Among this year’s Dubai debutantes are a pair of light aircraft from Sudan. The SAFAT-02 is a light helicopter for training and the SAFAT-03 is a basic fixed-wing trainer. The aircraft are products of the SAFAT Aviation Complex (Stand W472), which was established at Khartoum Airport in 2004.
SAFAT began overhaul and maintenance activities in 2006, and now has more than 700 personnel working in 14 hangars and 50 specialized workshops. As well as its central workshops the company has three centers for heavy aircraft maintenance, helicopter maintenance and aircraft development/manufacturing.
The heavy aircraft division performs periodic maintenance under a joint venture with TAE from the Ukraine, working on a range of Antonov aircraft and Ilyushin Il-76s, plus the Tecnam P92-JS and P2002-JF light aircraft. The helicopter center handles Mi-8/17/24 and BO 105 work, while the SAFAT plant also performs work on the Sudanese air force’s Shenyang F-6 and Nanchang A-5 fighters.
SAFAT’s directorate of aircraft manufacturing and development (DAMD) was created with the objective of establishing a local industry that could meet some of the nation’s aviation needs, especially in the field of training aircraft. The first product, the SAFAT 01, was a light aircraft based on the Piper Super Cub. It was shown off during the complex’s official opening in June 2009, and was built to instill confidence in the country’s ability to construct and fly aircraft.
That confidence has led to the construction of the SAFAT-03. This two-seat side-by-side trainer was based on the Serbian UTVA 75 design, and an initial batch was built for local training needs. SAFAT has subsequently introduced a new standard for future SAFAT-03 production.
SAFAT is also assembling a light utility/training helicopter, the Safat 02, based on the Aerokopter AK1-3 from Ukraine. This helicopter has a 2.5-liter Subaru EJ-25 engine that runs on automobile gasoline.