This article's lead section may be too short to adequately summarize the key points. Please consider expanding the lead to provide an accessible overview of all important aspects of the article. (July 2021)
Algerian Air Force
  • القُوَّاتُ الجَوِّيَّةُ الجَزَائِرِيَّةُ
Badge of the Algerian Air Force
Founded1962; 62 years ago (1962)
Country Algeria
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
525 aircraft[2]
Part ofAlgerian People's National Army
Flying hours150H maximum per pilot
Major General Mahmoud Laraba[3]
Aircraft flown
HelicopterAW101. Kamov Ka-27, Bell 412, Mi-24, Mi-28 Mi-17
TrainerZ 142, T-34C, L-39, Yak-130
TransportC-130, Il-76, C-295

The Algerian Air Force (AAF) (Arabic: القُوَّاتُ الجَوِّيَّةُ الجَزَائِرِيَّةُ, romanizedal-Quwwāt al-Ǧawwiyyah al-Ǧazāʾiriyyah, French: Forces aériennes algériennes) is the aerial arm of the Algerian People's National Army.


The Algerian Air Force was created to support the fight of the People's 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.[4]

Before 1962

In 1957, six Algerians were sent for training to the Syrian Arab Air Force flight school at Nayrab near Aleppo. During this period, training also took place with the Egyptian and Iraqi air forces, as well as in the USSR and in China.[5][4] During this period, the French army started the Challe and Morice lines 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.[4] The Algerian Air Force was officially established on 4 February 1959, as a part of the FLN.[5]

From 1962 to 1970

The Algerian Air Force was originally based at Maison Blanche (White House). In 1962, Egypt transferred 12 Helwan Gomhouria trainers and five MiG-15s (two MiG-15UTIs and three MiG-15bis), together with a group of advisors to help with training. Several Mil Mi-4s were also received from the Soviet Union.[6] Two Beech D.185S light transports purchased for the personal use of then President Ben Bella in 1963.[7]

Training was one of the major preoccupations of the ALN/FLN leaders. Military aviation had a core of pilots and technicians after independence, who laid the foundations of the present Air Force. The Algerian 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.[4]

The nascent Algerian Air Force participated in the 1963 Sand War with Morocco. However, air power did not play a big role during the war. MiG-15s and Mi-4s were used, and aircraft from national company Air Algérie served for transport duties.[8] Following the end of the war, the build-up of the Algerian Air Force was intensified.[9] In 1964, 20 additional MiG-15bis fighters were delivered by the USSR. The next year, the first of at least 30 MiG-17s arrived in Algeria.[10] In 1965-1966, 24 MiG-21F-13s were received, and 14 Ilyushin Il-28s were ordered in the same period, as well as some MiG-21FLs. Despite its growth, at the time of the Six-Day War the Algerian Air Force was not deemed combat ready. Still, 20 MiG-17Fs, 20 MiG-21s and 12 Il-28s were sent to Egypt, but without any crews.[11] In 1967, the Algerian Air Force also bought its first surface-to-air missile systems, with two battalions of S-75 Dvinas. However, these were never put into service.[12]

From 1970 to 1980

C-130H Hercules

In the late 1960s, thanks to increased oil prices and to Algeria's economic growth, important arms orders were passed with the USSR. Hence, in the early 1970s, the Algerian Air Force received 52 MiG-21MFs, MiG-21Rs and MiG-21UMs, and 40 Sukhoi Su-7BMKs. During the same period, 28 second-hand Fouga CM.170 Magisters were bought to West Germany, as well as some Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma and Mil Mi-6 helicopters.[11]

Thanks to its growth in the previous years, the Algerian Air Force was able to participate directly in the 1973 October War. Two squadrons of MiG-21s, another of Su-7s and a unit comprising 23 MiG-17s were sent to Egypt. This deployment was supported by Antonov An-12 transports. Some Algerian pilots were also assigned to Egyptian Air Force MiG-17 squadrons. In total, around 500 combat sorties were flown by Algerian pilots. One MiG-21 and one Su-7 were shot down, but no pilot was killed or captured.[13]

In 1975, another big arms deal was passed with Moscow, including 40 MiG-23BNs, 47 MiG-21bis, and 16 Mil Mi-8s. The first MiG-23BNs arrived in 1976; this type replaced the Su-7BMKs. Another arms order followed in 1978, with the Algerians requesting the delivery of 40 more MiG-21s, 16 MiG-23MFs, 20 Mil Mi-24s, and 12 S-125 Pechora missile systems. However, while 20 MiG-25s were delivered by 1979, negotiations for the remainder of the package proved much more difficult than expected, and took nearly four years. Limited quantities of Western aircraft were bought too: in 1978, six T-34C Mentors and three Fokker F27s were acquired.[14][12]

From 1980 to 2000

In 1981, thanks to the deliveries of air defence equipment, a new branch of the air force was created: the Défense Aérienne du Territoire (Territorial Air Defence). Through the 1980s, the Algerian Air Force worked to build a fully integrated network of early warning radars. In 1986-1988, the Territorial Air Defence was expanded and reorganised into the Commandement de la Défense Aérienne du Territoire (Territorial Air Defence Command). In 1988, this command became a fully independent branch of the Algerian armed forces.[15]

The resulting organisational structure of the air force was as follows:[4]

In the second half of the 1980s, the Algerian Air Force also introduced the wing structure.[16] During this period few changes occurred in the combat aircraft inventory of the Algerian Air Force. Ten Sukhoi 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 and 12 Hawker Beechcrafts supplied by USA from 1981 to 1989.[citation needed]

Starting in the second half of the 1980s, the Algerian Air Force saw combat in the Algerian Civil War.[16]

Since 2000

As the Civil War was winding down, the Algerian Air Force began to replace its older combat aircraft. The last MiG-21s were withdrawn from service in 2002. The MiG-23BNs followed in 2005, as did the MiG-23MFs in 2008.[17] The Air Force purchased a large number of Mikoyan 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.[citation needed] In March 2006, as part of a bigger arms deal, Algeria ordered 28 Sukhoi Su-30MKAs, 16 Yakovlev Yak-130s, 28 MiG-29SMTs and six MiG-29UBs to Russia.[18]

Shortly after the first MiG-29SMT deliveries, the Algerian military discovered that these aircraft were not newly built airframes, but older ones modernised to MiG-29SMT standard. The decision was taken to send back the aircraft to Russia, refuse all of the planned subsequent deliveries, and to freeze the payments for these aircraft. After a meeting between Algerian and Russian heads of state in February 2008, the aircraft that had already been delivered were returned to Russia, and the whole batch originally built for Algeria was bought back and delivered to the Russian Air Force. Instead, Algeria was given the possibility to order another batch of Su-30MKAs at sharply reduced prices. This was done in December 2010, when 16 additional aircraft were ordered. In December 2015, 14 more Su-30MKAs were purchased.[18] In July 2022, the Algerian Air Force retired their last MiG-25s from service.[19] 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.[20]

Air bases

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

The air force has two Air Commando Rifle Regiments, 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).[21]


Current inventory

An Algerian Su-30MKA
An Ilyushin IL-78
A Sukhoi Su-30
Algerian C-130H on the airport apron
Aircraft Origin Role Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
MiG-29 Russia medium-weight multirole fighter MiG-29S/UB/M2/M 36[22] 1 MIG29UB for conversion training[23],21 MIG29S and 14 MIG29M/M2[22]
Sukhoi Su-24 USSR Attack/Reconnaissance/Electronic Warfare Su-24M/MK/MR 36[22] 33 SU24M/MK and 3 SU24MR[22]
Sukhoi Su-27 Russia Heavy-weight multirole fighter Su-30MKA 59[22] 14 on order[23]
MIG-25 USSR Attack/Reconnaissance MIG-25R N/A[24]
L-39 Czechoslovakia training/Attack L-39ZA/C 43[22] 36 L39ZA and 7 L39C[22]
YAK-130 Russia training/Attack YAK-130 16[22]
Beechcraft 1900 United States surveillance 1900D 6[23]
Super King Air United States surveillance/ISR 200 1[23]
Ilyushin Il-78 Russia aerial refueling Il-78MP 5[23]
ATR 72 France / Italy VIP transport 600 1[25]
Airbus A340 France VIP transport A340-500 1[26][27]
Beechcraft 1900 United States transport 1900D 6[23]
CASA C-295 Spain transport 5[23]
Ilyushin Il-76 Russia tactical airlifter 11[23]
Super King Air United States utility 90/200/350 23[23] 3 aircraft provide maritime patrol
Pilatus PC-6 Switzerland utility 2[23] STOL capable aircraft
C-130 Hercules United States tactical airlift C-130H 16[23] two are L-100 variants
C-130J Super Hercules United States tactical airlift 1 1 on order[23]
Bell 412 United States utility 3[23]
PZL Mi-2 Poland liaison 22[23]
Mil Mi-17 Russia utility / attack Mi-171 / Sh2 137[23]
Mil Mi-24 Russia attack 33[23]
Mil Mi-26 Russia heavy transport Mi-26T2 14[23]
Mil Mi-28 Russia attack 42[23]
Kamov Ka-27 Russia utility Ka-32 3[23]
Eurocopter AS355 France utility 14[23]
AgustaWestland AW101 United Kingdom / Italy VIP transport 2[28][29]
AgustaWestland AW139 Italy utility 11[23]
AgustaWestland AW189 Italy VIP transport 2 on order[30]
Trainer Aircraft
Zlin Z 43 Czech Republic trainer Safir 43 5[31] license built
Zlin Z 142 Czech Republic trainer Fernas 142 46[31] license built
PZL W-3 Sokół Poland trainer / utility 8[23]
AgustaWestland AW119 Italy rotorcraft trainer 8[23]
WJ-700 China UAV 700 Series 4 [32][33]
CH-3A China surveillance 5[34]
CH-4B China MALE UCAV 5[34]
Wing Loong II China MALE UCAV 24[35][36]
Denel Seeker South Africa reconnaissance Seeker II 10[37]
Amel[38] Algeria surveillance
Al Fajer L-10[39] Algeria surveillance
Yabhon United 40 UAE / Algeria MALE UCAV produced locally[40]
TAI Anka Turkey MALE UCAV Anka S 10 on order[41]
TAI Aksungur Turkey MALE UCAV 6 on order[42]



Main article: Military ranks of Algeria

Commissioned officer ranks

The rank insignia of commissioned officers.

Rank group General / flag officers Senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
 Algerian Air Force[51]
فريق أول‎‎
Fariq 'awal
ملازم أول
Mulazim awwal
Général d'armée Général de corps d'armée Général de division Général Colonel Lieutenant-colonel Commandant Capitaine Lieutenant Sous-lieutenant

Other ranks

The rank insignia of non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel.

Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
 Algerian Air Force[51]
No insignia
مساعد أول
Mosa'id awwal
رقيب أول
Raqib awwal
عريف أول
Earif 'awal
Adjudant chef Adjudant Sergent chef Sergent Caporal chef Caporal Djoundi



  1. ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies (14 February 2022). The Military Balance 2022. London: Routledge. p. 333. ISBN 978-1032279008.
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference The Military Balance 2024 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ "Mahmoud Laraba, nouveau commandant des Forces aériennes". Echorouk. 2020-07-18. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Historical overview on the Air Forces". Archived from the original on 2021-11-22. Retrieved 2021-11-22.
  5. ^ a b Cooper & Grandolini 2018, p. 34
  6. ^ Cooper & Grandolini 2018, pp. 34–35
  7. ^ William Green; Dennis Punnett (1963). MacDonald World Air Power Guide. London: MacDonald. OCLC 1472235.
  8. ^ Cooper & Grandolini 2018, pp. 36, 38–39
  9. ^ Cooper & Grandolini 2018, p. 46
  10. ^ Cooper & Grandolini 2018, p. 47
  11. ^ a b Cooper & Grandolini 2018, pp. 48–49
  12. ^ a b Cooper 2018, p. 17
  13. ^ Cooper & Grandolini 2018, pp. 49–50
  14. ^ Cooper & Grandolini 2018, pp. 50–51
  15. ^ Cooper 2018, pp. 49–50
  16. ^ a b Cooper 2018, p. 56
  17. ^ Cooper 2018, p. 57
  18. ^ a b "[Dossier] Le Sukhoï Su-30MKA". Red Samovar. 8 January 2017.
  19. ^ "Farnborough 2022: Algeria weighs its fighter aircraft options | Shephard". Retrieved 2023-05-12.
  20. ^ "China to Re-Export Russian Jet Engine - Kommersant Moscow". Archived from the original on August 8, 2014.
  21. ^ "Centre Francais de recherche sur la reseignement". Archived from the original on 2015-01-11.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h The Military Balance 2024. Routledge. February 18, 2024. p. 345. ISBN 9781040051153. ((cite book)): |first= missing |last= (help)CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Hoyle, Craig (2023). "World Air Forces 2024". FlightGlobal. Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  24. ^ "Open days on the Air Forces organized at the Air Base of Laghouat/Chahid ZELLOUF Omar Salim/4th Military Region". Retrieved 2024-03-22.
  25. ^ "New Algerian ATR72-600". Air Forces Monthly Pg. 24. Key Publishing. February 2015.
  26. ^ "Airbus A340 MSN 917 - 7T-VPP". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  27. ^ "Algeria Air Force Equipment". Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  28. ^ "AgustaWestland Looks To Recertify AW101". Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  29. ^ Allport, Dave (July 2013). "First Algerian VIP AW 101 Flight |Testing". Air Forces Monthly.
  30. ^ "Nigeria getting two presidential AW189 helicopters". 9 July 2021. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  31. ^ a b Liam, Darek (2022-06-22). "LOM PRAHA overhauls Algerian trainer aircraft engines". Retrieved 2023-12-17.
  32. ^ Akramov (2022-09-02). "L'achat de drone HAL Wj-700 par l'Algérie confirmée". MENADEFENSE (in French). Retrieved 2024-01-16.
  33. ^ "Twitter Post Algeria Obtains WJ-700".
  34. ^ a b Akramov (2018-10-30). "Première apparition officielle des CH 3A et CH 4B en Algérie". MENADEFENSE (in French). Archived from the original on 2018-10-31. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  35. ^ Akramov (2023-06-26). "Algérie: TOR M2E et autres nouveautés lors de l'exercice "Fadjr 2023"". MENADEFENSE (in French). Retrieved 2023-06-26.
  36. ^ Akramov (2021-09-23). "L'Algérie va renforcer sa flotte de drones". MENADEFENSE (in French). Retrieved 2023-06-26.
  37. ^ " — Denel Seeker". Archived from the original on 2018-10-31. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  38. ^ rédaction, La (2013-07-07). "Premier drone algérien "Amel" : défi relevé à Sidi Bel-Abbès". Algerie Focus (in French). Archived from the original on 2019-02-02. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  39. ^ "AL Fajer L-10. Spécifications. Photo". Archived from the original on 2019-02-02. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  40. ^ Akramov (2018-12-20). "2018 l'année des UCAV en Algérie". MENADEFENSE (in French). Archived from the original on 2018-12-21. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  41. ^ "TUSAŞ'a 3 ülkeden 24 adet ANKA SİHA siparişi" (in Turkish). 2023-02-25. Retrieved 2023-02-25.
  42. ^ Azman, Kaan (2022-10-07). "Cezayir'den TUSAŞ AKSUNGUR İHA siparişi!". DefenceTurk (in Turkish). Retrieved 2023-02-25.
  43. ^ a b c d e f "INTERACTIVE: Algeria military plane crash deadliest in country's history". Al Arabiya English. 2018-04-11. Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  44. ^ a b "Military Plane Crash in Algeria Leaves Scores Dead". The New York Times. 11 February 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  45. ^ "Algeria military plane crash: 257 dead near Algiers". BBC. 2018-04-11. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  46. ^ "Algeria Su-24 ground attack jet crash kills two crew". The Defense Post. 2019-02-19. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  47. ^ Martin, Guy (2019-03-19). "Algerian L-39 lost in crash". defenceWeb. Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  48. ^ "سقوط طائرة مقاتلة بالجزائر والرئيس يعزي عائلتي الطيارين". Al Jazeera (in Arabic). 2020-01-28. Retrieved 2021-11-22.
  49. ^ "Algerian Air Force Chinese-made CASC CH-4B Drone Crashed Near Wilaya d'Oum el-Bouaghi". Fighter Jets World. 2020-06-26.
  50. ^ Abdul, Kazim (2022-03-29). "Algerian MiG-29 fighter jet crash, killing crew". Military Africa. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  51. ^ a b "Ranks". Ministry of National Defence (Algeria). Retrieved 30 May 2021.