Pro-government forces in Mozambique have been supplied with at least two Gazelle light utility helicopter to help with the counter insurgency fight in Cabo Delgado.
The two Gazelle helicopters were delivered by South Africa’s defense company Paramount Group, as part of a rearming initiative for the Mozambican Government.
Both Gazelles were acquired from former British Army stock by Paramount in an auction, says Scramble Magazine.
Military Africa understands that at least four other ex-UK SA 341B Gazelles from Stapleford will be supplied to Paramount.
According to a December 2020 report by Africa Intelligence, Paramount was contracted to supply at least 12 Marauder armoured vehicles and four Gazelle helicopters to Mozambique.
Also, Paramount is training fifteen Mozambican pilots at the Paramount Technical Training Academy based at Polokwane International Airport, while Burnham Global is also training Mozambican military personnel on armoured vehicles operations.
The Gazelles will join several other aircraft in Mozambique including a UH-1 Huey, Bell Long Ranger, Alouette III, Jet Ranger, Mil Mi-8, Mi-17 and Gazelle helicopters, Cessna Caravan, Diamond DA 42.
The airpower is operated and flown by Dyck Advisory Group (DAG) a South African companies.
The combat helicopters appears to have been slightly modified, they have been fitted with PKM, Chinese-made W85 heavy and Type 80 general purpose machine guns, Soviet-designed AGS-17 30 mm automatic grenade launchers. The doors have been dismantled for convenience. Also, DAG employees use homemade bombs made from gas cylinders.
Last year in April, a Gazelle flown by Dyck Advisory Group was shot down by insurgents. Also in June, a Bat Hawk microlight scout aircraft crashed in an accident in the vicinity of the village of Muidumba. The pilot was seriously injured, but survived and was evacuated to South Africa.
In another incident, during an attack on Mocimboa De Praia town by the terror group, a Gazelle helicopter operated by DAG showed up an provided some air support, but due to severe range limitations since it was flying out of its base in Pemba, it had to return and rearm. The assault on the port town resulted in the sinking of a French-made HSI32 high-speed interceptor boat, defending the town. An FFB fast attack craft was also damaged.
In September 2019, Russia delivered an Mil Mi-17 helicopter to the Mozambican Air Force. An Antonov An-124-100 transport aircraft from the 224th Flight Unit of the Russian Air Force offloaded the helicopter and other military hardwares at the Nacala airport in northern Mozambique.
At least 160 Russian military advisors have apparently been deployed to Mozambique since the end of August, especially in Cabo Delgado.
Asides the Gazelles, Paramount’s Marauder armoured personnel carriers have been supplied to Mozambique since November last year.
The Marauders were fitted with a turret-mounted machinegun. According to local media, the type will be used in the fight against insurgents.
In June last year, the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) told Parliament that South Africa supplied weapons to Mozambique but did not disclose any further details. “We couldn’t say no to Mozambique as it is a legitimate government under attack by terrorists,” committee chair, Jackson Mthembu, Minister in the Presidency said, referring to the insurgency in Cabo Delgado province.