Military Wiki
Zambian Air Force
File:Zambia Air Force Ensign.png
Zambian Air Force Ensign
Active 1968 - present
Country Zambia
Branch Air force
Garrison/HQ Lusaka(?)
Erick Chimese[1]
Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha
Roundel Roundel of Zambia.svg
Aircraft flown
Attack MiG-21
Bomber MiG-19
Fighter MiG-21MF
Trainer Aermacchi SF.260, Hongdu K-8 Karakorum
Transport Antonov An-26, Harbin Y-12, Xian MA60

The Zambian Air Force (ZAF) is the air force of Zambia and the air operations element of the Zambian Defence Force. Following the creation of the Republic of Zambia in 1964, the former Northern Rhodesian Air Wing was renamed as the Zambia Air Wing which lasted until 1968. The Zambian Air Force was then established.[2]

The primary missions of the Air Force are to defend Zambia's borders and protect its airspace. In addition, it provides various forms of air support to other government departments. It also flies reconnaissance, trooping and transport missions for the police and airlifts medical supplies and personnel to inaccessible areas. Finally, the organisation provides emergency transport whenever needed. One of the more recent relief operations mounted by the Air Arm occurred in early 2007, when it came to the aid of flood victims in the North-Western Province.

The IISS Military Balance 2013 lists the following aircraft, all with 'very low serviceability':[3]

  • 10 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MF 'Fishbed-J' fighter-attack aircraft, 2 MiG-21U 'Mongol-A' trainers
  • 23 transport aircraft, including 14 Harbin Y-12 (versions II, IV, and E)
  • 15 combat-capable Hongdu Karakorum-8 trainers
  • 10 MB-326GB, 10 MFI-15 Safari, 6 SF-260TW (being delivered)
  • 1 AW139 and 4 Mi-17 Hip H helicopters
  • 13 Bell 205 and Bell 212 helicopters
  • 5 Bell 47G helicopters

Few details are available on force deployment, but combat elements are understood to be located at Lusaka (K-8), Mbala (MB-326) and Mumbwa (MiG-21), with the small fleet of transport aircraft and utility helicopters also reportedly stationed at Lusaka.[4]

Air Force commanders

  • ? to 1997 Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha[5]
  • c. 2001 Lieutenant General Sande Kayumba
  • ? to 2006 Lieutenant General Christopher Singogo[6]
  • 2006 to 2010 Lieutenant General Samuel Mapala[6][7]
  • 2010 to 2011 Major General Andrew Sakala[7][8]
  • 2011 to 2017 Lieutenant General Erick Chimese[1]
  • 2018 to present Lieutenant General David M. Muma


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