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Tunisia - Air Force - Modernization

On July 2, 2010 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress June 30 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Tunisia for the refurbishment of 12 SH-60F Multi-Mission Utility Helicopters, being provided as Excess Defense Articles, and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $282 million. This proposed sale would enhance the modernization of the Tunisian Air Forces overwater search and rescue capability and enable continued interoperability with U.S. Armed Forces and other coalition partners in the region. The proposed sale would further improve Tunisias overall ability to perform humanitarian missions, search and rescue, medical evacuations, fire-fighting, and to maintain the integrity of its borders.

The Tunisian Air Force was upgrading its Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II fleet with new avionics and maintenance repairs under a $32 million contract. The US Department of Defence announced the $32.458 million contract on 16 September 2013, which was awarded to Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation in Florida. The proposed sale will improve Tunisia's capability to deter regional threats and strengthen its homeland defense, as well as support counter-terrorism operations. These systems will bolster Tunisia's ability to continue supporting its air and ground forces in counter-terrorism and border security operations. Tunisia, which already has F-5 aircraft in its inventory, will have no difficulty absorbing this service and support into its armed forces.

By 2014 was Tunisia was negotiating the purchase of six Caracal transport helicopters, produced by the group Eurocopter, for an estimated $415 million. Although the government had decided to increase the 2014 defense budget by $185 million over 2013, the contract has not yet been signed as negotiations on the cost of the helicopters were not complete (Jeune Afrique, December 9, 2013).

On 24 July 2014 the US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Tunisia for 12 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $700 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on July 23, 2014. In addition to other US assistance, in May 2015 the Foreign Military Sales program facilitated the purchase of eight UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters by Tunisia. On 3 August 2017 the Tunisian Air Force received the first four of the initial batch of eight Black Hawks ordered in 2015. The proposed sale will improve Tunisias capability to deter regional threats and strengthen its homeland defense, as well as support counter-terrorism operations. The sale of these UH-60 helicopters will bolster Tunisias ability to provide border patrol, rapid reaction, and field expedient medical evacuation for its air and ground forces in counter-terrorism and border security operations.

In May 2016 the United States government approved the sale of 24 ex-US Army OH-58Ds, weapons and equipment to Tunisia in a deal worth $100 million. A wide variety of equipment and weapons will be installed on the OH-58D helicopters that are classified as excess defence articles, including Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS); AGM-114R Hellfire missiles; M124 miniguns; rocket launchers, and Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rounds. This additional equipment was worth $44.3 million. The first six of the latter were handed over in a ceremony in the United States in February 2017.

The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters along with the parts, systems, and support enumerated in this notification will improve Tunisias capability to conduct border security and combat operations against terrorists, including Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Libya, and Ansar al-Sharia, Tunisia (AAS-T). These helicopters will further modernize the Tunisian armed forces and increase its interoperability with U.S. forces and other coalition partners.

KIG Technical Services is the original equipment manufacturer of the (12) US Government Owned Maule MX-7-180B Light Observation Aircraft and was the only company that possesses the ability to achieve the requirement given due consideration to cost schedule and technical capability. On 19 August 2015 the Naval Air Warfare Center-Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, NJ initiate a new contract from solicitation N68335-15-R-0265. The Government anticipates issuing a Firm Fixed Price/Cost Reimbursable contract to Kazi Investment Group (KIG) Technical Services LLC, 403 Glenn Drive, Arlington, VA 22202 to provide the Tunisian Republic Air Force operations and support of the (12) Government Owned Maule MX-7-180B Light Observation Aircraft. Operations and support will consist of Field Service Representatives (FSRs), pilot training, sensor operator, and maintainer training and provisioning of spares for twelve (12) Government Owned Maule MX-7-180B Light Observation Aircraft.

In 2017 Tunisia received 12 Maule MX-7 light aircraft from the United States for border surveillance.

According to African Intelligence, by April 2018 the Tunisian defence ministry had issued a restricted tender for the supply of 18 intermediate-sized civil helicopters. AgustaWestland/Leonardo Helicopters and Airbus were apparently among the bidders, along with Bell Helicopter.

On October 10, 2019 the US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Tunisia for twelve (12) T-6C Texan trainer aircraft and related equipment and support for an estimated cost of $234 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale. The Government of Tunisia has requested a possible sale of twelve (12) T-6C Texan trainer aircraft, spare engines, cartridge actuated devices/propellant actuated devices operational flight trainer, spare parts, ground handling equipment, support equipment, software delivery and support, publications and technical documentation, clothing, textiles and individual equipment, aircraft ferry support, technical and logistical support services, site surveys, minor modifications/class IV support, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the defense capabilities and capacity of a major non-NATO ally, which is an important force for political stability and economic progress in North Africa. This potential sale will provide additional opportunities for bilateral engagements and further strengthen the bilateral relationship between the United States and Tunisia. The proposed sale will replace Tunisia's aging trainer fleet and allow Tunisia to continue training pilots to support Tunisia's counter-terrorism and border security missions. Tunisia will have no difficulty absorbing this aircraft into its armed forces.



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Page last modified: 14-10-2019 19:07:35 ZULU