Textron Aviation has won a contract to build two multi-mission Cessna Grand Caravan EX aircraft for the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF).
The contract has been awarded by ATI Engineering Services in support of the African Partnership Flight initiative. The value of the order remains undisclosed.
The Cessna Grand Caravan EX will be RDF’s first fixed-wing aircraft. It is expected to enter service in the first half of next year.
Designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation, the aircraft will primarily be based in Kigali, Rwanda.
ATI Engineering Services will modify and equip Grand Caravan EX aircraft with secure high-frequency (HF) and ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio systems, a night-vision imaging system (NVIS), and interior and exterior lighting.
RDF’s multi-mission aircraft will also feature a reconfigurable interior with two ambulatory medical stretcher kits, 11 passenger seats, eight collapsible utility seats, and a removable rollerball cargo floor.
Textron Aviation Special Mission Sales vice-president Bob Gibbs said: “The Grand Caravan EX serves an enduring mission by providing transport, reconnaissance, and medical evacuation operations throughout Africa.
“The aircraft is engineered for challenging missions, high payloads, and short, rough runways while delivering single-engine economy and simplicity. It is a perfect match for this mission throughout the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) area of responsibility.”
Under the African Partnership Flight initiative, multiple African nations have collaborated with the US to enhance regional cooperation and interoperability.
The US Government previously funded 14 Grand Caravan EX aircraft procured through a foreign military sale throughout Africa.
The Grand Caravan EX aircraft is in service with other AFRICOM partners, including Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Kenya and Uganda.