Afghanistan has been wracked by war for decades. The Islamic Taliban controls about two-thirds of the land-locked, mountainous country. Areas in the north are held by an alliance led by General Ahmad Shah Masoud. Fierce fighting frequently breaks out in and around Kabul, in the north-eastern provinces of Takhar, Kunduz and Baghlan and in the north-western provinces of Faryab and Badghis. Although 10-12 groups exist, only the Taliban and Masoud's forces lay claim to any air power. The Taliban claims to have captured Masoud's five L-39s, and appears to operate them with its 20-odd MiG-21s and Su-20/22s. Both Soviet-era types are reportedly in Masoud's service as well. Both sides have helicopters, mainly Mi-8/17s, but also Mi-24/25/35 Hinds. Taliban forces also have access to An-24 transports. Casualties continue to be high due to poor access to spares - although Pakistan is believed to aid the Taliban - and a plentiful supply of MANPADS such as SA-7 Grail (Strela 2/2M), SA-14 Gremlin (Strela 3) and Stingers, as well as a prevalence of heavy machine guns. Although the USA continues to seek the terrorists who bombed embassies in East Africa in 1998, there has been no repeat of the summer 1998 cruise missile strikes on alleged camps in southern Afghanistan.




Albania, one of Europe's poorest countries, has been affected by the situation in Kosovo and elements of NATO's Operation Allied Force were stationed in the country. The painful change to a more open economy caused considerable civil unrest in 1997. Consequently, the readiness and operational availability of much of the air force's inventory is questionable. Little has been seen of the air force since five Albanian fighters took off from Albania's main bases at Rinas, Gajdar and Kucova during NATO manoeuvres over Albania and Macedonia in 1998. Administered by the army, most of the air force's fixed and rotary winged aircraft are Chinese copies of Russian designs.




Shenyang F-2/FT-2



Shenyang F-5/FT-5



Shenyang F-6 (MiG-19)



Shenyang F-7A (MiG-21)



Shiziazhuang Y-5 (An-2)



SA316/319 Alouette III



AS350B Ecureuil



Bell 222UT



Harbin Z-5 (Mi-4)



Nanchang CJ-6



Nanchang Y-5 (An-2)






Algeria has a requirement for up to 12 maritime surveillance aircraft. Political considerations are likely to mean only European solutions are considered. Algeria was a client state of the Soviet Union. Its collapse and the subsequent withdrawal of technical personnel, as well as internal unrest following the cancellation of elections, have affected the air force's capabilities. The country is one of the select few to operate the MiG-25, having both interceptor and reconnaissance versions in service. Other air defence aircraft include the MiG-21, while the MiG-23, Su-20 and Su-25 provide the ground attack capability. The USA and France have supplied transports and helicopters. A Belarussian offer to exchange 36 MiG-29s for Algeria's MiG-21s has come to nothing.

Type No Role

MiG-25/R/U Foxbat 10/4/3 int/recce/trng

MiG-23N/B/U Flogger 40/30/5 FGA/int/trng

Su-24 Fencer 10 strike

Su-25 Frogfoot 10 strike

MiG-21MF/UM Fishbed 60/8 int/trng

L-39ZA/C Albatros 32/7 armed trng

C-130H/H-30 Hercules 10/6 trans

Il-76MD/TD Candid 6 trans

King Air B200T/C90B 2/6/2/6 cst patrol/trng

F27-400M Friendship 2 VIP/trans

Falcon 900 2 VIP

Gulfstream III 3 VIP

T-34C Turbo Mentor 6 trng

Zlin 142 30 trng

Mi-2 Hoplite 20 trng

Mi-24 Hind 35 attack

Mi-8/17 Hip 30 trans

Mi-4 Hound 2 trans

Mi-6 Hook 5 trans

AS355F Ecureuil 2 10 trans




A fragile peace brokered after two decades of war following independence from Portugal was shattered in late 1998 when UNITA restarted operations. UNITA has subsequently claimed some successes, shooting down three Angolan air force MiG-23s, an An-26 transport and two UN operated C-130s. The Angolan air force was engaged throughout the 20-year conflict, initially with heavy support from Cuba. Following the mid-1990s peace deal that aimed to create a single administration that included UNITA, the armed forces faced severe cutbacks, although Angola did receive a handful of aircraft in 1997/8 including MiG-23s, Mi-17s and Mi-24 Hinds. The MiG-21s and MiG-23s are based at Kuito, Luena, Menongue and Mocamedes, while a single squadron of Su-22s operates from Luanda. Lockheed Martin has signed a memorandum of understanding to sell eight ex-RAF C-130Ks to Angola.



UNITA established its own air force after hostilities restarted and has acquired six Mi-25s and a similar number of MiG-23s based at Luca. Mercenaries fly UNITA's aircraft. Reports emerged in late 1999 that UNITA had been offered Su-24s.

Type No Role

MiG-23/U Flogger 20 int/attack/trng

Su-25 Frogfoot 19 attack/trng

MiG-21MF Fishbed 20 int/trng

Su-22M4/U Fitter 11/4 attack/trng

PC-7 Turbo-Trainer 9 trng/attack

BN-2T Islander 4 Comms

F-27MPA 1 MR

Boeing 707 2 VIP

An-2 Colt 5 trans

An-26 Curl 8 trans

L-100-20/C-130K Hercules 2/8* trans

C-212/MPA Aviocar 10/7 trans/MR

PC-6B 4 trans/attack

Cessna 172 3 trng

Mi-25/35 Hind 12/14 attack

SA365 Dauphin 2 5 liaison/attack

SA342L Gazelle 6 anti-armour

Mi-8C/17 Hip 12/7 trans/attack

AS565 Panther 8 trans/attack

IAR316B Alouette III 29 trans/attack




Lockheed Martin delivered the first locally upgraded A-4ARs in August 1998 to the air force, which put them into service at the Villa Reynolds airbase. The A-4AR has had a major upgrade which includes a version of the Northrop Grumman APG-66 radar, a new cockpit and navigation equipment. The final aircraft is due to be delivered by the end of 1999 and the air force is considering a purchase of further airframes for upgrade. Air defence is provided by the air force's mixed fleet of Mirages and their Israeli developments, the Nesher and Dagger, which are to be upgraded. The air force still has an advanced trainer requirement as funding for the indigenous IA63 Pampa ended after the 13th example rolled off the production line. However, Lockheed Martin Argentina delivered a 14th Pampa in 1999 as proof it can still manufacture aircraft. Originally 100 were to be procured. As well as the aircraft listed below the Argentine air force operates general aviation types for recreational flying.

Type No Role

A-4P Skyhawk 15 attack

A-4AR/TA-4AR Fightinghawk 32/4* attack

Nesher/Dagger A/B 22/3 int/trng

Mirage IIIE/BE/DA 15/2/4 int/trng

Mirage 5P 8 int

Canberra B62/T64 5/2 bomber/trng

IA58 Pucara 60 COIN

Aero Commander 500 8 recce

C-130B/H/L-100-30 Hercules 5/5/1 trans

KC-130H Hercules 2 tanker

707 2 tanker/trans

707-300 1/1 ELINT/VIP

757-200 1 VIP

F27-400/600 Friendship 11 trans

F28-1000/1000C Fellowship 4 trans

DHC-6 Twin Otter 200 6 trans

Sabreliner 75A 1 VIP

Cessna 182 17 Comms

UH-1H Iroquois 10 trans

Bell 212/412 5/1 trans/VIP

CH-47C Chinook 2 trans

Hughes 500/D/E Defender 15 AOP/COIN

SA315B Lama 4 trans

S-70A Black Hawk 1 VIP

S-61R 1 trans

EMB-312 Tucano 28 trng

IA63 Pampa 14 trng

Su-29 8 trng

T-34C Turbo Mentor 30 trng

MS760 Paris IR 15 train

IA50 Guarani II 4 survey

Learjet 35A 5 recce

PA-31-310 Navajo 1 calibration



The latest type to join the Argentine navy is the P-3B Orion, which became operational in March 1998. Argentine navy Trackers have been converted to AlliedSignal TFE331turboprop power and Super King Airs have received maritime patrol conversions. New mission systems are also being fitted. The Xavantes were purchased to supplement the MB326s and MB339s and with an intention to replace them with a navalised version of the indigenous IA63 Pampa. Closure of the Pampa production line, however, means the Xavantes have been retained, although the purchase of TA-4Js has been proposed. The navy is also seeking eight utility helicopters, probably to be fulfilled by ex-US UH-1Hs. Argentina's aircraft carrier Veinticino de Mayo was mothballed in 1997, but the navy does deploy its aircraft at sea - AS555s and Alouette IIIs aboard its MEKO 360 destroyers and MEKO 140 corvettes, and the Sea Kings on Argentina class destroyers and a navy icebreaker. The Super Etendards have made practice approaches to the Brazilian navy's aircraft carrier, which lacks equipment to allow the aircraft to land and take off again.

Type No Role

Super Etendard 11 attack/ASuW

A-4Q Skyhawk 5 attack

P-3B Orion 8 ASW/ASuW

S-2E(UP)/A Tracker 6/3 ASW/utility

L-188 Electra 1/2 ELINT/trans

SH-3D/H Sea King 5/4 ASW/SAR/trans

SA316B Alouette III 6 ASW/SAR

MB339A 5 attack/trng

MB326GB 4 trng

EMB-326GB Xavante 12 trng

T-34C Turbo-Mentor 10 trng

AS555 Fennec 4 trng

F28 Fellowship 3000 2/1 trans/VIP

King Air 200/Super King Air 9 MR/trng/VIP

Queen Air B80 5 comms/survey

PC-6B Turbo-Porter 2 comms

A109A 4 utility



C212-300 Aviocar 5 patrol/trans

SA330L Puma 1 SAR/trans

AS365 Dauphin 2 1 SAR/trans

AS565 Panther 2 SAR/trans

Hughes 300 2 trans

PA-23 Aztec 1 comms

PA-28 Warrior 2 comms



Argentina's army air arm operates fixed and rotary wing types in 11 units. The A109s are used for armed reconnaissance as are some of the UH-1Hs. Twenty further ex-US UH-1Hs were transferred to the Argentine army in 1998. The Super Pumas are detached to the Argentine navy's icebreaker during the summer and the Queen Air and Citation are used for survey operations.

 Type No Role

OV-1D Mohawk 23 surveillance

UH-1H/205A1 Iroquois 40/4 utility

A109A 5 armed recce

SA315B Lama 5 SAR

AS332B Super Puma 3 polar trans

SA330L Puma 2 trans

AS532 Cougar 20 trans

Bell 212 1 VIP

UH-12ET 8 trng

Cessna T-41 6 trng

C212 Aviocar 1 trans

G222 3 trans

DHC-6 Twin Otter 2 trans

Sabreliner 75A 1 VlP

Merlin III/IV 3/3 VIP

Cessna T207 5 utility

Cessna U-17 2 utility

Queen Air B80 1 photo survey

Citation I 1 photo survey




In early 1999 Russia sent eight of its MiG-29s to Armenia. They joined five similar aircraft as well as S-300 SAM systems and provide air defence on behalf of Armenia as part of a co-operative defence pact. Armenia's 10-year conflict with neighbouring Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, home to ethnic Armenians but part of Azerbaijan, is still not fully resolved despite the signing of a 1994 peace deal. While the operational readiness of its combat forces, particularly the fixed wing types, is likely to be low, Hinds and armed Mi-8s were in evidence during its dispute with Azerbaijan.

 Type No Role

Su-25 Frogfoot 5 strike

MiG-25 Foxbat 1 int

L-39 Albatros 2 strike/trng

Mi-24P/K/RKR Hind 7/3/2 attack/ops duties

Mi-8/9 Hip 7/2 trans/cmd pt

Mi-2 Hoplite 2 trans

An-24 Coke/An-32 Cline 1/1 trans

An-2 Colt 6 trng

Iak-52 10 trng




During 1999 the RAAF became a major part of the UN's force in East Timor, which is led by an Australian general.

In July 1999 a winner of the Wedgetail AEW contest was announced, with Boeing to provide seven 737-700s equipped with the Northrop Grumman Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar, with the first aircraft being delivered in 2004/5. In mid-1997, the RAAF signed a contract with BAe for 33 Hawk 100 lead-in fighters. The first aircraft will be delivered in 2000 from the UK, where the first 12 Hawks will be built. The rest of the contract will be fulfilled with aircraft assembled from kits at RAAF Williamtown.

A 1999 RAAF selection of a replacement for its ageing Caribous was not forthcoming. The two remaining contenders, Lockheed Martin Alenia Tactical Transport Systems with the C-27J and CASA with its C295, have been asked for more data. A decision could come in 2000. Also on the airlifter front, the RAAF has received the first of 12 C-130Js it has on order. It was to retire its elderly C-130Es but has opted to keep the aircraft in service for a period as part of a plan to double its short-term readiness forces. The RAAF has 25 C-130J options, but is unlikely to convert all of them as a number were for use as AEW aircraft, and others were potential tankers, a role which will almost certainly be fulfilled by a jet-powered aircraft. Australia is also considering the larger A400M or C-17 instead of more Hercules.

A tanker programme may follow the UK's lead and be funded using a public/private partnership. The RAAF has recommended that only jet-powered aircraft be considered. To refuel both the F-111 and F/A-18 fleets, the winner will have two underwing hose-and-drogue units and a centreline flying-boom. After extending the life of its F-111s by updating their avionics in the early 1990s, the RAAF has signed a deal with Lockheed Martin that will keep the aircraft in service until at least 2020. After this they could be replaced by the UK's Future Offensive Air System (FOAS). Australia bought 11 ex-USAF F-111s in 1999 to use as spares sources for its fleet. One F-111Cs has been modified as a hybrid strike/reconnaissance aircraft with the addition of a Raytheon DB110 digital LOROP pod on a wing pylon, and associated cockpit changes.

In August 1998 it was announced that A$1.2 billion would be spent on upgrading sensors and avionics. A first phase includes replacing the APG-65 radar with the APG-73, introducing GPS navigation and improving the mission computer. Work will begin in mid-2000 and last around 12 months. Phase two will cover the radar warning receiver, a countermeasures dispenser and introduce a helmet-mounted cueing system compatible with the ASRAAM short-range air-to-air missile. A decision on replacement of the Hornet will be taken around 2005 with the new aircraft entering service in 2010/15.

Having selected ASRAAM and AMRAAM in recent years, the RAAF has embarked on a search for a stand-off weapon that will enter service in 2005. Contenders are Israeli Military Industries/BAe offering Delilah, Boeing with SLAM-ER and Land Attack Harpoon, Taurus with the KEPD350 and Raytheon offering a combination of HARM and a powered version of the Joint Stand-off Weapon (JSOW).

The P-3 fleet is being modified to AP-3C Sea Sentinel status under a Raytheon-led programme which includes Elta 2022 radar, Canadian UYS-503 acoustic processor, Lockheed Martin DDC-060 data management systems and improved navigation and communication systems. The first aircraft was delivered in September 1999. Ten HS748s will sold and replaced with Beech 1900Ds modified by BAe Australia to incorporate the C-130J's APN-241 radar on a fighter-type mount in a bulbous nose. The first aircraft should enter service in early 2002. An RAAF programme to replace VIP aircraft has moved forward and the service is seeking two Boeing Business Jets or Airbus A319CJs and three medium business jets. The larger aircraft should enter service in March 2000 and the smaller aircraft from 2001, replacing Falcon 900s as leases expire.

Type No Role

F-111C/RF-111C/F-111G 17/4/14 strike/recce

F/A-18A/B Hornet 71 FGA/air defence

P-3C/EP-3C/TAP-3 Orion 17/2/3 MR/ELINT/train

MB326M 27 trng

Hawk 100 33* trng/LIF

PC-9 61/4 trng/FAC

C-130E/H Hercules 12/12 trans

C-130J-30 Hercules 12* trans

Boeing 707-320C 5 trans/VIP/tank

DHC-4 Caribou 14 trans

Falcon 900 5 VIP

HS 748 8 nav trng

*on order



Kaman's updated SeaSprite, the SH-2G, was selected in mid-1997 as the RAN's new shipborne helicopter. An order was placed for 11 ex-USN SH-2Fs with refurbished airframes, new avionics, systems and sensors; the GE T700 will replace the T58 turboshaft. Deliveries begin in 2001 and end the following year. The RAN could place a follow-on order for 18. SH-2Gs will be deployed at sea aboard the Anzac-class frigates, while the additional helicopters could join the Seahawks aboard the RAN's guided-missile frigates, which have two hangars, the second of which is used by Squirrel utility helicopters. The RAN's Seahawks have engines, APUs and other equipment common to the SH-2Gs. They will have a modest upgrade in 1999-2002, receiving a FLIR, plus ESM and ECM subsystems, also found on the SH-2G. The Sea Kings have lost their ASW capability and operate in the utility role with the Squirrels and Kiowas. The RAN has a competition to replace two HS748 EW training aircraft and seeks a 10-year turnkey package. The winner is likely to be based on a business jet. The entire RAN air fleet is at HMAS Albatross at Nowra, New South Wales. The S-70s are operated by HS816, the Sea Kings by HS817 and other types by HC723.

Type No Role

SH-2G(A) Super SeaSprite 11* ASW/ASuW

S-70B-2 Seahawk 12/4 ASW/OTHT/utility

Sea King Mk 50/50A 7 utility

AS350B Squirrel 6 THT/utility/trng

Bell 206B-1 Kiowa 3 survey/suppt/utility

HS 748EW 2 EW trng/trans



The Australian army's aviation assets are two operational units and two training schools. It has two major procurement competitions under way: Air 87 for a fire support helicopter and Joint Project 120 for a surveillance platform. Air 87 will replace the Kiowas with 30 aircraft. A shortlist for the A$1 billion programme was issued in April 1998 with the AH-64 Apache, A129 Mangusta and the Tiger lining up to do battle. All the manufacturers are signing Australian partners; first deliveries are due in 2003. JP129 is an area surveillance programme for which a UAV could provide the airframe. A risk mitigation phase is under way, studying synthetic aperture radar, long-range FLIR and UAVs. The two Chinooks on order will be delivered in early 2000. The Twin Otters and Super King Airs are leased, replacing the Australian Army's fleet of GAF Nomads, retired in 1995.

Type No Role

S-70A-9 Black Hawk 36 Airmobility

UH-1H Iroquois 25 gunship/op sup

Bell 206B-1 Kiowa 43 recce

AS350B Squirrel 17 trng

CH-47D Chinook 4/2* trans

Super King Air 4 trans/surv

DHC-6 Twin Otter 2 trans/op suppt




The Austrian air force is a division-sized unit of the Austrian federal army. It is split into three aviation regiments, three air-defence regiments and a single "air surveillance regiment", which operates Austria's 23 fighters. An ambitious fleet-replacement programme includes plans to replace its cannon and AIM-9P Sidewinder-armed Drakens with a newer type. It has evaluated the F-16C/D, F/A-18C/D and JAS39 Gripen, while the Mirage 2000 and MiG-29 would also meet the requirement. A decision was expected in 1997, but has slipped, possibly until 2000. The Drakens were acquired secondhand from the Swedish air force in 1988 and a further five were acquired as spares sources in 1999. Sweden also hosts Austrian pilots who fly JA37 Viggens at Lulea in an attempt to stop them leaving the air force.

After devastating avalanches in the Austrian Alps in early 1999 the Austrian Government launched a programme to buy nine medium helicopters with the AS532 Cougar, EH101, NH90, UH-60 and S-92 in the running. A choice is expected in early 2000. The Skyvans are to be replaced by 7t transports, with the BAe 146, CN235 and G222 being considered although ultimately the purchase may be split with a larger aircraft such as the C-130.

Type No Role

J35OE Draken 23 AD

Saab 105OE 27 trng

PC-7 Turbo-Trainer 16 trng

Skyvan 3M 2 trans

PC-6 Turbo-Porter 12 trans

Bell 212 24 utility

Bell 204B 8 utility

Bell 206A JetRanger 11 trng/liaison

OH-58 Kiowa 11 AOP/liaison

SA316 Alouette III 23 SAR/liaison




Azerbaijan, like many other nations that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, gathered its air force equipment after Russian/CIS armed forces pulled out of the country. Such non-standard acquisition means it is unlikely that many of the aircraft, particularly fixed-wing types, are serviceable. Azerbaijan's air force has seen action in fighting with Armenia, its western neighbour, over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh; an enclave that is home to ethnic Armenians but was controlled by Azerbaijan. A Russian-mediated ceasefire has maintained uneasy peace since 1994.

Type No Role

MiG-25PD/RB/U Foxbat 8/14/6 int/recce/train

MiG-21 Fishbed 5 int

Su-17M Fitter 4 attack

Su-24 Fencer 5 attack

Su-25 Frogfoot 2 attack

Mi-24 Hind 15 attack

Mi-8 Hip 13 assault trans

Mi-2 Hoplite 7 trans

L-29 Delfin 18 train

L-39 Albatros 12 train

An-12 Cub 1 trans

An-24 Coke 1 trans

Il-76 Candid 3 trans

Tu-134A Crusty 1 trans




The RBDF is predominately a naval force supported by the small air wing. Its main roles are reconnaissance and maritime patrol of the 161,000km² (62,160 miles²) of islands and sea of the Bahamas. Both its aircraft, a Cessna 421C and a Cessna 404, are unarmed and based at Windsor Field on Nassau. It has a requirement to replace these aircraft with turbine powered types.




In March 1998 Bahrain's air force ordered 10 additional F-16C/Ds, significantly boosting its capabilities. The aircraft will be delivered from 2000. Bahrain has also ordered a small batch of AMRAAM missiles for delivery in 2002. As Bahrain supported the US-led alliance during the 1991 Gulf War it is eligible for lower cost equipment. Its first F-16s were delivered in 1990; the F-5s have been in service since 1986/7. A dispute between Bahrain and Qatar over the Hawar Islands, which belong to Bahrain, was resolved in June 1998. A naval air arm, separate from the air force, operates two BO105CBS for SAR and other tasks. The navy operates two fast attack craft and an ex-USN frigate which can embark aircraft.

Type No Role

F-16C/D Fighting Falcon 18/4 int/trng

F-5E/F Tiger II 8/4 int/trng

AH-1E Cobra 12 anti-armour

BO105C 2 trans

UH-60A/L Black Hawk 1/1 VIP

727 1 VIP

Gulfstream II 2 VIP

AB212 12 trans




Bangladesh ordered eight MiG-29s in a $115 million deal in July 1999, the first time in many years that the country has bought from Russia rather than China. If an attempt to block the sale in Bangladesh's courts fails, the aircraft are scheduled for delivery in December 1999 and February 2000. They will be based at Dhaka with ground attack and other air defence assets. The air wing, an independent element of the tri-service defence force, has a requirement for a squadron of F-7MG ground attack fighters which has yet to be fulfilled. The air wing did take delivery of three more tandem seat FT-7s in 1999 and is expected to take a further example in 2000. Bangladesh also received three Mi-17s in 1999. It continues to acquire L-39s at the rate of one a year to replace the Magisters which are probably withdrawn from use.

Type No Role

Chengdu F-7M/FT-7B

Airguard (MiG-21) 14/7†   int

MiG-21MF Fishbed 9 int

Nanchang A-5C Fantan 12 attack

Shenyang FT-6 (MiG-19) 10 trng

CM170 Magister 10 trng

Nanchang CJ-6 36 trng

Cessna T-37B 12 trng

L-39ZA Albatros 8‡ trng

Cessna 152/337F 4/2 trng/comms

An-26 Curl 3 trans

An-32 Cline 3 trans

Mi-8/17 Hip 1/75 trans

Bell 212 12 trans

Bell 206L 3 trng

† requirement eight

‡ requirement 12




Although it appeared to verge on ceasing to be a MiG-29 operator with the sale of Fulcrums to Peru and an offer to Algeria to swap MiG-21s for the type, Belarus ordered eight MiG-29s during the Moscow air show in 1999. These will supplement Su-27s in the air defence role. Its MiG-27s have been withdrawn from use to meet CFE treaty restrictions limiting it to 260 fixed-wing combat aircraft and 80 helicopters. Various transport aircraft are operated in civilian colours, but many of the Il-76s inherited are being stored and sold as they far exceed the country's requirements. The Il-22 command post version of the Coot airliner is stored.

Type No Role

Su-24MK/MR Fencer 30/12 strike/recce

Su-25/UB Frogfoot 87/10 strike/train

Su-27P/UB Flanker 21/4 int/train

MiG-23MLD/UB Flogger 31/6 int/train

MiG-29C/UB Fulcrum 47/8 int/train

Il-22 Coot 1 cmd pt

An-12 Cub 7 trans

An-26 Curl 9 trans

Il-76MD Candid 32 trans

An-24 Coke 1 trans

Tu-134 Crusty 1 trans/VIP

Tu-154 Careless 1 trans/VIP

Yak-40 Codling 1 trans/VIP



Consisting of five transport and transport/attack units, plus a single unit equipped with specialist electronic warfare variants of the Mi-8, Belarussian army aviation, like its air force counterpart, was formed from the remnants of the Soviet Union's forces at its dissolution in December 1991.

Type No Role

Mi-24 76 attack

Mi-8 113/12/2 trans/EW/cmd pt

Mi-6 Hook 9/2 trans/cmd pt

Mi-26 Halo 30 trans




The Belgian air force is formed by two major commands, the Tactical Air Force Command (TAFC) and the Air Force Training and Support Command (AFT&SC). All operational units are part of TAFC, which includes the two combat wings. Both of these operate the F-16, which is now the Belgian air force's only fighter/attack type. The 2 Wing Tactique at Florennes includes 1, 2 and 350 squadrons, while 10 Wing Tactique at Kleine Brogel incorporates 31 and 349 Squadrons as well as the F-16 operational conversion unit.

Belgium's F-16s are passing through the European mid-life update programme; 110 conversion kits have been acquired spread over four batches, which means some stored aircraft will receive the MLU as an attrition reserve. Sixteen F-16s have received the necessary wiring and other equipment to use a similar number of Per Udsen-built reconnaissance pods; eight of these are optimised for low-level and the others for medium altitudes. After the end of the Cold War the Belgian Government significantly scaled back the armed forces and about 30 more F-16s are stored (not included in table). Belgium deployed F-16s in Italy as part of NATO operations over Serbia. It has also joined the European Air Group based at RAF High Wycombe.

TAFC's transport assets are grouped within 15 Airlift Wing at Brussels-Melsbroek, which operates five types. C-130Hs were upgraded under a contract awarded to SABCA in 1992, which equipped the aircraft with Honeywell EFIS cockpits, an enhanced navigation suite and a self-defence system. Two ex-airline A310s were delivered in September 1997 and May 1998, allowing the sale of two Boeing 727s. HS748s and Merlins are to be replaced by a single type, possibly Dornier 328s or de Havilland Dash 8s. The Sea Kings received an upgrade in 1995 and an automatic flight control system in 1997, which will extend the type's service to around 2015. They equip 40 Squadron, a joint air force/navy SAR unit. AFT&SC operates SF260s, Magisters and Alpha Jets as trainers and controls the air force's logistics and support wings. It has four Piper Super Cubs and gliders for recreational flying. The Alpha Jets are receiving new instrumentation and avionics to reduce maintenance.

Type No Role

F-16A/B Fighting Falcon 72/18 int/attack/trng

Alpha Jet 27 trng

CM170R Magister 12 trng/liaison

SF260MB/D 24/9 trng

C-130H Hercules 11 trans

A310-225 2 VIP/trans

Falcon 900B 1 VIP/trans

Falcon 20E 2 trans

HS748 Srs 2A 3 trans

Merlin IIIA 5 trans/surv/calib

Sea King Mk48 5 SAR



Previously called the Force Navale/Zeemacht in the bilingual Belgian forces, Marine has three Alouette IIIs based at Coxyde/Koksijde as a flight within the air force's SAR Squadron. The Alouettes are also used for liaison.



The Belgian army's light aviation group consists of three battalions plus a training school. Its principal front-line type is the TOW-equipped Agusta A109 helicopter, which is used in the scout and attack roles. Its other types, fixed-wing Islanders and the Alouette II, are both used for liaison and, in the case of the latter, also basic rotary-wing training. In August 1999 the Belgian army outlined its procurement plan. From 2004 the Alouette IIs will be replaced by 15-19 machines that will also take over some of the A109HA's roles. The army is also seeking around eight medium-to-heavy lift helicopters for rapid deployment and troop movement tasks. The Islanders will be retired by 2005, their tasks falling to the A109s which are expected to receive a mid-life update in 2007. This will include the integration of a new anti-tank missile.

Type No Role

A109HA/HO 28/18 anti-tank/scout

SA318C Alouette II 27/5 AOP/trng

BN-2 Islander 10 liaison/trng




The Air Wing was formed in 1983 and is based at Belize International Airport. It operates two Islanders and a T67M-200 Firefly for training. Its main roles are reconnaissance, SAR, casevac, aerial resupply and troop lift. It also supports the police in internal security tasks, mainly for anti-drug and anti-smuggling operations, and the naval arm of the tri-element defence force. The US Drug Enforcement Agency deploys Ayres S2R defoliant sprayers and UH-1H helicopters to the country and these nominally fall under Belize Defence Force control. Belize was formerly British Honduras, before gaining independence in September 1981. The UK maintained standing forces in the country until 1994 to counter a threat from neighbouring Guatemala, which claims sovereignty over Belize.




This small air arm is tailored to transport and liaison duties, operating as a military air service with no combat capability. The two An-26s and the Twin Otter are operated jointly with the national airline, Benin Inter Regional. The air arm is thought to have serviceability problems.

Type No Role

An-26 Curl 2 trans

Dornier 128-2 Skyservant 2 trans

DHC-6 Twin Otter 1 trans

Commander 500B 1 trans/VIP

AS350B Ecureuil 1 liaison




Bhutan's forces operate a Dornier 228 and two Mi-8s based at the country's capital, Thimpu. Bhutan is a small mountainous country between northern India and China.




Bolivia's air force is split into three geographical air regions, based at the capital, La Paz, and at Santa Cruz and Cochabamba. Its single offensive type is an armed version of the T-33 trainer; the first aircraft were acquired from surplus Canadian Forces stock in 1973 with follow-on purchases from various sources. They are receiving a $16 million avionics and cockpit upgrade from Kelowna Flightcraft of British Columbia. The first aircraft arrived in Canada in November 1998, but its completion has been delayed by a US/Canada dispute over arms sales that has prevented the overhaul of the T-33's elderly engine. Bolivia had wanted the programme completed by December 1999, and has requested 18 TA-4J Skyhawks from the USA which could receive an upgrade similar to that of Argentina's A-4ARs. Lack of funds has thwarted a number of equipment replacement programmes in the past. The USA has supplied UH-1H helicopters and C-130s for anti-drug operations; the PC-7s are also used for this as is the Basler Turbo 67, a turboprop version of the DC-3. Bolivia has requested Huey II upgrades for at least eight of its UH-1Hs. Training is carried out using Cessna 152s, piston-engined Aerotec T-23 Uirapurus and the turboprop-powered PC-7s. Most of the transports are based around La Paz; some are flown by two military-operated airlines, Transporte Aereo Militar and Transporte Aereo Boliviano.

Type No Role

AT-33/T-33 19 attack

PC-7 Turbo-Trainer 10/9 COIN/trng

UH-1H 21/3 sp ops/SAR

SA315B Lama/HB315B 3/6 SAR

C-130A/B/H Hercules 10 trans

L-188A Electra 1 trans (stored)

F27-400 Friendship 5 trans

DC-8-54CF 1 trans (stored)

C212 Aviocar 1 trans

CV580 5 trans

Basler Turbo 67 1 trans

IAI-201 Arava 1 trans

Sabreliner 60 1 trans

Learjet 25/35 2/1 photo/trans

B55 Baron 1 liaison

B36 Bonanza 1 liaison

Cessna 206 24/7 liaison/survey

Cessna 210 5/2 liaison/SAR

Cessna 402/421C 2/2 photo/survey

Commander 680E/1000 2/1 survey/trans

T-33 Uirapuru 30 trng

Cessna 152 Aerobat 12 trng

King Air E90/B200/C200 1/1/1 trans

PA-32 Cherokee 4 liaison



Land-locked Bolivia has a small navy which patrols the country's border of rivers and lakes. It has a single Cessna 402C based at the air force's El Alto base at La Paz. Bolivia's army also bases its aircraft at El Alto. It operates a King Air and a C212 Aviocar on light transport duties. A second C212 was destroyed in a crash in 1995.




Following the signing of the 1995 peace accord by Yugoslavia's three warring factions, Bosnia-Herzegovina is split into two halves, one controlled by the Muslim/Croat Federation and the other by the Bosnian Serbs. Peace has been maintained by the presence of NATO-led troops: first the 60,000-strong Implementation Force (IFOR) and later by the smaller Stabilisation Force (SFOR). ABiH has a small air arm, the bulk of which consists of 15 UH-1H helicopters donated by the USA as part of a roughly $100 million arms and training package which is designed to create a Western-style defence force and act as a deterrent for its neighbour, Serbia. It has between six and 12 Mi-8/17s, but serviceability is low. It also has four UTVA-75 light aircraft used for communications, including operations from highways at Zenica and Bihac. The OSCE set an ABiH force limit of 41 fixed-wing combat aircraft and 14 attack helicopters.



Republika Srpska, the Serbian part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, is limited by the OSCE treaty to 21 fixed-wing combat aircraft and seven attack helicopters. The former are a range of types indigenous to the pre civil-war Yugoslavia including Oraos, Jastrebs, Galebs and Super Galebs, mostly based at Banja Luka. Mi-8 and Gazelle helicopters are based at Pale. Republika Srpska's armed forces are also reported to have access to light aircraft.




In late 1996, Botswana's air arm acquired its first modern combat aircraft when it bought 13 CF-5A/D Freedom Fighters from Canadian company Bristol Aerospace in a $50 million deal which included training. The aircraft are from a batch of 24 CF-5s upgraded with new avionics by Bristol Aerospace for the Canadian Forces, which was to have used them as lead-in fighters. The CF-5s, along with the rest of the air force, are stationed at Mapharangwane, a new air base built in 1994/5 about 75km west of the capital, Gaborone. Two ex-USAF C-130Bs arrived in mid-1997.

Type No Role

CF-5A/D 10/3 int/attack

PC-7 Turbo-Trainer 7 trng/COIN

BN-2A Defender 10 COIN/patrol

C-130B Hercules 2 trans

CN235 2 trans

C212-300 Aviocar 2 trans

Skyvan 3M 2 trans

Gulfstream IV 1 VlP

Cessna 152 2 trng

Bell 412 5 trans/VIP

AS350 Ecureuil 4 trng/comms




Brazil's potentially largest procurement programme is a replacement for its fighter fleet of Mirage IIIs from around 2004 and F-5s from 2010. Candidates in the FX-BR programme include the Gripen, Mirage 2000, F-16, F/A-18, MiG-29, Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon: up to 150 aircraft could be ordered. Industrial offset with the presence of Embraer in any team is a major consideration of the Brazilian Government. In October 1998 Elbit was selected to upgrade systems and avionics of 45 F-5s plus up to 15 more which the air force hopes to acquire. Embraer will act as project manager and systems integrator. The programme has run into trouble, however, not least because of the devaluation of the Brazilian real and other issues, including some relating to the radar selection. In May 1999 Embraer flew the first of five RJ-145SA regional jets equipped with an Ericsson Erieye radar above the fuselage. Three remote sensing ERJ-145RSs with a synthetic aperture radar and FLIR are also on order as part of the SIVAM Amazon surveillance programme. The eight SIVAM RJ-145SA/RSs are due for delivery by May 2002. Linked to the SIVAM programme is the acquisition of 50 single-seat ALXs (A-29s), armed versions of the Super Tucano trainer with Elbit avionics. Fifty twin-seat ALXs (AT-29) have also been ordered to replace Xavantes in the armed trainer role. Embraer is also trying to persuade the Brazilian Government to order VIP-configured ERJ-135s, the smaller version of the ERJ-145, to replace BAe 125s.

In July 1999, Brazil ordered 12 ex-USN P-3A/B Orions to replace elderly S-2 Trackers and complement P95s (derived from the Bandeirante). Nine will be updated in Brazil to a standard similar to the P-3C-Update II standard. The others will be used for spares. Work is expected to start in the second half of 2000 with initial conversions taking 18 months.

Other procurement plans include the CLX light aircraft to replace Buffalos and possibly a fourth batch of AMXs. The air force structure comprises a single air defence command with two squadrons of Mirage IIIs; tactical command with 14 squadrons of various attack, reconnaissance and liaison types; air transport command with six groups and seven independent squadrons and a training command.

Type No Role

Mirage IIIDBR/EBR (F-103D/E) 4/14 int

F-5E/F/B 56 attack/trng

AMX/AMX-T (A-1) 27/14 attack/trng

EMB-111A (P-95) 21 MR

S-2E Tracker (P-16) 13 MR

P-3A/B 12* MR

EMB-314 ALX (A-29/AT-29) 100* COIN/trng

AT/RT-26 Xavante 58/38/10 trng/recce

C-130H/KC-130H/RC-130E 9/2/3 trans/tank/recce

C/RC-95 Bandeirante 216 trans/calib/SAR/recce/trng

707-320C (KC-137) 4 tanker


737-200 (VC-96) 2 VIP

DHC-5A Buffalo (C-115) 17 trans

BAe 748 (C-91/VC-91) 12/1 trans/VIP

BAe 125 (VU-93) 12/3 trans/calib

EMB-312 Tucano (T-27) 63/8 trng/COIN

EMB-120RT Brasilia (VC-97) 5 VIP/trans

EMB-121 Xingu (VC-9/VU-9) 5/6 VIP/trans

EMB-810C Seneca (U-7) 31 VIP/trans

Cessna 208 Caravan I (C-98) 3 trans

UH-lH Iroquois 55 trans

AS332M Super Puma 6 trans

HB350B/AS355F Esquilo 27/8 trans/trng

Bell 206A/B JetRanger 4 VIP/trng

OH-6A Cayuse 4 trng

Learjet 35 12 recce

Learjet 36A 9/3 VIP/survey

OH-13 Sioux 25 trng

T-25 Universal 98 trng/COIN

T-23 Uirapuru 25 trng

U-27A/L-42/Regente 30/50 AOP/liaison



In 1998, Brazil purchased 23 ex-Kuwait air force A-4 and TA-4 Skyhawks for use aboard its single aircraft carrier, Minas Gerais. The first refurbished A-4KU is expected to fly in November 1999. The aircraft carrier's catapults and arrester gear need to be improved for use with the fast jet. To provide shipborne AEW, Embraer has teamed with Marsh Aviation to modify ex-US Navy S-2/E-1 Trackers/Tracers (rather than ex-Brazilian air force S-2s). Sea Skua armed Super Lynxes deploy at sea aboard the Navy's frigates, but are also compatible with its various other small ships. The order for Super Lynxes was placed in 1991 and deliveries began in 1996. Earlier Lynxes were upgraded to a similar standard. The Sea Kings are tasked primarily with ASW but can also operate in the ASuW role. They deploy aboard the Minas Gerais and on two assault ships. The Cougars are used as troop transports for the Brazilian marines. Their size restricts them to the same three ships as the Sea Kings. The air force's S-2 Trackers are under navy control when they deploy aboard the Minas Gerais.

Type No Role

SH-3D Sea King 13 ASW/SAR

Super Lynx (SAH-21) 14 ASW

AS532 Cougar (UH-14) 5 trans/SAR

JetRanger III (IH-6B) 16 train

Esquilo (UH-12/UH-13) 9/11 utility/trng



Brazil's army aviation force is divided into two units, each having a light transport and an attack/scout element. Apart from four S-70s, all of the army's current fleet are Eurocopter types; the Fennec and Esquilo (Squirrel) are used for attack and reconnaissance and the Panthers for light transport. Requirements exist for a training helicopter and 20-30 medium transport helicopters in the S-70/Bell 412/Cougar class, but no procurement timescale has been set for either buy. Army Aviation has had a 20-year development programme since the mid-1990s that aims to increase the force size to 112 attack helicopters and 254 transports. The four S-70s are based in Patuca, Ecuador; they form the backbone of the Military Observer Mission Ecuador/Peru (MOMEP) which monitors the peace between Ecuador and Peru. Brazil took over responsibility for MOMEP from the USA in autumn 1997, aided by two guarantor nations, Argentina and Chile.

Type No Role

AS550 Fennec 19 attack/recce

HB350-1 Esquilo (HA-1) 16 attack/recce

AS565A Dauphin 36 trans

S-70A Black Hawk 4 trans/peace




The oil-rich Kingdom of Brunei, boasting a population of just 300,000 and a land mass of only 5,765km² (2,225 miles²), is demographically and geographically constrained. It continues to discuss purchasing BAe Hawks; the order is expected to be for six Hawk 200s and four Hawk 100s. The embryonic air force will use the PC-7 as a lead-in trainer for the Hawks. The Indonesian version of the CN235 has also been selected as a maritime patrol aircraft. The three aircraft will be equipped with a FLIR ESM and a radar. The third CN235 is used as a crew trainer. The entire air arm is based at Brunei Airport while a new airbase is being built.

Type No Role

Hawk 100/200 6/4** attack/trng

SF260W Warrior 2 trng/COIN

PC-7 Mk II 4* trng


Bell 206B JetRanger 2 trng

IPTN CN235MPA/M 3*/1 MPA/trans

UH-60L 4* trans

Bell 212/214ST 10/1 trans/VIP

S-70C Black Hawk 2 VIP

**under negotiation




In February 1999, the head of the BVVS told a Sofia newspaper that the air force was retiring 100 Soviet-era jets including MiG-17s, MiG-21s and MiG-23 and that 60% of the remaining inventory was grounded because of inadequate spares provision. Bulgaria has operated MiG-29s since the late 1980s when it was still a member of the Warsaw Pact. They, and the BVVS's Su-25s, are to receive avionics improvements which will make them compatible with NATO air forces. It has discussed the upgrading of 20-plus aircraft with the Dasa/MAPO MiG Aircraft Production Support joint venture. In 1997 MAPO announced that it would supply 14 MiG-29SMs and two MiG-AT trainers to the BVVS, but it appears the announcement was premature as no order had been placed. The BVVS has life-extended a number of aircraft including L-39s, some MiG-23s - although most have been withdrawn from service - and Su-22s. The BVVS is understood to be seeking an upgrade of its MiG-21s, with Elbit and Sokol/MAPO in the bidding.

MiG-29s, MiG-23s and MiG-21s operate in the air defence role; Bulgaria also has ground attack versions of the latter two types. Ground attack units are equipped with the Mi-24, Su-22 and Su-25. The fixed-wing transports are in a single unit at Sofia, while the rotary-wing transports are based at Krumovo as part of the tactical aviation corps with ground attack squadrons. If finances allow the air force plans to replace its reconnaissance-configured MiG-21s and its transport fleet over the next 10 years. Six JetRangers were delivered to Bulgaria from July 1999. A small Bulgarian naval air arm operates helicopters from Tchaika-Varna.

Type No Role

MiG-29A/UB Fulcrum 17/4 int

MiG-23BN/MF/UM Flogger 5/5/5 int/attack/trng

MiG-21bis/RF/UFishbed 70/9/19 int/recce/trng

Su-22M/U Fitter 18/3 attack/trng

Su-25A/UB Frogfoot 35/4 attack/trng

L-39 Albatros 26 trng/light attack

L-29 Delfin 28 trng

An-24 Coke 2 trans

An-26 Curl 5 trans

An-30 Clank 1 photo survey

L-410UVP-E Turbolet 8 trans

Tu-134 Crusty 2 VIP

Yak-40 Codling 1 VIP

Mi-24D/V Hind 43 attack

Mi-8/17 Hip 7/25 trans/cmt sup

Mi-2 Hoplite 14 liaison/trng

B206 JetRanger 6 trans



Mi-14PL Haze 10 ASW/MCM




Burkina Faso's air force is a transport force with a mix of transport types, all based at the country's capital, Ouagadougou. During the 1980s the air force received combat aircraft from the Soviet Union which also supplied technical aid. Deliveries included a squadron of MiG-21s and MiG-17s. Although reports suggest that one MiG-21 is still airworthy, the collapse of the Soviet Union and Burkina Faso's status as one of the world's poorest countries make this questionable. Ten SF260 Warriors have been disposed of.

Type No Role

HS748-2A 2 trans

King Air 200 1 trans

N262C Fregate 2 trans

Cessna 337 1 trans

Cessna 172 1 trng

Mi-8/17 3 trans

SA365N Dauphin 2 SAR




Burundi has been wracked by civil war since 1993. A regiment of the army operates Burundi's aviation element. A few SF260 Warriors and Gazelles provide a limited combat capability. It is doubtful whether all these aircraft remain in service.

Type No Role

SF260W Warrior 5 COIN/trng

Falcon 50 1 VIP

Reims Cessna 150L 3 trng

Dornier 27Q 1 comms

SA342L Gazelle 2 COIN/liaison

SA316B Alouette III 3 liaison

Source: Flight International