Skip to main content

Sudanese Air Force converts Antonov transport aircraft into bombers.

| 2023

As reported by Kazim Abdul in Military Africa, in Sudan's ongoing civil war, the Sudanese Air Force, facing a severe lack of modern combat aircraft, has adapted its fleet of Soviet-made Antonov transport planes to serve as makeshift bombers. This fleet, primarily intended for transport, parachute, and reconnaissance duties, includes models like the An-12, An-26, and An-30. These aircraft have been modified to carry bombs, a method that was previously employed during the Darfur war in 2003, where they gained notoriety for causing civilian casualties and displacement.

Follow Air Recognition on Google News at this link

Sudanese Air Force converts Antonov transport aircraft into bombers   Antonov An-12BK of the Sudanese Air Force (Picture source: Onyschenko)

To transform these transports into bombers, the Air Force has fitted some of them with a removable roller conveyor inside the hold, which can carry and deploy unguided 500-pound bombs. This bombing method is imprecise and considered illegal under international law due to its indiscriminate nature. Additionally, bombs can also be mounted on the wings of these aircraft, which though increases their payload, also makes them slower and more susceptible to enemy fire.

During the Darfur conflict, the Antonovs were initially used to drop Soviet-made bombs, later switching to locally made bombs, often improvised from fuel drums filled with explosives and shrapnel. The Air Force also employed civilian operators, both local and foreign, to fly these missions, which included attacking humanitarian aid centers.

The decision to use Antonovs as bombers highlights the desperate state of the Sudanese Air Force. They face a formidable opponent in the Rapid Support Force (RSF), backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who have successfully destroyed several Antonovs both on the ground and in the air. This has further diminished the operational capacity and morale of the Air Force.

Significant losses include the destruction of several An-12s at Khartoum airbase, damage to An-26s and An-30/32s, and a collision between an An-32 and an An-26 on the runway of Khartoum International Airport, leading to the total loss of both planes.

Despite these setbacks, the Sudanese Air Force retains some capability, largely relying on older Chinese and Soviet-era aircraft. Their fleet also includes various other combat aircraft like the MiG-21, MIG-23, Nanchang Q-5, Shenyang J-6, Chengdu J-7, Sukhoi Su-24, and Sukhoi Su-25. However, the condition and effectiveness of these older models are questionable.

Copyright © 2019 - 2024 Army Recognition | Webdesign by Zzam