Zimbabwe orders military trainer aircraft from Pakistan

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Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra will supply 12 Super Mushshak trainer aircraft to Zimbabwe. The business completes a multi-million dollar transaction

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 25, 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.

The MFI-17 Super Mushshak (The Agile) is a lightweight, robust, two/three seats, single-engine, predominantly all-metal aircraft with fixed, non-retractable, tricycle landing gear.

It has been developed to meet US FAR 23 certification in the Normal and Utility categories. It can operate from short, unprepared strips.

It has a 260 HP piston engine, state-of-the-art glass cockpit suite options, an environmental control system, and dual control Elevator and Rudder trim systems.

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

According to PAC regarding the Super Mushshak, the company noted that “this piston-engine trainer plane is a product of experience, constant changes and improvements, innovation, and is dedicated to meeting all service conditions.

“Built from ground up, the Super Mushshak is an easy to maintain and simple to fly training/ utility aircraft.

“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. 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.”

Zimbabwe requires new trainer and combat aircraft to replace it’s 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 Somabhula, 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 turned to Nigeria for technical assistance to upgrade its air capabilities. The Commander, Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ), 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 AirGuard and Mi-35 aircraft.

Moyo said the identified areas for collaboration were of common and peculiar aviation interests to Zimbabwe and Nigeria, whose air forces operate some similar aircraft. Nigeria also fields the Super Mushshak trainer aircraft.

The Nigerian Air Force has the experience and expertise to provide Zimbabwe with the necessary technical assistance. As a leader in modern aviation, the Nigerian Air Force is renowned for its advanced aircraft and weaponry, as well as its highly skilled personnel.

– Military Africa