… Ambassador deems Chinese-funded programme another example of GDF/PLA cooperation
AT the opening ceremony for the CATIC training for Y-12 pilots and engineers of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Air Corps Hangar, at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Chinese Ambassador to Guyana, Yu Wenzhe, said that the CATIC Y-12 aircraft training project is yet another example of the technical cooperation between the two militaries. The project is funded by the Chinese to the tune of $100M.
Yu Wenzhe noted that he is pleased at the launching of the project, and observed that over the years, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) enjoyed very good relations.
He added that there have been regular exchanges of high level delegations between the PLA and the GDF, and more and more GDF officers are taking advantage of the full scholarships offered by the Ministry of National Defence of China.
Wenzhe said that another batch of three GDF officers is scheduled to leave for China soon to attend military training courses , and the GDF is expected to send a senior officer to attend the Defence Seminar for Caribbean countries to be held in June in China.
He stated that just two months ago, the Chinese military band instructors completed their mission at the GDF and left Guyana reluctantly.
Wenzhe said, “We hope the technical cooperation between the two militaries will be further enhanced and expanded.”
Meanwhile, GDF Chief of Staff, Commodore Gary Best, said that the course is the evolution of a visit by a team from China, an event birthed out of a request for training in 2009.
He noted that the CATIC Y-12 conversion training course is the first outside of China .and it goes to show that efforts are being made between the two countries for strengthened relations of its armies and peoples.
China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) Project Manager, Li Ning told the gathering yesterday that to materialize the provision of military aid from the PLA to GDF, CATIC will provide Y-12 A/C conversion training to the GDF Air Corps.
He said, “I just want to express our sincere gratitude to the Defense Minister of the People’s Republic of China and the Embassy in Guyana, with your kind support and assistance, the training could start and go on smoothly. Besides, we really appreciate the thoughtful work from the GDF, thanks for your prompt preparation for the training and daily-life care to us.”
Ning pointed out that CATIC is a state-owned company, which exports fighters, trainers, bombers, helicopters unmanned air vehicles, transport aircraft, civil aircraft, general aviation aircraft, missiles and associated airborne equipment and ground support equipment, as well as various components and spare parts required to support these products.
He noted that currently, more than 1,500 China-made aircraft are flying over the skies in 50 countries throughout the world.
He said that upon finishing the Y-12 conversion training, the GDF trainees will become qualified captains/engineers of Y-12 A/C.
He noted that the agreement was signed in July 2010 by the Chief of Staff Commodore Gary Best during a visit to the People’s Republic of China, as a guest of the People’s Liberation Army.
The agreement provides for a training team to be provided by CATIC, consisting of flight instructors, maintenance instructors, interpreters and a generous spares package.
He said, “I am pleased to announce that a part of the spares package consisting of 59 of 64 major components has already been shipped, and is due to arrive in Guyana shortly. This consignment will go a far way in ensuring continued serviceability for the Y12 aircraft.”
Lt. Colonel Cargill Kyte of the GDF Air Corps giving a brief background, said that the Y-12 aircraft, 8R-GDS was purchased from CATIC in 2001 was placed into operation in January, 2002.
The initial batch of pilots and ground crew trained included five pilots and 25 engineers and technicians, and over the years the quantity of pilots has contracted.
Lt. Col. Kyte added that the deficiency while not rendering Air Corps incapable of achieving its role and tasks, severely affects its ability to adequately deliver services, since all pilots are restricted in the amount of hours they can fly daily, weekly and monthly. This deficiency was readily felt in the operations of the Y12 aircraft, thus the need for this training.
He noted that nevertheless, the Y-12 has provided invaluable service in supporting troops on the eastern border location and conducting maritime patrols in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Lt. Col. Kyte told the gathering that attending the conversion course yesterday are five pilots and 23 ground crew staff consisting of eight engineers and fifteen technicians; the ground crew training has commenced and is due to be concluded on Friday 23rd March 2012.
He added that the licensed engineers, on successful completion of the course, would be eligible to have their airframe licences endorsed with the Y12 rating, and the training for the pilots commences on the 26th of March 2012, and will consist of two levels of training, captaincy for all pilots, and flight instructors for senior pilots.