clause also means that the company is forbidden from releasing any technical information relating to the current condition of the aircraft.
The last An-12 came off the Antonov production line in 1973, meaning even the youngest examples of the type are well into their fifth decade of service. The type has long been phased out from most air forces, although it remains in service with more than a dozen nations – mainly in Africa and Central Asia – and civilian versions are still popular as a freighter in Africa, due to the type’s rugged design.
The slowly shrinking fleet means that spares are not as easy to come by as they used to be. But the former Soviet Union produced components in such quantity that they remain available if you know where to look.
“It’s a challenging task, no doubt. And not every vendor can ensure timely supply of required parts,” said the FL Technics spokesman. “Luckily, we maintain a vast network of partners, particularly in the CIS region, which allows us to locate and deliver the spares swiftly.”
FL Technics will not be positioning personnel to Ethiopia to help maintain the aircraft, although it says it can dispatch staff to assist if required.
 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

The new CEO of RwandAir takes up office

The outgoing Chief Executive Officer of RwandAir, Chance Ndagano has officially handed over to Yvonne Manzi Makolo after her appointment as the new Chief Executive Officer of RwandAir last Friday.

ATNS official elected to key Industry position

Air Traffic and Navigation Service (ATNS) SOC Senior Air Traffic Controller, Peter Van Rooyen, has been elected Executive Vice-President of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations (IFATCA).

Aviation Africa 2018 - it's a wrap!

Aviation Africa 2018 opened it's 2 day summit and exhibition with strong growth predictions for the African Aviation Market.

Emirates renews its support to Mauritius and Seychelles

Emirates has announced its renewed support to Mauritius and the Seychelles by extending its global marketing agreement with the respective Tourism Boards of the two countries.

Global standards, collaboration are key to future of ground handling

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has highlighted three key priorities for the ground handling industry to support the growing demand for air travel: harmonizing global standards to improve safety, improving

SAA retains 4-Star Skytrax ranking

South African Airways (SAA) has maintained a 4-Star Skytrax ranking, in both Business and Economy Class, for a 16th consecutive year.

TAA SK0902311218
See us at
Global Aerospace BT010518AAD2018 BTAirCargoAFA_BT220318210219