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Guyana Defence Force looks to modernise air and naval fleets

9th March 2023 - 11:30 GMT | by Wilder Alejandro Sanchez in Washington DC

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The Guyana Defence Force could be in the frame for at least two HAL 228 transport aircraft following a presidential visit to India. (Photo: HAL)

Guyana is set to replace an 'unserviceable' patrol vessel and is eyeing acquisition of new light transport aircraft.

The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) is looking to acquire new naval and air platforms to upgrade its inventory.

On 3 March, the GDF issued a tender to sell one ‘unserviceable ocean patrol vessel' with a length of 47.6m. The description suggests that the tender refers to the fleet’s flagship, the River-class minesweeper GDFS Essequibo acquired from the Royal Navy (the former HMS Orwell ).

To replace Essequibo, Guyana has acquired one Defiant 115 patrol vessel manufactured by Louisiana-based shipyard Metal Shark. Shephard previously reported that the shipyard is installing two CAT C32 main propulsion engines and two CAT C4.4 generators. However, the delivery date has yet to be disclosed.

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The Guyanese government is also looking to acquire new aircraft. 

Following a January 2023 visit to India by President Irfaan Ali Guyanese and Indian media indicated that Georgetown would buy at least two Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) 228 transport aircraft. 

In a 14 February interview with the WION news agency, Guyana’s Chief of the Defence Staff, Brig Godfrey Bess, said: 'We are looking at air assets [to move ] our troops across the country, and I would say [for] disaster-related activities. We looked at one such aircraft, a Dornier, and it is actually suiting the capability we would like to have.’ 

The senior official also confirmed the GDF’s interest in Indian ‘fast patrol vessels'.

Due to its limited defence budget, the GDF tends to only acquire small numbers of new platforms and recently took delivery  

Wilder Alejandro Sanchez

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Wilder Alejandro Sanchez


Wilder Alejandro Sánchez is an analyst who covers defense & security, geopolitical, and trade issues …

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