Botswana lines up major defence acquisitions

IHS Janes

19 May 2016
A Piranha III seen with a HITFIST turret armed with a 30 mm Orbital ATK MK44 Bushmaster auto-cannon. Source: GDELS-Mowag

Botswana is in negotiations for Saab Gripen multirole fighters and has ordered General Dynamics Piranha armoured vehicles and MBDA air defence systems, according to recent reports.

A spokesperson for Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) confirmed on 13 May that it was in talks with Botswana on transferring about eight surplus JAS 39C/D Gripen aircraft.

Botswana’s The Business Weekly & Review magazine subsequently reported that a deal had been agreed to buy 16 Gripens for BWP16 billion to BWP18 billion (USD1.4 billion to USD1.6 billion).

But Saab told IHS Jane’s on 17 May that, while Botswana remains a key opportunity for the Gripen, any contract “is far from a done deal”.

The Botswana Defence Forces (BDF) currently operates Canadair CF-5C/D jets that are at least 40 years old and was previously reported to be interested in acquiring the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) T-50 Golden Eagle jet trainer or the FA-50 combat version.

A South Korean military delegation visited Botswana in 2013 to promote the aircraft and President Ian Khama held talks with KAI when he visited Seoul in October 2015. South Korea’s official Yonhap news agency reported at that time that Botswana’s final decision was expected by the end of 2015 after it had considered options in two other countries.

Botswana’s The Sunday Standard newspaper reported in February that, in the wake of Khama’s visit to South Korea, the BDF was planning to spend BWP2 billion on eight T-50s and was also expected to buy K2 Black Panther tanks from South Korea.

More recently, on 16 May, the newspaper reported that the country was planning to spend nearly BWP2 billion on 45 Piranha 8×8 armoured vehicles made by General Dynamics Switzerland – presumably a reference to General Dynamics European Land Systems Mowag (GDELS-Mowag) – and turrets armed with 30 mm guns.

The BDF already uses Piranha III vehicles, 45 of which were delivered from 2003.


See related post:

Botswana to purchase eight Gripen C/D fighters

See details of K2 tank: HERE

See details of Jas Gripen C/D: HERE

See details of Piranha IV 8×8: HERE

See details of FA-50 jet: HERE


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