S. Sierra, Kathmandu
Two Piper Archer aircraft purchased by Nepalese Army will be arriving its hangar facility within two days as reported by a highly placed source. The aircraft are however arriving via road transportation dismantled in packages. With the addition of two trainer aircraft, the fixed wing fleet of Nepalese Army will reach a number of 4. Presently, there are two serviceable fixed wing aircraft in Nepalese Army comprising of M28 Skytruck and BN-2T Islander each.
Piper Archer training aircraft 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. The container had arrived India few days back and will be reaching customs of Nepal in Birgunj anytime soon and then would be brought to Nepalese Army hangar at Tribhuvan International Airport.
The NA has already trained two Crews, two engineers and one technician on the type training of the aircraft at the USA. The aircraft is anticipated to join its service from Mid Air Base, No. 11 Brigade, Directorate General of Army Aviation inside TIA as soon as it gets reassembled and handed over to the DGAA. The main purpose of purchasing a trainer aircraft is to provide Pilot training to students under Aviation Training Center, the only aviation training academy of Nepal reported the source.
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.
Nepalese Army has a plan of extending its fleet size to 31 by 2022 and extending its air bases to West Air Base in Surkhet and East Air Base in Biratnagar. The fleet in 2022 is anticipated to inlude11 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.