The Ecuador Army has signed an agreement with Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky/PZL Mielec for the delivery of an M28 short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft.
Ecuador is the first Latin American nation to purchase an M28 twin turboprop aircraft, which is expected to significantly improve the multi-role transport capabilities of the country’s army.
Last year, the jet carried out a two-month demonstration tour of seven Caribbean and Latin America countries.
Sikorsky Latin America regional executive Adam Schierholz said: “The M28 aircraft’s unique flight and performance attributes are ideally suited for Ecuador’s diverse climate and terrain.
“We are providing Ecuador with a proven platform that will accomplish a wide range of national security missions. With the ability to operate from any type of runway or airstrip inaccessible by other airplanes, and to fly in extreme environmental conditions without decreasing payload, the M28 brings formidable capabilities.”
The 7,500kg M28 STOL aircraft can carry up to 2,300kg of cargo and up to 19 passengers, as well as conduct parachuting missions from the cabin’s rear clamshell doors.
PZL Mielec president and general director Janusz Zakręcki said: “This powerful and tough aircraft has the highest useful load in its class, is easily maintained in the field, and frequently is preferred to larger platforms because of its multimission flexibility and cost-effective performance.”
The crew members will have to complete a pilot and mechanic training course in Poland, after which they will be eligible to operate the aircraft across the North Atlantic Ocean to Shell Mera, Ecuador, through Iceland, Greenland, Canada, the US and Central America.
Being developed at Sikorsky’s PZL Mielec manufacturing facility in Poland, the M28 aircraft will be delivered to the Ecuador Army later this year.