Press Release: U.S. Government Hands Over a Cessna 206 Aircraft to Timor-Leste

Baucau Airport, Timor-Leste – June 22, 2023 – U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, Tom Daley joined Brigadier General Sarah H. Russ of U.S. Pacific Air Force, Timor-Leste Minister of Defense Filomeno Paixão and F-FDTL Commander General Falur Rate Laek to officially handover the Cessna 206 surveillance aircraft to the Government of Timor-Leste.  The handover coincided with the 2nd anniversary of the F-FDTL Air Component.

The United States is proud of its partnership with Timor-Leste, particularly in the maritime security domain. The Cessna 206 aircraft will significantly enhance Timor-Leste’s defense forces’ maritime surveillance capabilities, ensuring the protection of territorial waters, and safeguarding vital maritime resources with Australian provided Guardian Class patrol boats set to arrive next year.  Furthermore, the aircraft will play a pivotal role in enabling rapid response to natural disasters, facilitating efficient relief efforts during critical times.

“The handover of the Cessna 206 and accompanying surveillance system represents the culmination of years of planning between our two nations.  Over the last three months, the F-FDTL meticulously worked with our staff to ensure the safe delivery and employment of the Cessna and the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) system that you see today,” said Chargé d’Affaires Tom Daley at the handover ceremony.

In 2022, the United States sent a team of F-FDTL and PNTL pilots and maintainers for training on the Cessna 206 aircraft in Massachusetts. Together, the United States and Timor-Leste will continue to work together, sharing expertise and resources to address common challenges and promote regional stability. The United States is proud to partner with Timor-Leste, while underlining its commitment to supporting the nation’s sovereignty, security, and prosperity.