National

Army to receive four US-granted aircraft by 2020

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Nepal Army personnel are already being trained to operate Sky Trucks

Aug 18, 2018-The US government is providing four Sky Trucks, light cargo and passenger aircraft, for Nepal Army to aid the group’s rescue and disaster response efforts.

The Army is running short of aircraft, with just around a dozen of heavy, medium, and light transport helicopters comprising its fleet.

It even lacks a single fixed wing aircraft after the Army’s only functioning Sky Truck crashed at Kolti Airport in Bajura last year.

Two of the four Sky Trucks that will land in Kathmandu by 2020 will be newly manufactured while the rest will be refurbished aircraft.

The US government, in early 2000’s, had announced similar support, which was revoked after then king Gyanendra usurped power. The value of the four aircraft, according to the US Embassy in Nepal, is $35.5 million.

During his farewell speech on August 8, outgoing Chief of Army Staff Rajendra Chhetri highlighted the US support as one of the significant achievements of his tenure. The US government had pledged the aid during Chhetri’s visit to the United States in April 2016.

Andie De Arment, spokesperson for the US Embassy in Kathmandu, told the Post on Friday that aircraft operation training for Nepali military personnel has already begun at the US Army facilities.

“The US government is providing flight training, training to operate the communications equipment on board, and maintenance training to the Nepali side,” De Arment wrote in an email to the Post.

This type of specialised training ensures he Sky Trucks will be operable the minute they are delivered to Nepali Army, she added.

During Chhetri’s visit to the US, the US government had pledged to provide Nepal Army with four aircraft within two years. Arment said the support was a part of continued efforts for collaboration and partnership between Kathmandu and Washington.

Published: 18-08-2018 08:08

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