A FORMER US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) PZL Mielec C-145A Combat Coyote (M28-05 Skytruck) has been delivered to the Estonian Air Force. The aircraft, ‘44 Black’ (c/n AJE003-17, ex 09-0317, N317JG, SP-DGP), was formally handed over to the Estonian Minister of Defense, Jüri Luik, during a ceremony at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, on March 12. It is the first of two being donated free-of-charge to Estonia as Excess Defense Articles (EDA) by the US Government to replace the two Antonov An-2s remaining in service. The second aircraft, Estonian serial not yet known, is 90-0320/N824KD (c/n AJE003-20, ex SP-DGR), which will be delivered before the end of this year.
Estonia had originally been offered two Short C-23B+ Sherpas after a request in Fiscal Year 2014 under the EDA programme, but the acquisition was cancelled on August 28, 2015, after the country determined that the type did not meet its requirements. As an alternative, in Fiscal Year 2016, two retired ex-AFSOC C-145As that were stored with the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, were requested as EDA aircraft instead. The EDA offer was formally accepted and a Letter of Offer and Acceptance implemented on March 3, 2017.
The first aircraft, 09-0317/N317JG, which had arrived at AMARG for storage on June 24, 2015, departed from there on May 14, 2018. It was delivered to Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) at Centennial, Colorado, to be prepared for Estonia. The US civil registration was officially cancelled on February 12, 2019, on transfer to Estonian ownership. The second aircraft, 90-0320/N824KD, had arrived at AMARG on August 26, 2015, leaving again on May 23, 2018, when it also went to Centennial for preparation by SNC. The aircraft will be used for a variety of tasks, from air transport to Forward Air Controller training. They will be operated by 1 Eskadrill (Squadron) of the Lennugrupp (Flight Group), which currently operates the An-2s.