Military of Burkina Faso

Military of Burkina Faso
Military of Burkina Faso
Service branches Army
Air Force
National Gendarmerie
National Police
People's Militia
Minister of Defense Yero Boly
Available for
military service
2,688,072 (2002 est.), age 15–49
Fit for
military service
1,379,010 (2002 est.), age 15–49
Percent of GDP 1.4% (FY01)
Related articles
History Agacher Strip War
Sierra Leone Civil War
Insurgency in the Maghreb

The branches of Burkina Faso's military include its Army, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Police, and People's Militia. Being a landlocked country, Burkina Faso has no navy.

On April 18, 2011, it was reported that a military mutiny in Burkina Faso had spread to a fourth city, Kaya, after demonstrations in Po and Tenkodogo.[1]


Military Statistics

Army Forces:
5,800 - 6,000 men (volunteer)

People's Militia
45,000 men and women (conscript)

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 2,688,072 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 1,379,010 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $40.1 million (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.4% (FY01)

Ground Forces

The Army of Burkina Faso (L'Armée de Terre - Ground Forces or LAT) is a skeletonized force structure of some 5,800-6,000 officers and men, augmented by a conscript force or People's Militia of some 45,000 men and women. Unlike the police and security forces, the Army and the People's Militia is organized along Soviet/Chinese models and precepts. The Army is equipped with light wheeled armored cars, some mounting cannon.

In recent years, the United States has begun providing military assistance and training to Burkina Faso's ground forces. It has trained three 750-man battalions for peace support operations in Darfur. During a recent UN inspection, the U.S. DOD evaluation team found Burkina's Laafi battalion fit to deploy to Sudan. Using a small Department of Defense International Military Education and Training (IMET) budget, the Embassy has established English-language courses at an LAT military base, and has brought LAT officers to attended officer basic training courses in the U.S. The government of Burkina Faso has also accepted additional U.S. training assistance in counter-terrorism tactics and humanitarian assistance. Burkina Faso has recently become a member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP).[2]

Armoured Vehicles

Artillery systems

Anti-aircraft warfare

Military Truck

Small arms

Air Force

The Air Force was founded in 1964 as the Escadrille de la République de Haute-Volta (EHV) or the Republic of Upper Volta Air Squadron, a subordinate unit of the Army. That year, a transient air support base was created with the assistance of the French Air Force. After acquiring an initial fleet of utility and transport aircraft, the squadron was attached to an interarmy support regiment. In 1970, the Escadrille was renamed the Force Aérienne de Haute-Volta, or FAHV, and in 1977 became an autonomous force. In October 1985, the Force Aérienne de Burkina Faso, or FABF, was officially inaugurated.

The EHV was initially formed with two Douglas C-47 Skytrain and three MH.1521M Broussard aircraft. These were later followed by two Alouette III SA.316 B helicopters, used mostly for liaison purposes, one twin-engined Aero Commander 500 light utility aircraft, two Hawker-Siddeley HS.748-2A twin turboprop transport aircraft, and two Nord 262 twin turboprop transport aircraft. Two escadrilles (squadrons) or subformations were created: the Escadrille de Transport (Transport Unit), and the Escadrille d'Hélicoptères (Helicopter Unit). Later, the Escadrille d'Entraînement (Training Unit) was added. All squadrons were initially based at Ouagadougou. By 1993, all of the fixed-wing aircraft of the original EHV (with the exception of the two old Nord 262 transports) had been taken out of service, and either scrapped, sold off, or abandoned.

In mid-1984, Libyan military aid brought eight Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 jet fighters, along with two MiG-21U combat trainer versions. These ex-Libyan Air Force MiG-21 'Fishbed' fighters were based in Ouagadougou, although they were actually operated by the Libyan Air Force on loan by Libya, and were removed in 1985 without seeing combat. A single MiG-17F Fresco that was also operated by the FABF did see combat service in the Agacher Strip War in 1985-86, but proved expensive to operate in terms of fuel, maintenance, and pilot training requirements. It is believed to have been retired from service in 1994, but may still be in storage in an unmaintained condition.

In 1985, the FABF also acquired two ex-Soviet Mi-4 transport helicopters from an unknown supplier, followed by an additional two Mi-4s. The Mi-4s were operated by the FABF until the late 1980s, when they were taken out of service. Five Mi-8/17 transport helicopters were later added to the Escadrille d'Hélicoptères. While supervising the ceasefire after the Agacher Strip War, an FABF SA.316B Alouette III crashed at Kouni on 14 January 1986, leaving only one SA.316B still in service with the Escadrille d'Hélicoptères.

In 1986, the FABF formed a new unit, the Escadrille de Chasse (EdC) (Attack Unit). In mid-1986 six ex-Philippine Air Force SF.260WP Warrior armed trainers/light strike aircraft were acquired from a dealer in Belgium, which offered the FABF a much simpler and less expensive alternative in tactical air support to the expensive MiGs. The Warriors were not only used for pilot training, but also as light strike aircraft, and a number of them were employed by the FABF's Escadrille de Chasse (EdC). Four additional SF.260WPs were subsequently bought directly from Italy. The six ex-Philippine SF.260WP aircraft were taken out of service in 1993 and returned to their previous owner, although the four newly-built SF.260WP aircraft were retained in service, and stationed at Bobo Dioulasso air base.

Most of the other light aircraft acquired by the FABF in the 1970s and 1980s have also now been retired along with the Mi-4 helicopters, but some recent acquisitions have been made, including a Beechcraft King Air, a Piper PA-34 Seneca, a CEAPR Robin light training aircraft, and a single Air Tractor AT-802 aerial sprayer aircraft for spraying insecticides, purchased after the northern part of the country suffered heavy crop damage from a 2004 invasion of swarming locusts. In 2009, two Xenon Gyroplane autogyros were purchased for use by police and security forces.

In late 2005, the FABF acquired two Mil Mi-35 'Hind' attack helicopters from Russia in apparent response by moves by neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire to bolster its own air attack capabilities during the Ivorian Civil War.

Aircraft Inventory

Burkina Faso's military aircraft operated by the FABF totals 19 aircraft of 15 different models, including 11 helicopters. Currently, the FABF does not appear to have any fixed-wing combat aircraft in operational condition.

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[4] Notes
Air Tractor AT-802  United States agricultural sprayer AT802 XT-MBB locust-sprayer 1
Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano  Brazil trainer/COIN AT-29 Super Tucano 3
CASA CN-235-220  Spain Cargo aircraft CASA CN-235-220 M 1
Aérospatiale SA 316 Alouette III  France utility helicopter SA 316B 1
Xenon (Gyroplane)  France Autogyro Xenon (Gyroplane) 2
Avro 748  United Kingdom Utility aircraft HS.748 2A 1
Beechcraft Super King Air  United States Utility Aircraft Super King Air 200 1
Eurocopter SA 365Dauphin  Europe utility helicopter SA 365 N 2
Eurocopter AS 350 Ecureuil  Europe utility helicopter AS 350 B2 1
Mil Mi-8  Soviet Union Utility helicopter Mi-8 V
Mi-8 S
Mil Mi-17  Russia Utility helicopter Mi-17 2
Mil Mi-35 Hind-E  Russia attack helicopter Mi-35 2
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17  Soviet Union fighter Aircraft MiG-17 1 (believed to be in storage)
Nord 262  France Utility Aircraft Nord 262 C 2
Piper PA-34 Seneca  United States Utility Aircraft Piper PA-34 1
Reims 172 Skyhawk  France Liaison aircraft F172 N 1
Reims 337 Skymaster  France liaison Aircraft F337 D 1

References and links

  • world aircraft information files Brightstar publishing London File 338 sheet 4
  1. ^, 'Burkina Faso: Army Mutiny Spreads,' April 18, 2011
  2. ^ U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Burkina Faso - Profile June 2009
  3. ^ Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0710628695.
  4. ^ Burkina Faso military aviation OrBat

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