Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Textron announced Tuesday that it has received a contract to supply two multi-mission Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft for the Rwanda Defense Force.
The planes will be the first fixed-wing aircraft the RDF has put into service, Textron said in a press release.
The aircraft are scheduled to enter service during the first half of 2021 and will operate primarily out of Kigali, Rwanda, the contractor said.
"The Grand Caravan EX serves an enduring mission by providing transport, reconnaissance, and medical evacuation operations throughout Africa," said Bob Gibbs, vice president, Special Mission Sales for Textron Aviation.
"The aircraft is engineered for challenging missions, high payloads and short, rough runways while delivering single-engine economy and simplicity. It is a perfect match for this mission throughout the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) area of responsibility," Gibbs said.
Textron manufactures the Cessna and was awarded the deal by ATI Engineering Services, which will modify and equip the RDF's Grand Caravan EX aircraft for use.
The aircraft, according to the company, will have secure High Frequency and Ultra High Frequency radio systems, Night Vision Imaging System and interior and exterior lighting. They also include a reconfigurable multi-mission interior featuring two ambulatory medical stretcher kits, 11 passenger seats, eight collapsible utility seats and a removable rollerball cargo floor.
Textron's African Partnership Flight initiative "brings together a series of collaborative engagements between African nations to strengthen U.S. strategic partnerships with key countries in Africa, exchange ideas on aviation-related topics, and enhance regional cooperation and interoperability," the company said.
According to Textrong, the U.S. government has previously provided grant aid funding fro 14 Grand Caravan EX aircraft through Foreign Military Sale cases throughout Africa. Rwanda is the most recent recipient, and other recipients including Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Kenya and Uganda.