China’s L-15 Fighter-Trainer sale to Zambia was sweetened with a financial deal that ‘helped the Zambia government fulfil the goal of procuring advanced fighter in a tight financial situation.’
Erick Chimese, commander of Zambia Air Force was quoted by the state owned Chinamil website that ‘Zambia needs to take financial issues into account in the procurement of new aircraft. As the traditional partner of the Zambia Air Force, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) provided us with a very flexible choice.’
While not disclosing the value of the contract for --- of aircraft, Chimese has dropped sufficient indications that AVIC gave his country’s government a deal that no other manufacturer in the world could match. This could mean a low initial price, deferred payments and low lifecycle costs.
Chimese also disclosed that the Russian Yak-130 and its twin, the Italian M-346 built by Leonardo-Finmeccanica, were other contenders in the race for the Zambian contract. It a big achievement for AVIC for having trumped over two very well-known manufacturers in the race to win the deal with the African country.
The commander of Zambia Air Force was all praise for the L-15 stating that it can meet the requirement of national defence and help balance operational tasks and training efficiency.
Zambia received the first of the six L-15 trainers on 30 December last year. The six L-15s cost US $100 million (an approx. $16 million each) to Zambia. A Yak-130 would cost $15 million and Italian Aermacchi M-346 costs an approximate $37.5 million apiece.
Zambian military budget for 2016 is an approximate $245 million.