THE Zambia Air Force is exploring new ways of strengthening the country’s air defence by forging ties with the Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) of China, says ZAF Lieutenant General Eric Chimese.
Speaking at the 11th China International Aviation and Aerospace exhibition in Zhuhai, Lt. Gen. Chimese said there was need for any country to defend itself effectively from all possible threats in order to attract meaningful development and investment.
He noted that AVIC, through China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC), was the major supplier of most Chinese-made military aviation platforms in Africa, hence the need for Zambia to partner with them.
Lt. Gen. Chimese stressed the need to strengthen ties with AVIC because it was a strong aviation conglomerate which he said would have an impact on the future of ZAF’s military aviation.
Lt. Gen. Chimese also disclosed that ZAF had made positive strides towards acquiring third generation fighters and ground attack trainer aircraft, the L-15 AFT fly-by-wire, as a way of enhancing the country’s air defence capability.
“As the first African country to have acquired the modern L-15 AFT, it introduces our pilots into the future of military (fighter) aviation that is sensitive to technology which is ever changing. The L-15 AFT also presents to us a modern aviation world. There is need for any country to defend itself effectively from all possible threats in order to attract meaningful development and investment,’’ he said.
Lt. Gen. Chimese also noted that air transport remained the quickest and most efficient way of travelling in a vast country such as Zambia, and that there was need for ZAF to continue improving its air mobility capabilities.
China People’s Liberation Army Air Force commander, Gen Ma Xiaotian, stressed that air forces should play a decisive role in defence and that China was committed to widely co-operate with other countries in terms of training, joint missions, equipment and technology exchanges as a way of strengthening mutual trust.