Lao People's Liberation Army Air Force

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Lao People's Liberation Army Air Force
Founded 1976
Country Laos
Branch Lao People's Army
Type Air Force
Size 43 aircraft
HQ Vientiane
Fin Flash 100px

The Lao People's Liberation Army Air Force (LPLAAF) is the air force of Laos.[1]


The present-day LPLAAF is descended from the Aviation Laotienne, which was established by the French and later became the Royal Lao Air Force. Pathet Lao guerrilla forces began to operate a few aircraft from 1960, as did another rebel group led by Kong Le. Kong Le forces were later re-incorporated into the Royal Lao Air Force. When the communist take-over in, 1975, resulted in the adoption of the present title.[2]

Military co-operation agreement with Russia in 1997 resulted in 12 Mil Mi-17 helicopters that entered service in mid-1999 to follow on from previous deliveries of Mi-8s. SAM systems also entered service such as the SA-3 'Goa' and SA-7B 'Grail'.[3]


The LPLAAF operates from two main bases - Vientiane and Phonsavanh - with another three bases supported by detachments from the main units. Apart from the main military air bases, there are also a number of smaller airports and airfields around the country which are frequently used by the Air Force and the semi-military airline Lao Airlines. In 1961 Laos had 25 airstrips capable of taking a C-47.[4]

Aircraft inventory

As of 2010, the backbone of the LPLAAF inventory consists of:

Aircraft Type Versions Active Notes
Fixed-wing aircraft
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 fighter MIG-21s 25[5] Non-operational
Ilyushin Il-103 Training aircraft Il-103 3[6] 21 ordered
Antonov An-2 Utility Transport aircraft An-2 10 [7]
Antonov An-26 Transport aircraft An-26 1[8]
Antonov An-74 VIP Transport An-74 1[9]
Xian MA60 Passenger aircraft MA60 4[10]
Kamov Ka-32 Transport helicopter Ka-32T 6
Mil Mi-8 transport helicopter Mi-8 7
Mil Mi-17 transport helicopter Mi-17 9
Harbin Z-9 utility helicopter Z-9 4
Bell UH-1 Iroquois Combat helicopter UH-1H 4 [12]