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Tunisian Air Force
جيش الطيران  (Arabic)
Armée de l'Air  (French)
أركان جيش الطيران، تونس.svg
Badge of the Tunisian Air Force
Founded1959; 63 years ago (1959)
Country Tunisia
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
Size4,500 personnel
Part ofTunisian Armed Forces
HeadquartersBizerte
Anniversaries24 July
Equipment159 aircraft
EngagementsWar on Terror
Commanders
Commander-in-ChiefPresident Kais Saied
Commander of the Air ForceGeneral Mohamed El Hajjam
Insignia
Roundel
Roundel of Tunisia.svg
Aircraft flown
AttackAermacchi MB-326
FighterNorthrop F-5
PatrolSIAI-Marchetti S.208
TrainerAero L-59 Super Albatros, Aermacchi SF.260
TransportG-222, Let L-410 Turbolet, Lockheed C-130B/H/J-30 Hercules/Super Hercules

The Tunisian Air Force (Arabic: جيش الطيران, French: Armée de l'Air[1]) is one of the branches of the Tunisian Armed Forces.

History

The Tunisian Air Force was established in 1959, three years after Tunisia regained its independence from France. It took deliveries of its first aircraft, eight Saab 91 Safirs, in 1960, later to be complemented by further Saab 91 Safirs. The Tunisian Air Force entered the jet age in 1965 with the purchase of 8 MB326-B's and then 5 MB326-LT's. In 1969, the country received 15 ex-USAF F-86F Sabres. Between 1974 and 1978 12 SF.260 Warriors and 9 SF.260Cs were delivered for basic training. In 1977–78, eight MB.326KT's were supplied for light attack duties. In 1981, Tunisia ordered 12 F-5's (8 F-5E and 4 F-5F); deliveries took place in 1984–85. Tunisia added 5 ex-USAF F-5E's from the Alconbury Aggressor Squadron in 1989. In 1985 Tunisia ordered two C130-H Herculeses. In 1995, a major Czech order was placed, with 12 Aero L-59 armed trainers and 3 Let L-410UVP transports ordered. In 1997, five surplus C-130B's were delivered from the USA. Tunisia had two C-130J-30s on order for delivery in 2013 and 2014. Tunisia purchased a 12 UH-60M.[2]

Tunisia's four main bases are Bizerte/Sidi Ahmed, Gafsa, Bizerte/La Karouba, and Sfax.

Organization

The order of battle of the Tunisian Air force is as below:[3]

Tunis-Laouina

No. 12 Squadron
Transport squadron, Let L-410 Turbolet

Bizerte-Sidi Ahmed

No. 11 Squadron
Jet trainer squadron, Aermacchi MB-326
No. 15 Squadron
Fighter squadron, Northrop F-5 Tiger
No. 21 Squadron
Transport squadron, C-130 Hercules, G-222

Bizerte-La Karouba

No. 31 Squadron
Helicopter squadron, Bell 205, UH-1 Iroquois
No. 32 Squadron
Helicopter squadron, Alouette II, Ecureuil
No. 33 Squadron
Helicopter squadron
No. 36 Squadron
Helicopter squadron

Sfax-Thyna

No. 13 Squadron
Light utility and liaison squadron, flying SF-260s
No. 14 Squadron
Light utility and liaison squadron, flying SF-260s
No. ? Squadron
Helicopter squadron

Gafsa

No. 16 Squadron
Jet trainer squadron, flying L-59s
No. 34 Squadron

Aircraft

A C-130J approaching on to Beijing Capital International Airport
A C-130J approaching on to Beijing Capital International Airport
A Tunisian HH-3 helicopter participating in a rescue exercise in Bizerte
A Tunisian HH-3 helicopter participating in a rescue exercise in Bizerte

Current inventory

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Northrop F-5 United States fighter F-5E 11[4]
Reconnaissance
Maule MX-7 United States Reconnaissance MX-7 12[5] for border surveillance
Cessna 208 Caravan United States Reconnaissance C208 EX ISR 0 2 on order[6]
Transport
Let L-410 Czech Republic utility 5[4]
C-130 Hercules United States transport / SAR C-130B/H 2[4]
C-130J Super Hercules United States tactical airlifter 2[4]
Helicopters
Bell 412 United States utility 2[4]
Bell 205 United States utility 37[4] of which 16 are UH-1H’s
Bell OH-58 United States armed scout OH-58D 18[4]
Alouette II France liaison / light utility 8[4]
Alouette III France liaison / utility 8[4]
Sikorsky HH-3 United States SAR / transport 15[4]
Sikorsky UH-60 United States utility UH-60M 8[4]
Eurocopter AS350 France utility / liaison 6[4]
Trainer Aircraft
Northrop F-5 United States conversion trainer F-5F 3[4]
Aero L-59 Czech Republic jet trainer L-59T 9[4]
Textron T-6 Texan II United States jet trainer T-6C 0 6 on order[7]
Aermacchi MB-326 Italy jet trainer 10[8]
SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 Italy trainer 17[4]
UAV
TAI Anka Turkey surveillance / attack drone 3 [9]
Camcopter S-100 Austria surveillance 6

References

  1. ^ "Présentation au profil de l'armée de l'air" (in French). Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Tunisia – UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters - The Official Home of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency". Archived from the original on 27 July 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  3. ^ "Tunisian Air Force OrBat". Scramble. Archived from the original on 15 December 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "World Air Forces 2022". Flightglobal. 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  5. ^ Warnes, Alan (14 February 2017). "Tunisian Maule ISR Package Revealed".
  6. ^ Martin, Guy (3 November 2021). "Tunisia getting Cessna Caravans for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance". Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  7. ^ "Tunisia will receive T-6 trainers from October next year". 29 November 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  8. ^ Lake, Jon (15 October 2019). "T-6C Texan II Sale Possible for Tunisia". ainonline.
  9. ^ "Tunisia Signs $80 Million Deal for Three Turkish Anka-S Combat Drones – The Defense Post". Retrieved 3 May 2021.

Sources