Namibian Air Force

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Namibian Air Force
File:Namibian Air Force Logo.jpg
Official Emblem, NAF
Founded 23 July 1994 (Namibia Defence Force Air Wing)
13 March 2005 (Namibian Air Force)
Country Namibia
Allegiance Constitution of Namibia
Branch Air Force
Role Air supremacy, Air defense
Size 1160 personnel [1]
43 Aircraft
Part of Namibia Defence Force
Colors Air Force blue
Air Force Commander Air vice-marshal Martin Pinehas

The Namibia Air Force was commissioned on 13 March 2005 at Grootfontein Air Base.[2] Following the independence of Namibia from South Africa in 1990, the Air defence wing of the defence forces were established on 23 July 1994.[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.

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

With Grootfontein as the main air base, expansion projects are underway to expand the Keetmanshoop air base, as well as construct a new base at Karibib. This was reported by The Namibian on 20 June 2008. The Air Force Headquarters are now based at Karibib Air Base[5]

The policy for the Air Force is as follows

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.


12 Chengdu F-7 Airguard jets were delivered in 2006 and 2008.[6]

Aircraft Orig Type Versions Numbers In Service Comments
Fighter / Trainer Aircraft
Chengdu F-7 Airguard China Fighter/Trainer Total
FT-7NG trainer versions received in November 2006[8] 8 F-7NG on order
Hongdu K-8 Karakorum China Fighter/Trainer K-8 12[7]
MIG-21 USSR Fighter MIG-21 6[9]
Namibia has received 2 MIG-21bis, and 1 MIG-21UM in 2002. They were then serviced by IAI, in Israel and returned in 2006.[9] In addition Namibia has bought 3 MIG-21s from IAI, and were seen in a flypast at the formal commissioning of The Namibia Air Force on 13 March 2005.[10]


Cessna Skymaster USA utility FTB.337G
Antonov An-26 Curl Ukraine transport An-26 2 One airframe damaged after crash landing at Omega airstrip while on LAM Mozambique Airlines Flight 470 recovery mission [12]
Harbin Y-12 China Transport
VIP transport
Y-12[citation needed] 2
Learjet 36 USA VIP transport Model 36 1[citation needed]
Dassault Falcon 900 France VIP transport Falcon 900[citation needed] 1
Attack Helicopters
Mil Mi-25 Russia attack helicopter Mi-25 2[7]
Mil Mi-17 Hip Russia Assault helicopter Mi-17 2[7]
Harbin Z-9 China Light Transport helicopter 1[13] no H-700 and H-701, Two delivered
HAL Cheetah India light utility 1[14] Indian variant of French Aérospatiale Lama.
no H-703
HAL Chetak India light utility 3 Indian variant of French Aérospatiale Alouette III.
no H-704,H-705 and H-707

Retired aircraft

Air Force Bases

List of bases of the Namibian Air Force

Expansion of the Air Base at Keetmanshoop is planned.[15]

Flying Units

Air Defence Wing

  • 23 Squadron

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

15 Wing

  • 151 Squadron

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 .[16]

13 Wing

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



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.[17] It has also flown foreign Heads of States during their stay in Namibia[18]


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.Two Namibian Allouette helicopters crashed in mid air while on operations during the war due to bad weather.The accident claimed nine lives including two Namibian pilots and three technicians.[19] During the 2014 floods at Tokwe-Murkosi in Masvingo, Zimbabwe the air force deployed a flight consisting of one Harbin Z-9 and two Allouette's to assist with the evacuation of the affected people.[20] The mission lasted seven days in which 600 residents were airlifted with 56 tons of goods.[21]

Other establishments and units

School of Air Power Studies

The school of air power studies will offer 6 months training to candidates.[17]

Technical Training Centre

The Air Force operates the Technical Training Centre (TTC) at Grootfontein Air Base. The centre caters for technical training of the Air force's ground personnel. Students from SADC Air Forces have also been accepted to institution'.[22] Its curriculum are run in conjunction with the Namibian Aviation Training Academy.[23] Qualifications offered include certificates and diplomas in:

  • Mechanics
  • Avionics
  • Armament[24]


Commissioned officers

The highest rank a commissioned officer can attain in the Air Force is Air Vice Marshal. There may however be an exception when an Air Force officer is appointed as Chief of the Defence Force for which the individual which ascend to the rank of Air Marshal.

  • Air Marshal
  • Air Vice Marshal
  • Air Commodore
  • Group Captain
  • Wing Commander
  • Squadron Leader
  • Flight Lieutenant
  • Flying Officer
  • Pilot Officer

Non-commissioned officers/Other ranks

The highest rank an enlisted member can attain is Warrant Officer Class 1.

  • Warrant Officer Class 1
  • Warrant Officer Class 2
  • Flight Sergeant
  • Sergeant
  • Aircraftman
  • Leading Aircraftman
  • Private


Air Force F7 taking off Air Force K-8 Trainer on the taxi way with rocket & centerline gun pod's attached Air Force Mil Mi-17 Carrying out exercises with Namibian Marines Air Force Y12 on final approach


  2. Accessed 2007/07/27
  3. Accessed 2015/10/07
  4. Accessed 2007/07/27
  6. Hopwood, Graham (February 2012). "Flying high". insight Namibia.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Hoyle Flight International 13–19 December 2011, p. 44.
  8. Accessed 2007/07/27
  9. 9.0 9.1 PALOQUE The MiG 21 The Mikoyan-Gurevitch Fishbed (1955-2010) December 2009, p. 69.
  10. Accessed 2015/07/21
  11. AIR International, December 1994, page 323.
  12. Carin Pretorius - Developed CEIT Development CC. "The Namibian - Airforce plane in near horrific plane crash (News - Namibia)". The Namibian.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Ministry of Defense".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. HAL bags $10 mn order for Chetak, Cheetah from Namibia
  15. Parliament of Namibia, Summary of Development and Investment Expenditure by Vote, Inside/Outside SRF - Vote Code 8: Defence. Retrieved August 2010
  19. "IRIN Update 591 for 20 Jan 1999".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Namibia helicopters rescue flood victims". The Zimbabwe Independent.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. New Era Publication Corporation. "Namibian Air Force returns from Zimbabwe mission". New Era Newspaper Namibia.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Tomas, F (November 2011). "ATTC 5th graduation". NDF Journal'. 42: 10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Tomas, F (December 2012). "ATTC 5th graduation". NDF Journal'. 42: 10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Shikomba, T (March 2013). "Air Force Graduate Technicians". NDF Journal'. 47: 9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Hoyle, Craig (13–19 December 2011). "World Air Forces Directory". Flight International. Vol. 180 no. 5321. pp. 26–52. ISSN 0015-3710.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links