As Nepal is globally one of the most vulnerable countries in terms of disaster, with annual casualties of over 500 people, the recently added new aircraft of Nepal Army can make a lot of difference in the coming days.
A nodal agency to take part in rescue missions in all disasters, Nepal Army’s one basic requisite is strengthening its air capability. Given the situation, Nepal Army's new plane will have a very significant role.
Nepal Army received the second Indonesian-built CN-235-220 multipurpose aircraft in Kathmandu. Dirgantara Indonesia delivered CN235 Plane to Nepalese Army amid a function at Tribhuwan International Airport.
Dirgantara Indonesia, Indonesia’s aircraft manufacturer, has delivered a CN235-220, the company's famed twin-engine transport aircraft, to Nepal Army, completing a $30 million contract that was part of the company's push into the African and South Asian markets.
The aircraft had departed from the Husein Sastranegara International Airport in Bandung earlier.
“Based on a contract with Nepal Army, signed in June 2017, we're glad that we have sent it on time," Elfien Goentoro, the president director of Dirgantara Indonesia, told Antara news agency.
The airplane contract is worth $30 million, but may be revised according to orders for spare parts and other services, Elfien said.
CN235 has six adjustable configuration modes, including transport, cargo, paratroop, medevac, maritime patrol and VIP transport. The aircraft sent to Nepal Army is preconfigured on paratroop mode. Dirgantara Indonesia shipped the configuration tools to Nepal separately ahead of the aircraft delivery, to allow for later adjustments.
Capt. Esther Gayatri Saleh flew the aircraft to Nepal as the test pilot in command and flight instructor alongside Capt. Ervan Gustanto as her co-pilot. The Nepal Army will conduct further flight tests on the aircraft before final acceptance.
The aircraft began the journey from Bandung, West Java, on the same day, when it was scheduled to arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal, that was, on 2 November. The aircraft was to make stops in the Indonesian city of Medan in Sumatra, as well as Bangladesh and Myanmar on its journey home.
The aircraft, which bears the serial number AX-2347, will be the second CN-235-220 to be operated by the Nepal Army's Air Service. The country signed for its first air-frame of the type with PTDI in 2017, and ordered the subsequent aircraft in the following year.
After this aircraft, Nepal Army has 20 aircraft, including helicopters. Nepal Army has deputed 3 helicopters for VVIP, 14 including helicopter and plane in central base and two in western base.
Out of four sky trucks provided by U.S, Nepal Army will receive two in December. Next year, Nepal Army will receive another one and U.S will provide another Air Ambulance to Nepal Army by 2021.