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World Air Forces listing N-R



Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1991. Its small defence force has been creating an air wing since an order was placed in 1994 for two SA315 Cheetahs and two SA316B Chetaks from India's Hindustan Aeronautics. The two Cheetahs were lost in a collision in 1999. The air element also has six ex-USAF Cessna 337/O-2A Super Skymasters and a Cessna F406 Caravan II for surveillance duties. Air transport is provided by a handful of Y-12s. These aircraft, with a Falcon 900 acquired in early 1992 and a Learjet 31 used for government/VIP transport, are based at Windhoek's downtown Eros airport.




The NAEWF was established in January 1980 to provide a European AEW force. It was granted full NATO Command Headquarters status by the alliance's Defence Planning Committee in October the same year. It consists of two elements: 17 E-3A Sentrys at Geilenkirchen, Germany, and the RAF's 8 and 23 Squadrons based at Waddington UK. The NATO force in Germany is split into three operational squadrons and a training squadron. Integrated international crews from 12 nations, including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Turkey and the USA, man the aircraft. The RAF aircraft have a national as well as an alliance commitment. NATO's E-3As began receiving radar upgrades in 1998. Three Boeing 707s are used for training and transport to extend the lives of the operational aircraft. The E-3s are receiving radar improvements and the number of operator stations is being increased by five to 14.

NATO has a requirement for an air-to-ground surveillance aircraft equipped with synthetic aperture radar and moving target indicator sensors which would be fulfilled by around six aircraft. The competitors are likely to be a Northrop Grumman entry based on its Radar Technology Insertion Programme for the E-8 mounted in an Airbus A321 or the pan-European SOSTAR programme. The aircraft will probably be operated either in an enlarged Geilenkirchen force or in a similar force structure.




The Royal Nepalese Army Aviation Service was established in 1965. In 1971 the Royal Flight was set up under the Royal Nepalese Army Aviation Service. It operates as 1 Brigade (Aviation) and the fleet is split between the air battalion, which operates the majority of the aircraft, and the Royal VIP Flight, which operates the Super Puma and LongRangers. Both units are based in Kathmandu. Primary roles are army support and civil assistance with troop transport and parachutist dropping as secondary tasks.

Type No Role

HS748-2A 1 trans

Skyvan 3M 3 trans

AS332L Super Puma 1 royal flt

Bell 206L LongRanger 2 royal flt

SA330C/G Puma 1/1 trans

SA316B Chetak 3 comms




A 1999 defence review to be published in late November could cut the number of F-16 squadrons by one to six. The KLu has already suffered deep cuts following similar government studies in 1991 and 1993. It is possible that the KLu's participation in Operation Allied Force, which included an air-to-air victory over a Serbian MiG-29, could allow the air force to keep its seven F-16 squadrons; if not, 306 will disappear. They are based at three main locations: Volkel (306, 311, 312 Squadrons), Leeuwarden (313 and 315) and Twenthe (322 and 323). Since October 1997 the KLu has been taking redelivery of F-16s converted under the European Mid-Life Update programme: 92 F-16As, all 21 F-16A(R)s and 25 F-16Bs will be modified; around 70 aircraft have been upgraded so far. The remainder will be stored and sold. The F-16A(R)s are compatible with reconnaissance pods. Three of the six frontline F-16 units are dedicated to NATO's Rapid Reaction Force and operate in a so-called swing role which allows them to operate both in air defence and ground attack roles. As the KLu inventory of PGMs swells, however, its ability to swing role will be diminished. As part of the Rapid Reaction force the KLu has been rotating a squadron to Italy as part of the UN's operations over the former Yugoslavia. The AMRAAM air-to-air missile was introduced into service in 1998; the AGM-65 Maverick is another recent introduction. Anti-radiation missiles are on the shopping list. The Netherlands is participating in the JSF programme, viewing the type as a replacement for the F-16, and it has requested information on the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Dassault Rafale.

The air force's 301 Squadron at Gilze-Rijen has been operating 12 AH-64A Apaches on lease from the USA since November 1996 to prepare for 30 NAH-64Ds which will be the spearhead of the Netherlands Air Mobility Brigade. The KLu's NAH-64Ds will not be fitted with Longbow radar, but will be able to receive Longbow data when the Dutch are operating with radar-equipped Apaches from the UK Army Air Corps and the US Army. The first NAH-64D was handed over by Boeing in May 1998 and will be used by 302 Squadron at Gilze-Rijen, which becomes operational in 2000. After that 301 Squadron will convert to the NAH-64D. The Apache's primary weapon will be the AGM-114 Hellfire. Supporting the NAH-64s are two flights of the co-located 299 Squadron which operates elderly BO105s. The unit's two other flights operate the same type in the training role. From 1992 a fleet of 12 ageing Fokker F27s has been replaced by a mix of heavy, medium and light transports. This includes two ex-airline DC-10s modified as tanker-transports, two Hercules and four Fokker 60UTAs. The latter are stretched, cargo-door equipped variants of the commercial Fokker 50 and were some of the last aircraft built before the famous Dutch manufacturer closed its doors.

These transports, plus a Gulfstream IV, are based at Eindhoven with 334 Squadron. Light Alouette III helicopters are progressively being replaced by larger, more capable types including Cougars and CH-47D Chinooks. Seven of the tandem rotor Chinooks were bought secondhand from the Canadian Forces, then refurbished and upgraded to D-standard. The other aircraft were acquired new in 1998/9. All transport helicopters are based at Soesterberg. The CH-47Ds with 298 Squadron and the Cougars with 300 Squadron support the Netherlands Air Mobility Brigade. Remaining F27s are configured for maritime patrol and are operated by 336 Squadron as the air force for the Netherlands Antilles, although this unit will disappear if the 1999 defence study is unchanged. AB412s for SAR are based at Leeuwarden with 303 Squadron. Aircrew training was restructured in 1989. Students receive their elementary training at Woensdrecht on PC-7 Turbo-Trainers. Subsequent fast-jet and helicopter elementary pilot training is in the USA with type conversion in the Netherlands.

Type No Role

F-16A/A(R)/B 108/21 int/attack/rec/trng

AH-64A Apache 12 † anti-tank

NAH-64D Apache 30* anti-tank

AS352U2 Cougar 17 utility/trans

Bell 412SP 3 SAR

BO105CB/DB 26/1 AOP/liaison

C-130H-30 Hercules 2 trans

CH-47D Chinook 13 trans

F27-200MPA Friendship 2 MP/SAR

F50U 2 trans

F60U 4 trans

Gulfstream IV 1 trans

KDC-10A Extender 2 tanker/trans

PC-7 Turbo-Trainer 13 trng

SE3160 Alouette III 9 AOP/liaison

† leased pending arrival of NAH-64D



The Dutch navy's air service has four squadrons. 320 and 321 at Valkenberg operate P-3C Orions, while 7 and 860 Squadrons operate SH-14D Lynxes from de Kooy. The Lynxes have been upgraded and embark at sea aboard the navy's frigates in an ASW role. When shore-based at de Kooy they have SAR and utility duties.

They will be replaced by the NH90 from 2007. The navy is also planning a "capability upkeep programme" for its P-3Cs. The two training types are civilian registered and leased rather than purchased. If the 1999 defence study is accepted without change, the navy will lose three P-3Cs and three aircraft instead of two will deploy to Curacao.

Type No Role

P-3C-II Orion 13 MR/SAR

Super King Air 200 1 trng

Schweizer 330 2 trng

SH-14D Lynx 22 ASW/SAR/utility

NF90 NFH 30†  ASW/SAR/utility

† requirement




The RNZAF is to lease 28 F-16s from the USA to replace its ageing, albeit recently upgraded, A-4 Skyhawks. The 10-year deal should save the RNZAF money compared with operating the A-4 and will also provide additional capabilities as they will be delivered with ECM pods, Israeli-developed Litening laser targeting pods and PGMs. The opposition party expected to win elections in late 1999 has promised to cancel the lease.

The RNZAF consists of seven operational squadrons in the attack, maritime patrol, transport and flying-training roles under the command of Air Command in Auckland. The Air Force Headquarters is in Wellington. Six Skyhawks are assigned to 2 Squadron, located at Royal Australian Naval Station, Nowra, New South Wales. This squadron works with the RAN in the maritime strike and air defence roles. The remainder of the Skyhawk fleet is operated in New Zealand, with 75 Squadron at Ohakea. Also at Ohakea is 14 Squadron with 17 MB339CBs which are used for advanced pilot training and lead-in training for the Skyhawk. During 1998 13 leased CT4E Airtrainers replaced 15 CT/4B Airtrainers at the Flying Training Wing at Ohakea. The aircraft are shared with the Central Flying School. P-3 Orions of 5 Squadron at RNZAF Base Auckland are to receive airframe reconditioning and new wings from 2000 as "Project Kestrel". Raytheon will update the P-3s under the Project Sirius programme which includes updates to the data management system and sensor suite, keeping the aircraft in service until 2020.

RNZAF Base Auckland is home to 12 of 3 Squadron's UH-1H Iroquois used for support to the Army and SAR; two others are based at Christchurch. The squadron also provides rotary-wing conversion training with five Bell 47 Sioux and supports the four naval SeaSprite helicopters. 40 Squadron at Auckland operates five C-130 Hercules in the tactical and strategic transport roles and two Boeing 727-22QC as strategic-transport/VIP aircraft. These are due to be replaced, re-engined or hushkitted because of noise regulations which come into force in 2002. "Project Delphi" will give the C-130 Hercules self protection equipment and will be implemented in 1999-2000.

The RNZAF placed five options for the C-130J as part of the Royal Australian Air Force's order. It has until 2000 to convert the options to orders, but price will be based on the larger RAAF order. Auckland is also home to 42 Squadron, which operates three King Air B200 for multi-engined pilot conversion. An invitation to tender has been issued for a Sioux replacement with the first aircraft to enter service in 2001.

Type No Role

F-16A/B 28 attack/int

A-4K/TA-4K Skyhawk 13/6 attack/int

MB399CB 17 trng/attack

CT4E Airtrainer 13 trng

P-3K Orion 6 MR/ASW

C-130H/C-130J† Hercules 5/5 trans

Boeing 727-22QC 2 trans/VIP

King Air B200 3 trng

UH-1H Iroquois 14 trans/SAR

Bell 47GB-2 5 trng

† on option as part of a Royal Australian Air Force order



The RNZN selected the SH-2G in 1997 as its future naval helicopter. It operates four SH-2F SeaSprites, which deploy aboard the navy's frigates, as an interim measure. The SH-2Gs are due for delivery in 2000; a fifth SH-2G was ordered in 1999.




Nicaragua fell victim to civil war from the late 1970s to the late 1980s. In the 1980s the air force of the ruling regime was called the Sandinista Revolutionary Air Wing, and was retained until 1996. The left-wing Sandinistas received military aid from Eastern Bloc countries. During this time it operated Mi-2s, Mi-8s, Mi-24s and L-39 Albatros armed trainers. After the 1990 election and change of government, most of the Soviet-built equipment was sold. The resulting smaller air force has a small attack helicopter force via its armed Mi-17 Hips but is principally a transport force. The aircraft are divided between a transport, a helicopter and a training unit, all at the capital's international airport.

Type No Role

Mi-17 Hip 14 trans/attack

An-2 Colt 2 trans

An-26 Curl 4 trans

Cessna 172 2 trng

Cessna 180 1 trng

Cessna 404 1 comms/trng

Cessna U-17 2 comms




Niger's air element is a military transport force with no combat capability and no helicopters. The force is based at the capital, Niamey. The 737 is VIP- configured for use by the president and senior government officials. The An-26 was acquired to replace a Hercules which crashed on approach to Niamey in April 1997 and was destroyed.

Type No Role

C-130H Hercules 1 trans

An-26 Curl 1 trans

Boeing 737-200 1 VIP

Dornier 28D 1 comms

Dornier 228 1 comms




Nigeria's military government has been committed to building its defence forces for a number of years and the air force is one of the largest in west Africa. Large ambitions and a small budget have caused problems, particularly with combat aircraft serviceability, especially the Jaguars, MiG-21s and the armed BO105 helicopters. In 1999 the air force announced it would sell its Jaguars, MiG-21s and G222s to raise money for re-equipment. The G222s have been on the disposal list before - along with MB339s - and ownership of the Jaguars is disputed as they are understood to be largely unpaid for. Replacement equipment may come from China as the last military president, General Abubakar, had strong ties with Beijing during the reign of his predecessor, General Abacha, who died in office in June 1998.

Aircraft unserviceability means the burden of Nigeria's participation in ECOMOG operations in Sierra Leone has fallen on the Alpha Jet fleet.

The Air Beetle is a kit-built aircraft based on the Vans RV-6A. Manufacturing of the aircraft from kits was set up in Nigeria using local labour. The Nigerian Air Force training school is based at Kaduna alongside support squadrons flying helicopters and light transports. The Hercules and G222s are operated from Lagos and the combat squadrons are located at Maiduguri, Kano and Makurdi.

Type No Role

Jaguar SN/BN 12/3 strike/recce

MiG-21MF/U Fishbed 12/4 int/attack/trng

Alpha Jet 18 attack/trng

L-39MS Albatros 18 attack/trng

MB339AN 12 trng

C-130H/H-30 Hercules 5/3 trans

G222 5 trans

Dornier 28D 15 trans

Dornier 228 13 trans/VIP

Dornier 128-6 18 utility

SA330 Puma 2 VIP/trans

AS332 Super Puma 4 trans

BO105D 15 attack/utility

AIEP Air Beetle T18 60†   trng

Hughes 300C 14 trng

727-200Adv 1 pres flt

125-1000 1 pres flt

Citation II 1 pres flt

Falcon 900 2 pres flt

Gulfstream II 1 pres flt

Gulfstream IV 1 pres flt

† number of kits delivered, not necessarily constructed



No 101 Squadron of the embryo Nigerian Navy Air Arm operates two Westland Lynx Mk89 ASW helicopters from the German-built Meko-class frigate. Shore-based at Ojo.




Despite a depressed economy, North Korea continues to devote a large part of its budget to defence. Its air force operates only two current generation combat aircraft, 30 MiG-29s in a single air defence regiment and a ground attack unit with 36 Su-25s. Both types were received in 1988. Ten more MiG-29s arrived in North Korea from Russia. The air force makes up in quantity what it lacks in quality and modern equipment. In 1999 it boosted the size and serviceability of its MiG-21 fleet by acquiring around 40 MiG-21s from Kazakhstan. The older MiGs, Shenyang copies, Fitters and A-5 Fantans are dispersed among 13 regiments which typically operate 30-35 aircraft each; H-5s equip three regiments. A large helicopter air assault force is spearheaded by Mi-24s but hamstrung by limited numbers of even relatively modern transport helicopters. Russian customs officials intercepted eight Mi-8s on the North Korean border in October 1998.

Doctrine is based on that of the Soviet Air Force. North Korea does have a significant surface-to-surface missile (SSM) force, principally 1,000km-range No-Dongs. In August 1998 North Korea launched a multistage rocket which it claimed was a satellite launch vehicle but which clearly has thepotential to become a long-range SSM. North Korea spent most of 1999 threatening to repeat the test.

Type No Role

Harbin H-5 (Il-28 Beagle) 80 bomber

MiG-23ML/U Flogger 46/10 int/trng

MiG-29A/U Fulcrum 35/5 int/trng

MiG-21PF/PFM/U Fishbed 160/30 int/trng

Shenyang F-7 40 int

Shenyang F-6 (MiG-19) 120 FGA/int

Shenyang F-5/FT-5 (MiG-17) 110/25 A/int/trng

Su-7BMK Fitter 18 FGA

Su-25k/UBK Frogfoot 36 FGA

Nanchang A-5 Fantan 40 FGA

Mi-24 Hind 50 attack

Mi-14PL Haze 10 ASW

An-24 Coke 6 trans

Il-14 Crate 5 trans

Il-76 Candid 3 trans

Il-18D Coot 2 trans/VIP

Il-62M Classic 4 trans/VIP

Tu-134 Crusty 2 trans

Tu-154B Careless 4 trans/VIP

Y-5/An-2 Colt 120/162 trans

Hughes 500D/E 80/6 trans

Mi-2 Hoplite 140 trans

Mi-8/17 Hip 15 trans

Z-5 (Mi-4 Hound) 48 trans

CJ-5 10 trng

CJ-6 (Yak-18) 170 trng

FT-2 (MiG-15UTI) 30 trng

L-39 Albatros 12 trng




The RNoAF has two major procurement programmes. The first is for up to 30 advanced fighters, either Eurofighter Typhoons, F-16 Block 50s or F-16 Block 60s. A decision is due in early 2000. The second requirement is for a naval helicopter to replace Lynxes. Norway is one of the four Nordic Standard Helicopter Programme nations, but the Lynx is smaller than the other three nations need and a NSHP may be too big to land on Norway's frigates and corvettes. The NHSP could replace Bell 412s at a later date.

The RNoAF is one of the four European nations putting its F-16s through a joint mid-life upgrade programme. It has four F-16 squadrons: 331 and 334 at Bodo, 332 at Rygge and 338 at Orland. These are supported by 336 Squadron with F-5s at Rygge. The F-16s are primarily air defence assets for which they are armed with AIM-9 Sidewinders and AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile. However, they have a secondary role in "anti-sea invasion in coastal areas" role for which they are compatible with the Penguin Mk 3 anti-ship missile. The F-5s are tasked with air defence and ground attack and also act as lead-in trainers for the F-16s. P-3C Orions have been in service with the Norwegian air force since 1989 when they replaced earlier P-3B. Two of the earlier P-3s were modified to P-3N standards by removing the submarine-hunting equipment and replacing it with sea surveillance, environmental patrol sensors. All the P-3s are operated by 333 Squadron at Andoya. Other maritime assets include Lynxes and Sea Kings. The latter equip 330 Squadron, which is headquartered at Bodo but which maintains detachments the length of Norway for SAR operations. The fleet was upgraded between 1989 and 1995 with an additional nose-mounted radar, improved navigation systems and a FLIR.

The Lynxes are operated by Bardufoss based 337 Squadron. Its role is to support the coast guard (Kystvakt); the helicopters deploy to the coastguard's Arctic bases and aboard its offshore patrol vessels. C-130 Hercules are operated by 335 Squadron based at Oslo's Gardermoen airport. The air force is split into two commands. Squadrons based at Andoya, Bardufoss and Bodo are controlled by the northern command while the remainder are the responsibility of southern command. Norway has expressed an interest in replacing its C-130Hs on a one-for-one basis with C-130Js.

Type No Role

F-16A/B Fighting Falcon 47/11 int/attack/trng

F-5A/B Tiger 15 AD/EW/aggr trng

P-3C/N Orion 4/2 ASW/SAR/EEZ

C-130H Hercules 6 trans

DHC-6 Twin Otter 3 trans/SAR

Saab MFI-15 Safir 16 trng

Sea King Mk 43B 12 SAR

Bell 412SP 18 utility

Lynx Mk86 6 coastal patrol

Falcon 20 3 EW




The RAFO initiated a Jaguar upgrade programme in late 1997. The aircraft will be brought up to the UK RAF's Jaguar 97 standard. This includes revised avionics and navigation equipment as well as compatibility with the Marconi Thermal Imaging Airborne Laser Designator pod, Alarm anti-radiation missiles and the ASRAAM short-range air-to-air missile, although Oman has not ordered any of these weapons. Oman did consider either the Saab Gripen or used F-16s before settling on the modification programme which will keep the Jaguars in service until at least 2005. The Jaguars equip 8 Squadron at Thumrait. Other combat types include the single seat Hawk 200 and tandem-seat Hawk 100 which are operated by 6 Squadron from Al Masirah and 1 Squadron's co-located Strikemasters. This unit doubles as the training school and is also equipped with Mushshaks (Pakistan-built Saab MFI-17s) Bravos and Super Falke motorised gliders.

Three of the Skyvans have been modified for coastal patrol and SAR duties and these, along with the transport versions, are operated by 2 Squadron from Seeb. A paramilitary police force operates two CN235s, 228-100s, a BN-2T Islander, six Bell 214STs and three Bell 205As on utility duties.

Type No Role

Jaguar S/B 18/4 attack/trng

Hawk 203/103 12/4 int/FGA/trng

Strikemaster 82/82A 12 trng/COIN

C-130H Hercules 3 trans

PAC Mushshak 7 trng

Skyvan 3M 15/3 patrol/trans

One-Eleven 475 3 trans

747SP 2 Royal Flt

Gulfstream IV 2 Royal Flt

AS330J Puma 3 Royal Flt

AS332C/L1 Super Puma 5 Royal Flt

Bell 214B 5 trans

Bell 206B JetRanger 3 trans

AB205A 20 trans

AB212 3 trans/VIP

AS202 Bravo 4 trng

Super Falke 2 trng




Pakistan's nuclear test in May 1998 triggered an arms export ban to add to the country's arms buying problems. Its incursion into Indian Kashmir in 1999 and the military overthrow of the civilian government in 1999 has not helped the country's cause. Delivery of the last 28 of 71 F-16s ordered were blocked by the USA because of earlier concerns about Pakistan's nuclear programme. These will now never be delivered, the deposit has been returned and the aircraft are to be leased to New Zealand. France temporally suspended delivery of 40 used Mirage IIIs and Vs because of the 1999 border war with India. It delivered eight aircraft in April while the second batch of eight did not arrive until October 1999. China has become Pakistan's principal arms supplier and the two countries finally agreed to the 50:50 joint development of the FC-1/Super 7 fighter in 1999. Pakistan wants up to 150 aircraft. The two countries have also co-operated in development of the K-8 Karakorum trainers. Eight from a requirement have been delivered but production has been delayed because the Chinese air force has not accepted the aircraft with a western engine.

Pakistan has made a habit of buying up surplus Mirage IIIs, receiving a batch in 1996-8 and taking Australia's Mirage IIIOs when that country replaced the delta fighter with the F/A-18. Many of the Mirages will receive locally designed upgrades that include avionics similar to those earmarked for the FC-1. A deal for 50 F-7MGs to replace the remaining F-6s is planned. It has also discussed the purchase of up to 40 Mirage 2000-5s, but economic problems prevent such a deal.

The chain of command splits the air force into three regional commands: Northern at Peshawar, Central at Sargodha and Southern at Sharea Faisal. Direct reporting units include a transport wing with three squadrons, one operating the Hercules while the other two have mixed fleets; and the Air Force Academy at Risalpur. Each of the commands is sub-divided into wings, each of which is allocated to a single base. A wing has three or four squadrons.

Type No Role

F-16A/B Fighting Falcon 26/11 int/attack/trng

Chengdu F-7M/P/FT-7 20/75/14 int/trng

Nanchang A-5 Fantan 60 attack

Shenyang F-6/FT-6 (MiG-19) 80/15 int/FGA/trng

Mirage IIIEP/B 15/6 int/trng

Mirage IIIRP/DP 12/3 recce/trng

Mirage IIIO/OD 45 int

Mirage VPA/VDPA 28/2 FGA/trng

Mirage VPA-2/VDPA-2 30/2 FGA/trng

Mirage VEF/VDF 10/34* FGA

Shenyang FT-5 (MiG-17) 30 trng

Shenyang FT-2 (MiG-15UTI) 6 trng

T-33A/RT-33A 10 trng

T-37B Tweet 44 trng

MFI-17B Mushshak 38 trng

K-8 Karakoram 8 trng

707-320 2 trans/VIP

C-130B/E/L-100-20 7/3/1 trans

F27 Friendship 200 2 VIP

Falcon 20E/EW 1/2 VIP/EW

Harbin Y-12 (II) 2 trans

Beech Baron/Travel Air 1/1 liaison

Commander 680 1 liaison

Twin Bonanza 1 liaison

PA-34 Seneca II 2 liaison/VIP

Cessna 172N 4 liaison

SA316B/SA319 Alouette III 12/6 liaison/SAR

SA315B Lama 12 liaison/SAR



The Pakistan navy has five squadrons based at Mehran. The Lynx and Alouette IIIs are regularly carried on the navy's frigates and destroyers. The Exocet-armed Sea Kings are too large for the flight decks and are shore-based. The Atlantic squadron, No 29, was originally an air force unit before being transferred to the navy. Orion deliveries were delayed by the US embargo that blocked delivery of air force F-16s. The navy lost an Atlantic and an Orion in 1999. The former was shot down by the Indian air force as it flew close to the border, killing all on board. The Orion crashed with 21 on board in October 1999.

Type No Role

P-3C Orion 2 MR/ASW

Atlantic 1 3 MR/ASW

BN-2T Defender 2 EEZ patrol

Sea King 45 6 ASW/ASuW


F-27-200/400 3/2 trans

Alouette III 8 liaison



The Pakistan army's AH-1F Cobras were delivered from 1984 onwards. They are in service with 31 and 32 Squadrons which both also operate JetRangers in the observation role. The Cobras are armed with the TOW missile and have suffered from an arms embargo from the USA like the air force's F-16s. Most of the remaining army fleet are fixed wing observation/liaison types. The Mushshak is a locally built Saab MFI-17 Supporter.

Type No Role

AH-1F Cobra 20 anti-tank

SA330J Puma 25 trans

Mi-8/17 Hip 10/17 trans

Bell 205/UH-1H Iroquois 5/5 trans

Y-12(II) 2 trans

Bell 206B JetRanger 28 trans/trng

SA316B Alouette III 24 comms

SA315B Lama 15 comms/SAR

MFI-17 Mushshak 115 AOP/trng

O-1E Bird Dog 30 AOP/liaison

Commander 840/SMA 1/1 comms/survey

Cessna 421 1 comms

Schweizer 300 10 trng

Bell 47G 12 trng/liaison




The air force was established to provide transport for government officials and the fledgling security forces. It has a single Lockheed JetStar and four Mi-8/17 Hips.




Panama's national air service is the remnants of the air force which existed before the 1989 invasion by the USA. It is now essentially a military transport service. Five of the UH-1Hs were acquired from Taiwan in 1997. The aircraft are nominally operated by four squadrons: maritime patrol, transport, helicopters and training. All are based at Tocumen International Airport, but also use the Panama City airport. The USA is withdrawing from the Canal Zone and is due to hand over all its bases by the end of 1999.

Type No Role

CN235M 1 patrol/trans

C212-200/300 2/3 trans

BN-2A Islander 1 trans

727 1 VIP

PA-31T Turbo Cheyenne 1 comms

PA-34 Seneca 1 comms

Bell 205 2 trans

Bell UH-1H 13 trans

Bell 212 8 trans

T-35D Pillan 8 trng




Papua New Guinea was hit by a tidal wave in July 1998, followed by political unrest after it emerged that the government had hired military advisers to quell a civil war on the Papua New Guinea-administrated island of Bougainville. The air force supported rescue missions, aided by Australian forces. The PNGDF is tasked with transport and surveillance. The Nomads are equipped with Searchwater search radar and are used for coastal patrol. The other types are used for transport and surveillance of the border with Irian Jaya. UH-1Hs were donated by the Australian Government while Indonesia donated the NBO-105 in 1999.

Type No Role

N22B Nomad/N22SB 3/1 trans/patrol

Arava 3 trans/patrol

CN235M 2 trans

UH-1H Iroquois 4 trans

NBO-105 1 trans




F-5 Tigers were donated by Taiwan and arrived in 1998. They replaced elderly AT-33s and supplement armed Xavantes and a few Tucanos which are the combat element of the air force. The UH-1Hs came from the same source as the F-5s. Most aircraft operate from either Asuncion's international airport or the armed forces' main base within the city Campo Grande. The airport is also the base for Transporte Aereo Militar, or TAM, the country's military-run airline. The fighters are split between three squadrons named, rather than numbered, each containing two flights. The AT-33s/F-5 Squadron is based at Concepci—n in the centre of Paraguay; the EMB326s are at Ciudad del Este on the Brazilian border and the Tucanos are at the international airport.

Type No Role

F-5E/F Tiger 10/2 int/attack

A109HO 1 trans

EMB326 Xavante 5 COIN/int

T-27 Tucano 4 COIN

C-47 Dakota 3 trans

C212-200 Aviocar 4 trans

Cessna 185 1 comms

Cessna 206/210 6/2 comms

Cessna 402 2 comms

Cessna T-41D Mescalero 1 comms

DHC-6 Twin Otter 1 comms

PZL104 Wilga 2 comms

Baron 1 comms

King Air 1 comms

707-320 1 VIP

Citation II 1 VIP

HB350B Esquilo (Ecureuil) 2 liaison

UH-1B/H Iroquois 3/2 trans

AT-6 Harvard 2 trng

T-35A/B Pillan 8/4 trng

A122 Uirapuru 3 trng



Although Paraguay is a land-locked country, it has a navy that patrols the Paraguay River. An aviation component flies river patrol and liaison missions. The helicopters operate from river patrol vessels.

Type No Role

Cessna 210 Centurion 1 comms/patrol

Cessna 310 2 comms/patrol

Cessna 401 1 comms/patrol

HB350B Esquilo 2 comms/patrol

UH-12E Raven 1 comms/patrol

Cessna 150 2 trng

OH-13H Sioux 1 trng




Peru and Ecuador fought a short undeclared border war in 1995 which caused the former to go on a spending spree. The same year it acquired MiG-29s and Su-25s from Belarus, but support and maintainability were difficult after Russia's refusal to sell spares as the aircraft were not bought from the manufacturer. The issue was solved by acquiring three further MiG-29s from the manufacturer in 1998 in a deal that included support for the initial aircraft. MiG-29s have replaced Canberras and older Fitters. Peru was the first South American country to receive Soviet equipment when it bought Su-20s, An-26s, Mi-6s, and Mi-8s in 1976. An-32s superseded An-26s in 1987. The Mi-24 Hinds were acquired from El Salvador in 1983. In 1999 it took delivery of six Il-103 light aircraft for training.

The air force chain of command has 10 wings and a presidential flight. Wings are subdivided into squadrons, although some have only a single subordinate unit. Transport assets, both fixed and rotary wing, are based at Lima Callao, which is shared with the navy and army air elements. Combat aircraft are stationed at five airbases, mainly on the coast. Bomber Squadrons 411 and 412 equipped with the Su-22 and Mirage 2000 respectively are based at La Joya, south of Lima; Mirage 5s are at Chiclayo in the north while further up the coast is Piura, where a squadron of AT-37s is based. Su-20s are at Talara. The assault helicopters, Hips and Hinds, are based at Arequipa in the south. A STOL transport unit with Twin Otters, Turbo-Porters and Y-12s is based at Iquitos. Training units and the survey/calibration configured business jets are based at Lima-Las Palmas.

Type No Role

MiG-29C/U Fulcrum 19/2 int/attack/trng

Su-25 Frogfoot 18 attack

Canberra B(I)12/68/T4/T54 4/8/1/2 attack/trng

Mirage 2000P/DP 10/2 int/attack/trng

Mirage 5P/DP 12/3 int/attack/trng

Mi-6 Hook 5 trans

Mi-8/17 Hip 3/35 trans

Mi-24/25 Hind 10 attack.

Su-20/22M/22U Fitter 20/12/7 attack/trng

A-37B Dragonfly 23 COIN

An-32 Cline 18 trans

An-74 Coaler 2 trans

C-130A/L-100-20 Hercules 2/5 trans

DC8-62CF 2 trans

Bell 412 2 trans

UH-1H Iroquois 10 trans

Bell 212/214ST 10/5 trans

BO105C 10 trans

Boeing 707-323C 1 tanker-trans

Boeing 737-500 1 pres flt

F28-1000 Fellowship 1 pres flt

Falcon 20F 1 pres flt

Queen Air A80 1 comms

Super King Air 1 comms

Cessna 185 3 comms

PA-34 Seneca 1 comms

DHC-6 Twin Otter 6 trans

Y-12(II) 5 trans

PC-6/B Porter 9 trans

Learjet 25B/36A 2/2 survey/calib

Cessna 150 2 trng

T-41A/D Mescalero 15 trng

EMB312 Tucano 25 trng

AS350B Ecureuil 3 trng

Il-103 6 trng



Peru's small naval air arm is predominately equipped for maritime patrol with both helicopter and fixed wing ASW/ASuW equipment. All four squadrons are based at Lima Callao alongside army and air force units. The navy has a single helicopter cruiser which is large enough to embark the Sea Kings while the AB212ASW deploy aboard guided-missile frigates. Elderly S-2E Trackers have been retired in recent years, leaving the fixed wing squadron equipped with the maritime patrol configured F27 Friendships as well as Super King Airs and Bandeirantes. Three helicopter types are grouped in a single squadron while the transports form a distinct unit with the T-34 equipped training school completing the order of battle.

Type No Role

Super King Air B200T 5 MR/trans

EMB-111 Bandeirante 3 MR

F-27-200 Friendship 2 MR


AS-61D Sea King 6 ASuW/ASW

An-32 Cline 2 trans

Mi-8 Hip 3 trans

EMB-120 Brasilia 1 comms

T-34C Turbo Mentor 5 trng



The Peruvian army air arm is principally a transport force, although the Agusta A109K can be armed. It operates the largest helicopter available, the Mi-26 Halo, but it is not clear if the type has replaced the older, and difficult to maintain, Mi-6 Hook. The bulk of air transport duties fall to the An-32s which were delivered in 1991. Although army aviation is based in Lima, detachments operate around the country, usually attached to army barracks. Peru is considering a buy of 8-10 attack helicopters and is reviewing the MH-1W multi-role development of the AH-1W, the A129, Tiger and Rooivalk.

Type No Role

A109K 12 trans/attack

An-32 Cline 3 trans

Queen Air 65 1 VIP

Cessna 337 1 comms

U-10A Courier 5 comms

Cessna U-17A 5 comms

Cessna 150 1 comms

Cessna 206 2 comms

Mi-6 Hook 2 heavylift

Mi-26 Halo 3 heavylift

Mi-8/17 Hip 26/13 trans

SA316B Alouette III 5 AOP

SA315B Lama 7 AOP/trng

Bell 412 2 comms

Enstrom F28 Falcon 7 comms/trng




The Philippine air force's desire to replace its F-5s with newer equipment is in abeyance because of the region's economic crisis. In 1996, shortly before the downturn, the Philippines had started to increase its defence budget massively, which was traditionally one of the smallest in the region. The 15-year plan was triggered by the withdrawal of US forces and Chinese encroachment of the Spratly Islands. President Joseph Estrada, elected in mid-1998, quashed an interim fighter solution based on ex-Kuwaiti air force A-4 Skyhawks and up to 24 USAF-surplus F-16s plus the Pakistan air force's embargoed ones. The PAF is seeking 12 fighters with 12 options; contenders include the Mirage 2000-5, F/A-18, F-16C/D, Kfir 2000, MiG-29 and Gripen. The F-5s are ex-South Korean aircraft purchased for a nominal sum in 1997. The air force has been searching for second-hand aircraft and has been linked to New Zealand's soon-to- be surplus A-4s, which received a modest upgrade in the early 1990s, and at F-5Es which may become available in Taiwan.

Two of the C-130Bs were a gift from the USA in 1998 but were grounded in October 1999 because the air force did not have the money for maintenance. PAF also has a requirement for six new long-range maritime patrol aircraft to replace elderly F27s. The competition was initiated in 1997 with the P-3C Orion and CN235MPA being the lead contenders. The type will be used to patrol the economic exclusion zone around the archipelago. One consideration will be the winning type's suitability to fill other requirements including light transport (three aircraft), airborne early warning and control (one) and electronic warfare duties (two). It has yet another requirement for 12 light attack aircraft; suitable types include the AMX and Hawk. The winner could also replace the F-5, which will be relegated to lead-in fighter duties and receive a modest structural upgrade and life extension once a fighter competition winner is selected, as well as the S211 trainers. Its basic trainers have been modified with an Allison C250 turboprop being installed in place of the piston engine. The air force command chain divides the aircraft between six wings based at five air bases. The F-5s are operated by 5th Fighter Wing based at Basa AB at Pampanga, north of Manila. The 15th Strike Wing at Sangley Point AB, Cavite, operates the OV-10As. The 205th Tactical Operations Wing is equipped with the Bell 205s and UH-1s and is based alongside the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing with its Bell 412s, single S-76 and F28 at Villamor AB in Manila. Macan AB near Cebu is home to the 220th Airlift Wing.

Type No Role

F-5A/B 8/2 int/trng

OV-10C Bronco 23 COIN

S211 19 trng

SF260TP/M/W 18/17 trng/COIN

Cessna T-41D Mescalero 10 trng/recce

F27-200MPA/F27-200 1/7 MR/trans

Fokker F28 1 VIP

C-130B/H/L100 7/2/2 trans

N22B/N22SL Nomad 9/4 trans/MR

AUH-76 (S-76) 10 SAR/trans/COIN


SA330L 1 trans

S-70A-5 1 trans/VIP

Bell 412 4 VIP/utility

UH-1H/205 69 utility



The Philippines' navy operates a small fleet based with air force units at Sangley Point. Nine Islanders and eight BO105s operate in a utility role, carrying out SAR, transport and communications duties. The helicopters do not embark at sea but several of the navy's ships have platforms. In 1997 it started a competition for ASW/ASuW helicopters to supplement the navy's new surface fleet planned under the 15-year defence project. Candidates include a maritime version of the Bell 412, the AS365 Dauphin and the LHTEC T800-powered Super Lynx.




Poland joined NATO in April 1999. This has driven the air force's procurement programmes, the largest of which is for a new fighter to replace its MiG-21s and MiG-23s. The eventual requirement is seen as 40-60 aircraft with the F-16C/D, F/A-18E/F, Mirage 2000, Gripen or Eurofighter Typhoon in the running. Bidders have offered Interim solutions based on leased F-16A/Bs, F/A-18A/Bs or Swedish air force Gripens. Dasa is offering more MiG-29s until the Typhoon is available. A 1996 decision will reduce aircraft numbers by about one-third and personnel by one-fifth over 10 years. The Polish air force received its first 13 Fulcrums in 1989 when still part of the Eastern Bloc and acquired the Czech Republic's fleet in 1995/6. These and its Su-22s are receiving upgrades to make them compatible with NATO operations, including radios and IFF equipment.

Poland also needs to replace An-26 transports. Likely candidates for the 12 aircraft order are the CASA CN235 and Alenia G222, while Lockheed Martin could offer a combination of the C-130J and C-27J. Although the Polish air force has examples of the I-22/M-93/M-96 Iryda they are grounded as the type has suffered a host of problems. The government stepped in at the last minute to stop the air force buying ex-Luftwaffe Alpha Jets in 1995. British Aerospace and Aero Vodochody are offering the Hawk and L-159 respectively and are discussing licence production, which would fill the factories left empty by the collapse of the Iryda programme. An RFI was issued for VIP transports in 1999 which is split into two components, one for long-range aircraft such as the Boeing Business Jet or Airbus A319CJ and the second for smaller aircraft such as the Challenger, Gulfstream IVSP and Hawker 1000. A basic training helicopter is also needed.

The air force is split between two corps, one controlling the north from its headquarters in Bydgoszcz and a southern corps based in Wroclaw.

Type No Role

MiG-29A/UB Fulcrum 18/4 int/trng

MiG-23MF/UM Flogger 20/7 int/trng

MiG-21PFM/M/MF/bis/ UM/US/R Fishbed 178 int//recce/trng

Su-22M4/UM3 Fitter 81/18 recce/attack/trng

An-26 Curl 10 trans

An-28 Cash 2 trans

Tu-154M Careless 2 VIP

Yak-40 Codling 13 VIP/trans

Mi-8 Hip 8 trans

Bell 412HP 1 trans

Mi-2 Hoplite 81 trans/trng

An-2 Colt 26 trans

TS-11 Iskra 60 trng

W-3 Sokol 18 trng

M-93 Iryda 11 † trng

PZL-130 Turbo-Orlik 32 † trng

† Final number depends on outcome of "Basic Training New Concept" discussions.



The land-based Polish naval air arm has a fixed-wing air defence and ground attack capability as well as transport and SAR duties tailored for the confined waters of the Baltic. Number 1 Air Squadron, 42 Technical Squadron and 3 Support Battalion are based at Gdynia-Babie Doly. The air squadron is split into four flights. A and B flights operate the MiG-21bis, the two seat MiG-21UM and some TS-11s. C flight operates W-3RM Anakonda helicopters for SAR and W-3 Sokol and An-28 for transport and utility duties. Darlowo is home to 2 Air Squadron and 4 Support Battalion. The air squadron is equipped with Mi-14PL Haze anti-submarine helicopters as well as the Mi-14PS and Mi-2RM SAR rotorcraft. The navy's third air station is at Siemirowice where 3 Air Squadron and 5 Support Battalion are based. The air squadron is equipped with trainer and reconnaissance versions of the TS-11 Iskra as well as An-28RM which are equipped for SAR patrol, and An-2 transports.

Technical squadrons perform maintenance and overhaul while the support battalions are responsible for logistics, communications and flight safety. The Mi-14PL received an upgrade in 1995/7 which concentrated on improving the type's submarine detection capabilities. Simultaneously with the Mi-14PL the SAR Mi-14PS received GPS navigation equipment and new radios. Further changes are planned, including refinement of the magnetic systems of the ASW type and the IFF on both types.

Type No Role

MiG-21bis/UM Fishbed 22/5 int/attack/trng

TS-11/R Iskra 12/6 trng/recce

An-28/RM Cash 3/2 trans/SAR

An-2 Colt 5 trans

Mi-14 PL/PS Haze 10/3 ASW/SAR

Mi-2RM Hoplite 6 trans

W-3 Sokol/W-3RM Anakonda 4/2 trans/SAR



 Poland's army aviation was created by transferring units from the air force after 1995. Eighteen of the Mi-24 Hinds were acquired from Germany after reunification. Two units operate Hinds: 49th Combat Helicopter Regiment at Pruszcz Gdanski and 56th Combat Helicopter Regiment at Inowroclaw. Both units also operate Mi-2 in the armed scout role. In 1998 the air force transferred its single W-3 Sokol unit, 47 Helicopter School at Nowe Miasto, to the army, which has renamed it 3 Dragoon Regiment and transferred it to Radom. It, along with a single Mi-8/17 assault transport squadron, 1 Cavalry Regiment, and another W-3 Sokol scout unit, 2 Hussar Regiment, are subordinate to the 25 Air Cavalry Division. The latter two units have also been transferred from the air force. A plan to acquire 100 armed W-3 helicopters was scrapped in December 1998 because of difficulties integrating the Rafael NT-D anti-tank missile and Elbit sensors. A new RFI drew responses based on the A129, AH-64, AH-1Z and Tiger, although the Polish army will not be able to afford 100 examples of these types.

Type No Role

Mi-24D/V Hind 32/15 attack

Mi-8/17 Hip 35/3 trans

Mi-2/URP/URN Hoplite 32/34/18 trans/attack/cmb sup

W-3W Sokol 16 anti-tank




Portugal received 20 new build F-16A/Bs in 1994/6. These aircraft have features of the Block 15 Operational Capability Upgrade variant and the USAF's F-16ADF which makes the aircraft compatible with the AIM-7 Sparrow beyond visual range air-to-air missile as well as the short range, IR-guided AIM-9 Sidewinder. These will be joined by 20 F-16As and four F-16Bs ordered from USAF surplus stock in December 1998 and due for delivery in 2001-3. All the two-seaters and 16 F-16As will receive structural upgrades, the European Mid-Life Upgrade and improved P&W F100-220E engines. These aircraft signal the beginning of the end for the A-7 Corsair in Portuguese service. The Portuguese air force's other major procurement programme is for 8-12 SAR and fisheries protection helicopters, with the competition between the Cougar, EH101, S-92 and the SH-60.

The air force chain of command consists of five Grupo Operacional which each control a single airbase and its units. The F-16s and A-7s are part of Grupo Operacional 51 at Monte Real: Number 12 at Sintra has four constituent squadrons which operate C212s, Cessna FTB337s and the basic training wing which operates a number of gliders and light aircraft, including six Chipmunks which have been taken out of storage, refurbished and re-engined with 135kW Lycoming engines. Advanced training and light attack duties are performed by Grupo Operacional 111 at Beja, which has four squadrons equipped with Epsilons, Alpha Jets and Alouette IIIs. Grupo Operacional 41 operates a single squadron with C212 transports and Pumas. The larger 61 Grupo Operacional at Montijo has four squadrons, one which operates the Hercules, one with the Falcon business jets, a Puma unit and the P-3 Orion Squadron.

Type No Role

F-16A/B Fighting Falcon 33/7 int/attack

A-7P/TA-7P 28/3 int/attack

Alpha Jet A 50 int/attack

TB30 Epsilon 20 trng

Cessna FTB337G 12 comms/army

C212-100/300 Aviocar 23/2 trans/recce/SAR/ECM/EEZ

C-130H/H-30 Hercules 3/3 trans/SAR

P-3P Orion 5 MP/ASW/SAR

Falcon 20/50 1/3 VIP/trans/calib

SA316B Alouette III 20 utility/trans

SA330C Puma 10 SAR/trans

DHC-1 Chipmunk 6 trng/flt scr



Portugal's navy regained an aviation element in 1993 when its Esquadrilha de Helicopteros de Marinha - or naval helicopter flight - was formed to operate the five Super Lynx Mk95s. They are shore-based at the air force's Montijo airbase and deploy at sea aboard the navy's Vasco da Gama guided missile frigates. Two other classes of frigates and a fleet replenishment vessel also have platforms. The navy requires eight helicopters, so expects to place a further order in the future.



An order for nine Eurocopter EC635s in October 1999 marked the impetus to create a Portuguese army air arm. The aircraft will be delivered in 2001 and the deal includes aid from the French and German armies.




Qatar took delivery of 12 Mirage 2000-5s in 1997/8 and sold its remaining Mirage F1s to Spain, raising funds to partially pay for the Mirage 2000-5s which, unlike earlier members of the -5 family, are qualified for ground attack as well as air defence. The type is operated by 7 Squadron at Al Ghariyeh. This unit forms 1 Fighter Wing at this base with 11 Squadron which operates Alpha Jets. All other units are based at Doha International Airport, including the large VIP fleet and 2 Rotary Wing comprising Gazelle operator 6 Squadron, 8 Squadron with ship-strike Commando Mk 3s and 9 Squadron with Commando Mk 2s for patrol/transport.

Type No Role

Mirage 2000-5EDA/DDA 9/3 int/attack/trng

Alpha Jet 6 attack

SA342L/G Gazelle 12 anti-tank/assault/comms

Commando Mk3/2A 8/4 ASuW/trans

A340-200 1 VIP

707-320 1 VIP

727-200 1 VIP

747SP 1 VIP

Falcon 900 1 VIP

Hawk 100 18* trng




Romania's most ambitious project is the indigenous MiG-21 Lancer upgrade developed in conjunction with Israeli aid: 110 MiG-21s will be updated, 25 optimised for air defence, and 75 for ground attack. The remaining 10 will be trainers. The upgrade includes a new weapon system, navigation system and cockpit, including hands-on-throttle-and-stick controls and a HUD. It also includes an Elta EL/M-2001-B radar in the ground attack and trainer aircraft and the EL/M-2032 in the air defenders. The aircraft is compatible with the Israeli Python 3 short range AAM as well as the Russian R-73/AA-11 Archer AAM. Lancers are to remain in service until 2010. This programme provides some buffer for the air force which seeks funds for around 12 multi-role fighters for service entry by 2001, with a desire for further deliveries by 2004. Israel and Romania are also working on a programme to modify 24 of its licence-built Pumas as anti-tank aircraft with the SOCAT upgrade, which includes electro-optical sensors, a nose-mounted 20mm turreted cannon, integration of Rafael NT-D anti-tank missiles and rocket systems. Romania also wants to add 96 IAR AH-1RO Draculas to its inventory. A version of the AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter, its programme has been stalled by funding difficulties, and Bell's 70% stake in IAR, taken as part of the deal, is in doubt. Elbit was selected to provide the avionics and sensor package. One upgrade which has secured funding is an improvement to 24 IAR-99 Soim trainers, which will receive Israeli avionics in a package similar to that of the MiG-21 Lancer including multifunction displays, HUD, display and sight helmet, defensive aids suite and improved navigation equipment. The type has been in service as an armed trainer since 1988.

Other "new" equipment includes four ex-USAF C-130B Hercules delivered in late 1996. The air force requires tankers and an AEW platform and has been linked to relevant versions of the C-130 in both instances. Some MiG-23s have been retired as airframe hours run out.

The chain of command is split into two air force and air defence corps which split the country along a south west-north east line. Number 1 Corps at Ploesti controls the airbases at Boreea-Fetesti, Constanta, Ianaca, Bacau, Tuzla, Tecuci and Titu. The first four bases are equipped with squadrons of H-5 Beagles, IAR-99 and L-39 armed trainers, MiG-29s and MiG-21s of different vartiants. The remainder operate helicopter squadrons with licence-built Pumas and Alouette IIIs. Number 2 Corps at Timisoara controls the squadrons based at Giarmata, Craiova, Campia Turzii, Caracal-Deveselu, Sibiu, and Caransebes. The first four airbases are equipped with MiG-21s, Oraos and MiG-23s, while the two others operate Pumas and Alouette IIIs. The air force academy is at Brasov and is equipped with various unarmed trainers. An assault/air cavalry unit is based at Alexeni with Mi-8/17s, Pumas and Alouette IIIs.A VIP and transport unit is based at Bucharest.

Type No Role

MiG-29A/UB Fulcrum 15/3 int/trng

MiG-23MF/UM Flogger 24/6 int/trng

MiG-21 Fishbed/Lancer 182 int/attack

Mig-21U Mongol/Lancer 33 trng

IAR93B/PRS1/2/DC Orao 60/14 attack/trng

H-5SC/DC (Il-28) Beagle 10/2 recce/attack/EW

An-2 Colt 17 trans

An-24 Coke 6 trans

An-26 Curl 11 trans

An-30 Clank 3 trans/surv

C-130B Hercules 4 trans

IAR-99 Soim 15†   trng

L-39ZA Albatros 31 trng

IAR-823 36 trng

L-29 Delfin 45 trng

Yak-52 20 trng

IAR316 Alouette III 100 utility/SAR

IAR330H/L Puma 74 trans

Mi-8/17 Hip 24/2 trans

SA365N Dauphin 3 VIP

† more required



The small Romanian naval air is based at Tuzla close to the Black Sea coast. It is equipped with six Mi-14PL Haze anti-submarine helicopters and six licence-built Pumas, also equipped for anti-submarine warfare. Five IAR316 Alouette IIIs are used for light transport and embark aboard the navy's destroyer and frigate fleets.




The decline in Russian military aviation continues. Effectiveness is sapped by ageing aircraft, lack of maintenance, low flying hours because of lack of fuel and almost no new aircraft being delivered. There has been some reform of the air force, but its impact has been relatively small. The service remains plagued by a loss of experienced manpower and procurement programmes in tatters. Russia is struggling to maintain the expertise and ability to produce modern combat aircraft and weapons when the economy can provide funding for it; at present this prospect is remote. At the same time it has been pitched into conflict in breakaway republic Chechnya and has found itself employed by Central Asian CIS republics with their own internal problems.

The MFI (MnogoFunktsionalny Instrebytel) programme for a multirole fighter is still thought to exist, but there appears to have been no meaningful progress. The Sukhoi S-37 Berkut forward-swept wing technology demonstrator flew in September 1997, but the project has stalled after a short test programme. Similarly, the MiG 1.42 prototype multirole fighter prototype remains in a hangar at the LII Flight Test centre at Zhukovsky and will probably never fly, despite a public roll-out in late 1998.

The air force's most realistic hope for a new tactical aircraft is the LFI (Logkiy Frontovoi Istrebityel - light frontal fighter) which Russian designers compare to the Joint Strike Fighter project. So far the project remains at the concept stage with Sukhoi and MiG designs rumoured to exist.

Another critical air force requirement is for tactical and long range strike aircraft. The Sukhoi Su-27IB (also known as Su-34) is on order to replace the Su-24 Fencer, but procurement so far is limited to a handful of aircraft, with no major purchase in the offing. The multirole Su-30 is also in service in small numbers, with India and China taking new airframes. Further purchases for the Russian air force will be greatly reliant on production runs from foreign customers.

The MiG-29SMT/UBT is probably the only new combat aircraft likely to enter service in the short term, with a handful in production. The air force intends to convert around 200-300 of its early model MiG-29s to the new standard to provide a tactical air-to-ground capability supplementing the Sukhoi Su-25.

The defence force (PVO) merged with the air force on 1 March, 1998, bringing the fleet of MiG-31 and Su-27 interceptors and surface to air missiles under a single command. The merged force shed 45% of its combined manpower, a loss of 133,000 men and 580 units.

All force strength figures are approximate. Availability of aircraft to units is probably much lower due to unserviceability and lack of fuel.



The ageing Tu-95MS armed with AS-15 cruise missiles remains the primary long-range strategic bomber asset, with a token force of five Tu-160 Blackjack bombers based at Engels near Saratov operational. Talks on acquiring Ukraine's mothballed Tu-160 fleet look to have been settled with eight remaining of 19 Tu-160s and three of 21 Bears due to fly north by late November 1999.

The air force has a declared requirement for a Tu-95 replacement; designs are reported to be at concept stage, but funding is unlikely to be forthcoming until well into the next decade, if ever. The Tu-22M3 may be upgraded to enable it to remain a credible interim substrategic platform. Total force strength is thought to be around 100 Tu-22Ms and 80 Tu-95s. Tanker support is provided by about 20 Il-78 Midas aircraft.



Frontal Aviation, which is responsible for supporting the ground forces, has been drastically reduced by defence cuts and the retirement of the MiG-23 and MiG-27, Sukhoi Su-17, Su-22, and some MiG-25s. The force is a priority for modernisation, possibly with multirole MiG-29SMTs.

Principal types in service are the Su-24 and Su-25. The Su-24MR is the main reconnaissance asset, with high altitude reconnaissance remaining the preserve of the MiG-25R/RB (around 40-50 aircraft). Similar numbers of MiG-25BMs serve in the defence suppression role with the Kh-58 anti-radar missile.

The Su-27IB and Su-30 are also candidates to replace the Su-24, but production of both continues very slowly and neither type is likely to be in service in unit strength until 2005 at least. About 450 Su-24s and 180 Su-25s are thought to be in service. Frontal Aviation has been active in Chechnya.



The new force is a combination of the former PVO (air defence service) and fighter elements of the air force. It includes fighter, interceptor and airborne early warning and command aircraft. The service also has about 2,000 air defence missile systems.

The force is believed to operate around 300 MiG-31s, 200 Su-27s, 16 Beriev A-50 AEW aircraft and small numbers of MiG-25 interceptors, probably now in storage.

Suggestions of a modernisation package for the MiG-31, either in the shape of the MiG-31M interceptor or a multirole Foxhound derivative, have inched forward in 1999 but have still not resulted in the delivery of modified aircraft.



The VTA is testing the first prototype Antonov An-70 tactical transport, and will accept the first 10 into service as soon as deliveries begin and funding is available. The An-70 will replace the An-12 turboprop, about 250 of which remain in service. The rest of the large transport fleet consists of the An-22 (45), An-124 (25) and Il-76 (250). Also in service are the An-24, An-26, An-32, Il-62, Tu-134 and Tu-154. Some of these should be replaced by the Il-112V, selected in 1999, but without a firm order.



The AVMF operates the most modern fighter in the Russian inventory, the Su-33 (navalised Su-27). Twenty-four are based on the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, which is based at Severomorsk. All fleets have extensive land-based support, with around 330 fixed-wing aircraft and 400 helicopters.

The strike component of naval aviation is headed by about 160 Tu-22M3s. The Tu-16 is thought to have been retired from service. The Su-24MP serves in small numbers in the naval strike role.

Long range reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare are provided by the Tu-142. A small number of Tu-142 Bear Js operate as VLF communications aircraft. Il-18, Il-20s and specialised An-12s provide intelligence support, and Il-38 Mays anti-submarine cover. The ageing Be-12 also is used for inshore anti-submarine and search and rescue.

All Tu-22 (Blinder), MiG-27 and Su-17 aircraft have been retired from naval service. The naval helicopter forceconsists of Ka-25 and Ka-27 (SAR, ASW), Ka-29 (assault transport), Ka-31 (radar picket) and Ka-32 (naval utility) helicopters, and Mi-14s performing mine clearance and search and rescue.



The pilot training system is undergoing major cuts and reform. A single school will be retained for each aircraft type (fighters, fighter bombers, strategic bombers etc).

The air force had intended to acquire at least one new trainer, having ordered (without funding) a test batch of Yak-130 and MiG-AT jets; however, the future of both remains in doubt in the short term. The air force has recently indicated that it may soldier on with the ageing Czech Aero L-29 and L-39 trainers until it can fund acquisition of a new aircraft. This may be a viable proposition, given the very small number of pilots in the training system.



The border guard service operates around 200 Ka-27, Mil Mi-8, Mi-24 and Mi-26 helicopters for frontier surveillance and troop transport roles, and SM92 surveillance aircraft. Also in service are a total of around 70 An-24, An-26, An-72, Il-76, Tu-134 and Yak-40 transport aircraft.



The army remains reliant on the same staple types, the Mi-8/Mi-17 and Mi-24, used in the 1970s. Smaller numbers of Mi-6 and Mi-26 heavylift helicopters are also in army service. Plans to procure the Ka-50 attack helicopter were stalled by Russia's financial collapse, and although production of the type has begun, only a handful are believed to be in service in an evaluation unit at Torzhok near Tver. The Mil Mi-28 is also unlikely to proceed beyond trials.

An update of the Mi-24 may be a short term solution to the army's lack of a modern attack design, which is all the more acute given the air force's deficiency in attack and close support assets. The army also hopes to acquire the Ka-60 utility helicopter in the future for training, transport and medevac, though no funding has yet been allocated. The Mi-2 is still used for basic training.



The recently merged space force (kosmichesky sily) and strategic rocket forces have transport aircraft and helicopters dedicated to their support.




Rwanda is recovering from a long and bitter ethnic and political civil war which came to a head in July 1994. Repercussions from the resulting genocide in particular continue to affect the county and its people. Insurgent attacks continue, particularly in the north west. All the aircraft were destroyed during the civil war. However, three SA342L Gazelle are repairable and the air force, which is slowly starting to rebuild, is seeking funds for this. Rwanda acquired two Mi-24 Hinds from Belarus in 1997. In late 1999, the government denied plans to acquire MiGs, probably MiG-21s, most likely from the same source as the Mi-24s. Pre-1994 it also operated COIN-configured SOCATA Guerrier light aircraft, an Islander and some helicopters.