Djiboutian Air Force to Buy Cessna Grand Caravan EXs

Textron Aviation was awarded a contract for the special-mission versions of the popular turboprop through the U.S. Army.

Textron Aviation will deliver special-mission versions of its Grand Caravan EX under an Army contract. [Courtesy: Textron Aviation]

Textron Aviation said it was awarded a contract by the U.S. Army for two Cessna Grand Caravan EX turboprops. Under the contract, the Djiboutian Air Force (DAF) will own and operate the aircraft.

The transaction marks the third order under a recent indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract that provides up to $100 million for the acquisition of aircraft from Textron over a five-year period.

“The two special missions Cessna Grand Caravan EX aircraft will be Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance [ISR] equipped to ensure the border sovereignty of the country of Djibouti,” said Bob Gibbs, vice president of special mission sales for Textron Aviation. “This multiyear contract allows the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command to rapidly procure commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) aircraft and modifications from Textron Aviation for our foreign military sale allies and partner nations. We are honored to assist in advancing U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by providing our solutions under the IDIQ, and we look forward to further cooperation with the U.S. Army.”

The latest deal follows similar delivery orders of two Beechcraft King Air 360ERs  for the Peruvian Naval Aviation Force and one for the Ecuadorian Naval Aviation branch.

Deliveries of Cessna Caravan and Grand Caravan have totaled more than 3000 aircraft since the models’ initial FAA certification in 1984. The aircraft have been certified in 100 countries with the fleet logging almost 24 million flight hours.

Caravans fulfill a broad range of roles that include charter and regional airline operations, freight, humanitarian, VIP transport, skydiving, and other recreational missions. Known for its reliability, versatility, and low operating costs, the Grand Caravan EX also exhibits impressive performance, with its engine providing 867 hp and a climb rate of 1,275 feet per minute.

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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