Senegalese Armed Forces
Forces armées du Sénégal
Service branches
PresidentMacky Sall
Minister of the Armed ForcesSidiki Kaba
Chief of the General StaffGeneral of Air Corps Mbaye Cissé
Available for
military service
1,158,893 (2000 est.), age 15–49 (2,218,920 (2000 est.))
Fit for
military service
109,381 (2000 est.), age 15–49 (2,218,920 (2000 est.))
Reaching military
age annually
(2,218,920 (2000 est.))
Active personnel17,000
Budget~ $350 million (FY2018)
Percent of GDP~1.5% (FY2018 est.)
Foreign suppliers Canada
 United States
Related articles
HistoryMauritania–Senegal Border War
Casamance conflict
Gulf War
Guinea-Bissau Civil War
Insurgency in the Maghreb
2008 invasion of Anjouan
Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen
Invasion of the Gambia
RanksMilitary ranks of Senegal

The Armed Forces of Senegal (French: Forces armées du Sénégal) consists of about 17,000 personnel in the army, air force, navy, and gendarmerie. The Senegal military force receives most of its training, equipment, and support from France and the United States. Germany also provides support but on a smaller scale.

Military noninterference in political affairs has contributed to Senegal's stability since independence. Senegal has participated in many international and regional peacekeeping missions. Most recently, in 2000, Senegal sent a battalion to the Democratic Republic of Congo to participate in MONUC, the United Nations peacekeeping mission.

Senegal also agreed to deploy a United States-trained battalion to Sierra Leone to participate in UNAMSIL, another UN peacekeeping mission. The training operation was designated Operation Focus Relief and involved U.S. Army Special Forces from 3rd Special Forces Group training a number of West African battalions, including Nigerian ones.

As one of the largest troop contributors in Africa (per capita) to African Union missions, United Nations missions, and other regional security organizations, the Senegalese military has proven itself to be one of the most effective and reliable militaries on the African continent. This is remarkable given that Senegal is poorer than the average Sub-Saharan African country. Most importantly, the army of Senegal is multi-ethnic, not coup-proofed, and has never attempted a coup d'état, which is a rarity in Africa. Harmonious Senegalese civil-military relations since independence have permitted the creation of an effective 'military enclave' that is a capable institution not a threat to the political leadership in Dakar.[1]

Summary of past military actions

Commando battalion of Thiès.

The Army (Armée de Terre) is the leading force within the Senegalese armed forces and provides the chief of staff and the Inspecteur général des forces armées.


Senegalese soldiers during a training exercise.

Since independence from France in 1960, the army has gone through a large number of reorganisations. The army's heritage includes the Tirailleurs sénégalais. In 1978, Senegal dispatched a battalion to the Inter-African Force in Zaire, in the aftermath of the Shaba II fighting. The Senegalese contingent was under the command of Colonel Osmane Ndoye.[4] The Senegalese force comprised a parachute battalion from Thiaroye.

The Army currently consists of two divisions, the Operations Division and the Logistic Division. The IISS estimated in 2012 that the Army had a strength of 11,900 soldiers, three armoured battalions the 22nd, 24th, and 25th (at Bignona) and the 26th Bataillon de reconnaissance et d'Appui at Kolda; there are six infantry battalions numbered 1st to 6th.[5] 3rd Battalion may have been at Kaolack with 4th at Tambacounda at one point.[6]

Also reported is the 12th Battalion of the 2nd Military Zone at Saint Louis (Dakhar Bango),[7] along with the Prytanée militaire de Saint-Louis, a military secondary school.

Although the Senegalese Air Force is geared towards supporting it, the army may have previously maintained its own very small aviation branch, called the "Aviation Légère de l'Armée de Terre" (like the French army's equivalent), which may have counted up to five light helicopters and two SA330 Puma transport helicopters. The IISS Military Balance 2012 does not list any helicopters in army service.

National Gendarmerie

Main article: Senegalese Gendarmerie

Red Guard of Senegal.

The Gendarmerie is a military force which provides policing and security. It includes a Territorial Gendarmerie with general policing duties, and a Mobile Gendarmerie for special tasks and serious public disorder.

The Senegalese gendarmerie evolved out of a French colonial Spahi detachment sent to Senegal in 1845. This detachment (which became today's Red Guard of Senegal) was the cadre around which the "Colonial Gendarmerie" was formed. On independence this became the National Gendarmerie.

The commander is General Abdoulaye Fall (a different person from the current Armed Forces Chief of Staff of the same name), whose rank is divisional general, and whose full job title is "High Commander of the Gendarmerie and Director of Military Justice".


The Senegalese patrol boat Fouladou
Senegalese patrol vessel Poponquine training with a United States Coast Guard vessel off the coast of Senegal

The navy (marine), also known as the Armée de mer, is of small size and is commanded by a ship-of-the-line captain. It is responsible for securing Senegal's 286-nautical-mile (530-kilometre) Atlantic coastline which is strategically located on the extreme west of the African continent. The coastline is divided in two by The Gambia. The navy was created in 1975.[8] The Navy operates two bases, one at Dakar and the other at Elinkine. The navy also patrols the 12-nautical-mile (22-kilometre) territorial waters as well as a declared 200-nautical-mile (370-kilometre) exclusive economic zone.[9][10]

The Navy is divided into three branches known as "groupings":[11]

Air Force

Air Force Roundel.

Main article: Senegalese Air Force

The air force (Armée de l'Air) is orientated towards providing support for ground forces and resembles an army aviation corps. It possesses air-to-air combat aeroplanes, Mil Mi-24 gunship helicopters, as well as transport and reconnaissance aircraft.

Military Areas

Senegal's Military zones.

At the present time, there are seven military zones:[12]

Each zone comprises a garrison office that caters to military issues and a social service office. The IISS Military Balance listed four zones in 2007.


Small arms

Name Image Caliber Type Origin Notes
Walther PP[13] .25 ACP Semi-automatic pistol  Germany
PAMAS G1[13] 9×19mm Semi-automatic pistol  Italy
MAC 50[13] 9×19mm Semi-automatic pistol  France
Manurhin MR 73[13] .357 Magnum Revolver  France
Submachine guns
MAS-38[14] 7.65×20mm Submachine gun  France
MAT-49[13] 9×19mm Submachine gun  France
FAMAS[15] 5.56×45mm Bullpup
Assault rifle
M16[15] 5.56×45mm Assault rifle  United States
M4[16] 5.56×45mm Carbine
Assault rifle
 United States
CAR-15[13] 5.56×45mm Carbine
Assault rifle
 United States
Taurus T4[17] 5.56×45mm Carbine
Assault rifle
Norinco CQ[18] 5.56×45mm Assault rifle  China
Daewoo K1[19] .223 Remington Carbine
Assault rifle
 South Korea Received 280 K1A rifles in 2003.
Daewoo K2[20][21] 5.56×45mm Carbine
Assault rifle
 South Korea
IWI Tavor[22] 5.56×45mm Bullpup
Assault rifle
IWI Tavor X95[23] 5.56×45mm Bullpup
Assault rifle
KNT-76[24] 7.62×51mm Assault rifle  Turkey
Heckler & Koch G3[13] 7.62×51mm Battle rifle  West Germany
French-made G3s
SIG SG 540[13] 7.62×51mm Battle rifle   Switzerland
MAS-36[25] 7.5×54mm Bolt-action rifle  France
MAS-49/56[26] 7.5×54mm Semi-automatic rifle  France
Sniper rifles
SVD[27] 7.62×54mmR Sniper rifle
Designated marksman rifle
 Soviet Union
IWI Galatz[15] 5.56×45mm Designated marksman rifle  Israel
Machine guns
IWI Negev[15] 5.56×45mm Light machine gun  Israel
AA-52[13] 7.62×51mm General-purpose machine gun  France
Heckler & Koch HK21[13] 7.62×51mm General-purpose machine gun  West Germany
M60[28] 7.62×51mm General-purpose machine gun  United States
Browning M2[13] .50 BMG Heavy machine gun  United States
Rocket propelled grenade launchers
RPG-7[13] 40mm Rocket-propelled grenade  Soviet Union
LRAC F1[29] 89mm Shoulder-launched missile weapon  France

Anti-tank weapons

Name Image Type Origin Caliber Notes
MILAN[30] Anti-tank missile  France
 West Germany

Anti-aircraft weapons

Name Image Type Origin Quantity Status Notes
Bofors L/60[31] Autocannon  Sweden 12 INS
20 mm modèle F2 gun Autocannon  France 21 INS Used for air defence.


Name Image Type Origin Quantity Status Notes
Rocket artillery
Bastion-01 Multiple rocket launcher  Ukraine 6[32] INS
Field artillery
M101 Howitzer  United States 6[31] INS
M-50 Howitzer  France 6[33] INS
TRF1 Howitzer  France 8[34] INS
MO-120-RT-61 Towed mortar  France 32 INS

Tank destroyers

Name Image Type Origin Quantity Status Notes
WMA-301 Tank destroyer  China 12[35] INS

Infantry fighting vehicles

Name Image Type Origin Quantity Status Notes
Ratel IFV Infantry fighting vehicle  South Africa 26[36] INS

Armored personnel carriers

Name Image Type Origin Quantity Status Notes
Panhard M3 Armoured personnel carrier  France 16[33] INS
M3 half-track Half-track
Armored personnel carrier
 United States 12[33] INS
WZ-551 Command post  China 1[35] INS
EE-11 Urutu Amphibious Armored personnel carrier  Brazil Unknown[37] INS
RG-31 Nyala Infantry mobility vehicle  South Africa Unknown INS
Dozor-B Infantry mobility vehicle  Ukraine 6[38] INS


Name Image Type Origin Quantity Status Notes
Panhard AML Armored car  France 53[33] INS
Eland-90 Armored car  South Africa 47[39] INS
RAM MK3 Armored Car  Israel 55[15] INS

Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected

Name Image Type Origin Quantity Status Notes
Casspir MRAP  South Africa 9[40] INS
PUMA M26-15 MRAP  South Africa 30[15] INS
Ejder Yalçın MRAP  Turkey 25[41] INS

Utility vehicles

Name Image Type Origin Quantity Status Notes
Humvee Light utility vehicle  United States 23[42] INS
M151 Utility vehicle  United States Unknown[43] INS


Main article: Senegalese Air Force



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Part of this article is derived from the equivalent article at French Wikipedia