The Malian armed forces (Forces Armées Maliennes- FAMA) has taken delivery of additional aircraft and drones from Russia and Turkey to boost it’s airpower.
Four L-39C Albatros (reg. TZ-10C, TZ-15C, TZ-34C, TZ-36C) and three Bayraktar TB2 drones were handed over to the Malian authorities at the Modibo Keita International Airport in Bamako on 16 March, 2023.
The L-39C Albatros is a powerful Czech-made jet aircraft designed for training and light attack missions, and is an attractive choice for many air forces due to its affordability and versatility.
On the other hand, the Bayraktar TB2 is a Turkish-made unmanned aerial vehicle which is capable of both reconnaissance and strike missions.
Mali now has 13 L-39Cs, and five Bayraktar TB2s.
The first two Bayraktar TB2 arrived on 20 December, 2022 at an air base in Mopti.
The Malian Air Force Bayraktar TB2 are equipped with the Turkish-made Aselsan CATS camera turret, the replacement for the L3 Wescam MX-15 camera after Canada blocked export of Wescam products to Turkey.
Both aircraft offer Mali a greater range of aerial capabilities, enabling them to better protect their borders, detect and respond to threats quickly, and gain an advantage over their adversaries in any conflict.
The acquisition is part of a larger package which began several years ago. Seven months ago Russia delivered five L-39C Albatros light attack aircraft, and a single Su-25 FrogFoot close air support aircraft on the tarmac of Bamako international airport and an additional Mil Mi-35 attack helicopter.
Two months ago, Mali took delivery of additional aircraft and helicopters comprising of two Mil Mi-17s, four Czech-designed L-39C Albatross trainer aircraft, and a single Sukhou Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft.
The L-39s, while initially designed for training purposes, have also been used as attack aircraft.
The L-39Cs are armed with two under-wing rocket pods and appear to sport the same livery as those of the Russian aerospace forces, the Malian roundels having replaced the Russian markings on the vertical stabiliser and the wings.
The addition of these aircraft will modernize Mali’s aerial capabilities, allowing them to better respond to any security threats with more precision and efficiency.
These aircraft will also provide Mali with a greater range of intelligence-gathering capabilities, enabling them to better monitor their borders, detect illegal activities, and respond to threats swiftly. Moreover, the L-39C Albatros is a cost-effective choice for many air forces, making it an attractive option for Mali.
The addition of these aircraft to Mali’s aviation capabilities is an important step towards strengthening their overall security and protecting their borders. With these new aircraft in their arsenal, Mali will be better equipped to respond to any potential threats and gain an advantage in any conflicts they may face. The acquisition of these aircraft is a positive step forward for Mali, and will undoubtedly have a positive impact on their security and defense.
Malian Air Force on 4 October last year, lost its newly acquired Russian-made Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot close air support aircraft (TZ 29 C) near Goa airport after a mission, resulting in the death of its Russian pilot, one army personnel on the ground, and 10 other people (two civilians and eight military personnel) injured in the incident.