The United States has revealed an $80 million grant to Zambia for the provision of four Bell 412EP helicopters to the Zambia Air Force (ZAF). General Michael Langley, the Commander of US Africa Command, made this announcement during the Africa Senior Enlisted Leaders Conference (ASELC) co-hosted by the United States and Zambia.
This grant includes not only the helicopters but also covers three years of service, parts, and training for the helicopters. Major General Oscar Nyoni, Deputy Commander of the Zambia Air Force, expressed gratitude for the donation, highlighting how it will enhance the ZAF’s capabilities to support domestic needs, regional security, and UN peacekeeping missions.
US Ambassador to Zambia, Michael Gonzales, emphasized that this grant offers more than just helicopters; it provides a comprehensive solution for the Zambian military and its people.
Zambia has been expanding its helicopter fleet, including the recent procurement of two Enstrom 480B helicopters from the United States for pilot and personnel training. The Zambia Air Force operates various helicopters, including Mil Mi-171Sh and Mi-171E troop transport and assault helicopters from Russia.
The Zambia Air Force fields a substantial Bell/Agusta-Bell fleet, having operated many of their types over the decade. In the last couple of years, three Bell/Agusta-Bell 412 helicopters (AF717, AF718, and AF720) arrived from Italy and South Africa, joining a dozen surviving Agusta-Bell 205s.
In addition to the helicopter grant, discussions between General Langley and Zambian officials also focused on strengthening the US-Zambia security partnership and women’s participation in the Zambian military. Zambia has been commended for its commitment to UN peacekeeping missions and its successful integration of women into all ranks and career fields.
The United States and Zambia share a common goal of promoting peace and stability, and this grant is expected to further enhance bilateral security cooperation that benefits both nations and the region.
Zambia’s involvement in UN peacekeeping missions, including the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), underscores its commitment to regional and global security efforts.