|News - Africa|
Zambian President Michael Sata has said the Zambian Air Force (ZAF) urgently needs to be re-equipped to improve its capability. He said it is presently incapable of defending the country and cannot respond to emergencies and disasters.
ZAF commander General Erick Chimense said the re-equipment of the Air Force has already begun, with the recent acquisition of eight new military helicopters from an unnamed source, four of which have already been delivered to Zambia. These helicopters appear to be Harbin Z-9s from China, which are French Eurocopter AS365 Dauphins built under license.
General Chimense said despite the delivery, the Air Force still needs more aircraft, aircraft technicians and other specialised aviation personnel. He also deplored the state of the ZAF's main airbases and encroachment onto military airstrips by local authorities, saying this also poses a security risk.
Established in 1968, the ZAF is crippled by a lack of spares while its pilots lack flying hours due to the shortage of aircraft. Defence analysts say the ZAF has very little or no combat capability and would be hard pressed to defend the country if it came under attack.
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