Zimbabwe orders air-force trainer planes from Pakistan in multi-million dollar deal

Zimbabwe orders air-force trainer planes from Pakistan in multi-million dollar deal

By Agencies

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra will supply 12 Super Mushshak trainer aircraft to Zimbabwe.

The business completes a multi-million dollar transaction that was sealed when Harare participated in a security and defence exhibition hosted by Islamabad two years ago.

In November 2022, a high-powered delegation of military officers led by Air Vice Marshall Biltim Chingono was in Karachi to acquire modern aircraft and armaments during the International Defence and Exhibition Seminar (IDEAS) where over 30 contracts were signed.

Zimbabwe has joined a list of other African countries, which including Nigeria that have procured the Super Mushshak training aircraft from Islamabad.

“The Super Mushshak is one of the most dependable trainer aircraft flying today, embedded with state-of-the-art systems needed for imparting quality training,” reads reports from Karachi.

“Powered by the American Lycoming engine, the Super Mushshak is built like a model plane. Since these planes are to be flown by air forces over different terrains, over salt water, in the desert heat, and cooler environments, around half of the world, individual parts have to be treated to protect them from the harsh environmental effects.”

The MFI-17 Super Mushshak (The Agile)

Zimbabwe requires new trainer and combat aircraft to replace its aging and worn-out fleet.

The country is still reeling from Western-imposed sanctions and has now moved to source it’s military equipment from eastern Europe and countries in Asia, including Pakistan.

The United States and European Union had since 2001 maintained sanctions on the Zimbabwe Defence Industries, the country’s arms manufacturer. However, the state-run arms manufacturer was scrapped from the US Executive Orders sanctions list this year.

The Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) is known to operate a modest fast jet force comprised of some nine Chengdu F-7NII and FT-7N fighter aircraft and ten Hongdu K-8E jet trainers acquired from China in the late 1980s and mid-2000s respectively.

In 2020, a Zimbabwe Air Force SIAI-Marchetti SF260 trainer aircraft crashed in a compound in Somabula, about 24 km south-west of Gweru, near the central city of Gweru, killing both pilots. Three years later, another trainer crashed in the Mlezu College general area, near Gweru, killing two pilots onboard.

The Zimbabwe Air Force has also turned to Nigeria for technical assistance to upgrade its air capabilities. Former Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) commander, Air Marshal Elson Moyo, said this during a week-long visit in March last year to some Nigerian Air force units, including the North East.

The Zimbabwe air chief requested for technical support in the areas of research and development, unmanned aerial vehicle technology as well as operation and maintenance of F-7 Air Guard and Mi-35 aircraft.