Saudi defence procurement intentions have been put on hold by the weakness of oil prices. As the value of a barrel of oil rises, so Saudi Arabia will return to the arms bazaars. The largest single procurement will be the replacement of the F-5 fleet. Nominally the F-16C/D won the 100-aircraft order over the Gripen in March 1998. RSAF continues to take delivery of its 72 F-15S Eagles (an F-15E variant) with the last aircraft due to arrive in 2000. These aircraft are being delivered with Lockheed Martin LANTIRN navigation and Sharpshooter targeting pods. It is possible that the air force could order another 25 Eagles. Other intentions include a desire to double the number of AWACS platforms. As the 707-based E-3 is no longer available, the E-767 is the most likely choice. The tactical transport fleet also needs an overhaul with up to 70 C-130Js thought to be the most likely selection to bolster the C-130H fleet. Up to 10 more tankers, either KC-130Js or the same airframe as additional AWACS aircraft, are also needed.

The last of Saudi Arabia's Tornados - the last new build Tornado - has been delivered, concluding the aircraft orders attached to the two massive Al Yamamah contracts. Other aircraft orders placed with the UK under the oil-for-equipment deal included Hawk, PC-9 and Jetstream trainers (one of which has subsequently been lost) and 125-800 business jets. Long-rumoured orders for GKN Westland helicopters and BAe 146s never materialised. Other major recent orders include 12 Cougar combat support helicopters from France and 40 Bell 412s for SAR from Italy. Its E-3 Sentrys have also received radar improvements.

The RSAF's main operating locations are Taif, Jeddah, Khamis Mushait, Dhahran, Riyadh and Tabuk.

Taif is home to 3 and 10 Squadrons with F-5s, 12 and 14 Squadrons with AB206/AB212 and 5 Squadron's F-15C/Ds. Jeddah is home to a single unit, 4 Squadron, which operates Hercules transports. Khamis Mushait is home to 6 Squadron with F-15C/Ds, 15 Squadron with F-5s, 55 Squadron with F-15Ss and 66, 75 and 83 Squadrons with Tornado IDSs. The final F-5 Squadron, number 17, which also operates a handful of RF-5Es for reconnaissance, is the sole occupant at Tabuk. The massive base at Riyadh is home to 8, 9, 22, 11 Squadrons which are training units with Cessna 172s, PC-9s (two units) and Hawks respectively. 16 Squadron with Hercules transports, 32 Squadron with Hercules tankers and 18 Squadron with E-3 Sentrys and KE-3A tankers are also located at Riyadh. Strike and reconnaissance Tornado IDSs are operated by 7 (the operational conversion unit) and 66 Squadron which alongside Tornado ADVs operated by 29 Squadron are based at Dhahran as are 21 and 65 Squadrons with the Hawk and Jetstream 31 and 13 and 42 Squadrons with the F-15C/D. Many of the Royal Flight aircraft are operated in the colours of flag carrier, Saudi Arabian Airlines. They are based at Riyadh alongside 1 Squadron, which operates the various VIP types and the Learjet target tugs. France, the USA and UK retain deployments in Saudi Arabia for UN operations over southern Iraq.

Type No Role

F-15C/D/S Eagle 92/24/72* int/trng/att

Tornado ADV/IDS 24/78/12 AD/att/rec

F-5E/B/F Tiger 56/15/14 int/attack/trng

RF-5E Tiger 10 recce

E-3A Sentry 5 AEW

KE-3A 8 tanker

C-130E/H/H-30 Hercules 7/29/2 trans

KC-130H Hercules 8 tanker

VC-130H Hercules 4/2 VIP/ hospital

CN235 4 trans

707-120/320 1/2 royal flt

747SP 1 royal flt

737-200 1 royal flt

TriStar 2 royal flt

BAe 125-800 4 VIP

Gulfstream III 2 VIP

Jetstar 8 2 VIP

Learjet 25/35A 1/2 VIP/TT


AB206A JetRanger 13 trng/SAR

AB212 25 trans/SAR/VIP

AS532A2 Cougar MkII 12 Combat SAR

AB412EP 40 SAR

Hawk Mk65/65A 27/6 trng

PC-9 45 trng

Jetstream 31 1 trng

Cessna 172G/H/M 14 trng



The small naval air arm operates 24 AS565SA Panthers and 12 AS532AL Cougars. They share the so-called anti-ship missile defence role. This task developed because of Iran and Iraq's successes in ship strike in the confined waters of the Persian Gulf and Straits of Hormuz. Six of the Cougars are compatible with the AM39 Exocets for anti-shipping strike, while 20 Panthers are radar-equipped and armed with AS15TT for the same role; the four others are for SAR. All the aircraft are based at Al Jubail on the Persian Gulf coast. The Panthers deploy aboard the navy's frigates and fleet-replenishment ships. The latter's landing platforms can also support the Cougars. A requirement for maritime patrol aircraft as part of an standard Gulf Co-operation Council deal exists and ASW dedicated helicopters are needed.



Prompted by the Gulf War, the US Government approved the sale of the AH-64A Apache to Saudi Arabia. 12 were signed for in April 1991 and the aircraft were delivered in 1993 to the Land Forces Army Aviation Command at King Khalid Military City. They operate in concert with the TOW-armed Bell Combat Scouts. Desert Hawk versions of the Black Hawk are used for transport and medevac.

Type No Role

AH-64A Apache 12 anti-tank/attack

Bell 406CS Combat Scout 15 scout

S-70A Desert Hawk 13/8 utility/medevac

SA365N Dauphin 6 medevac




Senegal's small air force has a limited combat capability through its Magisters and armed Rallye trainers. However, both types are elderly, particularly the Magisters. The equally old F27 Friendships are the mainstay of the transport fleet. The air force is based at Dakar International Airport, but detaches to airfields and airports around the country when required. During the 1980s the country had a pact with the Gambia, which is surrounded by Senegal on three sides and has the Atlantic Ocean as its western boundary; the Senegalese air force also operated over Gambia. It is not clear whether this is still the case. The French air force operates a small detachment at Dakar with a C-160 Transall and a SA319B Alouette III.

Type No Role

CM170 Magister 5 attack/trng

Rallye 235 Guerrier/235A 4/2 COIN/trng

DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 1 coastal patrol

F27-400M Friendship 6 trans

Boeing 727-200 1 VIP

SA318C Alouette II 2 liaison

SA316 Alouette III 2 liaison

SA330F Puma 2 trans

Rallye 160ST 2 trng




The Seychelles People's Air Force has been renamed the Seychelles Coast Guard - Air Wing. It is tasked with maritime surveillance, SAR, logistics support and coastal defence around the republic's 112 islands. Its three aircraft, a BN-2A Islander, a Cessna F406 Caravan II and Cessna 152, are based at Mahe airport.




Sierra Leone's air force has had a turbulent recent history. A military coup in May 1997 was suppressed with international help in 1998 and the country's armed forces disbanded in July. Some of the troops were incorporated into a new 5,000 strong military organisation. The Revolutionary United Front - which fought the government throughout the 1980s until defeated with help from a South African organisation known as Executive Outcomes in December 1996 - formed a pact with the army after the coup, and returned to opposition following the reimposition of President Kabbah. A further peace deal was signed in July 1999.

At various times the Sierra Leone military armed forces have had access to an Mi-24 Hind and Mi-8 Hip flown by Belarussian contract pilots and Executive Outcomes used two Mi-17s in its operations. The air fleet remains a matter of conjecture, but before the coup it operated a P68 Victor and AS355F Ecureuil. Two "armed helicopters" were acquired from Ukraine in 1999. Sierra Leone's previous use of Mi-8/17s and Mi-24s makes it likely that one of these is the type procured. Nigerian-led peacekeeping forces maintain a presence in country.




Singapore ordered Block 52 F-16C/Ds in two batches, one in 1994 and one in 1997. The 42 aircraft on order include 12 leased from Lockheed Martin with an option to buy. The first aircraft from the initial batch were delivered in 1998, when it became clear that the D versions were equipped with the enlarged spine first seen on Israeli air force aircraft. It contains additional avionics not used on standard F-16s. Second batch aircraft will join the RSAF from 2000. Earlier F-16A/Bs, delivered in 1988, were put through the USAF "Falcon Up" strengthening programme. An RFI has been issued to Lockheed Martin, Eurofighter and Dassault for a new multi-role fighter. Singapore has also joined the JSF programme. The two other combat types in the inventory, the F-5 and A-4, have both been locally modified. The F-5S and two-seat F-5T programme got under way in 1997 and at Pay Lebar 144 Squadron became operational on the type in January 1998. The 40 aircraft are being modified by Singapore Technologies Aerospace (STAe) and are receiving a Fiar Grifo radar, a HUD, cockpit head-down multifunction displays and new navigation equipment. STAe was responsible for the "uper Skyhawk" programme which was completed in 1986/9 and included replacing the existing engine with a non-afterburning GE F404, a new cockpit and avionics system. Singapore signed a deal for eight AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters in 1999; it also has 12 options. Deliveries start in 2002 and the deal includes Hellfire missiles and Hydra unguided rockets, but not the Longbow radar. It also ordered four more CH-47SDs; the first of an earlier order for four made its initial flight in 1999 for delivery in 2000/1. Some of the additional Chinooks will become home based. A further helicopter requirement is for six to 12 naval helicopters to equip soon-to-be-delivered corvettes. This purchase could be tied to the selection of a replacement for elderly UH-1Hs.

Singapore has limited space and the bids include provision for basing and training. The RSAF already has F-16 (Luke AFB), KC-135R (McConnell) and CH-47 (Grand Prairie) training under way in the USA; 126 Squadron with 12 Super Pumas and a flying school equipped with S211 trainers are based at Oakley and Pearce respectively in Australia; while an A-4 Skyhawk squadron is based at Cayaux, France for two years. Pilot screening was outsourced to BAe Flying Training Australia in August 1999. The first of four KC-135s was handed over in September 1999. The aircraft - which will remain based in the USA - were purchased as KC-135As, are being re-engined with CFM56s and are due to receive two-crew cockpits and GPS/INS navigation systems.

The air force structure for units based in Singapore includes the F-16s of 140 Squadron, the E-2s of 111 Squadron and two squadrons of A-4SUs at Tengah. Sembawang is home to the helicopters of 120 Squadron with UH-1Hs and AB205s; 123 and 124 Squadron with Fennecs; and 125 Squadron's Super Pumas. Training units are based at Seletar; Fokker 50s are based with 121 Squadron at Changi and Pay Lebar is home to 122 Squadron's C-130s and the F-5s of 141, 144 and 149 Squadron.

Type No Role

F-16A/B/C/D 2/5/22*/20* int/attack/trng

F-5E/S/F Tiger II/RF-5E 30/8/14 int/trng/recce

A-4SU/TA-4SU Skyhawk 50/18 attack

Fokker 50MPA Enforcer 2 5 ASW

Fokker 50UTA-B 4 trans

E-2C Hawkeye 4 AEW

CH-47D/SD Chinook 6/8* heavylift/trans

KC-130B/H/H-30 Hercules 4/4/2 trans/tanker

KC-135R Stratotanker 4* tanker

AS332M/UL Super Puma 20/14 trans/SAR

UH-1B/H Iroquois 11/16 trans

Bell 205 8 trans

AS550C-2/A-2 Fennec 10/10 scout/AOP

S211 29 trng

SF260M/W 20 trng




When the Czech and Slovak Republics separated in January 1993 the former Czechoslovak Republic air force was split 2:1 in favour of the Czechs, although the MiG-29 fleet was split equally and the Czechs received all the MiG-23s. Slovakia added eight more MiG-29s in 1995/6 and retired some older types. The MiG-29s are likely to receive Western IFF and radio equipment. The air force wants to acquire 16 more Mi-24s and upgrade the 35 machines with western avionics. The Conventional Forces in Europe treaty allows the Slovaks to operate 115 combat aircraft and 25 armed helicopters; it wants to change this to 80 combat aircraft and 40 helicopters.

Su-25, Su-22, MiG-21s, L-39 and L-29 will be replaced by a common type such as the MB339, L-159, Hawk or Yak-130, which is powered by a Slovak manufactured engine, the Povazske Strojarne DV2. Twelve two-seaters and 48 single seaters are needed, which would create a two-tier air force similar to that of the Czech Republic.

The air force's 15 squadrons are controlled by four wings. The flying school at Kosice is autonomous. 31 Air Base/Wing is at Sliac and has four squadrons (311, 312, 313, 314). Two of these operate MiG-29s, one operates MiG-21s and L-39Zas, while 314 has a mixed bag of Mi-2, Mi-17 and L-410. Piestany is home to 32 Wing which has two squadrons operating the various transports. 33 Airbase/Wing at Malacky is the tactical air wing and has two squadrons, one equipped with Su-22s and L-39s, the other with Su-25s and L-39s. Helicopters are operated by the four squadrons of 34 Airbase/Wing at Presov.

Type No Role

MiG-29A/UB Fulcrum 22/2 int/trng

MiG-21MF/US/UM Fishbed 12/1/3 int/trng

Su-25K/UBK Frogfoot 11/1 attack/trng

Su-22M-4/U Fitter 17/3 attack/trng

Mi-24V/D/DU Hind 19 attack

Mi-8/17 Hip 20 trans

Mi-2 Hoplite 6 liaison

L-410M/T/UVP Turbolet 8 trans

L-39C/MS/ZA/VT Albatros 20 trng/FGA/TT

L-29 Delfin 11 trng

An-24 Coke 2 trans

An-26 Curl l trans




Slovenia was essentially untouched by the violent end to the former Yugoslavia that so dramatically affected Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. It declared independence in June 1991. The air force has slowly been built, initially while UN sanctions were in place and later more openly as the sanctions were removed. The largest purchase has been nine PC-9 Mk2 armed trainers to add to three ex-US Army examples acquired in 1995. The PC-9s are being retrofitted with a mission and weapons system by Israel's Radom. It is seeking eightto 20 fighters and has sought Dutch assistance in the matter. Israel has offered Kfirs with possibly Python 3/4 missiles, laser guided bombs and laser designator pods. Other candidates include used F-16s; the Netherlands will have surplus aircraft once its midlife upgrade programme is finished. The air unit operates from two bases: Ljubljana's Brnik Airport and Cerklje. The former is home to the PC-9s, and transport types, including the Bell 412s. The Zlins and JetRangers are based at Cerklje and are used for training.

Slovenia's police force also has a significant air element. It operates two A109, two Bell 206 JetRangers, two Bell 212s and a single Bell 412, all of which are based at Ljubljana Airport. The government has a Learjet 25D, Learjet 35A and a Citation I for VIP duties which are also based at the capital.

Type No Role

PC-9/PC-9 Mk 2 3/9 trng

Bell 206B-3 JetRanger 3 trng

Bell 412EP 5 patrol/SAR

Bell 412HP/412SP 2/1 trans

Let L-410VP-E Turbolet 1 trans

PC-6 Turbo-Porter 2 trans

UTVA 75 1 trng

Zlin L143L 2 trng

Zlin L242L 8 trng




A revolution took place in Somalia in 1991. Since then the country has been split into fiefdoms by various clans and no national unified defence force exists. Between late 1992 and mid-1994 UN forces, predominately supplied by the USA and Italy, the former colonial power, tried to keep peace in the ravished country and stem the rising famine. Before 1991 the aeronautical corps was equipped with a mixture of Soviet, Chinese and Western types, including the MiG-21 Fishbed, Shenyang F-6 (MiG-19 Farmer), MiG-17F Fresco, AB205 and AB212. Most of the inventory has been photographed in a derelict state at Mogadishu Airport.




Years of international arms embargo against the former South African regime left the SAAF with a diverse fleet with many aircraft in need of replacement. In November 1998 South Africa announced a series of preferred bidders in four competitions designed to maximise the defence budget's spending power. Total value of the orders was around $5.2 billion for 28 Gripens to replace Cheetah C/Ds, 24 Hawk LIFTs to replace Impala I/IIs, 40 A109s to replace Alouette IIIs and four Super Lynxes. When deals were signed in September 1999, the orders had been reduced to nine two-seat Gripens and 19 single-seat options, 12 Hawks with 12 options and 30 A109s. A plan to equip the Hawk with a multi-mode radar has also been abandoned. Offset agreements are a major part of the deals. The late lifting of the US arms embargo on the new South Africa in May 1998, several years after President Nelson Mandela was elected and the general UN embargo was abandoned, damaged US manufacturers' interests. Remaining requirements include in the medium to long term include new maritime patrol aircraft, light and medium transports and a communications/VIP aircraft.

The international arms embargo made South Africa self-sufficient in some areas. The latest fruits of this labour is the delivery of the first of 12 Rooivalk attack helicopters which have been used to form 16 Squadron at Bloemspruit AFB in January 1999. The air force also operates licence-built Super Pumas - the Oryx - and the Cheetah, which is a South African/Israeli development of the Mirage III with new avionics, weapons systems and compatibility with indigenous stand-off weapons and air-to-air missiles.

Cutbacks in recent years have seen the disposal/retirement of Pumas, a AS365 Dauphin, a PC-6 Turbo-Porter, an Islander, Harvards, Mirage F1AZs and C-160Zs while the numbers of C-47TP Turbo Dakota, Alouette III, Cessna 185, Impala I/II have been scaled back. Three PC-7s were exchanged for a single PC12. The SAAF C-130 fleet began a major update programme in 1997. The joint Denel/Marshall Aerospace programme will extend the airframe life by around 20 years and reconfigure the cockpits with Sextant avionics. The last rebuilt aircraft will be handed over in 2002.

The air force today has a single Cheetah squadron, number 2, based at AFB Louis Trichardt in the north east near the Zimbabwe and Mozambique borders. 8 Squadron with Impala Is and IIs is based at Bloemspruit near Bloemfontein in the centre of the country.

Oryx units are all multi-type: 15 Squadron in Durban also operates the BK117; 19 Squadron at Louis Trichardt also has Alouette IIIs; as does 22 Squadron at AFB Ysterplaat near Cape Town. AFB Waterkloof, also near Pretoria, is home to 21 Squadron with a host of VIP types, and the Hercules-equipped 28 Squadron. Swartkop near Pretoria has closed, which means 41 and 42 Squadrons with a host of communications types became flights within 44 Squadron at Waterkloof, which also operates CN235s, C212s and the remaining C-47TPs, while 17 Squadron with Oryx and Alouette IIIs also moves to Waterkloof. Training units are located at Bloemfontein and Hoedspruit.

Type No Role

Gripen 9/19†   int/attack

Hawk LIFT 12/12†   LIF/trng

Lynx 300 4†   ASW/ASuW

A109 30/10†   utility

Cheetah C/D 38/14 multi-role/trng

Impala II/MB326K 35 attack

Impala I/MB326M 35 trng

707-320 5 tank/ELINT/trans

C-130B/E Hercules 9/3 trans

C-47 Dakota/C-47TP 12 trans/MR

Falcon 50 2 VIP

Falcon 900 2/1 VIP

BAe 125-400B 5 VIP

Super King Air 200/300 3/1 trans

Cessna 185A/D/E 14 recce

Cessna 208 Caravan I 11 comms

Cessna 505 Citation II 2 VIP

212-100/-200 Aviocar 2/2 trans/trng

CN235 1 trans

PC-12 1 IP/comms

PC-7/PC-7 Mk II Astra 59 trng

SA316/SA319 Alouette III 56 air suppt/trng

BK117A-1/-3 9 air suppt

Atlas Oryx (Super Puma) 51 air suppt

Atlas CSH-1 Rooivalk 12* attack

† options



South Korea's economic crisis is snapping at the heels of its ambitious defence plans, particularly its indigenous KTX-2 advanced trainer/light fighter being designed by Samsung Aerospace in concert with Lockheed Martin. RoKAF requires 95 KTX-2s to be delivered from 2005. Thirty T-38 Talons in service are leased from the USAF. This deal was done in late 1995 instead of buying a further batch of BAe Hawks; the money saved has been ploughed into KTX-2 development. Its other big procurement programme, its F-X fighter competition, has moved ahead with RFPs being issued for the F-15E, Eurofighter Typhoon, Rafale, and Su-27/30. Up to 120 aircraft are needed to replace ageing F-4s from 2003-4.

Samsung is building F-16C/Ds under licence for the air force and holds an order for 160 aircraft which will all be produced by 2000, by which time a contract for another 20 will have been signed. This will keep the production lines busy until the KTX-2 enters full production andbolsters the air force's inventory, while limiting the effects from delays to the F-X programme. South Korea was expected to select a winner of its AEW aircraft competition in 1999 but this has been postponed until at least 2000. The decision is between the Boeing E-767 AWACS, an IAI Phalcon on an A310 or an Ericsson Erieye on the ERJ-145. Four to eight platforms are required.

The first production example of South Korea's other indigenous trainer, the Daewoo KT-1 Woong Bee, should fly in March 2000 and be delivered the following June. The air force will take 85 KT-1s to replace T-41Ds and T-37s. A forward air control version is likely to ordered. The 20-armed KO-1s will supersede O-2s from 2003. A full specification has not been determined. In 1998 eight more CN235 transports from IPTN were ordered. The first batch of 12 was exchanged for South Korean-built armoured personnel carriers and the second contract is based on a similar barter. RoKAF also requires up to 20 C-130Js to fulfil its tactical transport needs. However, the buy was postponed in 1997 for two years because of the economic downturn and still has not been resurrected. Korean Air, which builds UH-60s under licence, is keen for the air force to replace its UH-1 SAR machines with Black Hawks. South Korea remains the base for significant US forces.

Type No Role

F-16A/B/C/D 110/50 int/FGA/trng

F-4D/E/RF-4E Phantom 60/70/18 int/attack/recce

F-5E/F Tiger II 149/50 FGA/trng

F-5A/B/RF-5A 35/20/5 int/attack/recce

A-37B Dragonfly 27 COIN/trng

Hawker 800 8* recce/ELINT

O-1A/E Bird Dog 20 AOP

Cessna O-2A 12 FAC

OV-10D Bronco 7 obs/FAC

CN235-100/200 12/8* trans

C-130H/H-30 Hercules 8/4 trans

CH-47D Chinook 6 trans

737-300 1 presidential

BAe 748 2 VIP

Bell 412 3 VIP

DHC-2 Beaver 5 comms

Commander 520/560F 3 comms

Bell 212 4 VIP

UH-1D/H Iroquois 5 SAR

Hawk Mk 67 16 trng

T-38 Talon 30 trng

T-37C 25 trng

T-41B Mescalero 15 trng

KT-1 Woong Bee 85/25†   trng/FAC

T-33A Shooting Star 30 trng

† requirement



The P-3C Orions were delivered from 1996 and have allowed elderly S-2 Trackers to be phased out. In 1997 13 more Super Lynxes were ordered and it was decided to upgrade the earlier aircraft, which started to arrive in 1990, to the same standard with new radar, FLIR and ESM. A single Lynx squadron is shore based at Chinhae and embarks aboard the navy's destroyer and frigate fleets. The Orions are equipped with Harpoon missiles while the Lynxes use the Sea Skua. A requirement exists for eight more Caravan IIs but the financial downturn makes it unlikely that an order will be placed in the foreseeable future.

Type No Role

P-3C Orion 8 MR/ASW

S-2A/E Tracker 9/15 patrol/ASW

Lynx Mk99 11/13* ASW/ASuW


Bell 206B JetRanger 2 comms

F406 Caravan II 3 comms/TT



The South Korean army plans to acquire attack helicopters. It is expected to place an initial order for 18 machines in 2002 with an eventual requirement 60 aircraft. Contenders include the A129, AH-1Z, AH-64D, CSH-2 Rooivalk, Tiger, Ka-50 and an armed S-70/UH-60 Black Hawk. South Korea previously decided to buy AH-64As but failed in 1992 to sign the final order for 37 aircraft. The South Korean Army operates over 100 Black Hawks. Most are UH-60Ps licence-produced by Korean Air. The total order is for 140 aircraft and the manufacturer continues to push for a follow-on batch of 60-80 UH-60Ps to replace remaining UH-1s. The army's light helicopter programme is close to producing results after nearly nine years of delay, with the first of 12 Daewoo-assembled BO105s due for delivery in 2000.

Type No Role

AH-1J/S/F Cobra 60 anti-tank

CH-47D Chinook 18 heavylift

UH-60P Black Hawk 138* trans

UH-1H Iroquois 20 trans

MD500MD/TOW 130/45 AOP/anti-tank

BO105 12* trans

AS332L Super Puma 3 comms




Spain is a partner nation in the Eurofighter programme and will receive 87 aircraft; deliveries of the first 20 start in 2003. As an interim measure the air force ordered 24 F/A-18 Hornets from USN surplus in early 1995, which were all delivered by 1998, supplementing the 72 EF/A-18 Hornets delivered new in 1986/90. The Hornets are to receive a mid-life update. Spain has also expanded its Mirage F1 fleet in recent years, buying Qatar's fleet in two tranches in 1994 and 1997 and taking surplus French aircraft. Thomson-CSF won an order in 1995 to refurbish Spain's Mirage F1 fleet, allowing the air force to keep the type in service until 2015. The SF-5 fleet has been modernised by Bristol Aerospace in Canada. It has also upgraded its Hercules fleet in 1996/8 with new avionics including cockpit instruments and navigation equipment. In 1999 the Spanish air force signed a deal for CASA to update its Orion fleet; the first modified aircraft will be redelivered in 2002. In 1999 the air force also opened the order book for the C295. Spain is part of the pan-European FLA/Airbus A400 programme and has a requirement for 36 examples. It also has training and advanced jet trainer requirements.

The air force structure is divided into four air commands based at Seville, Torrejon, Zaragosa and on the Canaries at Gando. The last of these has a single airbase at Gando and controls a Mirage F1 unit, a C212 transport squadron and a F27/Super Puma squadron responsible for SAR and patrol around the island chain. The mainland groups are large, controlling both substantial combat and transport forces. The airbases at Torrejon, Valladolid, Curato Vientos and Getafe fall under the Central command. The first is home to Grupo 12's four squadrons of F/A-18 s, RF-4 Phantoms and the Spanish air force's EW/ELINT aircraft, to the fire-fighting CL-215s of Grupo 43 and Grupo 45 which operates tankers, transports and VIP aircraft. Getafe is a transport and training base while Valladolid and Curato Vientos are both transport bases. The Seville-based "Strait" command has a similar set-up and controls the Mirage F1 units at Albacete, the F/A-18s and P-3s at Moron, the SF-5s and Dornier 27s at Talavera la Real, the helicopter school at Granada-Armilla and the flying school at San Javier. Eastern command at Zaragosa controls Valencia and Zaragosa airbases. The former is home to Mirage F1s and Dornier 27s while the latter has three squadrons of F/A-18s as well as the Hercules tankers and transports.

Type No Role

EF/A-18A/B Hornet (C/CE15) 83/12 int/attack/trng

Eurofighter 87* int /attack

Mirage F1C/E/B/D (C/CE14) 66 int/attack/trng

RF-4C Phantom II (CR12) 14 recce

SF-5B/SRF-5A (AE/AR9) 22/2 attack/LIF/recce

F27-200MPA (D2) 3 patrol/SAR

P-3A/B Orion (P3) 2/5 MR/ASW

C212-100/200 (D3/T12) 2/7/57 patrol/SAR/trans

C212-100/200 (TM/TR/TE12) 3/2/2/5 trng/ECM/EW/surv

C-130H/H-30 (T10/TL10) 6/1 trans

KC-130H Hercules (TK10) 5 tanker/trans

CN235 (T19A/B) 2/18 trans

C295 9* trans

707-320 (T17/TM17) 3/1 tank-trans/ELINT

B55 Baron (E20) 5 trng

Dornier 27/CASA 127A 21 comms

Falcon 20 (T11/TM11) 4/1 comms/ECM

Falcon 50 (T16) 1 VIP

Falcon 900 (T18) 2 VIP

SA330H/J Puma (HD19) 19 SAR

Super Puma (HT/HD21) 15/4 trans/SAR

F33A Bonanza (E24A) 23 trng

C101B Aviojet (E25) 76 trng

T-35C Pillan (E26 Tamiz) 37 trng

Hughes 300 (HE20) 13 trng

S-76A Spirit (HE24) 8 trng

CL215T (UD13) 15 fire fighting/SAR

Citation V (TR20) 2 photo survey



Spain's navy has six squadrons and the aircraft carrier Principe de Asturias. The carrier's air group normally consists of 8-10 AV-8B/AV-8B-plus and 10 helicopters. Although two of these will be AEW configured SH-3s, which gives the carrier an organic airborne radar, command and control asset, the other rotorcraft will be a mixture of SH-3s, SH-60Bs and AS212s. The 10 earlier AV-8Bs are being brought up to the B-plus standard which will include AMRAAM compatibility. The Principe de Asturias has a 190m flightdeck with a 12° ski-jump. Esc.010's SH-60s deploy aboard the navy's guided missile frigates when at sea and are shore-based with the rest of the navy's air arm at Rota. Esc.009 operates the Harriers. More SH-60s are required, probably from 2002, while existing aircraft will be upgraded to the new aircraft's standard, probably equivalent to the USN's SH-60R.

Type No Role

EAV-8B Harrier II/II+ (VA2) 8/8 fighter/attack

Cessna Citation II (U20) 3 trans/comms

SH-3H Sea King (HS9/SH9) 9/3 ASW/AEW

SH-60B Seahawk (HS23) 6 ASW/ASUW

AB212ASW (HA18) 10 trans/SAR

Hughes 500 (HS13) 10 trng



FAMET, the Spanish army's air wing, is moving towards an attack helicopter procurement in the next decade. Meanwhile its combat force is equipped with BO105s which are armed on a roughly 50:50 split with 20mm cannon and HOT-anti-tank missiles. The transport fleet consists of CH-47s which are being upgraded to D standard while the first Cougars have been delivered. The AS532 was selected after a battle against Sikorsky. Eurocopter's bid included an offer of 100% offset from the French Government.

Type No Role

UH-1H Iroquois (HU10) 48 trans/trng

BO105ATH/CB (HA/HE15) 70/9 attack/trng

AB212 (HU18) 6 trans/trng/SAR

AS532UC/UL Cougar (HT21) 16/15* trans

CH-47 Chinook (HT17) 17 trans

OH-58B Kiowa (HE15) 11 trng




Sri Lanka continues to be savaged after 16 years of fighting between government forces and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The air force has been heavily involved, transporting troops and supplies, as well as mounting strikes against the LTTE. The insurgents have made the air force pay a heavy price, attacking it on the ground and using MANPADS. LTTE has shot down at least two BAe 748s, a Pucara, a Y-12 and several Mi-24s, while it has also destroyed An-32s, Y-8s and Y-12s on the ground. Defence procurement has been driven by the ongoing war, often to replace lost equipment. In 1996/8 the air force received four An-32s, three Mi-17 Hips, two Mi-24 Hinds and two C-130B Hercules and added at least two Mi-35 Hinds in 1999. The war has also forced the air force to fit anti-missile chaff/flare dispensers to many of its aircraft as a precautionary measure. Following the shooting down of a civilian aircraft in 1998, the air force began operating passenger flights in February 1999. Four used Super King Airs were ordered in 1996 for MR duties. They were to have been fitted with IR sensors but it is unclear if they have been delivered. A maritime patrol squadron was to have formed at Trincomalee in response to LTTE attacks on shipping and the navy's coastal patrol vessels. Israel completed delivery of seven Kfirs in 1997; one was subsequently lost in early 1997 when it crashed shortly after take off. The Kfirs are operated by 10 Squadron and based at Katunayake.

Chinese-built F-7Ms delivered in 1992 and operated by 5 Squadron, also at Katunayake, are reported to have been grounded in April 1997 after discovery of cracks in the outer wings. Other Chinese-built fighters and remaining Pucaras are reported to be unserviceable. Russian built helicopters have been used extensively against the LTTE and 6 Squadron at Vavuniya operates Mi-17s, while the operational Hinds are with 9 Squadron at Hingarukgoda. Transports are divided between two squadrons based at Ratmalana. The Flying Training Wing, based at Anuradhapura, operates SF260s, a Cessna 150 and Chipmunks. The 4 Helicopter Wing flies its Bell 212s, 412s and JetRangers from Katunayake.

Type No Role

Kfir C2/TC2 4/1 int/attack

Chengdu F-7BS/FT-7 4/1 int/attack

IA58 Pucara 2 COIN

Mi-24/35 Hind 6 attack

Mi-17 Hip 11 trans

C-130B Hercules 2/1* trans

Shaanxi Y-8 (An-12) 1 trans

An-32B Cline 4 trans

BAe 748 2 trans

Harbin Y-12 5 †   trans

Beech King Air 200 1/4* VIP/MR

Cessna 421 1 survey

Bell 206B JetRanger 6 trans/liaison

Bell 212 12 trans/COIN

Bell 412 4 trans/VIP

Cessna 150 5 trng/comms

DHC-1 Chipmunk 4 trng

Shenyang FT-5 2 trng

SF260TP/W 6/10 armed trng/trng

SF260W 5

† 1 for spares




Financial pressures and continuing civil war in Sudan mean the air force is rundown, with few serviceable aircraft. However, some are available as the air force was implicated in the bombing of a hospital in January 1999. Chinese F-7s are the mainstay of the fleet with six delivered in 1996. Middle Eastern sources claim that Iran, which has military advisers in Sudan, paid for the deal. Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters are also relatively new, having been acquired in 1995 from Kyrgyzstan and/or Belarus. Other Arab nations have donated aircraft in the past; this included Libya, which handed over a squadron of MiG-23s which have not fared well in Sudan; in 1986 a F27 Friendship from South Yemen and a Buffalo from Oman. The Sudanese air force's main base is in Khartoum; 10 or more others are spread around the country.

Type No Role

Chengdu F-7B 15 FGA

Mig-23FL Flogger 6 int/FGA

F-5E/F Tiger II 7 int/trng

Shenyang F-6/FT-6 (MiG-19) 5 FGA

Shenyang F-5/FT-5 (MiG-17) 5 FGA/trng

Strikemaster 90 3 CION

Mi-24 Hind 6 attack

Shaanxi Y-8 (An-12) 2 trans

DHC-5D Buffalo 3 trans

C-130H Hercules 2 trans

F27 200 Friendship 1 trans

Falcon 20 1 VIP

Falcon 50 1 VIP

IAR330 Puma 12 trans

Mi-8 Hip 6 trans

AB212 9 trans

DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 1 trans




This small air arm was formed in 1982. It performs border and coastal patrols, transport and medevac. It purchased two CASA C212-400s in 1997. One, received in 1998, is a transport while the second aircraft, delivered in 1999, is a maritime surveillance aircraft with a 360° search radar and other role-specific equipment. These are based at Zorg en Hoop, the air force's main base but also use the capital's Paramaribo-Zanderij airport. Other equipment includes a BN-2B Defender that can be fitted with machine gun pods and a Cessna 172 for training.




Based at Manzani-Matsapha, the air wing has two IAI-201 Aravas which are fitted with gun-packs and hardpoints for rocket pods. The aircraft are flown on general transport missions, as well as COIN and border-patrol duties.




Deliveries of the JAS39 Gripen are continuing and the second wing to receive the type, F10 at Ängelholm, started to receive the type in September 1999 by which time 78 aircraft had been delivered. F7 at Satenas was first to receive the JAS39, declaring its first squadron operational in October 1997. Three batches amounting to 204 aircraft have been ordered. The third batch, which was signed for in 1997, will include 50 upgraded JAS39Cs and 15 JAS39Ds: deliveries will run between 2003 and 2006. F7 also has the JAS39 conversion unit, a squadron of Hercules transports and, like all wings, has a unit equipped with communications types, predominately four-seat versions of the Sk60. The build-up of the Gripen fleet forced the retirement of the venerable Draken; the last operator was F10.

Once enough Gripens have been delivered the Viggen will disappear as well. Ground attack (AJ37) and reconnaissance versions (SF37/SH37) were upgraded in 1993-7 to give each type a more advanced multirole capability. Hence the AJ37 transformed to the AJS37 has some radar surveillance capability while the ground attack credentials of the reconnaissance types have been improved. F10 also has a squadron that operates the AJS/AJSF37/AJSH37, while the sole other operator is a squadron within F21 Wing at Lulea. The JA37 Viggen fighter remains the mainstay of the air defence force and will be the last type replaced by the JAS39. It has had continual small upgrades including the addition of the AMRAAM air-to-air missile, advanced datalinks and colour cockpit displays. F21 has two squadrons of JA37s, F4 at Ostersund has two squadrons plus the operational conversion unit, F16 at Uppsala has two squadrons and F17 at Ronneby has two squadrons. F16 is scheduled to be the third JAS39 wing from 2000-1.

Training units were grouped as F5 Wing at Ljungbyhed, but the closure of the airfield has seen Sk60 attached to F10 and F16. The Sk60s received new wings and structural overhauls in 1988/91 and were re-engined with the Williams Rolls-Royce FJ44 in 1995/8, which will keep them in service until 2015. Sk61s have a limited military liaison role and are used for airline, but not military, pilot training. Many are stored. All six Ericsson Erieye-equipped Saab 340s have now been delivered to F16 at Malmslatt. Sweden's vast area but small population requires that its armed forces use innovative practices to ensure survival. Since the early 1990s the Flygvapnet has operated on the BAS90 principle of dispersed operations using road bases, the ultimate development of a principle it has been developing since the mid-1960s. In peacetime the air force operates from six fixed bases but in wartime it has around 24 dispersed bases which cover an area of roughly 20x30km with four or five runways.

Type No Role

JAS39 Gripen 176*/28* int/attack/recce/tac trng

JA37 Viggen 134 int

AJS/AJ37 Viggen 48 attack/int/recce

AJSH37/AJSF37 Viggen 25/25 recce/attack

Sk37/Sk37E Viggen 9/6 trng/TT/ECM

S100B Argus/Tp100 6/1 AEW/VIP

Sk60A/B/C/W (Saab 105) 106 trng/comms

Sk61 Bulldog 60 trng/liaison

Tp84 (C-130E/H) Hercules 8 trans

Tp85 Caravelle 1 ELINT

Tp86 Sabreliner 2 trials

Tp101 Super King Air 3 trans

Tp102/S102B Gulfstream IV 1/2 trans/ELINT

Tp103 Citation II 1 comms



On 1 January 1998, the Swedish forces created a Joint Helicopter Wing which combined the assets of the Armeflygkar, Marinflyget and the Flygvapnet's SAR helicopters. At first the number of units remained the same at 13. However, on 1 January 1999 the squadrons were reorganised into four battalions during peacetime, again as a cost saving measure. 1 Norrlands Helicopter Battalion includes army and SAR elements and has bases at Boden, Lulea and Ostersund and is tasked with transport and anti-tank duties as well as SAR. 2 Svea Helicopter Battalion includes navy and SAR elements; its bases are at Berga near Stockholm and Uppsala and it is used for ASW, over-the-horizon-targeting and SAR duties. 3 Gota Helicopter Battalion includes navy and SAR elements with the same roles as 2 battalion, but is based at Ronneby, Save (Gothenburg), Ängelholm and Satenas. 4 Ostgota Helicopter Battalion includes army and SAR elements, has the same roles as 1 battalion and is based at Malmen. Future procurement programmes include a medium/heavy utility helicopter that will replace the AB204 and the tandem rotor 107s. This will be part of the Nordic Standard Helicopter Programme. An attack helicopter requirement for up to 24 aircraft from 2002 has been outlined.

Type No Role

C212-200 Aviocar (SH89) 1 ASW/MP

BV107/KV-107 (Hkp4) 14 ASW/trans/SAR

AS332M Super Puma (Hkp10) 12 SAR

AB204A/B (Hkp3C) 8 trans/SAR

AB412 (Hkp11) 5 SAR

BO105CB (Hkp9A) 20 anti-tank

AB206A/B JetRanger (Hkp6) 29 trans/trng

Hughes 300C (Hkp5B) 25 trng/AOP




Switzerland's air force continues to receive 34 F/A-18C/D Hornets. The first two were completed in the USA but the rest are being assembled at the Swiss Aircraft and Systems factory near Lucerne. The first aircraft were handed over in 1997 and the last is due for delivery in 1999. Pending funding, the Swiss air force wants to order a further batch of aircraft. The Hornet has superseded the Mirage III in the air defence role but the type will remain in service as a reconnaissance platform until 2006. A second batch would allow a Hornet-based strike force to be established as the air force isdedicating the first 34 aircraft to air defence duties. The Swiss air force lost a large part of its strike capability when it retired its Hawker Hunters in 1995. In October 1998 the Swiss bought 12 Cougar Mk 1 transport helicopters for delivery in 2000-2003. The F-5s will be replaced around 2010. The wartime air force is divided into five commands: Flugwaffenbrigade 31 controls the aircraft, Flugplatzbrigade 32 ground units on air bases, Fliegerabwehrbrigade 33 controls SAM and AAA batteries, Stabinformatikbrigade 34 is the air force's intelligence organisation and Flieger und Flugabwehr Park 35 is a civilian maintenance unit. Flugwaffenbrigade 31 is split into four Fliegerregimente: numbers 1, 2 and 3 control combat and reconnaissance types and number 4 controls the helicopter units as well as PC-7 and PC-9 flights tasked with instrument flying training and target towing. The main bases are at Dubbendorf, Sion, Meiringen, Payerne, Stans and Alphach.

Type No Role

F/A-18C/D Hornet 26/7* int/trng

F-5E/F Tiger II 90/12 int/trng

Mirage IIIRS/BS/DS 16/2/2 recon/trng

Hawk 66 19 trng

PC-7 Turbo-Trainer 38 trng

PC-9 16 target towing

Learjet 36 1 trans

Falcon 50 1 trans

PC-6B Turbo-Porter 18 trans

AS332M-1/UL 15/12* trans

SA316B/SE3160 Alouette III 68 utility




The Syrian air force remains wedded to the Soviet system and has an almost entirely Soviet-era fleet. In May 1999 President Assad of Syria visited Moscow with a long shopping list which appears to have included advanced SAM systems, MiG-29s and probably Su-27s, but no orders have been announced. The Su-22s are divided between five regiments, while the Su-24 and MiG-23BNs are both operated by two units each. Eight fighter regiments operate the MiG-21, another five operate the air-defence dedicated MiG-23Ms, while the MiG-25 and MiG-29 are operated by two regiments. It is assumed that reconnaissance MiG-25s are co-located with the fighter variants. An air mobility division equipped with Mi-8/17s, Mi-24s and Gazelles supports the army. As with the old Soviet system many of the transports are operated in the colours of the national airline. Syria negotiated upgrade packages for its MiG-21s and Su-22s with Russia in 1996 and continues to discuss acquiring more Su-24s and MiG-29s. The principal operating bases are at Abu a-Dhur, An Nasiryah, As West, Damascus, Deirezzor, Dumayr, Hamah, Jirah, Kamishly, Khalkhalah, Latakia, Marj Ruhayyil, Mezze, Neirab, Quasayr, Rasin el About, Sayqal, Shayrat, Tabqa, Tiyas and Tudmur. These are in the south and west, ie along the borders with Lebanon and Israel and along the coast.

Type No Role

MiG-23BN/UM Flogger 60/6 attack/trng

MiG-23MF/ML/MS Flogger 80 int

MiG-25PD/RB/PU Foxbat 30/8/2 int/recon/trng

MiG-21PF/MF/bis/U/UM 200/20 int/FGA

MiG-29A/UB Fulcrum 42/6 int/trng

Su-22M/Su-22UM Fitter 90/6 attack

Su-24MK Fencer 20 strike

SA342L Gazelle 55 anti-tank

Mi-24 Hind 36 attack

Mi-8/Mi-17 Hip 100 trans

An-26 Curl 4 trans

Il-76M/T Candid 4 trans

Tu-134B-3 Crusty 2 trans

Yak-40 Codling 2 VIP

Falcon 20F 2 VIP

Mi-6 Hook 10 trans

Mi-2 Hoplite 20 trans

L-39ZA/ZO Albatros 30/40 trng

MiG-17F Fresco 30 trng

L-29 Delfin 40 trng

MBB Flamingo 48 trng

MiG-15UTI Midget 15 trng

Mushshak 6 trng

PA-31 Navajo 2 Survey



Mi-14 Haze 20 ASW

Ka-25 Hormone 5 ASW




Taiwan's air force has received massive numbers of new aircraft in recent years: 60 Mirage 2000-5s, 130 indigenous IDF Ching-Kuo single and two-seat fighters and 150 F-16s. In 1999 four E-2T Hawkeyes were ordered, a deal that came as China continued threatening the island nation, which is viewed as a truculent province rather than a separate state. The new E-2Ts will have the APS-145 radar rather than the less powerful APS-138 fitted to Hawkeyes already in-service. The new fighters have replaced F-104 Starfighters and F-5A/Bs and some F-5E/Fs, about 90 of which are still in service. This has allowed conversion of a number of the latter to RF-5Es to replace reconnaissance configured F-104s. Remaining F-5s are being upgraded by Taiwan's AIDC with improved ground attack capability and updated cockpits with HOTAS controls and a wide-angle HUD. AIDC is also working on a lead-in fighter version of its Ching-Kuo. Taiwan grounded its F-16 fleet twice in 1999 because of engine problems. Twenty LANTIRN pods were acquired for the F-16s in 1999.

Other procurement plans include a tactical transport to replace C-119 Packets which were finally retired at the end of 1997. Competitors include the CN235 and Alenia/Lockheed Martin C-27J, but financial restrictions mean a decision has been delayed until at least 2002. Presidential flight Fokker 50s are to be replaced by a larger jet type, probably the Boeing 737 or 757. Grumman Trackers were re-engined with turboprops in 1991 but a replacement is still required. A single squadron is due for transfer to the navy in 2000. Taiwan has made several requests in the past for P-3 Orions, but is now also considering maritime patrol versions of the aircraft competing in the tactical airlifter competition. The air force has begun to study a fifth generation fighter because of China's continued development of the J10. Candidates include Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and a version of the F-22 Raptor.

The air force is organised into eight wings, a VIP squadron and the air force academy at Kangshan, the latter equipped with T-34Cs, AT-3s and Beech 1900Cs. The display team is also stationed at Kangshan. 1 Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) at Tainan operates three squadrons of Ching-Kuos and a squadron of A-CH-1Bs for FAC. Other Ching-Kuo users are the three squadrons within 3 TFW at Ching Chuan Kang. 2 TFW is based at Hinschu and has four Mirage 2000 squadrons. F-5s are operated by 5 TFW's four squadrons at Tao Yuan, which include the reconnaissance aircraft, and the three squadrons, one of which is an aggressor unit, controlled by 7 TFW at Taitung. 8 TFW at Hualien has two T-38 squadrons and an F-5 unit, all of which will convert to the F-16 when enough are available. The T-38s, which are leased, will then be returned to the USA. At present 4 TFW and its three squadrons are the only F-16 operators. Based at Chia Yi, the wing includes and S-70 Black Hawk SAR squadron. The eighth wing, number 6, is based at Pingtung and operates the transports, Trackers and Hawkeyes.

Type No Role

IDF Ching-Kuo 102/28 int

F-16A/B Fighting Falcon 145* int/trng

Mirage 2000-5 48/12 attack/trng

F-5E/F/RF-5E Tiger II 90†/8 int/FGA/trng/recce

E-2C/T Hawkeye 4/4* AEW

C-130H Hercules 20 trans

C-47 Dakota 9 trans

727-100 2 VIP

Beech 1900C-1 11 trans

Fokker 50 3 trans

S-70C Black Hawk 14 utility

AT-3/3B Tzu Chung 60 trng

T-38A Talon 40 trng

T-34C Turbo-Mentor 43 trng

A-CH-1B Chung Shing 15 FAC

† many stored



The navy is due to gain control of the Turbo Tracker MR/ASW assets by 2000. These aircraft are in need of replacement, it remains to be seen which type will fulfil the land-based long-range patrol mission. Navy MD500MDs are shore-based at Kaioshiung and embark aboard three classes of guided missile destroyer. The larger Seahawks are shore-based at Hualien and embark aboard three classes of guided missile frigate. Taiwan is leasing Knox-class guided missile frigates from the US Navy and is considering the lease and/or purchase of 12 SH-2Gs to equip these ships.

Type No Role

S-70B Seahawk 20 SW


S-2T Tracker 32†   ASW/MR

† to be transferred by air force in 2000



The army is seeking replacements for its UH-1H helicopters and will choose between the Cougar, S-92, S-70/UH-60 Black Hawk and the Bell UH-1Y. In 1999 the proposed buy shrank from 98 machines to 25 because of budget concerns. A 1999 order for three CH-47SDs was smaller than expected, with six other aircraft being optioned. TH-67s from a 1997 order are in service at the Army Training School at Kuei Jen, alongside TH-55s which are used for basic training. The Chinooks are based at the same airbase. The AH-1Ws and OH-58Ds are both armed with the Hellfire anti-tank weapon. The OH-58D has a scouting role and is equipped with a large, multi-sensor mast-mounted sight above the main rotor. The AH-1W, UH-1H and OH-58Ds are split between the first and second army helicopter groups which are based at Lung Tan and Shinsur respectively. Each has two UH-1H squadrons, a single OH-58D and one AH-1W squadron.

Type No Role

BV234 Chinook 3/3*/6†  heavylift

UH-1H Iroquois 90 utility

AH-1W SuperCobra 62 anti-tank

OH-58D Kiowa 26 obs

TH-67 Creek 30 trng

TH-55A Osage 15 trng

† on option




Tajikistan has suffered from internal conflict since the CIS was formed in 1991 as Muslim rebels clash with the government. It remains the least stable of the central Asian republics and the government's grasp on power is not strong. Peacekeepers from Russia and Kazakhstan are based in the republic, equipped with Antonov twin turboprops, Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters and possibly Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft. As well as supporting the peacekeepers the air element also provides cover to the Russian-controlled border guard on the Tajikistani-Afghan frontier. Tajikistan has started to form its own air force which now has five Mi-24 Hinds and 10 Mi-8 Hips. Plans exist to acquire Su-25s from Belarus.




The Tanzanian air wing operates Chinese-built copies of Soviet aircraft in its combat squadrons and a varied mixture of western and Chinese transports and helicopters. The newest arrivals are four Alouette IIIs donated by South Africa in 1998. The transports remain more or less serviceable. The F-7 and F-6 fighters and F-5 ground attack aircraft, as well as a pair of MiG-15UTI trainers, are reported to fly rarely because of airworthiness problems. China claims an African customer for the Q-5/A-5 Fantan. Some reports suggest it is Tanzania but there is little corroboration of this. A VIP/presidential flight operates in civilian markings for the government. Tanzania's long coastline means that transports are also used for patrol flights and a dedicated type will be procured if funds can be made available. The main bases are at Dar-es-Salaam, Zanzibar, Morogoro and Tabora. A police air wing based in Dar-es-Salaam is equipped with a Cessna U206 Stationair two Bell 206L LongRangers and a Bell 47G-3B2.

Type No Role

Chengdu F-7A (MiG-21) 11 int

Shenyang F-6 (MiG-19) 10 int

Shenyang F-5 (MiG-17) 8 FGA

DHC-5D Buffalo 6 trans

Harbin Y-12 (II) 2 trans

Cessna 404 2 comms

F28 Fellowship 1000 2 VIP

BAe 125-700B 1 VIP

Bell 206B JetRanger 2 trans

MiG-15UTI 2 trng

PA-28 Cherokee 5 trng

SA316B Alouette III 4 liaison




Asia's economic woes hit the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) hard and it was forced to cancel an order for eight F/A-18C/D Hornets placed in 1996. It is now seeking to swap a large F/A-18 spares holding and use a deposit for the cancelled fighters to purchase additional F-16s. Thailand is seeking 18 F-16A/B Block 15s and two non-flying F-16 Block 10s are also included in the deal, presumably to act as spares sources. In 1999 the RTAF signed for 25 ex-German air force Alpha Jets. These machines have been in storage since the early 1990s and are in poor condition. While the airframes are cheap, around $27,000 each, the reconditioning work is not, costing 50 to 60 times this amount. Dasa will refurbish 20 aircraft which will replace elderly OV-10Cs and AU-23s. German Alpha Jets were configured as light strike aircraft rather than trainers. Thailand is still seeking upgrades of its in-service F-16s and F-5s. Elbit won a $60 million contract to modify the latter but the deal was never signed because of financial difficulties - talks continue. The upgrade includes Elbit mission computer, new electronic countermeasures, radar warning receiver and improved IFF. It builds on an earlier cockpit and navigation system modification programme. Plans for AEW, more transports and tanker aircraft are in abeyance. It also needs 14 helicopters to replace ageing S-58Ts in the SAR role. Two Super Pumas are for sale after a third example was involved in a fatal crash in September 1997.

Modernisation of the pilot training syllabus at the flying school at Kamphaeng Saen means PC-9s have assumed part of the Fantrainer's role - the latter is now used for light attack and weapons training duties only. The air force is run on similar lines to the USAF. Number 1 Wing is stationed at Nakhon Ratchsima and consists of 102 Squadron with the L-39 Albatros and 103 Squadron with the F-16. 2 Wing at Lopburi has a squadron with S-58Ts - number 201 - and 202 Squadron with a mix of UH-1H/N, Bell 412 and AU-23 Peacemakers. 401 Squadron with L-39ZA Albatros, 402 Squadron with Fantrainer 600s and 403 Squadron with F-16s form 4 Wing at Takhli. Five squadrons within 6 Wing at Don Muang airport near Bangkok operate the transports. 21, 23 and 71 Wings at Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani and Surat Thani respectively operate single squadrons of F-5s, the later E/F in the case of 211 and 711 Squadrons, the earlier F-5A and reconnaissance configured RF-5As in the case of 231 Squadron. The soon-to-be retired OV-10C Broncos are operated by 411 Squadron, the single unit within 41 Wing at Chiang Mai. This is the closest airbase to the area into which Myanmar's army has crossed on cross-border raids against the Karen people. The Nomads are operated in a single squadron by 46 Wing at Phitsanulok. 53 Wing at Prachuap Khiri Khan has a single squadron of AU-23s. A bare base is maintained as 56 Wing at Hat Yai in the south.

Type No Role

F-16A/B Block 15 OCU 28/8 int/trng

F-5E/F Tiger 36/5 int/trng

F-5A/B/RF-5A 3/4/1 int/trng/recce

OV-10C Bronco 19 COIN

Alpha Jet 20* COIN

L-39ZA Albatros 37 FGA/trng

PC-9 23 trng

CT-4 Airtrainer 23 trng

Cessna T-41D Mescalero 6 liaison

Cessna 150H 4 trng

AU-23 Peacemaker 22 COIN

C-130H/H-30 Hercules 7/5 trans

G222 6 trans

Basler Turbo 67 6 Rain Maker

BAe 748-208 6 trans/VIP

A310 1 VIP

737-200/400 1/1 VIP/royal flt


Merlin IVA 3 comms

Learjet 35A 3 comms

Bell 412/HP/EP 2/3/4 trans/SAR/VIP

UH-1H/N Iroquois 19/2 trans/SAR

Bell 206 6 trng

S-58T 10 trans

T-33/RT-33 4/3 trng

Fantrainer 400/600 30 trng

SF260MT 12 trng

Cessna O-1 28 liaison

N22B Nomad 22 trans

Bell 212 22 trans

AS332L2 Super Puma Mk2 2 trans



The Thai navy has small fixed-wing combat and long-range patrol fleets as well as helicopters which operate from three classes of guided missile frigates. The Harriers were purchased from Spain in 1997 and can deploy at sea aboard the navy's Chakri Naruebet aircraft carrier. Funding difficulties have prevented deployment of the ship and the purchase of AV-8 spares, which means the AV-8s were grounded for most of 1999. Chakri Naruebet's air wing also includes S-70 Seahawks delivered in 1997. The ship was built in Spain and launched in 1996. It has a 175m (570ft)-long flightdeck with a 12° ramp. The navy is also struggling to raise the money to reactivate 10 ex-USN SH-2 SeaSprites. The manufacturer is expecting an order to upgrade two machines by the end of 1999. Some of the Bell 214STs are for sale. Refurbished, ex-USN, A-7 Corsairs are also a relatively new addition. Like the Harriers they are home based at U-Tapao and are tasked with tactical support of the large Thai Marine Corps. U-Tapao is also home to the maritime patrol aircraft and the light aircraft types used in the transport and liaison roles. The navy's second airbase at Songkhla is home to the navy's helicopters and fixed-wing transports.

Type No Role

A-7E/TA-7E Corsair II 14/4 attack

AV-8(S)/TAV-8A(S) Harrier 7/2 attack

P-3A/UP-3T Orion 2/1 ASW/MR

F27-200/400M MPA 3/2 MR/trans

Dornier 228-212 6 MR

N24 Searchmaster L 5 MR/ASW/SAR

C-47 Dakota 2 trans

S-70B-7 Seahawk 6 ASW

Bell 212ASW 8 ASW

Bell 214ST 5 trans

S-76N 6 trans

UH-1H 4 SAR/trans

Summit Sentry 02-337 11 attack

O-1 Bird Dog 4 marines liaison

U-17B 4 marines liaison



Like Thailand's two other armed services, the Army has been hit by the country's economic collapse. It is seeking a buyer for up to half its CH-47 fleet. Meanwhile it is pursuing the purchase of up to 36 transport helicopters - either Bell 412s or S-70 Black Hawks - to equip an air mobility brigade. A planned attack helicopter squadron has been formed around a nucleus of AH-1 Cobras delivered in 1990. When funds allow the army will seek to buy another 27 combat helicopters; procurements to simplify the light transport fleet and trainer/observation aircraft fleets are also on hold. The majority of the army's fleet is based at Lop Buri but the fixed wing transports are based at Don Muang and VIP aircraft detach to the army's central Bangkok barracks. Aircraft detach to support army units in other parts of the nation as required.

Type No Role

AH-1F Cobra 4 attack

Bell 206A JetRanger 10 obs

Shorts 330UTT 2 trans

Jetstream 41 2 trans

CH-47C/D Chinook 3/5 trans

C212-300 2 trans

Bell 212 40 trans/VIP

UH-1H Iroquois 68 trans/VIP

Beech 1900-C1 2 comms

King Air 200 2 comms

O-1A/E Bird Dog 60 AOP/comms

Cessna U-17 10 comms

T-41D Mescalero 7 trng

Maule M7-25 Super Rocket 25 trng

Schweizer TH-300C 48 trng



A former French colony, Togo continues to rely on France for its aircrew training. France has also supplied most of its fleet, including Alpha Jets, Magister and Epsilon light attack aircraft/trainers. The air force bases its fleet at the capital Lome's airport, split into an attack flight, a transport flight, a liaison flight and a helicopter flight.

Type No Role

Alpha Jet 4 attack

EMB326G Xavante 4 attack/trng

CM170 Magister 4 COIN/trng

TB30 Epsilon 3 COIN/trng

DHC-5D Buffalo 1 trans

707-320B 1 VIP/trans

F28 Fellowship 3000 1 VIP/trans

Beech 58 Baron 2 comms

Reims-Cessna F337 2 comms

Dornier 27A-4 1 liaison

AS332L Super Puma 1 trans

SA330 Puma 1 trans

SA315B Lama 3 liaison

SA319 Alouette III 1 liaison




On 4 May 1996, the Tonga Defence Services (TDS) established a new air wing operating a single Beech G18S for reconnaissance and SAR operations around the South Pacific archipelago. In 1999 an American Champion Citabria was acquired for training. The air wing is the latest development in the evolution of the TDS, set up in 1986.




Trinidad and Tobago's Air Wing has been an independent element of the tri-service defence force since 1977. With a base on each island, Piarco on Trinidad and Crown Point on Tobago, it operates patrol, communications and SAR duties. Its fixed wing fleet includes single examples of the Cessna 172, Cessna 310 and Cessna 402. Two S-76s and three BO105CBS are operated by a state-owned company, Helicopter Services, which leases the helicopters to individuals and companies, helping reduce the overall cost of running the air wing.




Tunisia's modest air force is reliant on F-5E/F Tigers and a mixture of armed trainers for its combat needs. The Czech-built L-59Ts are the newest aircraft, having been delivered in 1995. They have training and light attack roles. New aircraft have eased the burden on the elderly MB326s, the oldest of which were received in the mid-1960s; MB326Ks are single seat and optimised for ground attack. The ex-USAF C-130Bs were acquired in 1995 as military aid from the USA along with a dozen UH-1Hs and three HH-3s. The Let 410 light transports were delivered in the same year. The MB326s are operated by 11 Squadron which shares its base at Sidi Ahmed near the port of Bizerte with the F-5s of 15 Squadron and transports of 21 Squadron. The air force's other large airbase is also close to Bizerte at La Karouba and it is home to the helicopters of 31 and 32 Squadrons. The training school is at Sfax and is equipped with the L-59Ts and the SF260s.

Type No Role

F-5E/F Tiger II 12/3 int/attack/trng

L-59T Albatros 12 armed trng

MB326B/K/L 4/8/4 attack/COIN

SF260C/W 6/12 trng/COIN

C-130B/H Hercules 5/2 trans

S208A 2 liaison

AB205A/UH-1H Iroquois 15/17 trans

L410UVP Turbolet 3 trans

HH-3E Pelican 4 trans

SA341 Gazelle 5 anti-tank/liaison

SA3130 Alouette II 6 liaison

AS350B Ecureuil 6 liaison

AS365 Dauphin 1 liaison

SA316 Alouette III 3 liaison




Turk Hava Kuvvetleri has major orders for F-16s which are being built locally by TUSAS, a joint venture between the Turkish Government and Lockheed Martin, as the Peace Oryx project. It will eventually operate about 240 aircraft. To support the F-16s in the frontline Turkey has contracted IAI to upgrade 54 of its F-4E Phantoms, and, in a separate deal, 48 F-5s which are used as lead-in fighters/trainers. The first upgraded Phantom was redelivered in March 1999; 34 aircraft will be upgraded in Israel with the rest modified in Turkey using IAI-supplied kits. IAI is teamed with Elbit and Singapore Aerospace to upgrade 48 F-5A/Bs, which includes cockpit display, navigation and weapon system changes. The work will be carried out in Turkey using kits supplied by the consortium. The Turkish air force's next large procurement decision will be to select an airborne early warning and control platform. Contenders include the Elbit Phalcon radar mounted on an Airbus A310 or Boeing's 737 mounted with the MESA radar. A decision is expected in 2000 and first deliveries in 2004. Major weapons programmes include Rafael Popeye air-to-surface, stand-off missiles which will be produced locally: it is also to be the first customer for Popeye Lite. Turkey's air force ordered 20 Cougars as part of a joint army/air force order in 1997. The first two will be built in France and were delivered in 1999; TUSAS is building the other 28 aircraft. Nineteen Mi-17Vs ordered by Turkey in 1994 are operated by the paramilitary Gendarmarie which is part of the Ministry of the Interior. Its primary base is in Ankara and it operates a host of other helicopters including 15 Black Hawks from an army order, most of which are also used by the armed services.

The air force chain of command is split into two tactical air commands (TAC), a logistics command, training command and direct reporting units such as the tanker fleet, 224 Filo, the VIP squadron at Etimesgut and Kayseri-based transport squadrons which operate the C160 (221 Filo) and the Hercules (222 Filo). The two TACs split the country east and west. 1 TAC controls the western side and is responsible for bases at Akinci, Balikesir, Bandirma and Eskisehir, which is also the command headquarters. 2 TAC manages air bases at Merzifon, Diyarbakir (its headquarters) and Erhac. The majority of units now fly the F-16C/D including 141 Filo and the conversion unit at Akinci; 161 and 162 Filos at Bandirma; 191 and 192 Filos at Balikesir; 151 and 152 Filos at Merzifon; and 181 and 182 Filos at Diyarbakir. Four squadrons of F-4E and two of RF-4Es are split equally between Erhac and Eskisehir. Each base has a station flight equipped with UH-1Hs and in some cases CN235s. Training command has primary trainers at the Air Force College in Ankara; SF260Ws, T-37s and T-38s at Izmir-Cigli and lead-in fighter F-5s and F-4s at Konya.

Type No Role

F-16C/D 170/30* int/trng

F-4E/RF-4E Phantom II 163/44 attack/rec

(N)F-5A/F-5B/RF-5A 120/30/11 attack/trng/rec

C-130B/E Hercules 7/7 trans

C160T 20 trans

CN235M 48/2/2 trans/VIP/EW

UH-1H Iroquois 40 trans

AS532AL Cougar 20 trans

AB412 5* SAR

KC-135R 9* tanker

Beech King Air 200 1 comms

Citation II 2/2 VIP trans/calib

Citation VII 2 VIP

Gulfstream IV 3 VIP

SF260D 40 trng

T-37B/C 24/42 trng

T-38A Talon 69 trng

T-41D Mescalero 29 trng



The Turkish navy has started to order S-70 Seahawks to replace its AB212ASW anti-submarine warfare helicopters. It wants a fleet of up to 30; eight have so far been ordered. US Congressional approval was given in April 1999. They will be equipped with Hellfire missiles rather than the hoped for Norwegian-built Penguin. Norway has embargoed a deal because of concerns over the treatment of the Kurdish minority. The AB212ASWs deploy at sea aboard the navy's frigates and destroyers and are shore based along with the rest of naval aviation at Topel. Turkey's navy has ordered the CN235, which will be built under licence by TUSAS Aircraft Industries. They will be equipped with ASW systems to replace S-2 Trackers grounded in 1993. Three of the CN235s will be delivered to the Coast Guard which also operates JetRangers for coastal patrol, and is based at Topel with the navy. The JetRangers will be replaced by five AB412s ordered in March 1999.

Type No Role

S-70B Seahawk 8* ASW

CN235MPA Persuader 6/3* MR/coast guard


AB204AS 3 ASW/liaison

TB20 Trinidad 8 Comms/trng



Although the Turkish army is transport-orientated it plans to purchase up to 145 attack helicopters. An initial order for 50 is expected in early 2000 with deliveries from 2002. Contenders include the A129 Mangusta, Ka-50 Hokum, AH-64 Apache, AH-1 Cobra and Tiger. Different divisions of Israeli Aircraft Industries have teamed with the first two bids: Israel is one of Turkey's most significant suppliers. Currently the army has 40-odd AH-1s in two versions. Additional airframes have been bought as spares sources. Other plans include a requirement for 10 special forces and eight heavy lift helicopters, with a second buy of 16 planned later on. Although the CH-53E was selected in 1997, the competition was reopened in 1999 with the CH-53E, CH-47SD and Mi-26 being bid. The Turkish army plans to operate 200 Black Hawks, 45 of which were ordered from the USA in 1992. Plans for local production seem to have collapsed and another 50 machines were ordered from Sikorsky in 1999. 15 were handed over almost immediately while the remainder, with glass cockpits, will be delivered from 2001. The ten Cougars on order are part of a joint army/air force order.

Type No Role

AH-1P Cobra/AH-1W 30/12 anti-tank

OH-58B Kiowa 20 obs/scout

Cessna U-17A 30 obs

AB212 2 trans

UH-1H Iroquois 35 trans

S-70A Black Hawk 95* trans

AS532UL 20/10* trans/VIP/medevac

Beech King Air 200 5 comms

Cessna 421 Golden Eagle 4 comms

T-41D Mescalero 26 trng

T-42A Cochise 5 trng

Bellanca Citabria 40 trng

AB204B 12 trng

AB 206B JetRanger 20 trng




Turkmenistan's economy has taken a series of hard knocks in recent years - it shrunk by more than 25% in 1997 - and is little healthier than it was in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. The air force was created in October 1993 by taking over air assets left in country. Although it looks a large airforce on paper, many of its aircraft are in storage. It is organised along the same lines of the Soviet air force with a Voyenno-Vozdushnyye Sily (VVS) air force and Protivo-Vozdushnyye Oborony (PVO) air defence force. VVS has a composite regiment of MiG-29s and Su-17s based at Mary - this base was once the Soviet equivalent of Nellis AFB in the USA; a transport and air assault regiment at Ashkabad with an An-24, Mi-8 Hips and Mi-24 Hinds; and a training unit at Chardzou. Because of their small numbers and age it is possible that the Su-7s, MiG-21s and Yak-28s have been scrapped. PVO has two fighter regiments with MiG-23M Floggers and MiG-25 Foxbats based at Nebit-Dag and Akdepe. Only around 50 of the MiG-23s are in use; the others are stored. In August 1999 TASS reported that 46 Su-25s would be refurbished in Georgia as part repayment for a debt. These aircraft had all been in storage. Turkmenistan has tried to sell surplus aircraft but has had little or no success.

 Type No Role

MiG-23M/U Flogger 220/10 int/trng

MiG-25/U Foxbat 24 int

MiG-21 Fishbed 3 int/attack

MiG-29/U Fulcrum 22/2 int/attack/trng

Su-7B/Su-17M/UM Fitter 3/65 attack/trng

Su-25 Frogfoot 46 attack

Mi-24 Hind 10 attack

An-12 Cub 3 trans

An-24 Coke 1 trans

Mi-8 Hip 10 assault/trans

L-39 Albatros 2 trng

Source: Flight International