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26 June 2016

Angola Defence Budget Under Pressure

Seen in Angolan Air Force colours in Italy on 20 June, one of the six Leonardo-Finmeccanica Helicopters AW109E POWERs ordered by the Angolan government last year is currently undergoing flight testing prior to acceptance by the customer.

The six helicopters form part of a €90 million contract signed in December 2015 that included €115 million of new radar systems and €7.3 million for two new fast patrol boats from Leonardo-Finmeccanica Whitehead Sistemi Subacquei. The Air Force currently operates a mixed fleet of helicopters from Russia, Bell and Airbus Helicopters, much of which is laid up or unserviceable due to poor maintenance.

Angola has recently invested heavily in new equipment, including six EMB-314 Super TUCANO delivered (from Brazil) and six Cessna 172R trainers (USA) in 2013; 12 SU-30K ordered the same year (due for delivery this year); eight MT-LB armoured vehicles delivered in 2014 (Bulgaria); four Super DVORA FAC ordered (Israel) in 2015; 45 CASSPIR MRAPs from South Africa. Seven MACAE-class patrol vessels ordered from Brazil in 2014 may not be delivered as Angola reportedly lacks the funds to pay for them.

The national defence budget is undergoing significant growth and is scheduled to reach U$13 billion by 2019, but the fact that half Angola’s GDP depends on oil coupled with falling commodity prices is putting enormous strain on financial resources.