Cheetah fighter jets sold to Ecuador

2010-12-13 09:38

 Denel Aviation has sold 12 Cheetah C supersonic fighter aircraft to Ecuador.

An agreement to conclude the deal was recently signed by Denel Aviation CEO Mike Kgobe in Ecuador’s capital, Quito.

Denel Aviation is the design authority of the single-seat fighter that was locally developed as a variant of the Mirage III in the 1980s.

In terms of the agreement with the Ecuadorian Air Force, Denel Aviation would continue to provide a comprehensive maintenance and support service for at least five years following the sale, with an option for renewal.

“The ongoing maintenance contract reflects the global reputation of Denel Aviation to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) work to a wide range of aircraft models,” Kgobe said in a statement.

“Our offer met the needs of the Ecuadorian Air Force (FAE) that was looking to modernise its fighter fleet,” he said.

The Denel Cheetahs had been in storage since they were retired from active duty in 2008.

Denel Aviation and the South African Cheetah Support industry in conjunction with the SA Air Force were directly involved in the decommissioning and packaging for storage of the aircraft and support infrastructure.

The Denel Cheetah C and D aircraft were retired from service following the acquisition by South Africa of its new fleet of Saab Gripen fighter jets under the strategic defence package acquisition programmes.

Negotiations between Denel Aviation, Armscor and the FAE had been continuing since last year.

The aircraft had been made available for sale through Armscor, the state agency responsible for the sale of surplus military products and equipment.

Complete maintenance and acceptance flight testing would be conducted in South Africa and Ecuador, now that the deal had been finalised.

“This is a huge breakthrough for Denel Aviation and it will open up a number of new opportunities for Denel and other players in the local industry involved in Cheetah support,” Kgobe said.

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