Angolan Armed Forces
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|Angolan Armed Forces
Forças Armadas Angolanas
|Service branches||Angolan Army
National Air Force of Angola
|Headquarters||Ministry of Defence, Rua 17 de Setembro, Luanada, Angola|
|President of Angola, Commander-in-Chief||José Eduardo dos Santos|
|Minister of Defence||Cândido Pereira Van-Dúnem|
|Chief of General Staff||General Geraldo Nunda |
|Conscription||Universal compulsory service for 24 months plus training|
|Deployed personnel||Small numbers|
|Budget||$1.654 billion (2007)|
|History||South African Border War
Angolan War of Independence
Angolan Civil War
First Congo War
Republic of the Congo Civil War
Second Congo War
The Angolan Armed Forces (Portuguese: Forças Armadas Angolanas) are the military in Angola that succeeded the Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (FAPLA) following the abortive Bicesse Accord with the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) in 1991. As part of the peace agreement, troops from both armies were to be demilitarized and then integrated. Integration was never completed as UNITA went back to war in 1992. Later, consequences for UNITA members in Luanda were harsh with FAPLA veterans persecuting their erstwhile opponents in certain areas and reports of vigilantism.
On August 1, 1974 a few months after a military coup d'état had overthrown the Lisbon regime and proclaimed its intention of granting independence to Angola, the MPLA announced the formation of FAPLA, which replaced the EPLA. By 1976 FAPLA had been transformed from lightly armed guerrilla units into a national army capable of sustained field operations.
In 1990-91, the Army had ten military regions and an estimated 73+ 'brigades', each with a mean strength of 1,000 and comprising inf, tank, APC, artillery, and AA units as required. The Library of Congress said in 1990 that '[t]he regular army's 91,500 troops were organized into more than seventy brigades ranging from 750 to 1,200 men each and deployed throughout the ten military regions. Most regions were commanded by lieutenant colonels, with majors as deputy commanders, but some regions were commanded by majors. Each region consisted of one to four provinces, with one or more infantry brigades assigned to it. The brigades were generally dispersed in battalion or smaller unit formations to protect strategic terrain, urban centers, settlements, and critical infrastructure such as bridges and factories. Counterintelligence agents were assigned to all field units to thwart UNITA infiltration. The army's diverse combat capabilities were indicated by its many regular and motorised infantry brigades with organic or attached armor, artillery, and air defense units; two militia infantry brigades; four antiaircraft artillery brigades; ten tank battalions; and six artillery battalions. These forces were concentrated most heavily in places of strategic importance and recurring conflict: the oil-producing Cabinda Province, the area around the capital, and the southern provinces where UNITA and South African forces operated.'
It was reported in 2011 that the army was by far the largest of the services with about 120,000 men and women. The Angolan Army has around 29,000 "ghost workers" who remain enrolled in the ranks of the FAA and therefore receive a salary.
In 2013, the International Institute for Strategic Studies reported that the FAA had six divisions, the 1st, 5th, and 6th with two or three infantry brigades, and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th with five to six infantry brigades. The 4th Division included a tank regiment. A separate tank brigade and special forces brigade were also reported.
As of 2011, the IISS reported the ground forces had 42 armoured/infantry regiments ('detachments/groups - strength varies') and 16 infantry 'brigades'. These probably comprised infantry, tanks, APC, artillery, and AA units as required. Major equipment included over 140 main battle tanks, 600 reconnaissance vehicles, over 320 armored vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles, 298 howitzers.
It was reported on May 3, 2007, that the Special Forces Brigade of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) located at Cabo Ledo region, northern Bengo Province, would host a 29th anniversary celebration for the entire armed forces. The brigade was reportedly formed on 5 May 1978 and under the command at the time of Colonel Paulo Falcao.
Angolan Air Force
The Angolan Air Force's personnel total about 8,000; its equipment includes six Russian-manufactured Sukhoi Su-27 fighter aircraft and transport planes. In 2002 one was lost during the civil war with UNITA forces.
In 1991, the Air Force/Air Defense Forces had 8,000 personnel and 90 combat capable aircraft, including 22 fighters, 59 fighter ground attack aircraft and 16 attack helicopters.
The Navy numbers about 2,500 and operates seven small patrol craft and barges.
The Angolan Navy (MGA) has been neglected and ignored as a military arm mainly due to the guerrilla struggle against the Portuguese and the nature of the civil war. From the early 1990s to the present the Angolan Navy has shrunk from around 4,200 personnel to around 1,000, resulting in the loss of skills and expertise needed to maintain equipment. In order to protect Angola’s 1 600 km long coastline, the Angolan Navy is undergoing modernisation but is still lacking in many ways. Portugal has been providing training through its Technical Military Cooperation (CTM) programme. The Navy is requesting procurement of a frigate, three corvettes, three offshore patrol vessel and additional fast patrol boats.
Most of the craft detailed are from the 1980s or earlier, but the navy acquired new boats from Spain and France in the 1990s. Germany will deliver Fast Attack Craft for border protection from 2011.
- Fast missile craft
- Fast torpedo craft
- Shershen class torpedo boat with four 533mm heavyweight torpedo tubes 4 or 5
- Inland-water and coastal patrol boats
- Mine warfare craft
- Amphibious vessels
- Coastal defense equipment
- SS-C1 Sepal radar system
The navy also has several aircraft for maritime patrol:
|Fokker F27||Netherlands||Medium transport||1|
|EMB 111||Brazil||Maritime patrol||2|
|Boeing 707||USA||Maritime patrol||1|
The FAPLA's main counterinsurgency effort was directed against UNITA in the southeast, and its conventional capabilities were demonstrated principally in the undeclared South African Border War. The FAPLA first performed its external assistance mission with the dispatch of 1,000 to 1,500 troops to São Tomé and Príncipe in 1977 to bolster the socialist regime of President Manuel Pinto da Costa. During the next several years, Angolan forces conducted joint exercises with their counterparts and exchanged technical operational visits. The Angolan expeditionary force was reduced to about 500 in early 1985.
The Angolan Armed Forces were controversially involved in training the armed forces of fellow Lusophone states Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau. In the case of the latter, the 2012 Guinea-Bissau coup d'état was cited by the coup leaders as due to Angola's involvement in trying to "reform" the military in connivance with the civilian leadership.
A small number of FAA personnel are stationed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) and the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville). A presence during the unrest in Côte d'Ivoire, 2010–2011, were not officially confirmed. However, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, citing Jeune Afrique, said that among President Gbagbo's guards were 92 personnel of President Dos Santos's Presidential Guard Unit. Angola is basically interested in the participation of the FAA operations of the African Union and has formed special units for this purpose.
- Military Technology, World Defence Almanac, Vol. XXXII, Issue 1, 2008, p.301
- http://portangola.co.ao Geraldo Sachipengo Nunda is a former UNITA general. See http://www.angonoticias.com/Artigos/item/27403.
- Defenceweb.co.za, Angola, February 2013.
- Global Defence.net: Angola Armed Forces retrieved August 21, 2011 (de)
- International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2013, 493.
- Library of Congress Country Studies
- IISS Military Balance 1990 or 1991
- Global Defence.net: Angolan Armed Forces retrieved August 21, 2011 (de)
- Rádio Ecclesia: 18 anos das Forças Armadas Angolanas retrieved August 22, 2011 (pt)
- IISS 2013, 493.
- IISS Military Balance 2011, 410.
- Army Special Forces Celebrate Years, May 3, 2007.
- IISS Military Balance 2013, 494
- globaldefence.net: Angolan Armed Forces retrieved August 22, 2011 (de)
- [Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World- Angola, Eric Wertheim, 15th Ed., p5]
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- Gbagbos letzte Trumpfkarte: als Märtyrer sterben, 7 April 2011
- "World Defence Almanac". Military Technology (Bonn, Germany: Monch Publishing Group). XXXII (1): 301–302. 2008. ISSN 0722-3226.
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- Utz Ebertz and Marie Müller, Legacy of a resource-fueled war: The role of generals in Angola’s
mining sector, BICC Focus, June 2013
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- Official site of the Angolan Ministry of National Defence
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- Brinkman, Inge "Language, Names, and War: The Case of Angola", African Studies Review