Saturday, June 15, 2024

ZAF buys two new Enstrom 480B helicopters


The Zambia Air Force (ZAF) has ordered two turbine-powered Enstrom 480B helicopters for training pilots and personnel from a US based helicopter aerospace manufacturer.

Enstrom Helicopter Corporation announced the sale on 17 April, although the contract was signed on 23 February by Defence Permanent Secretary Norman Chipakupaku.

The helicopters will be based in Lusaka, and used for training and utility missions – a training package is included in the deal.

The helicopters will be equipped with cargo hooks and hard points for cameras, as well as Garmin avionics and glass panels.

One helicopter will be supplied with a full glass cockpit and one with a hybrid glass and analogue panel to provide training with a flight deck similar to the gauge-equipped Mi-17s used as the mainstay of the fleet.

“We are very excited to be supporting the ZAF missions,” said Enstrom’s VP of Sales & Marketing, Dennis Martin.

“The 480B will be a lot more efficient than some of the other light helicopters they were using, but with its performance and quick reconfiguration options, the 480B will provide the capability and flexibility they need.”

South Africa’s Safomar Aviation Group coordinated and assisted Enstrom in the sale to the ZAF, including logistics, specifications, and configuration of the Helicopters.

Safomar operates a large regional maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility as well as a flight school, and both maintains and operates Enstrom helicopters throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Shai Shalem, Managing Director of Safomar, “We are excited to have Enstrom back and under new management with exciting and excellent helicopter upgrades. It is an honour to have sold two of the first helicopters off the line under the new ownership. These 480B’s are just the right fit for military and Law Enforcement missions.”

Enstrom went out of business in January 2022 but was purchased by Surack Enterprises in May that year.

Production under new ownership resumed some months later, and the first new helicopter was completed in January this year.

The Zambia Air Force has been gradually expanding over the years, taking delivery of light combat, transport and trainer aircraft over the last decade.

In 2016, for example, it received six SF-260TW training aircraft, and six L-15 fighter-trainers from China.

In 2019, two C-27J Spartan transports were delivered from Italy and a Gulfstream 650ER jet was acquired for VIP transport.

Two Bell 412s were acquired from Italy in 2021.

Last year, South Africa supplied a single second hand Bell 412SP helicopter and a second hand Cessna 208B EX Caravan, following the delivery from the United States of a single Cessna 208 EX in 2020.

Defence Permanent Secretary Norman Chipakupaku shakes hands with Enstrom’s VP of Sales & Marketing Dennis Martin after signing the contract


  1. Govt buys two choppers for training purposes, so it means the new fleet will be new choppers? Why buy only two for training purposes when the pilots trained won’t use the same choppers in real life? It’s like training on how to drive a tractor when you can’t use the same to pick up the rubbish in the compound! What the govt should is to buy a new fleet of helicopters to replace old ones than buying only two for training but using old ones to move around the country. I am trying to make sense in the purchase of only two choppers!

    • @Mumba, your thinking is so typical villager of Lusaka.
      So you can’t buy NEW cars for your driving school? You PF annoys .

  2. Corruption reloaded..ZAF commander Barry is a very corrupt guy and he likes brown envelopes….this is a total waste of tax payers money…the government should have bought Garbage trucks to help clean cities around the country

    • Everyone knows how much the predidential ZAF Gulf Stream cost. The StreetKid who spends his nights under the Kamwala flyover bridge wants to know how much ZAF spent on these two flying objects.

  3. Kikikikikiki koma nimu Africa sure mwe! An airforce buys two ordinary aircraft and it is news! You should tell us when the infantry buys boots. These poor reporters should also tell us “President Hakainde has arrived at state house this morning from Community house.” You never know he might not arrive due to potholes.

  4. The military does not always come to tell you what they have in stock. This aircraft can apart from training, be used by police and in disaster mitigation. Did some of you expect an order of 100 of them when 2 are more than enough meantime?

Comments are closed.

Read more

Local News

Discover more from Lusaka Times-Zambia's Leading Online News Site -

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading