A ceremony took place on 9 December at the Base Aérea Silvio Pettirossi, home to the Paraguayan Air Force’s (PAF) 1st Air Brigade, to receive delivery of a Cessna CITATION SOVEREIGN.
Donated by the government of Taiwan, the aircraft will be used for VIP flights. Currently, the PAF has no dedicated VIP or presidential aircraft and has hitherto relied on chartering civil aircraft or, for internal flights, using its own TWIN OTTER, CASA 212 or Cessna GRAND CARAVAN platforms.
Participating in the ceremony were the Paraguayan Defence Minister, Gen (Retd) Bernardino Soto Estigarribia, the ambassador of the Republic of China Taiwan, Diego L. Chou, the commander of the Military Forces, General del Aire Eladio González and the commander of the Paraguayan Air Force, General del Aire Juan Pablo Paredes.
Earlier, on 1 November, the first concrete example of the new cooperation agreement between the governments of Paraguay and Taiwan had taken the form of the delivery of a surplus Bell 407 GXi helicopter, also donated by Taipei for the purpose of VIP transport.
One of the few countries to officially recognize Taiwanese independence, Paraguay has enjoyed similar donations in the past, which have included AT-33 SHOOTING STAR aircraft, Bell 427 and UH-1H helicopters and military vehicles.
Santiago Rivas and Florencia Lucero Heguy in Latin America for MON