While the aircraft will be Senegal’ second CN-235, it will be the first one in Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) configuration. The first one delivered back in 2017 by PTDI came in a “quick change” configuration (it can be reconfigured quickly for various missions including general transport duties, VIP transport and MEDEVAC).
It is not clear which sensor systems will be fitted aboard the aircraft but CN235 in MPA configuration may be fitted with Thales OceanMaster or Searchmaster or Telephonics APS-143C(V)3 radars, depending on customer preference.
A third CN-235 aircraft – the second in MPA configuration – is expected to be ordered, bringing the Senegalese fleet to five airframes in the future. Contract negotiations for the additional aircraft have reportedly been clinched in February during the Singapore Air Show but have been postponed to 2021 due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis.
Naval operators of the CN-235 aircraft (in various versions) include the U.S. Coast Guard, the Korean Coast Guard, the Turkish Navy, the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL), the Colombian Navy, the Ecuadorian Navy, the Irish Air Corps, the Mexican Navy, the Spanish Coast Guard (Guardia Civil)…
Rise of Senegal’s Naval Forces in the Gulf of Guinea
Faced with an ever growing piracy threat in the Gulf of Guinea, Senegal (like other countries in the area such as Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana or Nigeria) is pursuing efforts to boost its naval capabilities. As we reported at the time, Senegal and French shipbuilder PIRIOU signed last year a procurement contract for three OPV. The vessels will be fitted with missile systems which will be a new capability for this emerging navy. Other modern units include a large OPV procured from French shipyard OCEA, the Fouladou, commissioned in 2016 and two smaller patrol vessels (by Raidco Marine) procured in 2015 and 2013. Israel Shipyard was set to Deliver a 3rd Shaldag MK II Fast Patrol Craft To Senegal this year. It has also surface that the launch customer for the OPV 45 design (by the same shipbuilder) is actually Senegal, with two vessels on order.
The modern naval vessels recently procured from France and Israel, plus the MPA will help the Senegalese Navy in securing the sea lanes and maritime approaches in Senegal’s littoral and exclusive economic zones. They are the right assets to counter piracy and illegal fishing and conduct maritime security missions in the Gulf of Guinea.