The number of aircraft destroyed in Sudan increases

Shutterstock // Novikov Aleksey

With fighting between the Sudanese government and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia about to enter its second week, the number of aircraft being destroyed or heavily damaged during the clashes has continued to increase. 

Khartoum International Airport was at the epicentre of the conflict on April 16, 2023, the first day of fighting. In fact, the situation developed so quickly that a Saudia A330-300 (HZ-AQ30) was hit by gunfire while still on the tarmac preparing to depart on a regular commercial service to Riyadh. 

This was not the only civilian aircraft written off as a loss after getting caught in the fighting. 

A Boeing 737-800 operated by Ukrainian airline SkyUp was also heavily damaged in the first moments of combat, as was an Embraer ERJ135 operating on behalf of the United Nations. 

Other civilian aircraft destroyed on the ground include a Boeing 737-300 (registration PK-YGW) operated by Asia Cargo Airlines, and a Boeing 737-800 operated by local carrier Badr Airlines (registration 4L-MWA), which was seen being engulfed by flames at Khartoum airport in the evening of April 20, 2023. 

Sudan’s presidential aircraft, a Soviet-made Ilyushin Il-62M, has also been a victim of the fighting. 

According to social media accounts following events on the ground, as of April, 20, 2023, the total number of aircraft, both civilian and military, confirmed destroyed at several locations around the country may have reached 30. 

Understandably exact details remain sketchy, but in addition to the aforementioned airframes, 4 Antonov An-12, 3 An-26/32️ and 2 An-72/74s may have also been destroyed, along with a number of combat aircraft including 3 Su-25 attack aircraft and 3 MiG-29M/M2 fighters. The latter belongs to the Egyptian air force, one of whose detachments was captured by RSF militiamen in the northern Sudanese city of Merowe. Two Chinese-made FTC-2000 advanced trainers and seven military helicopters of different types are also said to have been lost. 

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