New Chinese helicopters for Equatorial Guinea

Gepubliceerd op 6 mei 2024 om 16:23

© Force Aérienne de Guinée Équatoriale (FAGE, Armed Forces of Equatorial Guinea)

On 8 April 2024, Equatorial Guinea Vice-President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue inspected two newly arrived Chinese Harbin Z-9WE helicopters.

One of the Z-9WEs, an export version of the Chinese Z-9W (licensed variant of the French AS365 Dauphin), has been identified with serial number FA-HC08 and Harbin construction number Z9-0721.

Although having been only delivered to the Armed Forces of Equatorial Guinea (FAGE) recently, the construction number fits nicely in a Chinese military operated batch of helicopters that were already sighted during 2017.

Having operated mainly Soviet-era aircraft and helicopters, Equatorial Guinea now seems to make a shift towards China regarding acquiring military hardware.

While its main mission will be most probably fighting against maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea area, the highly advanced Z-9WE, with a capacity of eight seats, and with the potential to carry out day and night surveillance missions, is one of the first modern acquired military hardware since some years. At this moment, Equatorial Guinea is studying the possibility of acquiring more sophisticated helicopters.

The Z-9WEs, which are now having an odd Equatorial Guinea serial number system, possibly referring to be Navy or Coast Guard operated, are partly based at Malabo International Airport on the island of Bioko.

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