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General News
Ghana Air Force commissions two trainer aircraft 3/1/2007
Accra, Feb. 1, GNA - The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) on Thursday boosted the country''s defence posture with the commissioning into service of two Chinese- manufactured K-8 fighter/trainer aircraft. The acquisition would not only enable the Ghana Air Force to resume the training of its fighter pilots, but would also restore its fighter-ground-attack capability.

Most of the Air Force''s fighter aircrafts have been grounded for a while due to technical and logistics-related issues, thus inhibiting the service''s ability to train its fighter pilots locally.

The K-8 is a subsonic advanced trainer with ground attack capability developed by the China Aero-Technology Corporation (CATIC) in collaboration with the Pakistan Aircraft Complex.

The commissioned aircraft are the first two of four trainers to be delivered to the Ghana Air Force. The controversial Presidential Gulf-Stream III was traded-in for the four K-8 trainers and a K-8 simulator.

The aircraft is powered by a Honeywell TFE 731-2A turbofan engine. The K-8s boast a maximum level speed of 800 kilometres per hour, a service ceiling of 40,000 feet, a built-in range of 400 kilometres and a maximum endurance of three hours in the air.

Over 500 of the K-8s have been produced and sold to more than 11 countries, including the Chinese Air Force and more than 3,000 pilots have flown or are flying the trainer.

Defence Minister, Kwame Addo-Kufuor said the commissioning marked another milestone in government''s effort at enhancing the capability of the air force.

He said it was the ministry''s aim to ensure that the air force had the capability to respond swiftly to any challenge that would threaten the security of the nation.

Dr. Addo-Kufuor added that the commissioning formed part of government''s determination to resusc itate the Ghana Air Force and adequately equip the Armed Forces.

The Minister said it was the hope of government that the country''s territorial air space would be adequately policed and that ground troops would have the offensive air support required to facilitate their operations. He tasked engineers, technicians and those who would be handling the aircraft to do so with care and exhibit the same level of professionalism, efficiency and ingenuity that had been the hallmark of the service.

The Minister assured all service personnel of government''s continued support in their quest to achieve optimum operational efficiency.

The Chinese Ambassador in Ghana, Mr Zhang Kenyuan said, with the commissioning of the aircraft, relations between both countries had been pushed to another high level and expressed the hope that the aircraft would help the Ghana Air Force train many pilots in the country. An impressive test flight to show the K-8''s capabilities was carried out by Chinese test pilots. This received a tumultuous applause by Air Force personnel. 01 March 07Source:

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