Cameroon Air Force

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Cameroon Air Force
Cameroon Air Force Roundel
Cameroon Air Force Roundel
Founded 1960
Country Cameroon
Size about 26 aircraft in service
Commanders
Current
commander
Brigadier General MOMHA Jean-Calvin
Aircraft flown
Attack Dornier Alpha Jet
Trainer Humbert Tetras
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.

Organization

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[1] (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.

Personnel

Training

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.

Officers

The Cameroon Air Force has the following rank structure:[2]

General officers

  • 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

Other officers

  • Colonel, Colonel
  • Lieutenant Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel
  • Major, Commandant
  • Captain, Capitaine
  • 1st Lieutenant, Lieutenant
  • 2nd Lieutenant, Sous-lieutenant

Warrant officers

  • Chief Warrant Offfcer, Adjudant-chef
  • Warrant Offfcer, Adjudant

Non-commissioned officers

  • Master Sergeant, Sergent-chef
  • Sergeant, Sergent
  • Master Corporal, Caporal-chef
  • Corporal, Caporal

Airmen

  • Private 1st Class, Soldat de 1ere Clase

Aircraft Inventory

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[3] 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.[4]
Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jet trainer/light attack NGEA 6 4 Two have been damaged during training exercises in August 24, 1984[5] and March 15, 2011.[6]
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
C-130H-30
2
1
2
1
CN-235 Medium transport 1 1 Ordered in June 2012, delivered on 16 July 2013.[7]
Piper PA-23 Aztec utility PA-23-250F 2
Humbert Tetras training Tetras 7 7 Based at the PANVR in Garoua

Former aircraft

References

  1. ^ Bienvenue au PANVR
  2. ^ "Cameroon Air Force". International Encyclopedia of Uniform Insignia Around the World. World Insignia Collectors' Union. 2000–2006. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  3. ^ Cameroonian military aviation OrBat
  4. ^ 22-Nov-10 Bell B412 Yaounde, Cameroon (4F) | Helihub – the Helicopter Industry Data Source
  5. ^ Alpha Jet
  6. ^ PICTURE: Lucky pilot survives Cameroon Alpha Jet crash
  7. ^ Cameroon receives CN235 transport - Flightglobal.com, 16 July 2013

External links