Tunisian Air Force to Receive Four Cessna Grand Caravan EX Aircraft

These airplanes are called ‘flying Swiss Army knives’ because of their versatility.

Since 2014, the U.S. government has provided grant aid funding for 16 Grand Caravan EX aircraft. [Courtesy: Textron Aviation]

The Tunisian Air Force is adding four Cessna Grand Caravan EX to its fleet, Textron Aviation Inc. (NYSE:TXT) announced Monday.

The aircraft is sometimes known as "a flying Swiss Army knife" because of its versatility. For the Tunisian Air Force, the aircraft will be modified and equipped with:

  • An electro-optical/infrared sensor
  • An operator console
  • A tactical radio
  • A video data link
  • Night vision compatible lighting 

“The fleet of Grand Caravan EX single-engine turboprops will aid the Tunisian Air Force in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations in the country," said Bob Gibbs, vice president for Special Mission Sales for Textron Aviation, in a statement. 

"The aircraft is engineered for challenging missions, high payloads and short, unimproved runways, while delivering single-engine economy and simplicity. It is a perfect match for this mission throughout Africa.”

These are the first Cessna Grand Caravan EX aircraft for the Tunisian Air Force.

Since 2014, the U.S. government has provided grant aid funding for 16 Grand Caravan EX aircraft procured through Foreign Military Sale cases throughout Africa, with Tunisia being the latest recipient. 

Partners of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) that already possess Grand Caravan EX aircraft include:

  • Cameroon
  • Chad
  • Niger
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Kenya
  • Uganda
  • Rwanda

The Cessna Caravan was introduced in 1984, designed ostensibly as a freighter for FedEx. According to Cessna, more than 2,900 have been delivered, amassing nearly 24 million flight hours.

The aircraft is used for flight training, VIP transport, cargo hauling, and a variety of humanitarian missions.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.
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