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, Su-35
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.

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, and the USSR, to train as aircraft pilots and aeronautics technicians.

During this period, the French colonial army 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 the 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 to train as pilots and technicians in aeronautics.

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-7BMKs, 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-21Bi 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-24MKs 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 Mentors, and 12 Hawker Beechcrafts 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-24MKs were also acquired during the same period. After the large military deal concluded with Russia during March 2006, Algeria ordered 28 Su-30MKAs, 16 Yak-130As, and 34 MiG-29SMTs.

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]

Aircraft inventory[edit]

An Algerian Su-30MKA
An Ilyushin IL-78
Algerian C-130 on the tarmac
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
MiG-25 Russia interceptor 13[6]
MiG-29 Russia fighter 32[6]
Sukhoi Su-24 Russia attack 23[6]
Sukhoi Su-30 Russia multirole Su-30MKA/SM 58[7][8] 14Su-30SM[9]
Sukhoi Su-35 Russia multirole Su-35 18[10][11][12] deliveries start at the end of 2018[13]
Beechcraft 1900 United States surveillance 1900D 6[6]
Gulfstream G550 United States ISR 3[14][15]
Maritime Patrol
Super King Air United States patrol 200/350 3[6]
Ilyushin Il-78 Russia aerial refueling Il-78MP 4[6]
ATR 72 France / Italy VIP 600 1[16]
Airbus A340 France VIP A340-500 1[17]
Beechcraft 1900 United States transport 1900D 6[6]
C-130 Hercules United States tactical airlift C-130H 15[6]
C-27J Spartan Italy ISTAR / fire support MC-27J 5 on order[18]
CASA C-295 Spain transport 4[6]
Ilyushin Il-76 Russia tactical airlift 14[6]
Super King Air United States utility 90/200/350 20[6]
Pilatus PC-6 Switzerland utility 2[6] STOL capable aircraft
Bell 412 United States utility 3[6]
PZL Mi-2 Poland liaison 21[6]
Mil Mi-8 Russia utility Mi-17/171 140[6]
Mi-171 Russia attack Mi-171Sh2 42[19] upgraded by (SPARK)[20]
Mil Mi-24 Russia attack Mi-24 Superhind Mk.3 34[6] upgraded by the Paramount Group[21]
Mil Mi-26 Russia heavy transport Mi-26T2 14[22]
Mil Mi-28 Russia attack 42[23]
Kamov Ka-27 Russia utility Ka-32 3[6]
Eurocopter AS355 France utility 14[6]
AgustaWestland AW101 United Kingdom / Italy VIP 2[24][25]
AgustaWestland AW109 Italy utility 15[26]
AgustaWestland AW139 Italy utility 11[27]
Trainer Aircraft
Yak-130 Russia advanced trainer 16[6]
Aero L-39 Czech Republic trainer 36[6]
Zlin Z 42 Czech Republic trainer 20[28] produced locally under Firnas-142 name[29]
Zlin Z 43 Czech Republic trainer 20[30] produced locally under Safir-43 name[29]
PZL W-3 Sokół Poland trainer / utility 8[6]
AgustaWestland AW119 Italy trainer 8[6]
Yabhon United 40[31] United Arab Emirates MALE UCAV Block 5/Flash-20 locally produced[32]
CASC Rainbow[33][34] China MALE UCAV CH-3A/4B
Denel Dynamics Seeker South Africa reconnaissance Seeker II 10[35][36]
AL fajer L-10[37] Algeria reconnaissance
Amel (UAV)[38] Algeria reconnaissance


April 11 2018, an Il-76 strategic airlifter crashed in a field shortly after taking off from Boufarik Airport. It resulted in 257 deaths.[39]


  1. ^ "War of Attrition, 1969–1970 –". 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2012-09-15.
  2. ^ "Algeria". Archived from the original on 2012-09-18. 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.
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  14. ^ "L'Algérie donne un coup de fouet à ses capacités de reconnaissance - MENADEFENSE". MENADEFENSE (in French). 2016-06-19. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  15. ^ "Senate Executive Communication 3943 - Executive Communication - 115th Congress (2017-2018)". Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  16. ^ "New Algerian ATR72-600". Air Forces Monthly pg. 24. Key Publishing. February 2015.
  17. ^ "Airbus A340 MSN 917 - 7T-VPP". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  18. ^ "Indiscret : L'Algérie s'apprêterait à acquérir des avions espions italiens - Algé" (in French). 2018-01-11. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  19. ^
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  21. ^ "The Super Hind Mk.III Could Be the Best Mi-24 Ever". Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  22. ^ "Trade Registers". Retrieved 2018-03-12.
  23. ^ "Trade Registers". Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  24. ^ "AgustaWestland Looks To Recertify AW101". Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  25. ^ Allport, Dave (July 2013). "First Algerian VIP AW 101 Flight |Testing". Air Forces Monthly.
  26. ^ "Trade Registers". Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  27. ^ "World Air Forces 2017". Flightglobal Insight. 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  28. ^ " — ECA Firnas-142". (in French). Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  29. ^ a b "Des avions... made in Algeria". (in French). Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  30. ^ " — ECA Safir-43". (in French). Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  31. ^ Akramov (2018-12-20). "2018 l'année des UCAV en Algérie". MENADEFENSE (in French). Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  32. ^ "Algeria shown to be operating UAE-developed UAVs | Jane's 360". Retrieved 2018-12-21.
  33. ^ "Première apparition officielle des CH 3A et CH 4B en Algérie - MENADEFENSE". MENADEFENSE (in French). 2018-10-30. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  34. ^ "Première apparition officielle des CH 3A et CH 4B en Algérie - MENADEFENSE". MENADEFENSE (in French). 2018-10-30. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  35. ^ " — Denel Seeker". (in French). Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  36. ^ "Denel Dynamics Seeker Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) - South Africa". Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  37. ^ "AL fajer L-10. Specifications. A photo". Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  38. ^ "La DGSN s'intéresse aux drones «made in DZ» - MENADEFENSE". MENADEFENSE (in French). 2016-02-05. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  39. ^ "257 killed as military plane crashes in Algeria". RT International. Retrieved 2018-04-11.

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