Algerian Air Force

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Algerian Air Force
القوات الجوية الجزائرية
Armée de l'air algérienne
Algerian Air Force wings.svg
Badge of the Algerian Air Force
Active1962 - present
Country Algeria
TypeAir Force
RoleAerial warfare
Size14,000 personnel
RoundelRoundel of Algeria.svg
Aircraft flown
AttackSu-24, Su-34
FighterMiG-29, Su-30
Attack helicopterMi-24, Mi-28
InterceptorMiG-25, Su-30
PatrolFokker F27, King Air
ReconnaissanceMiG-25, Su-24, UAV Seeker, B-1900D HISAR
TrainerZ 142, T-34C, L-39, Yak-130
TransportC-130, Il-76, C-295

The Algerian Air Force (AAF) (Arabic: القوات الجوية الجزائرية‎, Al Quwwat aljawwiya aljaza'eriiya; French: Armée de l'air algérienne), is the aerial arm of the Algerian People's Military.


C-130H Hercules in 2009

Algerian military aviation was created to support the fight of the People National Army against the French occupying forces. It came as part of the decisions of the Soummam congress held on August 20, 1956, which recommended a long-term plan to form a modern army [1]

From 1958 to 1962[edit]

A structure was created to train the future pilots, many pilots were sent to friendly countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Syria, USSR, to train as aircraft pilots and aeronautics technicians [2].

During this period, the French colonial army had started the lines of Challe and Morrice used to isolate the ALN fighters inside the country and to stop supplies coming from Tunisia and Morocco. Then came the idea to train transport and helicopter pilots to ensure supplying the national liberation army, and to prepare the first core of the military aviation.

From 1962 to 1970[edit]

Training was one of the major preoccupations of the ALN/FLN leaders. Military aviation had a core of pilots and ASDFDASF technicians after independence, who laid the foundations of the present Air Force. The air force branch was born and the first air force units were set up i.e. a flight of helicopters that was acquired during the revolution, and a flight of combat aircraft.

The Algerians authorities sent trainees to friendly countries such Egypt, Syria, Iraq, China, and USSR, while waiting for the creation of Algerian Air Force schools.

In 1966, the Air Base of Tafraoui in the 2nd Military Region was built as an air officers school (EOA) where the first officer students were received for the training of pilots and technicians in aeronautics. [3].

During this first decade, immediately after independence, the Algerian Air Force acquired planes from the USSR, mainly MiG-15UTI and MiG-17, and some donated by Egypt. When border clashes with Morocco occurred in 1963, the Algerian government decided to enhance the capabilities of the army and the air force. MiG-17F light bomber, MiG-21 F13 interceptor, Su-7BMK fighter/bomber and some An-12 airlifters were purchased from the USSR. Mi-1 and Mi-4 helicopters were also deployed. During the Six-Day War in 1967, and War of Attrition between 1967 and 1973,[1] two Squadrons of MiG-17F, one Squadron of MiG-21F13, and one Squadron of Su-7BMK were stationed in Egypt to support the Arab coalition.

From 1970 to 1980[edit]

During the Yom Kippur War, the Algerian Air Force participated in the conflict under the unified Egyptian military command. MiG-21F-13s and newer MiG-21PFs were mainly used to protect the Cairo region. MiG-17F and Su-7BMK aircraft also participated in the war, mostly in strafing and bombing missions. In October 1973 two Su-7BMK, one MiG-21 and a number of MiG-17Fs were shot down by Israel.[2][3]

In 1976, Algerian Air Force planes returned from Egypt to their home bases in Algeria. Shortly after dozens of MiG-23MF, MiG-23BN and MiG-25P were acquired and entered in the inventory. MiG-21F-13s and MiG-21PFs were replaced by higher-performance MiG-21MF and later MiG-21Bis interceptors.

From 1980 to 2000[edit]

The High Command dissociated the Air Defense of the territory from the Department of the Air Force, which was built in 1986 as an air force command.

The organization has the following structure:

  • A central command assisted by a general staff and an inspectorate, an arms division, a department of support, and specialized offices.
  • Air commands in the military regions.
  • Air bases, schools, training centers, support institutions, equipment renovation enterprises & defense, and control units.

During this period few changes occurred in the combat aircraft inventory of the Algerian Air Force. Ten Su-24MK were received from the USSR, while the MiG-17F was phased out. A new airplane supplier emerged just after the Iranian revolution when Algeria received 18 C-130H Hercules, 12 T-34 Mentor, and 12 Hawker Beechcraft supplied by USA from 1981 to 1989, for transport and training.

Since 2000[edit]

The Air Force purchased a large number of MiG-29S (index 9.13) from Belarus and Ukraine from 1999 to 2003. At least 25 Su-24MK were also acquired during the same period. After the large military deal concluded with Russia during March 2006, Algeria ordered 28 Su-30MKA, 16 Yak-130A, and 34 MiG-29SMT.

In 2008, the MiG-29 SMT contract was cancelled and the planes delivered were returned to Russia and exchanged for 16 Su-30MKA multirole fighters. While the current front-line fleet primarily consists of Russian-origin aircraft such as the Sukhoi Su-30 and the MiG-29, Algeria has expressed an interest in acquiring aircraft from China. Algeria has been seen as a potential operator of the Chinese 4th-Generation JF-17 Thunder fighter Project.[4]

Air bases[edit]

See also List of airports in Algeria for other airfields which may have a dual civil-military function.

The air force has two regiments of Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air, primarily base defence troops but which have reportedly taken part int anti-terrorism operations. They are the 772nd and 782nd Regiment des Fusiliers Commandos de l'air (RFCA).[5]

Current inventory[edit]

An Algerian Su-30MKA
An Ilyushin IL-78
Algerian C-130 on the tarmac
AircraftOriginTypeVariantIn serviceNotes
Combat Aircraft
Sukhoi Su-24Russiaattack23[6]
Sukhoi Su-30RussiamultiroleSu-30MKA58[7][8]
Beechcraft 1900United Statessurveillance1900D6[6]
Gulfstream G550United StatesISR[disambiguation needed]3[9][10]
Maritime Patrol
Super King Air United Statespatrol200/3503[6]
Ilyushin Il-78Russiaaerial refuelingIl-78MP4[6]
ATR 72France / ItalyVIP6001[11]
Airbus A340FranceVIPA340-5001[12]
Beechcraft 1900United Statestransport1900D6[6]
C-130 HerculesUnited Statestactical airliftC-130H15[6]
C-27J SpartanItalyISTAR / fire supportMC-27J5 on order[13][14]
CASA C-295Spaintransport4[6]
Ilyushin Il-76Russiatactical airlift14[6]
Super King AirUnited Statesutility 90/200/35020[6]
Pilatus PC-6Switzerlandutility2[6]STOL capable aircraft
Bell 412United Statesutility3[6]
PZL Mi-2Polandliaison21[6]
Mil Mi-8RussiautilityMi-17/171140[6]
Mi-171RussiaattackMi-171Sh242[15]upgraded by (SPARK)[16]
Mil Mi-24Russiaattack34[6]upgraded by the Paramount Group[17]
Mil Mi-26Russiaheavy transportMi-26T214[18]
Mil Mi-28Russiaattack42[19]
Kamov Ka-27RussiautilityKa-323[6]
Eurocopter AS355Franceutility14[6]
AgustaWestland AW101United Kingdom / ItalyVIP2[20][21]
AgustaWestland AW109Italyutility15[22]
AgustaWestland AW139Italyutility11[23]
Trainer Aircraft
Yak-130Russiaadvanced trainer16[6]
Aero L-39Czech Republictrainer36[6]
Zlin Z 42Czech Republictrainer20[24]produced locally under Firnas-142 name[25]
Zlin Z 43Czech Republictrainer20[26]produced locally under Safir-43 name[27]
PZL W-3 SokółPolandtrainer / utility8[6]
AgustaWestland AW119Italytrainer8[6]


April 11 2018, an Il-76 strategic airlifter crashed in a field shortly after taking off from Boufarik Airport. It resulted in 257 deaths.[28]


  1. ^ "War of Attrition, 1969–1970 –". 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  2. ^ "Algeria". Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  3. ^ "Israeli Air-to-Air Victories in 1973 -". 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  4. ^ China to Re-Export Russian Jet Engine - Kommersant Moscow Archived 2014-08-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Centre Francais de recherche sur la reseignement, Bulletin de documentation 5 Archived 2015-01-11 at the Wayback Machine., accessed January 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "World Air Forces 2018". Flightglobal Insight. 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  7. ^ "L'Algérie a reçu les huit premiers chasseurs de type Su-30MKI(A)". Al Huffington Post (in French). Retrieved 2018-03-05. 
  8. ^ "Российское оружие удержало свое место". Газета "Коммерсантъ". 2018-05-03. p. 1. Retrieved 2018-03-05. 
  9. ^ "L'Algérie donne un coup de fouet à ses capacités de reconnaissance - MENADEFENSE". MENADEFENSE (in French). 2016-06-19. Retrieved 2018-02-27. 
  10. ^ "Senate Executive Communication 3943 - Executive Communication - 115th Congress (2017-2018)". Retrieved 2018-02-27. 
  11. ^ "New Algerian ATR72-600". Air Forces Monthly pg. 24. Key Publishing. February 2015. 
  12. ^ "Airbus A340 MSN 917 - 7T-VPP". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "Indiscret : L'Algérie s'apprêterait à acquérir des avions espions italiens - Algé" (in French). 2018-01-11. Retrieved 2018-01-12. 
  14. ^ "Indiscret : L'Algérie s'apprêterait à acquérir des avions espions italiens - Algé" (in French). 2018-01-11. Retrieved 2018-01-12. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "The Super Hind Mk.III Could Be the Best Mi-24 Ever". Retrieved 2018-03-05. 
  18. ^ "Trade Registers". Retrieved 2018-03-12. 
  19. ^ "Trade Registers". Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  20. ^ "AgustaWestland Looks To Recertify AW101". Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  21. ^ Allport, Dave (July 2013). "First Algerian VIP AW 101 Flight |Testing". Air Forces Monthly. 
  22. ^ "Trade Registers". Retrieved 2018-03-13. 
  23. ^ "World Air Forces 2017". Flightglobal Insight. 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  24. ^ " — ECA Firnas-142". (in French). Retrieved 2018-02-27. 
  25. ^ "Des avions... made in Algeria". (in French). Retrieved 2018-02-27. 
  26. ^ " — ECA Safir-43". (in French). Retrieved 2018-02-27. 
  27. ^ "Des avions... made in Algeria". (in French). Retrieved 2018-02-27. 
  28. ^ "257 killed as military plane crashes in Algeria". RT International. Retrieved 2018-04-11. 

External links[edit]