Cameroon Air Force
|Cameroon Air Force|
Cameroon Air Force badge
|Size||about 26 aircraft in service|
|Brigadier General MOMHA Jean-Calvin|
|Attack||Dornier Alpha Jet|
|Transport||CN-235C130 Hercules Gulfstream III|
The Cameroon Air Force (French: Armée de l'Air du Cameroun) is the air force of the African nation of Cameroon. The Cameroon Air Force, along with the Cameroon Army, the Cameroon Navy (including the Naval Infantry), the National Gendarmerie, and the Presidential Guard make up the Cameroonian Armed Forces.
The Cameroon Air Force (Armée de l'Air du Cameroun) theoretically possesses a fairly well balanced force of relatively unsophisticated aircraft, although many of these are now ageing and serviceability levels are likely to be low. Emphasis is placed on transport and utility operations in support of ground forces. Combat capability is modest and restricted to a few armed trainers that can be used for ground attack, COIN and close air support roles. Six Atlas Impala jet trainers purchased from South Africa in 1997 had a lengthy gestation period before becoming operational and did not enter service until late 1998. None of the Impalas are currently in service. Apart from a few ultralight aircraft, these are the most recent additions to the inventory. Cameroon's air arm lacks training aircraft and has also experienced a significant decline in transport assets, most recently involving the 2001 grounding of the remaining three DHC-5D Buffalo aircraft. As with other regional air forces, few aircraft have been procured since the end of the oil boom in the early 1980s and the burden is beginning to show on equipment that is now at least two decades old.
The Cameroon Air Force was established in August 1960. The French supplied the first equipment of the Cameroon Air Force. Later orders from France included the Alouette II, Alouette III and Gazelle helicopters, and Fouga Magister and Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jet jet trainers. In 1977 two Lockheed C-130 Hercules entered service. Following that four turboprop de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalos were ordered in 1981. In 1982 three twin turboprop Dornier Do 128s entered service for the maritime patrol role.
The air force includes three main aerial bases, in Yaoundé, Douala, and Garoua. The air force staff is divided between these three bases, located within each military region. The Yaoundé base is a helicopter and liaison platform; the Douala base is a logistical and tactical transport platform; the Garoua base is an attack and training platform. The first two bases are timeworn. There are no stopping systems, no radio-navigation installations, and no lighting apparatus. No major investment has been made for a long time. The Garoua base is the more modern and the best equipped and "conforms" to NATO standards having been built by the Germans, following an invitation to tender. The PANVR (Pole Aeronautique National a Vocation Regionale) is located on this base. Large aeroplanes can land easily on this base. However, the site is not well maintained.
The Koutaba aerodrome is home to the Bataillon des Troupes Aeroportees (BTAP).
Finally, the Bamenda aerodrome could become a fourth aerial base, with the stationing of the airborne rifle commandos (fusiliers commando de l’air – BAFUSCO AIR): currently 60 people under the command of a lieutenant colonel assisted by eight officers work at the site. Such a deployment is large by Cameroonian standards.
Currently, the air force has 6 Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets (2 are currently inoperable) as attack aircraft; 3 Lockheed C-130 Hercules and 1 Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma transport aircraft, 1 Piper PA-23, 1 Aérospatiale Alouette II, 2 Joker 300, 7 Humbert Tétras for training and 2 Bell 206 as observation and liaison aircraft. The independently operated Presidential aerial squadron has 1 Grumman Gulfstream III, 1 Aérospatiale Dauphin and 1 Aérospatiale Super Puma, which are not part of air force equipment. Maintenance of aircraft of this squadron is better than for those of the air force.
Basic training for airmen is provided at Koutaba. Non-commissioned officers, warrant officers and officers undergo training at the PANVR, which is also a regional school where pilots from other African countries can train. The purpose of the school is to prepare them for the examination for the French air school (CSEA) in Salon-de-Provence. However, Cameroonian pilot officers also undergo training in other countries such as Morocco and the USA.
The Cameroon Air Force has the following rank structure:
- General, General d' Armee Aerienne
- Lieutenant General, General de Corps D'Armee Aerienne
- Major General, General de Division Aerienne
- Brigadier General, General de Brigade Aerienne
- Colonel, Colonel
- Lieutenant Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel
- Major, Commandant
- Captain, Capitaine
- 1st Lieutenant, Lieutenant
- 2nd Lieutenant, Sous-lieutenant
- Chief Warrant Offfcer, Adjudant-chef
- Warrant Offfcer, Adjudant
- Master Sergeant, Sergent-chef
- Sergeant, Sergent
- Master Corporal, Caporal-chef
- Corporal, Caporal
- Private 1st Class, Soldat de 1ere Clase
All Cameroonian military aircraft are under control of the air force. There are about 26 aircraft in service, including 4 combat jets and a few helicopters.
|Aircraft||Type||Versions||Initial stock||In service||Notes|
|Aérospatiale SA 318 Alouette II||utility helicopter||SA 318C||2||1|
|Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma||transport helicopter||SA 330||2||1|
|Bell 206L LongRanger||utility helicopter||206L III||4||2?||One crashed in North Cameroon|
|Bell 412||utility helicopter||412||2||1||One crashed on November 22, 2010 while on a liaison flight between Limbe and Yaounde. Amongst the four casualties who members of the Cameroonian special force unit BIR (Bataillon d'Intervention Rapide) was the retired Israeli Lt-Col Abraham Avi Sirvan, Paul Biya's security adviser.|
|Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jet||trainer/light attack||NGEA||6||4||Two have been damaged during training exercises in August 24, 1984 and March 15, 2011.|
|Gulfstream III||VIP transport||Gulfstream III||1||1|
|Aérospatiale SA 332 Super Puma||VIP transport||SA 332||1||1|
|Lockheed C-130 Hercules||tactical transport||C-130H
|CN-235||Medium transport||1||1||Ordered in June 2012, delivered on 16 July 2013.|
|Piper PA-23 Aztec||utility||PA-23-250F||2|
|Humbert Tetras||training||Tetras||7||7||Based at the PANVR in Garoua|
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2012)|
- Dornier Do 28B-1 1964–1970
- Convair 440 1963–1973
- Dassault MD315R Flamant 1962–1981
- de Havilland Canada DHC-4A Caribou 1971–1987
- Douglas C-47 Dakota 1963–1997
- Grumman Gulfstream II 1971–1986
- Hawker Siddeley HS 748 1977–1985
- Max Holste MH.1521M Broussard 1961–1997
- Piper PA-36 Pawnee Brave 1991–1992
- Sud-Ouest Djinn 1970–1972
- Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama 1989–1997
- Mil Mi-4, Hound 1975–1994
- Air Tractor AT-301 1986–1990
- IAI Arava
- Aérospatiale SA 342 Gazelle(4) One crashed in Bakassi killing both the pilot and a medical personnel. The rest have been grounded.
- Atlas Impala(4) One Mk I crashed in Yaounde airbase killing both the pilot instructor (Lt-Col Bile Samba) and pilot student (Biko Mongo) The rest have been grounded.
- Aerospatiale SA 319 Alouette III had two in service
- Bienvenue au PANVR
- "Cameroon Air Force". International Encyclopedia of Uniform Insignia Around the World. World Insignia Collectors' Union. 2000–2006. Retrieved 2010-05-08.
- Cameroonian military aviation OrBat
- 22-Nov-10 Bell B412 Yaounde, Cameroon (4F) | Helihub – the Helicopter Industry Data Source
- Alpha Jet
- PICTURE: Lucky pilot survives Cameroon Alpha Jet crash
- Cameroon receives CN235 transport - Flightglobal.com, 16 July 2013
- World Aircraft Information Files. Brightstar Publishing, London. File 338 Sheet 01
- Cameroon-Info.Net: Deux morts dans un crash a Yaoundé