Suriname Air Force
Surinaamse Luchtmacht
Suriname Air Force roundel
Founded1982; 42 years ago (1982)
Country Suriname
TypeAir force
Size3 aircraft
Part ofSuriname National Army
HeadquartersZorg en Hoop Air Force Base
Lieutenant Colonel Marven van Huisduinen[1]
Major Eddie Djoe (first Air Force Commander), Captain John-Marc Arron (Commander of the Helicopter Wing)
Fin flash
Aircraft flown
HelicopterHAL Chetak

The Suriname Air Force (Dutch: Surinaamse Luchtmacht) is the air component of the Military of Suriname. All aircraft of the Suriname Air Force undertake border patrols, utility transport, and search and rescue missions from Zorg en Hoop Airport, the Air Force's main base. Aircraft are occasionally transferred to other air bases in the nation, which include Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport, Major Fernandes Airfield, Albina Airstrip, and Moengo Airstrip. The head of the Suriname Air Force is the Commander of the Air Force, currently Lieutenant Colonel Marven van Huisduinen, who took over the role in March 2019 from former Commander Robert Kartodikromo.[1] The Air Force is further split into several wings, including the Helicopter Wing, the current Commander of which being Captain John-Marc Arron.


Upon independence in 1975, the Military of Suriname became Surinamese Armed Forces (Surinaamse Krijgsmacht). After a coup on February 25, 1980, the armed forces became the National Army (Nationaal Leger). In 1982 the Suriname Air Force was formed as a division of the Suriname National Army. Its first Commander was lieutenant Eddie Alenso Savalie Djoe, who held the position from 1983 until 1989. In 1982 the Air Force bought its first aircraft, the Hughes 500 - Model 369D helicopter, for patrolling missions, though it soon crashed in March of that year, killing all five crewmembers aboard the plane at the time (Major Henk Fernandes, second lieutenant Norman de Miranda, soldier Tjon a Kon and soldier Kowid and American pilot Foster Ford).[2][3] Three months later, the Suriname Air Force acquired four Pilatus Britten Norman BN-2B Defenders. In 1986 anti-government guerrilla activity from the Jungle Commando prompted the government to acquire two Aérospatiale SA.316B Alouette III helicopters from the Portuguese Air Force, one of which later crashed. Later that year three Pilatus PC-7 planes were ordered for counter-insurgency missions, although only two of the three were delivered, of which one was returned to Pilatus.

In 1987 the Suriname Air Force acquired a Bell 205 Iroquois from Venezuela to use as a gunship. It crashed in July of that year due to a mechanical failure, killing the American pilot Billy Pearson, and seriously injuring the American mechanic and the plane's four Surinamese crewmembers.[4][5] The helicopter was later repaired and put back into action, eventually being sold to the U.S. Air Force in 1991. In the late 1980s a Cessna 172 Skyhawk and a Cessna 206 were acquired, and in 1993 a Cessna T303 Crusader was acquired as well. In 1999, two CASA C-212 Aviocar turbo-prop engined aircraft were delivered, with one of the two having a Bendix RDR-1500 surveillance radar for maritime patrol.[6] In addition to patrol and transport duties, the two aircraft were used to protect Suriname's fishing industry, and participated in governmental anti-narcotics activities. In 2012, due to rising maintenance costs, the two planes were sold to Fayard Enterprises in the United States. By 2014 the whole remaining SAF inventory of six planes was put up for sale.[7]

In 2009, the Suriname Air Force ordered three single-engined HAL Chetak helicopters from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for approximately US$13.4 million, facilitated through a line of credit from India.[8][9][10] Mechanics and pilots from the Suriname Air Force were trained in India to operate the new helicopters in 2012 and 2014, respectively.[11][12] In January 2015, the three helicopters were delivered to Suriname Air Force,[13][14][15] which assigned them to the cities of Paramaribo, Nickerie, and Albina.[16] In March of that year, the Defence Minister of Suriname announced that a de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter would soon be delivered to the Suriname Air Force, with pilots allegedly already in training to operate it. This never materialized.



Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
HAL Chetak India Utility / SAR 3[17] obtained from India.[18]


Previous aircraft operated by the Suriname Air Force consisted of the Pilatus PC-7, Cessna 172, Cessna 206, Cessna T303, BN-2B Defender, CASA C-212 Aviocar, Bell 205, Aérospatiale Alouette III, and the Hughes 500 helicopter.[19][20]


  1. ^ a b "Nationaal Leger heeft na bijkans drie jaar weer bevelhebber". 22 March 2019.
  2. ^ Ranter, Harro. "Accident Hughes 500D (369D) SAF-100, 31 Mar 1982". Archived from the original on 9 July 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  3. ^ ", Vermiste helikopter terecht".
  4. ^ "One Of Two Americans Reported Killed In Crash Of Army Helicopter". Archived from the original on 23 December 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  5. ^ Ranter, Harro. "Accident Bell 205A-1 Iroquois SAF-300, 07 Jul 1987". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  6. ^ "casa - 1999 - 2285 - Flight Archive". Archived from the original on 3 February 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Puinhoop bij Surinaamse luchtmacht". 29 March 2014.
  8. ^ "India ready to deliver three Dhruv copters to Suriname army". Pakistan Defence. Archived from the original on 15 July 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  9. ^ " De luchtvaartsite van Nederland". Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  10. ^ "HAL Executes Export Order For Chetak Helicopters To Suriname - Hands Over 2 Of The 3 Contracted - AA Me, IN". Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  11. ^ "Republiek Suriname - Overheid - TECHNICI LUCHTMACHT NAAR INDIA VOOR BIJSCHOLING". Archived from the original on 13 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  12. ^ "Indian helicopters already being flown by Surinamese pilots - Times of Suriname – grootste landelijke dagblad van Suriname". Times of Suriname - grootste landelijke dagblad van Suriname. Archived from the original on 13 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  13. ^ "Eerste Chetak helikopter in elkaar gezet op basis Luchtmacht" (in Dutch). Starnieuws. 30 January 2015. Archived from the original on 31 January 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Surinaamse Luchtmacht - Helicopter Database". Archived from the original on 2019-04-07. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  15. ^ "Starnieuws - Luchtmacht weer operationeel met eigen heli's".
  16. ^ "De Surinaamse Krant: Eerste van drie Indiase Chetak helikopters gemonteerd". Archived from the original on 2015-02-03. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  17. ^ "World Air Forces 2023". Flightglobal Insight. 2023. Retrieved 14 February 2023.
  18. ^ "India Gives 3 Chetak Helicopters to Suriname". Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  19. ^ "World Air Forces 1987 pg. 59". Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  20. ^ "World Air Forces 1998 pg. 89". Retrieved 14 October 2019.