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Canadair CF-5A

Botswana Defence Force Air Wing is in talks with India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to procure unspecified numbers of LCA-Tejas Mk1A fighter jets from India to replace its ex-Canadian Canadair CF-5A Freedom Fighter and CF-5D Tiger II jets in service.

Botswana Defence Force (BDF) in 2017 wanted to procure Swedish-built Gripen multi-role jet fighters at $1.7 billion but had to drop plans due to sharp criticisms from security analysts, foreign press and domestic political opposition within Botswana over the steep price of the jets.

BDF Air Arm operates 9 second-hand Canadian-built CF-5 jets and six CF-5D Tiger II jets which they acquired over two decades ago. These jets were designed in the ’50s and produced in the ’60s and have been long retired from service since there is no production and in the operation, it is becoming expensive to maintain.

CF-5 jets are Canadair licensed-built versions of the American Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter, while F-5 was mass-produced but CF-5s had limited production runs only for Canadian Air Force and do not have universally compatible parts with the F-5, adding to spare part procurement woes for current end users.

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