World Air Forces (part 1)

I’m on the hook this year for the first time to deliver Flight International magazine’s 2008 World Air Forces Directory, a massive beast of reporting and indexing the year’s major developments in global military aircraft inventories. It typically runs from 20 to 30 pages and publishes in the third quarter of the year.

But the job comes with a twist this year: not only do I have to deliver it, I also have to reinvent it.

The objective is to make the print directory more analytical than comprehensive. That means if you really want to know the composition of, say, Burkina Faso’s military helicopter inventory, you’ll have to check our web site.

Instead, the print copy will offer a thorough analysis of developments in world air force inventories, broken apart by region and focusing on shifts in market share and trends for orders and deliveries by category of aircraft.

As I’ve learned over the last few hours, compiling an accurate list of regions and deciding which air forces are “major” and “minor” is a very interesting challenge.

I’m hoping my list below makes for great discussion on this blog or just between yourselves.

I made my decisions based on three criteria: regional relevance decides page count, geo-political connections decide regions and a nation must have at least one operational squadron of effective combat aircraft to be considered “in”. (The term “out” means that nation’s military inventory could be listed online, rather than the print version of the directory.)

So tell me what you think.

1 – United States (5 pages)

2 – The Americas (2 pages=Canada: .5 pages, LatAm=1.5)
In: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela

Out: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatamala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay,

3- Europe (3 pages)
In: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, NATO, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom,

Out: Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta

4: Russia and the CIS: (3 pages)
In: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine,

Out: Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Republica Srpska, Slovakia, Slovenia,

5: Mid-east: (4 pages)
In: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

Out: Palestine, Qatar, Lebanon

6. Africa: (2 pages)
In: Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda

Out: Out: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe

7: South-Asia (2 pages)
In: Bangladesh, India, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan,

Out: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan,

8: Asia/Pacific: (3 pages)
In: Australia, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, North Korea, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam,

Out: Brunei, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines,


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4 Responses to World Air Forces (part 1)

  1. John Hayles 14 July, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

    An world air forces directory for 2008?

    That would be an improvement on the non-appearance of this directory in December 2007 – a major public relations disaster for the magazine after it’s annual appearance for more than 30 years. :(

    Where is the web site listing mentioned above?


  2. Wayne Elmes 28 August, 2008 at 8:56 pm #


    I am quite disappointed with the omission of the Irish Defence Force’s Air Corps. Although the Air Corps is small in size its recent modernisation and Irelands continued commitment to peace keeping operations around the world should justify at least a line or two. It would be terrible to see a news report from either an EU summit or a peace-keeping operation in Chad with an Irish Air Corps aircraft in the background and a Flight reader thumbing through his or her world air forces edition to find nothing.


  3. Gustavo Ynocencio 9 February, 2010 at 3:10 am #

    Where do you get a background check that sends people out to interview past aquaintances? Is this just how the Feds do it?

  4. cyfra plus 13 November, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    When I search for blogs I never know what I will find and that is half of the fun of it really. I was surprised I ran across yours though. It is excellent writing though. You have talent in there – keep it up.

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