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Algerian Air Force
  • القُوَّاتُ الجَوِّيَّةُ الجَزَائِرِيَّةُ
  • Forces aériennes algériennes
Algerian Air Force wings.svg
Badge of the Algerian Air Force
Founded1962; 60 years ago (1962)
Country Algeria
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
705 aircraft
Part ofAlgerian People's National Army
Major General Mahmoud Laraba[2]
Roundel of Algeria.svg
Aircraft flown
FighterMiG-29, Su-30
HelicopterMi-24, Mi-28
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: 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.[3]

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, the USSR and China to train as aircraft pilots and aeronautics technicians.[3]

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.[3]

From 1962 to 1970

C-130H Hercules
C-130H Hercules

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.[4] A flight of helicopters was also acquired during the revolution.[citation needed]

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.[3]

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.[3]

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,[5] 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.[6][7]

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:[3]

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.[8]

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.

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 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).[9]


Current inventory

An Algerian Su-30MKA
An Algerian Su-30MKA
An Ilyushin IL-78
An Ilyushin IL-78
A Sukhoi Su-30
Algerian C-130H on the airport apron
Algerian C-130H on the airport apron
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
MiG-29 Russia multirole MiG-29S/UB/M2 32 / 14[10][11]
Sukhoi Su-24 Russia attack Su-24M2/MR 22[12] modernized to M2[13]
Sukhoi Su-30 Russia air superiority Su-30MKA 57 16 on order[12]
Beechcraft 1900 United States surveillance 1900D 6[12]
Gulfstream G550 United States ISR 3[14][15]
Ilyushin Il-78 Russia aerial refueling Il-78MP 5[12]
ATR 72 France / Italy VIP transport 600 1[16]
Airbus A340 France VIP transport A340-500 1[17][18]
Beechcraft 1900 United States transport 1900D 6[12]
CASA C-295 Spain transport 5[12]
Ilyushin Il-76 Russia tactical airlift 11[12]
Super King Air United States utility 90/200/350 23[12] 3 aircraft provide maritime patrol
Pilatus PC-6 Switzerland utility 2[12] STOL capable aircraft
C-130 Hercules United States tactical airlift C-130H/L-100 13 / 1[19][12]
C-130J Super Hercules United States tactical airlift 2[20] 2 on order[21]
Bell 412 United States utility 3[12]
PZL Mi-2 Poland liaison 22[12]
Mil Mi-17 Russia utility / attack Mi-171 / Sh2 96 / 42[12][22]
Mil Mi-24 Russia attack 33[12] upgraded by the Paramount Group[23]
Mil Mi-26 Russia heavy transport Mi-26T2[24] 16[25]
Mil Mi-28 Russia attack 42[26]
Kamov Ka-27 Russia utility Ka-32 3[12]
Eurocopter AS355 France utility 14[12]
AgustaWestland AW101 United Kingdom / Italy VIP 2[27][28]
AgustaWestland AW139 Italy utility 11[12]
AgustaWestland AW189 Italy VIP transport 2 on order[29]
Trainer Aircraft
Zlin Z 43 Czech Republic trainer Safir 43 5[30] license built
Zlin Z 142 Czech Republic trainer Fernas 142 46[30] license built
Aero L-39 Czech Republic trainer 55[12]
PZL W-3 Sokół Poland trainer / utility 8[12]
Yakovlev Yak-130 Russia LIFT / light combat 16[12]
AgustaWestland AW119 Italy rotorcraft trainer 8[12]
CH-5 China MALE UCAV 6[31]
CH-3A China surveillance [32]
CH-4B China MALE UCAV [32]
Wing Loong II China MALE UCAV 24[33]
WJ-700 China MALE UCAV 4 on order.
Denel Seeker South Africa reconnaissance Seeker II 10[34]
Amel[35] Algeria surveillance
Al Fajer L-10[36] Algeria surveillance
Yabhon United 40 UAE / Algeria MALE UCAV produced locally[37]


On February 11, 2014, a C-130 Hercules transport plane crashes in Oum El Bouaghi, Algeria. It resulted in 77 deaths.[38]

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.[39]

On January 28, 2020, a Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet crashed in the mountains resulting in 2 deaths.[40]

On June 25, 2020, a CH-4 medium-altitude long-endurance UAV crashed due to some unknown issues.[41]


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  40. ^ "سقوط طائرة مقاتلة بالجزائر والرئيس يعزي عائلتي الطيارين". Al Jazeera (in Arabic). 2020-01-28. Retrieved 2021-11-22.
  41. ^ "Algerian Air Force Chinese-made CASC CH-4B Drone Crashed Near Wilaya d'Oum el-Bouaghi". Fighter Jets World. 2020-06-26.