Tag Archives: Ethiopian Air force

Ethiopia to Procure Long Range Missiles, Fighter Jets from France

Le Point newspaper obtained Ethiopian Prime Minister's shopping list of arms from France
French weekly magazine Le Point obtained the long shopping list of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed that was sent to President Emmanuel Marcon: Rafales, helicopters and nuclear [capable] missiles.

Two months before he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize , the Prime Minister of Ethiopia sent a letter to “His Excellency” President Emmanuel Macron . On July 22, 2019, Abiy Ahmed asked France to help “strengthen the Ethiopian Air Force” by providing, on credit, a sophisticated arsenal detailed on three pages.

This list includes: 12 fighter jets (including Rafale and Mirage 2000), 18 helicopters and 2 military transport aircraft manufactured by Airbus, 10 Dassault drones, electronic jamming systems and, even more surprisingly, thirty M51 missiles with a range of more than 6,000 kilometres … and nuclear warheads! An extravagant (and illegal) request knowing that both France and Ethiopia have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

For the rest, France has, of course, endorsed a new defence partnership in March 2019, but no one expected such a military appetite and formalised so quickly from one of the poorest countries on the planet. If we refer to the selling prices of previous similar contracts, the bill could exceed 4 billion euros**.

Visiting Addis Ababa last spring, Emmanuel Macron’s objective was to develop the trade, currently dominated by China, and to develop naval forces (which disappeared after Eritrea became independent), writes Le Point journalist Patrick Forestier.

“This cooperation with France is not short-term, it is strategic, it is old and it can go far beyond the naval forces,” Abiy Ahmed said at the time. It’s all “beyond” that.

If the former soldier-turned-prime minister dreams of the same missiles as those of The French nuclear submarines, his country has not had access to the Red Sea since 1993. As his shopping list suggests, his first priority is to restore the coat of arms of his air force, out of breath and “90 years old”.

East Africa leader…

Internationally, Abiy’s leadership impresses. One year after the peace agreement with the 60-year-old Eritrean foe, the Prime Minister has established himself as a mediator in Sudan to facilitate the ongoing democratic transition. But not everyone in the region is happy with this geopolitical renaissance.

Egypt, in particular, is concerned about Ethiopia’s stubbornness to fill its future dam (“Renaissance”) as soon as possible, regardless of the dramatic consequences on the flow of the Nile irrigating 90% of the Egyptian fields.

In the midst of a diplomatic crisis, the Ethiopian Prime Minister said last October: “If we are to go to war, we can mobilise millions of people to defend the dam.”

Since the intervention of a U.S. mediation in early November, tensions have dropped back to a notch, but the dispute is far from resolved.

Officially, France refuses to get involved in this thorny issue, especially as it has forged a strategic partnership with Egypt Al-Sisi, a major buyer of French arms since 2014. But Rafale with the Ethiopian flag could sift through this Franco-Egyptian relationship.

“The Egyptians would take it badly, because we are more than in competition with the Ethiopians, who have done everything to block the diplomatic route,” said Tewfik Aclimandos, a professor at Cairo University and a keen expert on the Egyptian General Staff.

In modernising its aviation, “Ethiopia wants to reaffirm its status as a regional power, vis-à-vis its more sceptical neighbours, such as Kenya and Egypt, or Somalia,” says Sabine Planel Research Institute for Development (IRD).

According to this expert, however, these military ambitions are not contradictory to its image as a regional stabiliser, since, “by equipping itself with a military arsenal, Ethiopia is strengthening its credibility in the region as a local guardian of peace and presents itself as a bulwark against the jihadist movements present in the Horn of Africa”.

On the brink of internal implosion …

Ethiopian soldiers are already participating in several peacekeeping missions; in Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan. In areas where international organisations increasingly tend to delegate their interventions to local actors, Ethiopia intends to “adapt its army to future operations and to a regional deterrent force driving joint interventions under the United Nations,” says a defense analyst from the region who wishes to remain anonymous and assures that Ethiopia has also turned to the United States, Russia and Italy to strengthen its arsenal.

This role of regional gendarme contrasts with his inability to manage his own internal tensions. Last November, 86 people were killed in demonstrations at the call of a political opponent.

“Ethiopia is on the brink of internal implosion. A more comprehensive restructuring of the military sector (assuming that men would follow arms, and even that would be financed from other budgets) would no doubt favor an authoritarian and violent resolution of the current crisis. Any strengthening of this sector in a crisis situation must be watched with great attention,” warns Sabine Planel.

In debt, does Ethiopia afford it?

Beyond political considerations, could Ethiopia repay the French State? In the letter sent to Emmanuel Macron, the Prime Minister himself recognizes his “glaring lack of foreign currency” and seeks a loan to “be delivered in a short period of time.”

>> MUST READ : Ethiopia’s Macroeconomic Imbalances Evolving into Critical Crises

The Elysée Palace communication department assured Le Point that “the agreement signed last March paves the way for sectoral cooperation in the field of the navy and the air force”, but that France “is not at this level of discussion”.

With a public debt of 61%, according to the World Bank, this country of 110 million people is already accumulating foreign loans. Between 2006 and 2015, China lent it $13 billion in exchange for licensing investment projects .

In June 2018, the Ethiopian central bank received $1 billion from the United Arab Emirates, which is said to have allegedly played a role in the rapprochement with Eritrea, where their naval base is located.

Another $2 billion Emirati dollars will also finance investments in Ethiopia, seen by Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Mohammed Ben Zayed, as a pivot of his policy of expansion and influence in Africa.

*Software translation from French

**Egypt bought 24 Rafale for about 90 million euros each. According to La Tribune, Ukraine has ordered H-225 Super Puma helicopters around 15 million euros each, 5 million for the H125M and 11 million for the H145M; India bought the Airbus C295 for around 28 million euros. Dassault Neuron drones have not yet been exported, but its program has cost 406 million euros.

A Struggling Regime and its Manufactured Tabloid Story on Eritrea

Redeem the lost spirit. While shaking inside its boots, TPLF managed to sponsor yet another manufactured propaganda story about Eritrean air force pilots.

By TesfaNews,

When Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced a six month long State of Emergency on October 9, it was obvious that the country’s deteriorated internal situations are getting out of control. Not surprisingly though, the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), the hard core of the coalition EPRDF, was equally in its own state of crisis.

According to the African Intelligence report, the TPLF central committee, including senior officers and the old guard, has been in an extraordinary crisis meeting since October 23, following the breakdown of a critical mediation effort between the organization’s two bitter rival factions: the Abay Woldu vs. Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael. Continue reading A Struggling Regime and its Manufactured Tabloid Story on Eritrea

More than 40 Members of the Ethiopian Air Force Fled

The now lame duck Air force was once pride to the Ethiopian people.

By TesfaNews,

More than 40 members of the troubled Ethiopian Air Force have reportedly fled the country.

Sources close to the Washington based Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) today reports that a number of staff members from the Debre Zeyit Air force headquarters along with 14 aircraft technicians and unspecified number of pilots didn’t show up for work for the past one month.

The technicians were from the transport and tactical helicopter squadron unit, SU27 fighter jets units and Antonov 12 transporter units. Continue reading More than 40 Members of the Ethiopian Air Force Fled

Implications of the Continued High Level Defections from Ethiopian Air Force

DEFECTION. The limits of reliance and tight control over coercive state institutions

By Sokore Waqo,

THE recent defection of Ethiopian Air Force crew with MI-35 helicopter has sent shockwaves to the corridors of power in Addis Ababa.

The ruling elites are increasingly displaying pugnacious behavior. They lashed out at the pilot, labeling him a “traitor” and they lambasted Ethiopia’s enemies (which the Defense Ministry statement referred to as Shaebia’s agents and mercenaries) for conspiring to destabilize the country and presumably being involved in the defection covertly. Continue reading Implications of the Continued High Level Defections from Ethiopian Air Force

Ethiopians Urged Kenya to Ensure Safety and Security of Defecting Pilots

No doubt, the Ethiopian regime is seeing the chaos it has been begging for but Kenya shouldn’t repeat its past mistake

By Concerned Ethiopians,

THE Ethiopian government has been plagued by several defections of high profile Ethiopian Air Force members and government officials.

The latest defection of airmen took place three days ago when four senior Ethiopian Air Force pilots abandon the regime from their base in Dire Dawa, in eastern Ethiopia, to Kenya.

This was in fact following another defection of two pilots and a technician to neighboring Eritrea a week ago flying an MI-35 fighter helicopter.

The Amsterdam based Ethiopian Satellite Television ESAT reported that many houses at the base and in the town of Dire Dawa have been searched soon after the defection of these four pilots to Kenya and several airmen have also been detained. Continue reading Ethiopians Urged Kenya to Ensure Safety and Security of Defecting Pilots

Four Ethiopian Air Force Pilots Defect to Kenya

The trouble within the Ethiopian Air Force reached fever pitch

By TesfaNews,

REPORTS coming out of the troubled Ethiopian Air Force indicates that another four high ranking Air Force pilots have abandoned the government and requested asylum in Kenya.

The Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) today reports that the four military pilots defected from Dire Dawa Air Force base.  Continue reading Four Ethiopian Air Force Pilots Defect to Kenya

Ethiopian Military Cargo Plane Crashes in Somalia

For the thousands of Ethiopian Muslims who have been savagely beaten, killed and arrested on Eid-al-Fitr day, the crash is simply an Act of God

It took two hours for Mogadishu airport firefighters to extinguish the blaze

By Aljazeera and Agencies,

An Ethiopian military plane has crash-landed and burst into flames at Somalia’s Mogadishu airport, killing four crew members.

The plane belonged to the Ethiopian airforce and sources said it was carrying weapons and ammunition for AMISOM, the peacekeeping mission in Somalia run by the African Union, when it crashed early on Friday.

“It was a military cargo plane and there were six crew on board,” said a security official, who asked not to be named.

An African Union official said two crew members were rescued by emergency personnel and were being treated in the AU military hospital near the base.  Continue reading Ethiopian Military Cargo Plane Crashes in Somalia

Ethiopia to Buy 18 Su-30k Fighter Jets from Russia

At a unit price of $35 million, Ethiopia may need to dish out $630 million to complete the purchase. At this rate, the cost of safeguarding the dam from possible Egyptian attack will overtake the cost incurred to construct it. 

Rushing against time before Egypt gets its house in order?

By RIA Novosti,

Russia is negotiating for the possible delivery of 18 Su-30K fighter jets to Ethiopia, the deputy director of the Russian agency Rosoboronexport arms export, Alexander Mikheyev announced on Friday in an interview with RIA Novosti.

“We are in consultation with Ethiopia about a possible sale of these aircrafts. We proposed to modernize in order to improve their tactical and technical characteristics and equip modern appliances of air-ground missiles,” said the interlocutor of the agency.  Continue reading Ethiopia to Buy 18 Su-30k Fighter Jets from Russia