Ghana Air Force

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Ghana Air Force
GAF (Ghana Air Force).jpg
Founded 29 July 1959 – present
(54 years, 11 months)
Country  Ghana
Allegiance Constitution of Ghana
Branch GAF Air Force Military Branch
Type Air Force
Size 39 aircraft (on inventory in 2012)
24 aircraft flying (in 2012)
Part of GAF – Ghana Armed Forces.png GAF; Ghanaian Ministry of Defence and GHF Central Defence Headquarters
GHF HQ Burma Camp
Colors Khaki, Air Superiority Blue and Dark Moss Green             
Chief of the Air Staff Air Vice Marshal M. Samson-Oje
Air Force Ensign 1966−present Ensign of the Ghana Air Force.svg
Air Force Roundel 1966−present Roundel Ghana.svg
Aircraft flown
Trainer Hongdu K-8 Karakorum
Transport EADS CASA C-295
Fokker F28 Fellowship

The Ghana Air Force (GHF) is the aerial warfare organizational military branch of the Ghanaian Armed Forces (GAF). The GHF, along with the Ghanaian army (GA) and Ghanaian navy (GN), make up the Ghanaian Armed Forces (GAF) which are controlled by the Ghanaian Ministry of Defence (MoD).


The GHF (Ghana Air Force) started on 24 July 1959 as a Flying Training School with Israeli instructors and technicians. The School was established as a cradle of a service to complement the Army and the Navy. Later that year a headquarters was established in Accra under the command of Indian Air commodore Jaswant Singh who was appointed as the first Chief of Air Staff (CAS).[1]

Ghanaian Air Force historic green Short SC.7 Skyvan.
Ghanaian Air Force historic white Short SC.7 Skyvan.
Ghanaian Air Force historic Attack Aircraft and Attack Helicopter.

In 1960 Royal Air Force personnel took up the task of training the newly established Ghana Air Force and in 1961 they were joined by a small group of Royal Canadian Air Force personnel. In September 1961 as part of President Kwame Nkrumah's Africanization program, a Ghanaian CAS was appointed, with the first being J.E.S. de Graft-Hayford. Although born in the U.K. he was of Ghanaian descent.

The Ghana Air Force was in the beginning equipped with a squadron of Chipmunk trainers, and squadrons of Beavers, Otters and Caribou transport aircraft. In addition a DH125 jet was bought for Kwame Nkrumah, Hughes helicopters were bought for mosquito spraying plus DH Doves and Herons. British-made Westland Whirlwind helicopters and a squadron of Italian-made MB-326 ground attack/trainer jets were also purchased.

In 1962 the national school of gliding was set up by Hanna Reitsch, who was once Adolf Hitler's top personal pilot. Under the command of Air Commodore de Graft-Hayford, she served as director, operations instructor and trainer of the school. She also acted as the personal pilot of Kwame Nkrumah from 1962−1966.


The GHF headquarters and main transport base are located in Accra, close to Kotoka International Airport. Other GHF air bases include:

GHF Air Force Base, Sekondi-Takoradi, started as Ghana Air Force, Sekondi-Takoradi, on 1 March 1961. The Chipmunk Basic Trainer Aircraft was the first aircraft used at the Station with an all Rank Air Force Station.

The GHF Air Force Base, Accra, came into being soon after the Royal Air Force (RAF) had taken over the administration from the Indian and Israeli Air Force officers at the beginning of 1961. The station was housed at No 3 hangar at the Accra Airport (Kotoka International Airport) with hardly any aircraft. The Unit had four main sub-units, i.e. the Administration Wing, Flying Wing, Technical Wing and Equipment Wing. The School of Technical Training was also located at this station. The Station moved from No 3 hangar to its present location in Burma Camp towards the end of 1965.[1]


GHF (Ghana Air Force) clandestine operations and covert operations

The role of the Ghana Air Force, as defined in the National Defense Policy, is to provide “Air Transport and Offensive Air Support to the Ghana Armed Forces and to protect the territorial air space of Ghana”. The National Defense Policy further states certain specific tasks, which the Ghana Air Force is expected to perform. These tasks are as follows:

  • To maintain Fighter Ground Attack capability and provide Close Air Support during operation.
  • To provide transport support to the Ghana Armed Forces.
  • To provide surveillance over the air space of Ghana and over the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
  • To provide liaison and recce flight capability.
  • To provide VIP flight capability.
  • To provide transport support for civilians as government directs.
  • To provide medical evacuation and air rescue assistance.

The Ghana Air Force is also responsible for the co-ordination and direction of Search and Rescue (SAR) within the Accra Flight Information Region.[1]

Aircraft Inventory[edit]

The Ghana Air Force had 24 aircraft in service in 2012, including 4 trainer/light attack jets and 9 helicopters.[2]

Aircraft Country of origin Type Versions In service Notes
GHF Mil Mi 17 and GHF Special Forces
Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander  United Kingdom Utility Transport BN–2 1[3]
Cessna 172 Skyhawk  United States Utility 3
Diamond Da42  Austria Surveillance Da42M 3[4]
Falcon 900B  France VIP 1 Presidential Aircraft
EADS CASA C-295  Spain Transport 2[5]
Fokker F28 Fellowship  Netherlands Passenger Transport F28–3000 1
Hongdu K-8 Karakorum  China/ Pakistan Trainer/Attack K–8 4[6]
Mil Mi-17 Hip-H  Soviet Union
Transport Helicopter Mi–17 4 [7] 4–6 on order [3][8]
Aérospatiale SA-319 Alouette III  France Utility Helicopter SA–319B 2
Agusta A109  Italy Utility Helicopter A109 2
Bell 412  United States Transport Helicopter 412SP 1

Former Aircraft[edit]

GHF Fokker 27

Chiefs of Air Staff[edit]

The senior appointment in the GHF is the Chief of Air Staff. The following is a list of the Ghana Air Force Chiefs of Air Staff:[9]

Rank structure[edit]

Honor Guards with M-16s from GHF (Ghana Air Force)

The GHF's rank structure is similar to the RAF's rank structure from where its ranks were derived.


In descending order of importance the GHF officer ranks are:[1]


In descending order of importance the GHF airman ranks are:[2]


  1. ^ a b c Ghana air force.
  2. ^ Order of Battle - Ghana.
  3. ^ a b Ghana to take delivery of Mi-17s
  4. ^ Air Force gets Diamond Da42 Planes.
  5. ^ Ghana Air Force receives second C295 aircraft.
  6. ^ Ghana military aviation OrBat.
  7. ^ Ghana takes delivery of C-295; to receive Mi-17 helicopters
  8. ^ Ghana’s air force to take delivery of Mi-171s.
  9. ^ "Past Chiefs of Air Staff". Official website. Ghana Armed Forces. 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  10. ^ Military Air Vice-Marshal.
  11. ^ "Immediate Past Chief of Air Staff - Ghana Air Force". Official website. Ghana Armed Forces. 22 April 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  12. ^ "Chief of Air Staff - Ghana Air Force". Official website (Ghana Armed Forces). 21 May 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  13. ^ "Chief of Air Staff - Ghana Air Force". Official website (Ghana Armed Forces). 31 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 

External links[edit]