A Foreign Military Sales (FMS) notification issued by the US Department of Defense (DoD) has revealed that Rwanda Air Force is to receive two new aircraft to be used for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) and light transport missions during international peacekeeping operations throughout Africa.
According to the announcement issued on June 24, ATI Engineering Services LLC based in Pennsylvania, US, was awarded a US$10.1 million (Rwf 9.6 billion) contract to supply Rwanda with two Textron C-208 EX aircraft by July 31, 2022.
The first aircraft is due for delivery no later than June 2021, according to the call for proposal in September 2019.
In addition to the aircraft, the procurement includes spares, support equipment, technical documents, a flight training device, spares, logistics support and tactical radios.
It is expected that the pair of the propeller-driven aircraft will be used especially for Rwanda’s United Nations deployments in the Central African Republic, Sudan and South Sudan.
Currently, Rwanda has a total of 6,316 military contingents under UN flags, making the country the 3rd largest contributor to peacekeeping missions in the world, after Ethiopia and Bangladesh.
The aircraft acquisition was announced first in September 2018 by the US Air Force, while procurement proposals were requested a year later.
Also known as Cessna C-208 EX Grand Caravan, the single-engine aeroplane can carry 1,588 kg or up to 11 passengers and two crew, patient transport with two patient-care units, with an all-up weight no greater than 5,670kg. It is a utility model able to take off and land on rough airstrips less than 760 metres long.
An aircraft of this kind costs about $2.685 million, according to the purchase planning handbook.
Besides the cruise speed of 361km per hour, these Cessna caravans can reach a ferry range of 1,667km, and a normal range on internal fuel of 833km, while carrying 11 passengers and two crew.
With newly built commercial designs, the C-208 EX will have fixed landing gear and a high-wing configuration to ensure maximum pilot visibility of the ground.
Upon delivery, they will be painted in Rwanda Air Force colours.
The call for proposals did not mention any details about the weapons system or ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) capabilities of the aircraft.