Namibian Air Force
Namibian Air Force emblem.svg
Emblem of the Namibian Air Force
Founded23 July 1994; 27 years ago (1994-07-23)
Country Namibia
AllegianceConstitution of Namibia
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
  • 1176 personnel[1] (2016)
  • 43 Aircraft
Part ofNamibian Defence Force
HeadquartersKaribib, Erongo Region, Namibia
Commander-In-ChiefHage Geingob
Minister of DefenceFrans Kapofi
Air Vice MarshalTeofilus Shaende
Fin flash
Flag of Namibia.svg
Flag of the Namibian Air Force.svg

The Namibian Air Force is the aerial warfare branch of the Namibian Defence Force. It was commissioned on 13 March 2005 at Grootfontein Air Force Base.[2] Following the independence of Namibia from South Africa in 1990, the Air defense wing of the defense forces were established on 23 July 1994.[2] The Air Force headquarters is based at Karibib Air Force Base.[3] The policy, mission statements and concept of operations envisage the development of an Air Force to operate in support of the Army and the Navy.

The five separate roles for the Air Force are: surveillance, transport of personnel and transport of supplies/equipment, support to the civil authorities or civil community, and training.[4]

The policy for the Air Force is as follows:[4]

To acquire dedicated air assets to undertake the surveillance and transport tasks. The MOD and NDF will train and employ their own pilots and technicians. Co-operation and co-ordination with other Ministries may extend to making such assets available for non-defence tasking. In addition, consideration will be given to arrangements whereby private and other national air assets could be employed where appropriate or necessary.


After commissioning in 1994 air wing was made up of two squadrons, VR-1 squadron and Helicopter Squadron[5] and the first aircraft of the force were six Cessna O-2A donated by the United States government. The US also offered two advisors to train four pilots, six co-pilots and seven Namibian Mechanics. In December 1994 a total of four Cheetah and Chetak light utility helicopters bought from HAL where delivered to the then Air Wing at Eros Airport. The Indian air force also provided a chief engineer, five technicians and two pilots to train Namibian crews for at least six months.[6] Two Harbin Y-12's were delivered in December 1997.


An F-7 on takeoff
An F-7 on takeoff
A Harbin Y12 on final approach
A Harbin Y12 on final approach
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Chengdu F-7 China fighter 6[7]
Antonov An-26 Soviet Union transport 1[7]
Harbin Y-12 China transport 2[7]
Mil Mi-8 Russia utility / transport 2[7]
Mil Mi-24 Russia attack 2[7]
HAL Cheetah France / India liaison / utility 1[7]
HAL Chetak France / India liaison / utility 2[7]
Trainer Aircraft
Hongdu JL-8 China / Pakistan jet trainer K-8 12[7]
Chengdu F-7 China jet trainer FT-7 2[7] license-built MiG-21

Aircraft accidents

K-8 taxiing with centerline gun pod and rocket pods attached
K-8 taxiing with centerline gun pod and rocket pods attached

The Air Force has suffered a number of aircraft incidents and accidents. The first notable accident occurred during Operation Atlantic in the DRC, where two helicopters—a Cheetah and a Chetak (air frame serials H-702 and H-708)—collided mid-air during bad weather, resulting in the deaths of 11 personnel, 5 of whom were Namibian.[8]

Air Force Bases

Map of Namibia showing the Namibian Air Force bases
Map of Namibia showing the Namibian Air Force bases (Click on base icon for link to details)[11]

List of bases of the Namibian Air Force

Expansion of the Air Base at Keetmanshoop is planned.[12]

Flying Units

Air Defence Wing

23rd Squadron is a fighter squadron and is home to the Chengdu F-7 Airguards.

15 Wing

Consists of the helicopters in the Air Force. The squadron participated in the Second Congo War. The squadron lost two helicopters that were involved in a Mid-air collision.[13]

13 Wing

Hosting the Fixed wing transport aircraft is the 13 wing. The wing consists of the AN-26 and Y-12 Aircraft.



A Namibian F-7 skybolt
A Namibian F-7 skybolt

The Air Force has deployed numerous times to help civic authorities during disasters. Health outreach workers have been ferried during immunization campaigns . It has assisted in transporting Electoral material and personnel during National elections.[14] It has also flown foreign Heads of States during their stay in Namibia[15]


Between 1998 and 2002 The Air force was deployed to the DRC during the Second Congo War. Harbin Y-12 transport aircraft where utilized on logistics supply missions to the DRC as well as withdrawing Namibian troops at the end of the war. on 1 August 1999 a Air Force flight engineer died after he was hit by anti aircraft fire on a Y-12 transport aircraft that was en route to resupply Namibian and Zimbabwean troops that were besieged at Ikela. Two Namibian Allouette helicopters crashed in mid-air while on operations during the war due to bad weather on 15 January 1999. The accident claimed nine lives, including two Namibian pilots and three technicians.[16]

During the 2014 floods at Tokwe-Murkosi in Masvingo, Zimbabwe the air force deployed a flight consisting of one Harbin Z-9 and two Allouettes to assist with the evacuation of the affected people.[17] The mission lasted seven days in which 600 residents were airlifted with 56 tons of goods.[18]

Exercise Blue Kavango
The airforce deployed a composite flight consisting of a Y-12 transport aircraft and Z-9 light utility helicopters to the SADC Air Forces exercise Blue Kavango held in Botswana.[19][20]


The Air Force Commander exercise overall Executive command, he is deputized by an Air Commodore . The Air Force Sergeant Major is the principal Warrant Officer that advises the Air Force Commander on matters of discipline.

Command structure

Sleeve insignia Appointment Rank and Name
14-Namibia Air Force-AVM.svg
Air Force Commander Air Vice Marshal Teofilus Shaende
13-Namibia Air Force-AIRCDRE.svg
Air Force Deputy Commander Air Commodore Abed Hihepa
12-Namibia Air Force-GPCAPT.svg
SOAPS Commandant Group Captain Hosea Ndjibu
12-Namibia Air Force-GPCAPT.svg
Karibib AFB Commander Group Captain
12-Namibia Air Force-GPCAPT.svg
Grootfontein AFB Commander Group Captain Hillary Lilungwe Sisamu
12-Namibia Air Force-GPCAPT.svg
Chief of Staff Operations Group Captain Manfred Tjivera
06-Namibia Air Force-WO1.svg
Air Force Sergeant Major

Other establishments and units

The primary training institute in the Air Force is the School of Air Power Studies (SOAPS) under the Command of Group Captain Hosea Ndjibu. The SOAPS is composed of three centres.

Ranks, Insignia, Uniforms & Proficiency Badges

The Air Force from inception used Army styled ranks and insignia. This however changed in April 2010 when the new system based on stripes was introduced and ranks changed to commonwealth system.

Commissioned officer ranks

The rank insignia of commissioned officers.

Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
 Namibian Air Force[21]
16-Namibia Air Force-ACM.svg
15-Namibia Air Force-AIRMSHL.svg
14-Namibia Air Force-AVM.svg
13-Namibia Air Force-AIRCDRE.svg
12-Namibia Air Force-GPCAPT.svg
11-Namibia Air Force-WGCDR.svg
10-Namibia Air Force-SQNLDR.svg
09-Namibia Air Force-FLTLT.svg
08-Namibia Air Force-FLGOFF.svg
07-Namibia Air Force-PLTOFF.svg
Chief air marshal Air marshal Air vice marshal Air commodore Group captain Wing commander Squadron leader Flight lieutenant Flying officer Pilot officer

Other ranks

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

Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
 Namibian Air Force[21]
06-Namibia Air Force-WO1.svg
05-Namibia Air Force-WO2.svg
04-Namibia Air Force-FSG.svg
03-Namibia Air Force-SGT.svg
02-Namibia Air Force-SAC.svg
01-Namibia Air Force-LAC.svg
No insignia
Warrant officer class 1 Warrant officer class 2 Flight sergeant Sergeant Aircraftman Leading aircraftman Private
(or equivalent)


  1. ^ "Estimate of Revenue, Income and Expenditure 01 April 2016 to 31 March 2019". Namibian Ministry of Finance. 2016. p. 106.
  2. ^ a b "Statement By His Excellency Sam Nujoma, President Of The Republic Of Namibia, On The Occasion Of The Commissioning Ceremony Of Namibia Air Force". Archived from the original on 23 July 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2007. Accessed 2007/07/27
  3. ^ Hartman, Adam (7 March 2016). "Geingob impressed with new air force base at Karibib". The Namibian. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Policy for Development of Air Force". Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  5. ^ "Background of the Namibian Air Force". Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  6. ^ Fild, Lucienne (21 December 1994). "NDFs choppers now official" (PDF). The Namibian. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i "World Air Forces 2022". Flightglobal. 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2021.
  8. ^ a b "NAMIBIA AIR FORCE……(ex NAMIBIA DEFENCE FORCE Air Wing)" (PDF). Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  9. ^ Ngatjiheue, Charmaine (28 September 2021). "Kapofi confirms NDF jet crash". The Namibian. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  10. ^ Ndeyanale, Eliaser (15 October 2021). "Media barred from military plane crash". The Namibian. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  11. ^ "Air Force Bases and Unit". South African Air Force. Archived from the original on 28 June 2008. Retrieved 4 August 2008.
  12. ^ "Summary of Development and Investment Expenditure by Vote, Inside/Outside SRF – Vote Code 8: Defence" (PDF). Parliament of Namibia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2012.
  13. ^ "State-of-the-art helicopters for NDF". 30 April 2012. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  14. ^ "Statement By His Excellency Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of The Republic of Namibia And Commander – in-Chief of The Namibian Defence Force, On The Occasion of The Inauguration of The Airforce School of Airpower Studies". 13 February 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  15. ^ "Politicised origin tracing should give way to science-based cooperation - Opinion - Namibian Sun".
  16. ^ "IRIN Update 591 for 20 Jan 1999".
  17. ^ Zhangazha, Wongai (14 February 2014). "Namibia helicopters rescue flood victims". The Zimbabwe Independent.
  18. ^ New Era Publication Corporation. "Namibian Air Force returns from Zimbabwe mission". New Era Newspaper Namibia.
  19. ^ "Namibian Air Force to participate in joint SADC exercise".
  20. ^ "Exercise Blue Okavango". YouTube. Archived from the original on 5 December 2021.
  21. ^ a b "Government Notice" (PDF). Government Gazette of the Republic of Namibia. Vol. 4547. 20 August 2010. pp. 99–102. Retrieved 20 December 2021.