Tunisian Air Force

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Tunisian Air Force
جيش الطيران
أركان جيش الطيران، تونس.svg
Badge of the Tunisian Air Force
Founded1959; 62 years ago (1959)
Country Tunisia
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
Size4,000 personnel
Part ofTunisian Armed Forces
HeadquartersBizerte
Anniversaries24 July
Equipment159 aircraft
Engagements
Commanders
Commander-in-ChiefPresident Kais Saied
Commander of the Air ForceGeneral Taïeb Lajimi
Insignia
RoundelRoundel 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: اجيش الطيران‎, French: Armée de l'Air[1]) is one of the branches of the Tunisian Armed Forces.

History[edit]

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 Sabre. Between 1974 and 1978 12 SF.260 Warriors and 9 SF.260C were delivered for basic training. In 1977–78 8 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 taking place in 1984-85. Then adding 5 ex-USAF F-5E's from the Alconbury Aggressor Squadron (in 1989). In 1985 Tunisia ordered 2 C130-H's Hercules. 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 has two C-130J-30s on order for delivery in 2013 and 2014.

Possible purchase of 12 UH-60M[2]

There are four main bases: Bizerte/Sidi Ahmed, Gafsa, Bizerte/La Karouba and Sfax.

Organization[edit]

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

Tunis-Laouina[edit]

36°50′57″N 010°14′51″E / 36.84917°N 10.24750°E / 36.84917; 10.24750

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

Bizerte-Sidi Ahmed[edit]

37°14′58″N 009°46′48″E / 37.24944°N 9.78000°E / 37.24944; 9.78000

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[edit]

37°15′10″N 009°47′40″E / 37.25278°N 9.79444°E / 37.25278; 9.79444

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[edit]

34°42′55″N 010°41′47″E / 34.71528°N 10.69639°E / 34.71528; 10.69639

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[edit]

34°25′04″N 008°48′45″E / 34.41778°N 8.81250°E / 34.41778; 8.81250

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

Aircraft[edit]

A C-130 taxis down the runway at Lajes Field, Portugal
A Tunisian HH-3 helicopter participating in a rescue exercise in Bizerte
A SIAI-Marchetti SF.260

Current inventory[edit]

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Northrop F-5 United States fighter F-5E 12[4]
F-16 Fighting Falcon United States multirole F-16V 4 4-12 on order
Transport
Let L-410 Czech Republic utility 5[4]
C-130 Hercules United States transport / SAR C-130B/H 7[4]
C-130J Super Hercules United States tactical airlifter 2[4]
Cessna 208 Caravan United States ground attack AC-208 Combat Caravan 2-4
Super King Air united states ISR Model 360ER 2 on order
Helicopters
Bell 205 United States utility 36[4] of which 16 are UH-1H’s
Bell 412 United States utility 3[4]
Bell OH-58 United States reconnaissance OH-58D 7[4] 17 on order[5]
Alouette II France liaison / light utility 8[4]
Alouette III France liaison / utility 8[4]
Sikorsky HH-3 United States SAR / transport 16[4]
Sikorsky UH-60 United States utility/attack Battlehawk kits 12[4] on order
Sikorsky UH-60 united states utility UH-60M 4
Eurocopter AS350 France utility / liaison 6[4]
Trainer Aircraft
Northrop F-5 United States conversion trainer F-5F 3[4]
Aero L-39 Czech Republic jet trainer 12[4]
Beechcraft T-6 Texan II United States Basic trainer / Attack 12+4 on order
Aermacchi MB-326 Italy jet trainer 10[6]
SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 Italy trainer 17[4]
UAV
TAI Anka Turkey UAV 6 On order
MQ-1B Predator United States Reconnaissance 2-4
Camcopter S-100 Austria UAV 4-6

References[edit]

  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 2020". Flightglobal Insight. 2020. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  5. ^ "First Tunisian OH-58's arrive". Air Forces Monthly Pg. 22. Key Publishing. April 2017.
  6. ^ Lake, Jon (15 October 2019). "T-6C Texan II Sale Possible for Tunisia". ainonline.

Sources[edit]

  • World Aircraft Information Files. Brightstar Publishing, London. File 337 Sheet 03