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||est. 4.784 billion USD|
|Percent of GDP||3.63 (2012)|
|History||South African Border War
Angolan War of Independence
Angolan Civil War
First Congo War
Republic of the Congo Civil War
Second Congo War
2012 Guinea-Bissau coup d'état
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 920 AFVs, 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.
The Army operates a large amount of Russian, Soviet and ex-Warsaw pact hardware. A large amount of its equipment was acquired in the 1980s and 1990s most likely because of hostilities with neighbouring countries and its civil war which lasted from November 1975 until 2002. There is an interest from the Angolan Army for the Brazilian ASTROS 2020 multiple rocket launcher.
- Rifles in service with Army include the AK-47, AKM, FN FAL, G3 Assault Rifle and the SKS semi-automatic carbine.
- Pistols include the Makarov pistol, Stechkin automatic pistol and the Tokarev TT pistol.
- Submachine guns include the Škorpion vz. 61, Star Z-45, Uzi and the FBP submachine gun.
- Machine guns include the RP-46, RPD machine gun, Vz. 52 machine gun and the DShK Heavy machine gun.
- Grenade launchers include the AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher.
- Mortars include the 120-PM-43 mortar (500 in service) and the 82-PM-41 (250 in service).
- Anti-Tank weapons include the RPG-7, 9K111 Fagot (650 ordered in 1987), 9K11 Malyutka, B-10 recoilless rifle and the B-11 recoilless rifle.
Main Battle Tanks
- Between 116 and 267 T-55AM-2 Medium tanks. 281 T-55's were ordered between 1975 and 1999. 267 T-55AM-2's were delivered from Bulgaria and Slovakia in 1999.
- 22 T-72M1 Main Battle Tanks. Delivered from Belarus in 1999.
- 18 T-62 Main battle tanks. 364 were ordered in the 1980s and 1990s.
- 12 PT-76 Amphibious Light tanks. 68 ordered in 1975 from the Soviet Union.
- 150 BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles.
- 62 BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles.
- 195 BRDM-2 and 120 BRDM-1 Amphibious Armoured Scout Cars.
- 62 BTR-60 and 50 OT-62 TOPAS armored personnel carriers
- 45 Casspir NG 2000B Infantry mobility vehicles
- 24 EE-11 Urutu armored personnel carriers
- 12 2S1 Gvozdika 122 mm Self-propelled guns (Acquired in 2000 from the Czech Republic).
- 4 2S3 Akatsiya 152 mm Self-propelled guns (Acquired in 1999 from the Bulgaria).
- 12 2S7 Pion 203 mm Self-propelled guns (Acquired in 2000 from the Czech Republic).
- Unknown amounts of M1942 ZiS-3 Anti-tank field guns
- ~280 D-30 122 mm Howitzers (28 from Kazakhstan in 1998, 12 from Belarus, 240 from the Soviet Union in the 1980s)
- 4 D-20 Howitzers.
- Unknown amounts of 85 mm divisional gun D-44 Field Guns.
- 48 M-46 130 mm field guns
- 75 BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launchers
- 40 RM-70 multiple rocket launchers
- 20 ZSU-23-4 Self-propelled anti-aircraft guns.
- 40 ZSU-57-2 "Shilka" Self-propelled anti-aircraft guns
- Unknown amounts of ZU-23-2, 57 mm AZP S-60, M-1939, ZPU-4 and M-55 anti-aircraft guns.
- 40 SA-2 Guideline high-altitude air defense systems.
- 12 SA-3 Goa
- 25 SA-6
- Unknown amounts of SA-7 Grail
- 15 SA-8
- 20 SA-9 Gaskin
- 10 SA-13
- Unknown amounts of SA-14 Gremlin and SA-16 Gimlet.
- Ural-4320 trucks
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.
As of 2014, Angolas air force has a total of 270 aircraft, including 82 fighters and interceptors, 10 fixed-wing attack aircraft, 118 transport aircraft, 48 trainer aircraft and 13 attack helicopters. The Angolan Air Force is receinving its firsts EMB-314 Super Tucano and is looking to acquire more (6 aircrafts) for training and COIN operations.
The Navy numbers about 1,000 personnel and operates only a handful of 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 vessels in the navy's inventory dates back from the 1980s or earlier, and many of its ships are inoperable due to age and lack of maintenance. However the navy acquired new boats from Spain and France in the 1990s. Germany has delivered several Fast Attack Craft for border protection in 2011.
In September 2014 it was reported that the Angolan Navy would acquire seven Macae-class patrol vessels from Brazil as part of a Technical Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) covering the production of the vessels as part of Angola’s Naval Power Development Programme (Pronaval). The military of Angola aims to modernize its naval capability, presumably due to a rise in maritime piracy within the Gulf of Guinea which may have an adverse effect on the country's economy.
The navy's current known inventory includes the following:
- Fast attack craft
- 4 Mandume class craft (Bazan Cormoran type, refurbished in 2009)
- Patrol Boats
- Fisheries Patrol Boats
- Ngola Kiluange and Nzinga Mbandi (delivered in September and October 2012 from Damen Shipyards)(Operated by Navy personnel under the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries)
- 28 metre FRV 2810 (Pensador) (Operated by Navy personnel under the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries)
- Landing craft
- LDM-400 - 1 or 3 (reportedly has serviceability issues)
- Coastal defense equipment (CRTOC)
- 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.
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-  retrieved April 29, 2014 (en)
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