Airbus Adds Angola to C295 Customer List

 - April 22, 2022, 8:14 AM
A company graphic depicts a C295 in maritime surveillance configuration and notional FANA colors. (Photo: Airbus)

Airbus has announced a firm order for three C295s from the Republic of Angola. The southern African nation will employ one of them for regular transport duties, including humanitarian missions, while the other two will be configured for maritime surveillance. The order makes Angola the 38th customer for the popular medium airlifter.

All three will have the latest iteration of the Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion avionics suite installed. The two maritime patrol aircraft will feature Airbus’s own Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) mission system along with unspecified sensors, including search radar and electro-optic sensor turret. They will undertake search-and-rescue, border patrol, intelligence-gathering and anti-illegal fishing patrols, as well as providing support to disaster relief efforts.

Angola has traditionally been equipped with types of Soviet origin, including MiG-21s and MiG-23s, Su-22s, Su-24s, Su-25s and Su-27s. With most of those types now out of service, the main combat strength of the Força Aérea Nacional de Angola (FANA, Angolan air force) is comprised of 12 Su-30SMs, although a handful of earlier Su-27s may remain active. The Su-30SMs are early Su-30Ks originally supplied to India and upgraded in Belarus before delivery in 2017-19.

Recently, the FANA has begun looking elsewhere for combat equipment, acquiring the A-29 light attacker from Embraer in Brazil. China also supplied 12 Hongdu K-8W light attack/advanced trainers in 2020. In terms of transport aircraft, the FANA is mainly equipped with Soviet-origin tactical transports such as the An-12, An-26, An-30, An-72/74, and Il-76, plus the Xian MA-60 from China. The C295 will be the first new tactical transport of Western origin.

For surveillance missions Angola uses elderly Dornier Do 28s, A-29s, and a few EMB-312 Tucanos. The two C295s will restore a dedicated maritime patrol capability that was lost when a single Fokker F27-200MAR, delivered in 1980, was handed over to TAAG Angola Airlines in 1988.