Brand new India-made aircraft for GDF is a good deal- Jagdeo

Last Updated on Thursday, 4 April 2024, 20:29 by Denis Chabrol

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday said the two India-made planes that arrived last week for the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) are brand new aircraft and the US$23.37 million deal includes spares and training.

Responding to criticisms from opposition critics that the two Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)-made Dornier 228 planes were second-hand and the price was inflated to facilitate a kick-back, he said the “new” aircraft cost US$8 million each. Along with them, he said,US$6.23 million worth of spares- including reserve engines, propellers- as well as US$1 million worth of training of 19 persons including pilots, engineers and technicians and transportation of the planes to Guyana.

They were flown here on April 1, 2024 aboard two India Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster military transport planes.

The Vice President said the price tag also includes the self-deployment of engineers from India for six months to work with the GDF.

He said the “low” interest rate on the line of credit from India’s Export-Import Bank is one-fifth of what is available elsewhere commercially.

Their arrival here of the two  Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) aircraft followed the March 15, 2024 signing of a loan agreement between the Ministry of Finance and India’s Export-Import Bank of India for financing the purchase. The HAL 228 planes are said to be ideal for STOLs on Guyana’s terrain and would be used for maritime patrols as well as, resupply of military bases, troop movement to interior locations.

“They can land on almost all of our airstrips. They can carry the troops wherever we want around the country. They can deploy our troops because they have the capacity now. They can carry cargo etc;” he said.

Mr Jagdeo said the two Bell 412 helicopters, one of which crashed last December, and the Dornier 228 planes were all purchased brand new.

In contrast, he said the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) administration had purchased aged and used two Britten-Norman Islander planes, one of which never worked, and two SkyVan planes.