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Denel sells Cheetah fighters to Ecuador

Denel sells Cheetah fighters to Ecuador
A Cheetah E at the South African Air Force Museum at Swartkop, Pretoria. Image courtesy of NJR ZA via Wikimedia Commons.

CENTURION, South Africa, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- South Africa's Denel Aviation has sold 12 mothballed Cheetah C supersonic fighter aircraft to Ecuador's air force.

The monetary value of the sale wasn't disclosed but Denel said that under the agreement it will provide comprehensive maintenance and support service for the aircraft for at least five years.

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"This is an exciting business deal for South Africa," said Denel Chief Executive Officer Mike Kgobe. "The Denel Cheetahs have been in storage since they were retired from active duty in 2008.

"Denel Aviation and the South African Cheetah Support industry, in conjunction with the South African air force, were directly involved in the decommissioning and packaging for storage of the aircraft and support infrastructure."

Denel Aviation is the design authority of the single-seat fighter that was locally developed as a variant of the Mirage III in the 1980s.

The Denel Cheetah C and D aircraft were retired from service following the acquisition by South Africa of its new fleet of Saab Gripen fighter jets under the Strategic Defense package acquisition programs.

Complete maintenance and acceptance flight testing will be conducted in South Africa and in Ecuador, the company said.

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