-KATHMANDU / A. PAPA
The Nepal Army Air Service, also known as the Nepal Army Air Wing, the sole military aviation operator in Nepal territory has added 2 Piper Archer training aircraft taking the instance increase in its fixed wing fleet size.
The newly purchase of Nepal Army Piper Archer Fixed winged aircraft has arrived Tribhuvan International Airport to join the Mid Air Base Fixed Wing fleet of Nepal Army.
The aircrafts was dispatched from the USA manufactured by the Piper Aircraft, Inc. USA with official Army Livery; National flag on the fin, six-sided red star bearing a yellow trident on the fuselage was transported in Nepal via containers in waterway and land way to be reassembled again for starting its service from Mid Air Base, No. 11 Brigade, Directorate General of Army Aviation inside Tribhuvan International Airport.
The Nepal Army which was running shortage of fixed winged aircraft earlier has reached a number of 4 fixed wing fleet of Nepal Army with the addition of two trainer aircraft comprising of M28 Skytruck and BN-2T Islander each. The Hawker Siddeley HS 748, a medium-sized turboprop airliner designed by the British firm Avro operated by Nepal Army is presently unserviceable.
This is the very first time that the Piper Archer is entering Nepalese Airspace for the training purpose. The Piper Archer has been preferably used in launching pilots’ flying careers all over the world. With a 180 HP Lycoming engine and an advanced Garmin G1000 Avionics Suite and 128 Knots, maximum cruise speed with 522 nm maximum range and 870 lbs, standard useful load, the Archer is a modern and reliable aircraft for both teaching and cross-country flying.
Nepal Army has a strategic plan of extending its fleet size to 31 by 2022 and extending its air wing bases to West Air Base in Surkhet and East Air Base in Biratnagar. The fleet in 2022 is anticipated to include 11 Fixed Wing aircraft and 20 Rotary Wing aircraft.
The NA recently has procured 1 Bell 407 GXP and 1 Agusta AW319 VVIP helicopter with registration ‘NA-058’and is preparing to procure 2 Russian made Mi-17 V5 helicopters, 1 more Agusta VVIP helicopters, 1 Bell 407GXP, four PZL M28 Sky truck and 2 CN-235 multi-mission light-medium Military Transport aircraft from Indonesia. Eight of them will be bought from different companies while four will be gifted by the United States. The NA has already signed a deal with PT Dirgantara Indonesia to buy a 49-seater CN235-220 plane. It also has started the process to procure six–two each Heavy Transport, Medium Transport, and Light Transport helicopters–worth NRs 8 billion.
Nepalese Army Aviation currently owns 14 aircraft which includes four MI-17, two Bell 206, one Bell 407 GXP, three Écureuils, one Lancer, one Agusta AW319 and one Islander and one PZL M28 Sky truck.