|Revolutionary Armed Forces|
|Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias|
|First Secretary||Miguel Díaz-Canel|
|Commander-in-chief||President Miguel Díaz-Canel|
|Minister of the FAR||Corps Gen. Álvaro López Miera|
|Chief of the General Staff||Álvaro López Miera|
|Military age||17-28 years of age for compulsory military service|
|Conscription||2-year service obligation for males|
|3,134,622 males, age 15–49, |
3,022,063 females, age 15–49
|1,929,370 males, age 15–49, |
1,888,498 females, age 15–49
|Active personnel||50,000 (2022 est.)|
1,146,000 (paramilitary)
|Percent of GDP||2.9% (2018)|
|Domestic suppliers||Union de Industrias Militares|
|Foreign suppliers|| Bulgaria|
Bay of Pigs Invasion
Guinea-Bissau War of Independence
War of Attrition
Yom Kippur War
Angolan Civil War
United States invasion of Grenada
|Ranks||Military ranks of Cuba|
|Military of Cuba|
The Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces (Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias; FAR) are the military forces of Cuba. They include army, navy, air force, and other paramilitary bodies including the Territorial Troops Militia (Milicias de Tropas Territoriales – MTT), Youth Labor Army (Ejército Juvenil del Trabajo – EJT), and the Defense and Production Brigades (Brigadas de Producción y Defensa – BPD), plus the Civil Defense Organization (Defensa Civil de Cuba – DCC) and the National Reserves Institution (Instituto Nacional de las Reservas Estatales – INRE). All these groups are subordinated to the Ministro de las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias ("Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces" – MINFAR).
The armed forces have long been the most powerful institution in Cuba. The military manages many enterprises in key economic sectors representing about 4% of the Cuban economy. The military has also served as former Cuban Communist Party First Secretary, as well as former President of Cuba, Raúl Castro's base. In numerous speeches, Raúl Castro emphasized the military's role as a "people's partner".
Main article: Cuban National Army
The Cuban Army in its original form was first established in 1868 by Cuban revolutionaries during the Ten Years' War. It joined the Allies in the World War I in April 1917 and supplied sugar to several countries, mainly the United States of America. Was involved in the Battle of the Caribbean during World War II when it was part of the Allies supported by the United States. After the Cuban Revolution had overthrown Fulgencio Batista's government, the Cuban Rebel Army under Fidel Castro's leadership was reorganized into the current armed forces of Cuba.
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union granted both military and financial aid to Cuba. From 1966 until the late 1980s, Soviet Government military assistance enabled Cuba to upgrade its military capabilities to number one in Latin America and project power abroad. The first Cuban military mission in Africa was established in Ghana in 1961. Cuba's military forces appeared in Algeria, in 1963, when a military medical brigade came to support the government. Since the 1960s, Cuba sent military forces to African and Arab countries – Syria in 1973, Ethiopia in 1978, Angola from 1975 to 1989, and Nicaragua and El Salvador during the 1980s. The tonnage of Soviet military deliveries to Cuba throughout most of the 1980s exceeded deliveries in any year since the military build-up during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
In 1989, the government instituted a clean-up of the armed forces and the Ministry of Interior, convicting army Major General and Hero of the Republic of Cuba Arnaldo Ochoa, Ministry of Interior Colonel Antonio de la Guardia (Tony la Guardia), and Ministry of Interior Brigadier General Patricio de la Guardia on charges of corruption and drug trafficking. This judgment is known in Cuba as "Causa 1" (Cause 1). Ochoa and Antonio de la Guardia were executed. Following the executions, the Army was drastically downsized, the Ministry of Interior was moved under the informal control of Revolutionary Armed Forces chief General Raúl Castro (Fidel Castro's brother), and large numbers of army officers were moved into the Ministry of Interior.
The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency reported in 1998 that the country's paramilitary organizations, the Territorial Militia Troops, the Youth Labor Army, and the Naval Militia had suffered considerable morale and training degradation over the previous seven years but still retained the potential to "make an enemy invasion costly." Cuba also adopted a "war of the people" strategy that highlights the defensive nature of its capabilities.
Cuban military power was sharply reduced by the loss of Soviet subsidies following the end of the Cold War, and today the Revolutionary Armed Forces number 39,000 regular troops.
In April 2021, longtime Chief of Staff Álvaro López Miera took over as the Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces.
|Term of office||Ref.|
|Took office||Left office||Time in office|
Senén Casas Regueiro
|19 April 1972||April 1982||9 years, 11 months|||
Ulises Rosales del Toro
|April 1982||11 October 1997||15 years, 6 months|||
Álvaro López Miera
|11 October 1997||15 April 2021||23 years, 6 months|||
Roberto Legrá Sotolongo
|19 April 2021||Incumbent||2 years, 117 days|||
The Central Intelligence Agency wrote in May 1979 that when "the economy took a downturn in 1970, the Castro regime, partly at Soviet urging, reduced its forces by some 60 per cent, eventually freeing more than 150,000 people for full-time civilian employment. All branches of the armed services except the Air Force were affected noticeably. The Air Defence Force shrank from six brigades and 24 occupied SA-2 surface-to-air missile sites to three brigades and 18 sites, leaving eastern Cuba unprotected by surface-to-air missiles. The Navy lost a number of radar surveillance posts, again to the detriment of eastern Cuba. The Army was more than halved in size and reorganised." (PA79-10173D)
In 1984, according to Jane's Military Review, there were three major geographical commands, Western, Central, and Eastern. There were a reported 130,000 all ranks, and each command was garrisoned by an army comprising a single armored division, a mechanized division, and a corps of three infantry divisions, though the Eastern Command had two corps totaling six divisions. There was also an independent military region, with a single infantry division, which garrisoned the Isle of Youth.
A U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency assessment in the first half of 1998 said that the army's armor and artillery units were at low readiness levels due to 'severely reduced' training, generally incapable of mounting effective operations above the battalion level, and that equipment was mostly in storage and unavailable at short notice. The same report said that Cuban special operations forces continue to train but on a smaller scale than beforehand, and that while the lack of replacement parts for its existing equipment and the current severe shortage of fuel were increasingly affecting operational capabilities, Cuba remained able to offer considerable resistance to any regional power.
Main article: Cuban Revolutionary Air and Air Defense Force
The Cuban Revolutionary Air and Air Defence Force (DAAFAR) was used in the 1980s with the help of the Soviet Union to be able to project power abroad, especially in Africa. During that time Cuba sent jet fighters and transports for deployment in conflict zones such as Angola and Ethiopia.
In 1990, Cuba's Air Force was the best equipped in Latin America. In all, the modern Cuban Air Force had approximately 230 fixed-wing aircraft. Although there is no exact figure available, Western analysts estimate that at least 130 (with only 25 operational) of these planes are still in service spread out among the thirteen military airbases on the island.
In 1996, fighters from the DAAFAR shot down two Cessna aircraft based in Florida which were incorrectly suspected of dropping leaflets into Cuban airspace. The air force was criticised for not giving the pilots of the aircraft options other than being shot down. One aircraft escaped.
In 1998, according to the same DIA report mentioned above, the air force had "fewer than 24 operational Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG) fighters; pilot training barely adequate to maintain proficiency; a declining number of fighter sorties, surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns to respond to attacking air forces."
By 2007 the International Institute for Strategic Studies assessed the force as 8,000 strong with 41 combat capable aircraft and a further 188 stored. DAAFAR is known now to have acquired another MiG-29 and a few MiG-23s, giving it 58 combat aircraft in active service. These are listed as 6 MiG-29s, 40 MiG-23s, and 12 MiG-21s. IISS also estimated DAAFAR had 12 operational transport aircraft, plus trainers which include 8 L-39C, and helicopters, mainly Mil Mi-8, Mil Mi-17, and Mil Mi-24 Hind. Raúl Castro ordered in 2010 that all MiG-29 pilots had to have full training, they now have from 200–250 hours of flight annually together with real dogfight training and exercises. Up to 20 MiG-23 units also have this kind of training but the other 16 MiG-23 units spend more time in simulators than real flight. MiG-21 units have limited time in these training exercises and spend more time in simulators and maintain their skills flying with Aerogaviota, the commercial brand of the air force.
Main article: Black Wasp (special forces)
The Avispas Negras (English: Black Wasps), also known formally as the Mobile Brigade of Special Troops (BMTE) is a special forces unit in the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces. It is often identified as Military Unit 4895 Desembarco de Granma is a small marine battalion with Marines like role.
The Territorial Troops Militia is composed exclusively of civilian volunteers, under the command of MINFAR. It reinforced the notion of the popular will to defend the Revolution. In general, the militia is a part-time force with only light arms that are issued only on occasion.
The Ejercito Juvenil del Trabajo ("Youth Labor Army" – EJT) is, by law, a paramilitary organization under the direct control of MINFAR. It was formally established on 3 August 1973 by combining the Centennial Youth Column (CJC) and the Permanent Infantry Divisions (DIP). Cuba's compulsory service laws require all male citizens to serve for three years in the EJT. The formation of the EJT allowed the army to devote itself full time to military matters. The EJT served as a reserve force in its first 20 years. In 1993, it was assigned the responsibility of managing the state farms.
The Border Troops of the Republic of Cuba (Spanish: Tropas Guardafronteras, TGF) is a branch that ensures the protection of the state borders and territorial waters. They are subordinate to the Interior Ministry (MININT). The official date of the establishment of this service was on September 23, 1970. In the second half of the 1970s, several agreements were signed, according to which some changes were made to border protection, including a 1976 agreement was signed between Cuba and Mexico on the delimitation of the exclusive economic zone in the sector of the Cuban-Mexican maritime border and a 1977 agreement was signed on the maritime border between Cuba and Haiti. The Border Troops are de facto both a border guard and a coast guard force, and all new officers are commissioned from the Granma Naval Academy.
|900||Some T-54 were converted into SPAAGs, while some T-55 and T-55A were converted into TELs.|
|T-62||T-62 Obr. 1967
T-62 Obr. 1972
|Some converted to military engineering vehicles.|
|PT-76|| Soviet Union
|N/A||Some PT-76B converted into S-125 Transporter-loader vehicles.|
|Armoured Fighting Vehicles|
|BRDM-2|| Soviet Union
M-AP-CBE-120 Mortar carrier
|N/A||Some were domestically upgraded.|
|BTR-60|| Soviet Union
|N/A||BTR-60 domestic conversions into AFVs and IFVs.|
|Infantry Fighting Vehicles|
|50||Some unarmed BMP-1s are used as training vehicles.|
|Armoured Personnel Carriers|
|BTR-60PB||R-145 Command vehicle
BTR-60PU-12 Command vehicle
|Infantry Mobility Vehicles|
|David||Cuba||N/A||Several exported to Angola.|
|Fast Attack Vehicles And Gun Trucks|
|Military Engineering Vehicles|
|IMR||Soviet Union||N/A||Several converted to an unknown role.|
|3M6 Shmel||Soviet Union||2P27||N/A|||
|9P133 Malyutka||Soviet Union||N/A|||
|73mm 2A28 Grom||Cuba||N/A||Mounted on a wheeled carriage|
|57mm ZiS-2||Soviet Union||600|||
|122mm 2S1 Gvozdika||Soviet Union|||
|122mm C-AP Jupiter III|||
|122mm Jupiter IV|||
|152mm 2S3 Akatsiya||Soviet Union|||
|Multiple Rocket Launchers|
|55mm MRG-1||Soviet Union||N/A|||
|122mm BM-21 'Grad'|| Soviet Union
|140mm BM-14||Soviet Union|||
|213mm RBU-6000|| Soviet Union
|Frontera||N/A||Modified for ground use.|
|240mm BM-24||Soviet Union||N/A||50 former Soviet vehicles received between 1961 and 1962.|
|Towed Anti-Aircraft Guns|
|12.7mm DShK||Soviet Union||N/A|||
|12.7mm M-53||Czechoslovak Socialist Republic||N/A|||
|14.5mm ZPU||Soviet Union||ZPU-1
|23mm ZU-23-2||N/A||Some mounted on BTR-152 and BTR-60.|
|30mm Vz.53/59||Czechoslovak Socialist Republic||N/A||Mounted on the BTR-60|
|37mm M-1939 (61-K)||Soviet Union||N/A||Some mounted on BTR-60.|
|57mm AZP S-60||N/A||Some are dual mounted on T-54 chassis.|
|Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Guns|
|23mm ZSU-23-4||Soviet Union||N/A||Some are armed with MANPADS.|
|57mm ZSU-57-2||Soviet Union||N/A|||
|Self-Propelled SAM Systems|
|2K12 Kub||Soviet Union||N/A|||
|9K33 Osa||200+||Some are equipped with 4K33 Osa-M missiles.|
|9K31 Strela-1||Some are equipped with R-13M missiles.|
|9K35 Strela-10||Some are equipped with 9M31s, MANPADS, R-13M and R-60MK missiles.|
|Static SAM Systems|
|S-75||Soviet Union||N/A||Some are mounted on T-55 or T-55A chassis.|
|S-125||N/A||Some are mounted on T-55A chassis.|
|Coastal Defence Systems|
|4K51 Rubezh||Soviet Union||4|||
|Bandera IV||Cuba||4+||Reported usage.|
|P-10 ''Knife Rest B''||Soviet Union||N/A|||
|P-12 ''Spoon Rest A''||N/A||S-75 radar.|
|P-14 ''Tall King''||N/A|||
|P-18 ''Spoon Rest D''||N/A|||
|P-19 "Flat Face B"||N/A|||
|P-35/37 ''Bar Lock''||N/A|||
|SNR-75 ''Fan Song''||N/A||S-75 radar, some mounted on tanks or trailers.|
|SNR-125 ''Low Blow''||N/A||S-125 radar, some mounted on tank chassis.|
|SURN 1S91||N/A||2K12 Kub radar.|
|PRV-9 ''Thin Skin''||N/A|||
|PRV-11 ''Side Net''||N/A|||
|PRV-13 ''Odd Pair''||N/A|||
|SON-9A "Fire Can"||N/A|||
|58N7 "Back Trap"||N/A|||
|RPK-2 "Tobol"||Cuba||N/A||For SPAAGs and 57mm AZP S-60.|
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