The Monitor :: Ageing BDF Aircraft Gives Up
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Last Updated
Friday 18 August 2017, 15:46 pm.
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Ageing BDF Aircraft Gives Up

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) aircraft that crashed immediately after take-off at Mapharangwane, also known as Thebephatshwa Airbase, was one of the ageing BDF fleet probably earmarked for replacement. The Spain made aircraft, CASA 212-300, was one of the only two transport aircraft delivered back in 1993.
By Monkagedi Gaothobogwe Mon 13 Feb 2017, 18:00 pm (GMT +2)
The Monitor :: Ageing BDF Aircraft Gives Up








The latest air crash is perhaps a reminder of the ticking time bomb represented by the BDF’s ageing fleet, especially in the Airforce wing where most aircraft appear in dire need for replacement in a country where competing interests have been openly hostile to the army’s move to replace the ageing hardware.

The BDF comes across as one army that is still grappling with ageing fleet as it is reported to be still using nine other 24-year-old USA made anti-poaching aeroplanes, known as the Cessna 337 O-2 A SuperSkymaster.

The BDF also still uses six Cessna 152 trainer aircraft, acquired in 1979, now about 36-years-old, if available online records are anything to go by.

The Botswana army is also reported to be using eight helicopters bought 32 years ago, while a further 11 helicopters (Bell) will have clocked 20 years by next year.

Last year, it was reported that the BDF was seriously considering replacing their 21-year-old 13 F-5 jet fighters, for considerable billions of pula amidst murmurs of protests from the

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public who feel the funds will be better channelled elsewhere.

Perhaps the oldest aircraft in the BDF inventory is the 40-year-old British made utility aircraft, the Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander.

Of the 12 delivered to Botswana from America in 1977, 10 are still in operation according to military air forces website, xairforces.net. Between 1996-1999, the BDF bought a total 38 various aircrafts, including 15 F-5’s that replaced the then ageing Strike Masters. Three C-130 Hercules aircraft and 11 helicopters (Bell) were also acquired in 1997 and 1998, while some eight PC-7 trainers also replaced the then ageing trainers known as the Bulldogs. 

In his Budget Speech for the 2017/18 financial year Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo announced a P2.76 billion allocation for upgrading of the BDF equipment, among others, alongside the completion of the on-going constructions of new police stations and housing, refurbishment of prison facilities, and improvements to infrastructure, construction of houses for army personnel, purchase of vehicles, and upgrading of equipment for the BDF to enhance security capabilities.

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