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Top four powerful air force in Africa


Most African countries do not have combat aircraft units, but there are still few countries in Africe that invest in air forces, becoming a highlight in the region.

Before we start this count down let me clear, we didn’t include Egypt because some parts of Egypt locate in Middle-east Asia.

One of Africa’s most powerful air forces is Angola, long regarded as the most militarily capable in sub-Saharan Africa, built up as a combat force in the 1980s. , with the support of Cuba, Korea, the Soviet Union, and East Germany to counter the strong American and Israeli-backed alignment in South Africa.

Angola air force Su-30 fighter aircraft
Angola air force Su-30 fighter aircraft

The fighter MiG-23 before, largely controlled by the Cuban volunteer troops. In addition, in the Angolan service, there is a MiG-23 squadron of about 28 fighters, along with a squadron of MiG-21BiS and a squadron of Su-22.

The elite force of the Angolan Air Force equipped with 12 Su-30 fighters, has just been upgraded in Belarus to the 4+ generation standard. Angola has also equipped its Su-30 and Su-27 fighters with R-77 air-to-air missiles.

On the other hand, Angola also deploys a large number of Su-24 heavy attack fighters, a squadron of Su-25 attack aircraft, and two squadrons of Mi-24/Mi-35 attack helicopters, provides the country’s air force more firepower than any other air force in southern Africa.

Next is the Ethiopian Air Force, like Angola, the Ethiopian Air Force was built rapidly, at the time of war with Eritrea in the 1990s.

Ethiopian planes were flown at first by foreign pilots, experts from the former Soviet Union, then Ethiopian pilots gradually mastered the technology. Ethiopia previously relied on Soviet MiG-23 jets to make up its air force, with a squadron of about eight fighters at the time.

Ethiopian Air Force Su-27 fighter
Ethiopian Air Force Su-27 fighter

Today, the MiG-23 mainly performs air-to-ground missions and is coordinated with a number of Su-25 attack aircraft. The majority of the Ethiopian squadron consists of Su-27 heavy air superiority fighters, estimated at 12-16 in service.

The Ethiopian Air Force is the only force that has ever used the Su-27 in combat. Currently, the country’s Su-27 fleet has been upgraded with new electronic warfare systems and R-27ER missiles to participate in long-range combat. Ethiopia also deployed 18 Mi-24/35 attack helicopters and modernized air defense systems.

Finally, there is the Moroccan air force, which is invested by the requirements of the ongoing conflict in Western Sahara and the need to provide a basic defense against foreign forces like neighboring Algeria

Moroccan air force F-16C fighter aircraft
Moroccan air force F-16C fighter aircraft

Morocco is the only African country that has access to modern US air weapons, with about 23 F-16C Fighting Falcon light fighters armed with AIM-120 air-to-air missiles.

The difference of the Moroccan F-16 compared to the Egyptian one, is the weapons and sub-equipment system, making the Moroccan F-16 much more modern than the F-16s in the Egyptian service. . The Moroccan F-16 is the most capable Western fighter in Africa.

However, Morocco’s AIM-120C7 missile power, is still inferior to Algeria’s R-77 and R-27ER, both superior and heavier in weight. The Moroccan F-16s can also deploy the rather powerful AGM-88B HARM air-to-ground missile, to counter air defenses and radar.

The rest of the Moroccan air force consists of aging third-generation aircraft, including the F-5E Tiger II, of which 22 are in service and 26 of the Mirage F1. The Moroccan Mirage, considered the most capable in the world, has been armed with the MICA missile, which provides air-to-air capability within a limited visual range.

However, the air defense system remains a notable weakness, of the Moroccan forces, with the outdated 2K22M1 Tunguska-M1 anti-aircraft missile system. Therefore, Morocco is considering buying the most advanced air defense system in the world today from Russia S-400, to enhance its defense capabilities.

South african JAS-39C fighter
South African JAS-39C fighter

In the last South African air force. Currently, South African air force is equipped with only fighter aircraft that is JAS-39c. Currently, there are 16 Gripen aircraft active while 9 trainer variants of Gripen (JAS-39D). Ans some other Trainer aircraft like BAE Hawk trainer aircraft, it can be used as a both trainer aircraft and ground attack aircraft.


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