Algerian Air Force

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
Insignia
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.

History

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

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

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

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

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

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]