Military Wiki

The Armorial bearings of Suriname (Wapenschild van Suriname)

Military of Suriname
Military age 18
Available for
military service
123,072, age 15–49 (2002 est.)
Fit for
military service
72,059, age 15–49 (2002 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
NA (2002 est.)
Budget NA
Percent of GDP 0.7%

After the creation of the Statute of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Royal Netherlands Army was entrusted with the defence of Suriname, while the defence of the Netherlands Antilles was the responsibility of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The army set up a separate Troepenmacht in Suriname (Forces in Suriname, TRIS). Upon independence in 1975, this force was turned into the Surinaamse Krijgsmacht (SKM):, Surinamese Armed Forces. On February 25, 1980, a group of 16 junior SKM officers overthrew the Government. Subsequently the SKM was rebranded as Nationaal Leger (NL), National Army.

Surinamese Army (Landmacht Nationaal Leger)

The Netherlands has provided limited military assistance to the Surinamese armed forces since the election of a democratic government in 1991. In recent years, the United States has provided training to military officers and policymakers to promote a better understanding of the role of the military in a civilian government. Also, since the mid-1990s, the People's Republic of China has been donating military equipment and logistical material to the Surinamese Armed Forces as well as Brazil.

Suriname Air Force (Luchtmacht Nationaal Leger)

Marine HQ

Military Police Corps Suriname


Suriname's National Armed Forces are composed of some 2500 personnel, the majority of whom are deployed in the Army of Suriname including:

Military Police Corps Motorcycles


  • A Light Infantry Battalion (33ste Bataljon der Infanterie) Formed in 1987.
  • A Special Forces Corps.
  • A Military Police Corps.
  • A Support Arm (Staff verzorgings Bataljon)

    Suriname Coast Guard P201

    Surinam Patrol vessel

Suriname Coast Guard

Marine - Coast Guard

In 1977 the Navy (Marine) of Suriname received three big Patrol Vessels from the Dutch, built by De Vries Scheepsbouw. With a length of 32 meters each ship had two Paxman 12YHMC diesel engines of 1200HP performing a maximum speed of 20 knots. Delivery was between February 1977 and 1978 and the hull numbers were S-401, S402 & S-403. Now all three are out of service, the last one S-401 later P-401 is still moored at the Marine Harbor. One was re-built as a luxurious yacht. All ships had their base at the Marine harbor on the Suriname river.

Launch of S-401

S-401 (Later P-401) Surinaamse Marine

. Today much of the fleet of vessels from the Marine of Suriname are based at Boxel, close to the town of Domburg on the Suriname river.

In November 2012 the defence & internal affairs Ministry of Surinam bought three patrol vessels from the French company Ocea for the Coast Guard. This order was worth 16 million Euros. These patrol vessels will be used for fishery protection and to counterattack piracy in Surinamese waters. The first Fast Patrol Boat (P201), a 32 meters long, 6,3 meters wide FPB 98 type, was delivered in June 2013. The first boat arrived in Paramaribo with a container vessel from the port of Saint-Nazaire, France. The vessels can reach speeds of 30 knots. Delivery of the remaining two vessels (P101 & P102), FPB 72 types (24 meters long), occurred by the end of July, 2013.  The Surinamese Government ordered the three vessels, accelerating planning to set up a Coast Guard for Suriname that will be deployed to conduct patrol duties and fight maritime crime activities like illegal fishing, drug-trafficking and piracy.

The new unit will resort under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. For the crew, soldiers were transferred from the Navy Unit (Marine) of the National Army, 

Suriname Coast Guard FPB 98 Type P201

who will form the initial Coast Guard staff. The Maritime Authority of Suriname (MAS) is currently training 16 students from the Nature Technical Institute (NaTIn) and Technical Faculty of Suriname's University on how to conduct technical maintenance of the vessels. Ocea sent a trainer along with the boats to help conduct a six-month course. Colonel Jerry Slijngaard heads the Government's Coast Guard committee. The purchase of the vessels is but a start. Three boats will barely be sufficient to patrol Suriname's territorial waters and combat maritime crime activities like piracy, but at least now quick action is possible.

Coast Guard of Suriname P201 Type FPB 98

The unit will get its own base on the banks of the Suriname River in Paramaribo, with posts at the border with Guyana (in western District Nickerie) and  French Guiana (in eastern District Marowijne). Legislation on which the Coast Guard will be founded is almost finished. It will soon be tabled in the Council of Ministers and the Council of State, after which it will head for the National Assembly for approval. The new unit will be a civil organisation, with authority to enforce the law in Suriname territorial waters. The Surinamese government does not intend to cut down cost on the Navy (Marine), once the Coast Guard is fully operational. The Navy will keep operating in the high seas outside the 100-mile zone.

2 Suriname Coast Guard FPB72's (Fast Patrol Boats)



SAF Hangar Zorg & Hoop

SAF Pilatus PC-7

Pilatus PC-7 (SAF-111) on delivery as HB-HMN from Switzerland to Suriname

Air Force

In 1982 a small air arm was formed within the Suriname defense force called "Surinaamse Luchtmacht" in short also called LUMA. The first military aircraft of the young air force was a Hughes 500 - Model 369D helicopter, simply registered SAF-100 and being used for light observation tasks. Unfortunately the aircraft was written off in March 1982 on a patrol search and rescue mission crash, killing all five crewmembers aboard the heli at the time (Major Henk Fernandes, second lieutenant Norman de Miranda, soldier Tjon a Kon and soldier Kowid and American pilot Foster Ford). Then from May of the same year the Surinam Air Force was being equipped with four (Pilatus) Britten Norman BN-2A Defenders. Registered with the numbers SAF-001, SAF-002, SAF-003 and SAF-004. Later on during the decade a Cessna 172 (SAF-007), a Cessna 206 (SAF-200) and in 1993 a Cessna T303 Crusader (SAF-008) was acquired.

All aircraft undertake border patrols, utility transport and SAR (Search & Rescue) missions from the main base at Paramaribo - Zorg en Hoop and are occasionally detached to Zanderij - Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport, Nieuw Nickerie - Major Fernandes Airfield and Moengo or Albina in the east. In 1986 anti-government guerilla activity prompted the government to acquire a pair of Aérospatiale SA.316B Alouette III (SAF-400 & SAF-500) helicopters and then three Pilatus PC-7's (SAF-111, SAF-112 & SAF-113) were ordered for COIN (Counter-Insurgency) missions. One of the Alouette's crashed and both delivered PC-7s were returned to Switzerland but one was later re-delivered. In 1987 a Bell 205 Iroquois (SAF-300) was acquired from Venezuela and used as a gunship for five years prior to sale to the US as N6594S in 1991. It made a crash in July 1987 due to a mechanical failure killing the American pilot Billy Pearson, seriously injuring the American mechanic and four other Surinamese crewmembers. The helicopter was later repaired and back in action.

Two CASA 212-400s Aviocar transports (SAF-212 & SAF-214) Garret AiResearch TPE331-10HR turbo-prop engined aircraft were delivered in 1998 & 1999. One of these two Spanish built CASA 212-400's is a Maritime Patrol Aircraft version (SAF-214) which was modified for the maritime patrol role with a Bendix RDR-1500 surveillance radar. Lack of spares and funding has hampered maintenance and sometimes grounding much of the SAF fleet. In 2012 six experts from Venezuela made an assessment for the Suriname Air Force on the rehabilitation of the Casa 212 airplanes and now the Air Force has sold them to Fayard Enterprises in the USA.

Three single engined Indian HAL Chetak helicopters were ordered in 2009. In a deal worth US$ 13.4 million with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited [HAL], facilitated through a line of credit from India. The deal was previous rumoured to include the more modern twin engined HAL Dhruv helicopters, but this proved to be wrong.[1][2] Many questions were raised in Suriname if this deal was a smart one for the country, especially regarding the tasks to be performed by these single engined rather out of date helicopters. On 26 December 2012 ten technical personnel of the Suriname Air Force left to India to be trained to become certified helicopter mechanics. [3] In 2014 eight helicopter pilots from the Suriname Air Force are trained on operating the HAL Chetak helicopters in Bangalore, India. In 2014 it was announced that Suriname's order for helicopters from India has been changed from HAL Chetak to HAL Dhruv as the Chetak production line is planned to be shut down, but this proved to be just a rumour as by the end of January 2015 the three Indian Chetak helicopters were assembled and delivered in Suriname as SAF-H001, H002 & H003. [7] The plan is to have one helicopter each based at the city of Paramaribo (Zorg en Hoop Airport), Nickerie (Majoor Henk Fernandes Airport) and Albina (Albina Airstrip)

In March 2015 the helicopter fleet of three was officially handed over by the Indian ambassador Subashini Murgesan to the Minister of Defence of Suriname Lamuré Latour with a nice ceremony and some inaugural flights were made over airport Zorg en Hoop. On the same day and occasion the Minister announced that a de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter was about to strengthen the airfleet of the Suriname Air Force shortly. This never materialized.

Current Aircraft

Below is a list of current Surinam Air Force (SAF) / Luchtmacht (LuMa) aircraft

File:SAF303 HAL Chetak.jpg

SAF303 HAL Chetak

  • HAL Chetak- Three helicopters, in service since March 2015. All three delivered in January 2015. (SAF-153 formerly SAF-H001, SAF-303 formerly SAF-H002 & SAF-811 formerly SAF-H003)

SAF-214 CASA-212-400 MPA Patrullero

Obsolete aircraft

Below is a list of former Surinam Air Force (SAF) / Luchtmacht (LuMa) aircraft

  • Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander - One aircraft. in service since 1982.(G-BJEA to SAF-003) re-rgd to PZ-TGT Wfu seen parked at Zorg en Hoop Airport with former Inter Tropical Aviation logo's
  • Britten-Norman BN-2B Defender - Three aircraft, were in service from 1982 to 1997. (G-BIUA to SAF-001, G-BIXE to SAF-002 & G-BJEB to SAF-004)
  • CASA C-212-400 Aviocar - Two aircraft (MSN 466 & MSN 467), were in service since 1998/1999.(SAF-212, SAF-214) Wfu one re-rgd to PZ-TJR (Safe Air), sold in December 2014 in the USA as N761CA. The other SAF-214 was sold in March 2015 in the USA as N847CA.
  • Cessna T303 Crusader- One aircraft (MSN T30300124), was in service from 1993 to 1997. (SAF-008 / PZ-POS) re-rgd to PZ-TVD (Surinaamse Luchtvaartdienst) crashed w/o.
  • Sud Aviation SE 3160 Alouette III - Two helicopters, were in service from 1986 to 1999. (SAF-400 / PZ-HTH, SAF-500 / PZ-HSH). One crashed then repaired both sold June 11, 1999 to Helicopter Technology Inc. USA as N6353F & N63574 .
  • Roundel Suriname Air Force (SAF - Luchtmacht - LUMA)

    Bell 205 Iroquois - One helicopter (MSN30111), was in service from 1987 to 1991. (SAF-300) formerly YV-C-GAN & YV-107C, crashed on July 7th, 1987 killing the American pilot Billy Pearson and injuring another American mechanic Lynn Bevan. Repaired within a year, operational again, wfu Feb. 5, 1991 sold to USA as N6594S, later to France as F-GKBK then to Canada as C-GREF.
  • Pilatus PC-7 - One aircraft (MSN479), in service since 1985 to 1990 (SAF-111) HB-HMN sold re-rgd. to N828PC.
  • Pilatus PC-7 - Two aircraft (MSN480 & MSN481), to be delivered in Oct. 1986, grounded by US Customs at Bangor Airport in Maine, USA, reportedly weapon system equipment installed, (SAF-112, SAF-113) both returned to manufacturer Pilatus, Switzerland in March 1987. Re-reg. back to HB-HMQ & HB-HMP on Oct. 23, 1987. HB-HMP used by Patrouille Ecco, later re-reg. F-GMED used by Patrouille Adecco & Patrouille Apache then sold to Bravo Delta Two LLC as N61JD on Aug. 3, 2002. HB-HMQ later sold to Botswana Defence Force on Dec. 11, 1997 as OD5 replacement for s/n 555.

SAF Chetaks (SAF-H001 /H002 /H003) in hangar at Zorg en Hoop

  • Cessna 172N Skyhawk - One aircraft (MSN 172-73324), in service since Feb. 1992. (SAF-007) previous N4698G, re-rgd PZ-NAW now sold
  • Cessna TU206 Turbo-Stationair - One aircraft (MSN U20604041), was in service from 1982 to 1998. (SAF-200 /PZ-PGP) re-rgd. to PZ-TSE (Blue Wing Airlines), previous PZ-TGP.
  • Hughes 500 Model 369D - One helicopter (MSN01193D), formerly N9253F was in service for a short time in 1982. (SAF-100) crashed on March 31, 1982 w/o 5 fatalities. (American pilot Foster Ford, Major Henk Fernandes, second lieutenant Norman de Miranda, soldier Tjon a Kon and soldier Kowid)

Surinam Air Force Hangar 1995 Zorg en Hoop Airport

Military Police Corps Suriname

Some of Surinam Air Force (SAF) aircraft listed as "former aircraft" are still in the inventory of Suriname, but due to lack of maintenance and spare parts not in airworthy condition and still hopefully completely or partially up for sale by the government of Suriname.

Military Police Corps

The Corps Military Police is an independent Corps within the armed forces of Suriname. The Corps perform police duties within the Surinamese army with detachments to the different districts of Suriname. They also perform assistance to the regular police corps in Suriname. The Military Police Corps performs escorts for government VIP's, priority transport and supports anti narcotics and other counter criminal & terrorist measurements also at immigration stations at the borders and the Johan Adolf Pengel international airport.


Dési Bouterse

The President of the Republic, Chan Santhokhi, replaced Desi Bouterse and is the head of the armed forces, with the title of "Opperbevelhebber van de Strijdkrachten" which means "Supreme Chief of the Military Forces". The President is the supreme authority for all national military matters . The Minister of Defence, Krishna Mathoera, assists the President of Suriname in her role over the armed forces. The director of the Ministry of Defence is Col. John Antonius.

Brigade General Ronni Benschop

The Commander called "Bevelhebber", is the Military Chief, charged with command over the different Military Branches.

Col. Adolf Jardim

Beneath the President and Minister of Defense is the Commander of the Armed Forces called "Bevelhebber van de Strijdkrachten" , whose headquarters is in Paramaribo.

The Armed Forces is Headquartered in Paramaribo.

All Army Branches have their respective commanders subordinate to the Bevelhebber.

Military Command is also decentralized on the regional level. These military commands also answer directly to the  Bevelhebber.


  • Yngwe Elstak (25 November 1975 - 25 February 1980)
  • Col. Robert Kartodikromo (Air Force)

    Dési Bouterse (July 1980 – 3 December 1992)
  • Iwan Graanoogst (temporary, 3 December 1992 – 15 May 1993)
  • Arthy Gorré (15 May 1993 – 30 June 1995)
  • Glenn Sedney (30 June 1995 – 1 July 2001)
  • Ernst Mercuur (1 July 2001 - 4 February 2011 )
  • Hedwig Gillaard (4 February 2011 - 10 July 2013 )
  • Ronni Benschop (10 July 2013 – August 2015)
  • Adolf Jardim ( August 2015 - November 2017 Acting Commander)
  • Robert Kartodikromo (November 2017 – March 2019 Acting Commander)
  • Robert Kartodikromo (March 2019 - March 2021)
  • Henri van Axeldongen (March 2021 - Present)

With his promotion to Brigade General Ronni Benschop in February 2013 earned the highest rank ever in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Suriname. In August 2015 he became Minister of Defence a post he held till July 2020.

The task of the national army of Suriname is defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Suriname against foreign armed military aggression. That is, the defense of not only the territory but also the territorial waters and the airspace above it.

Lt.Col. Cliff Ganpat (MP)

The Ministry of defence consists of the Policy Centre and the operational part (the national army) that makes up the Defence Organization Forms. The Department of Defense has no departments. There are various services and units. The Policy Centre is responsible for the care of the armed forces so that timely and adequate it can perform the duties or missions assigned to it by law in an efficient and effective manner.

Providing assistance to international organisations, if and to the extent that command is given for that purpose by the competent authority.This is e.g. for humanitarian operations of the United Nations. Also providing assistance in the preparation and implementation of projects related to the socio-economic development of Suriname 

Military Chief (Bevelhebber) Brigade General Ronni Benschop

There are several military installations, barracks and detachments in the various districts including the Memre Boekoe Kazerne (Paramaribo), the Naval Marine base (district Wanica), the Air Force Luma base (Zorg en Hoop, Paramaribo), the training centre for recruits namely the Ayoko-barracks and the detachment Zanderij, the eastern border post, the Akontoe Velantie Kazerne at Albina, in Nickerie the western border post, the Professor Dr. Ali Kazerne and on the Kennedy Highway to Concordia the 1st Sgt Martowidjojo Kazerne. There are also various detachments and the so-called small stations throughout Suriname in the districts Sipaliwini, Saramacca, Brokopondo and Para. But also the protection of important objects such as the Afobakkadam or the bridge over the Coppename River belongs to the protective task of the National Army of Suriname.




The Armed Forces of Suriname were engaged in a domestic war, against a few hundred Guerilla who named themselves "Jungle Commandos" led by Ronnie Brunswijk. They fought a Guerilla warfare against the National Army between 1986 and 1992. Many years later Ronnie Brunswijk became member of the Surinamese parlement.


  • Defend the territorial integrity of Suriname.
  • Assist the civil power in the maintenance of law and order when required.
  • Contribute to the economic development of Suriname.

The Army also participated in the Multi-National Force in Haiti in the 90's. In 2010 Suriname troops were sent to Haiti again.[4]


Armoured Vehicles

Infantry Weapons


With latest procurement of three HAL Chetak helicopters from India for the Air Force and three patrol vessels from France for the new Coast Guard the Armed Forces of Surinam should be better equipped to fulfill it's roles in the future.

In September 12, 2012. The Suriname defense minister, Lamouré Latour, discussed with the Brazilian defense minister the possibility of the Military of Suriname acquiring from two to four Brazilian Embraer AT-29 Super Tucanos light attack (COIN) trainer planes, 500 ton light patrol ships and the revitalization of the armored vehicles supplied from Brazil in 1983. [1]


  • Aircraft information files Brightstar publishing file 344 sheet 2

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