|Algerian Air Force|
|Part of||Algerian People's National Army|
|Major General Mahmoud Laraba|
|Patrol||Fokker F27, King Air|
|Reconnaissance||MiG-25, Su-24, UAV Seeker, B-1900D HISAR|
|Trainer||Z 142, T-34C, L-39, Yak-130|
|Transport||C-130, Il-76, C-295|
The Algerian Air Force (AAF) (Arabic: القوات الجوية الجزائرية, Al Quwwat aljawwiya aljaza'eriiya; French: Forces Aériennes) 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.
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.
Upon the independence of Algeria in 1962, the Algerian Air Force was set up as a part of the national defense forces. Based at Maison Blanche (White House), this embryonic service branch originally comprised five MIG-15 fighters gifted from President Nasser of Egypt and two Beech D.185S light transports purchased for the personal use of then President Ben Bella in 1963. The Egyptian fighters were accompanied by a small Egyptian training mission. A flight of helicopters was also acquired during the revolution.
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 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.
When border clashes with Morocco occurred in 1963, the Algerian government decided to enhance the capabilities of their army and air force. Over the course of the next several years, the Algerian Air Force acquired planes from the USSR, mainly MiG-15UTI and MiG-17. 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, 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
The Algerian air force has also signed two other contracts for 14 Su-34 bombers and 14 Su-35 air domination aircraft. An option for two other squadrons of 14 aircraft for each type of aircraft was also signed to compensate for the natural withdrawal of aircraft from the Air Force fleet in the near future.
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).
|Sukhoi Su-24||Russia||attack||Su-24M2/MR/MR||22||modernized to M2 format|
|Sukhoi Su-30||Russia||air superiority||Su-30MKA||57||16 on order|
|Beechcraft 1900||United States||surveillance||1900D||6|
|Gulfstream G550||United States||ISR||3|
|Ilyushin Il-78||Russia||aerial refueling||Il-78MP||5|
|ATR 72||France / Italy||VIP transport||600||1|
|Airbus A340||France||VIP transport||A340-500||1|
|Beechcraft 1900||United States||transport||1900D||6|
|C-130 Hercules||United States||tactical airlift||C-130H/H-30/L-100-30||6/7/1|
|C-130J Super Hercules||United States||tactical airlift||1||3 on order|
|Ilyushin Il-76||Russia||tactical airlift||13|
|Super King Air||United States||utility||90/200/350||24||3 aircraft provide maritime patrol|
|Pilatus PC-6||Switzerland||utility||2||STOL capable aircraft|
|Bell 412||United States||utility||3|
|Mil Mi-8||Russia||utility / attack||Mi-17/171||137||42 Mi-171Sh2|
|Mil Mi-24||Russia||attack||33||upgraded by the Paramount Group|
|Mil Mi-26||Russia||heavy transport||Mi-26T2||16|
|AgustaWestland AW101||United Kingdom / Italy||VIP||2|
|Aero L-39||Czech Republic||trainer||55|
|PZL W-3 Sokół||Poland||trainer / utility||8|
|Yakovlev Yak-130||Russia||LIFT / light combat||16|
|AgustaWestland AW119||Italy||rotorcraft trainer||8|
|Zlin Z 43||Czech Republic||trainer||8||producing locally under Safir-43 name|
|Zlin Z 142||Czech Republic||trainer||86||46 units produced locally under Firnas-142 name|
|Wing Loong II||China||MALE UCAV||24||delivered between 2021 and 2022|
|Yabhon United 40||UAE / Algeria||MALE UCAV||produced locally|
|Denel Seeker||South Africa||reconnaissance||Seeker II||10|
|Al Fajer L-10||Algeria||surveillance|
|Meteor/Selex Mirach 100/5||Italy||reconnaissance|
On February 11, 2014, a C-130 Hercules transport plane crashes in Oum El Bouaghi, Algeria. It resulted in 77 deaths.
On April 11, 2018, an Il-76 strategic airlifter crashed in a field shortly after taking off from Boufarik Airport. It resulted in 257 deaths.
On January 28, 2020, a Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet crashed in the mountains resulting in 2 deaths.
On June 25, 2020, a CH-4 medium-altitude long-endurance UAV crashed due to some unknown issues.