Armed Forces of Gabon

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Armed Forces of Gabon
Gabonese Coat of arms.svg
Gabonese Coat of arms
Service branchesArmy[1]
Air Force
National Gendarmerie
Commander in ChiefAli Bongo Ondimba
Minister of National DefenceRose Christiane Raponda
Chief of StaffJean Claude Ella-Ekogha
Military age20 years of age[1]
Active personnel5,000 (2017)
Budget$81.52 million (FY17)
Percent of GDP0.55% (FY17)
Foreign suppliers France
 United States
Related articles
History1964 Gabonese coup d'état
Central African Republic Civil War (2012–present)
2019 Gabonese coup d'état attempt
RanksMilitary ranks of Gabon

The Armed Forces of Gabon (French: Forces armées gabonaises) or the Gabonese Defense and Security Forces (French: forces de défense et de sécurité gabonaises) is the national professional military of the Republic of Gabon, divided into the Army, Air Force, Navy, and a National Gendarmerie, consisting of about 5,000 personnel. The armed forces includes a well-trained, well-equipped 1,800-member guard that provides security for the President of Gabon.

Organizational Structure[edit]


Personnel of the Armed Forces stand in formation during the opening day ceremony of the Central Accord Exercise in Libreville.

The Gabonese Army (Armée de terre gabonaise) is the land component of the armed forces, specializing in infantry and mechanized reconnaissance. It was created on December 6, 1960 by decree of president Leon Mba from non-commissioned officers who served in the French colonial army, mainly the 2nd company of the 21st BIMA. Following independence, Gabon signed defense agreements with France, mainly on technical assistance and training. Until June 1964, the title of Chief of Staff of the Gabonese Armed Forces was held by a senior French Army officer. In 1962 a detachment of the Auxiliary Women of the Gabonese Armed Forces (AFFAG), commanded by Lieutenant Ba Oumar at the military camp of Owendo, was created. President Mba promoted the initiative following a visit to Tel Aviv, Israel, where he met female staff in its Defense Forces.

Order of battle[edit]

  • Republican Guard Battalion (Libreville)
      • 1 Light Armoured recon unit
    • 3 Infantry companies
      • 1 Artillery battery
    • 1 Air Defence battery
  • Airborne Regiment
    • 1 Command company
    • 1 Recon & Support company
    • 3 Airborne companies
  • 1 Light Armoured Recon Battalion
    • 2 Armoured squads
    • 1 Command & Logistics company
  • Support Command Regiment
    • 1 Artillery battery
    • 1 Mortar battery
    • 1 MRLS battery (8 Teruel MRL)
    • 1 Engineer company
    • Logistic units
  • 7 Military Regions
    • 7 Motorised infantry battalions (1 battalion for each region)

Air Force[edit]

Order of battle[edit]

  • Fighter Squadron 1-02 Leyou at BA02 Franceville with:
    • Mirage F-1AZ
    • MB-326M Impala I
  • Heavy Transport Squadron at BA01 Libreville with:
    • C-130 Hercules
    • CN-235
  • Ministerial Air Liaison Group (Groupe de Liaison Aérien Ministériel or GLAM) at BA01 Libreville with:
    • 1 Falcon-900EX
    • 1 Gulfstream-III



The Gabonese Navy uses a P400-class patrol vessel similar to this one

The Gabonese Navy (Marine Nationale du Gabon) is the official maritime branch of the armed forces. It was created in December 1960 as part of the army, and only became an independent entity in 1983. The navy's core purpose is to monitor the country's coastal waters, including 800 km of coastline.[2]

Other security forces[edit]

National Gendarmerie[edit]

The National Gendarmerie of Gabon (Gendarmerie nationale gabonaise) is the national police force of Gabon responsible for law enforcement in the country. It was formed on March 10, 1960 when Gabon, formerly French Equatorial Africa, gained its independence from France. It originated from Libreville Gendarmerie Detachment 1929, which was commanded by Governor General of French Equatorial Africa, Félix Eboue. The main tasks of the gendarmerie are to defend the country's borders, ensure public safety, and to enforce actions taken by judicial and government authorities. The National Gendarmerie is under the direct command of the President of Gabon.[3][4][5]

Republican Guard[edit]

The Gendarmerie is also in charge of the Republican Guard (Garde républicaine, GR).[6] It is viewed as the most powerful and sophisticated of the security forces. It is primarily tasked with protecting the president and ensures regime stability.


Small arms[edit]

A FAMAS similar to this one is used by Gabon
Name Origin Type Variant Notes
M16 rifle[7] United States Assault rifle
FN FAL[7] Belgium Battle rifle
FN CAL[7] Belgium Assault rifle
FN MAG[7] Belgium General-purpose machine gun
AK-47[7] Russia Assault rifle
AKM[7] Russia Assault rifle
RPD[7] Soviet Union Light machine gun
FAMAS[7] France Assault rifle Bullpup design


Name Origin Type In service Notes
Armored fighting vehicles
Matador South Africa Armoured personnel carrier 24[8]
Panhard M3 France Armoured personnel carrier 7[8]
Berliet VXB-170 France Armoured personnel carrier 15[8]
Cadillac Gage Commando United States Armoured personnel carrier 15[8]
Panhard AML-90 France Armoured car 16[8]
Panhard AML 60 France Armoured car 8[8]
Eland 90 South Africa Armoured car 4[9]
Eland 60 South Africa Armoured car 4[9]
EE-9 Cascavel Brazil Armoured car 14[8]
ERC-90 Sagaie France Armoured car 9[8]
ERC-20 Kriss France Armoured car 4[8] armed with 20mm anti-aircraft cannon.
EE-3 Jararaca Brazil Scout vehicle 12[8]
Véhicule Blindé Léger France Scout vehicle 14[8]

Current inventory[edit]

A Gabonses ATR-42 on approach
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat aircraft
Mirage F1 France Fighter 6[10]
ATR 42 France VIP 1[11]
CASA CN-235 Spain / Indonesia Transport 1[10]
C-130 Hercules United States Transport C-130H 1[10]
Alouette III France Light utility 2[10]
SA342 Gazelle France Scout/Attack 3[10]
Eurocopter AS332 France Transport 1[10]
Aérospatiale SA 330 France Transpot/Utility 5[10]
Eurocopter EC135 France Utility 2[10]
Eurocopter EC120 France Light utility 2[10]

Retired aircraft[edit]

Previous aircraft operated by the Air Force consisted of the CM.170 Magister, C-130H Hercules, Embraer EMB 110, Fokker F28, Aérospatiale N 262, Reims C.337, and the Alouette II helicopter.[12][13]

Naval Equipment[edit]

Vessel Origin Type In service Notes
Kership France Offshore patrol 1 on order[14]
P400 France Coastal patrol 3[15]
BATRAL France Landing craft 1[15] 2 ordered, only one received

Ceremonial traditions[edit]

  • In April 2001, then-Defense Minister Bongo visited China, during which he reviewed the PLA honor guard upon arrival, and proposed to his Chinese counterpart Chi Haotian that members of the battalion will go to Gabon to help set up and train professional ceremonial units in the Gabonese military. In March 2003, after just under three years, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense sent four officers led by Lieutenant Colonel Wang Yuanjing to Libreville by the end of November of that year, after which they stayed to train the Gabonese guard of honour for more than six months.[16][17]
  • The Principal Music Band of the Gabonese Defense Forces was created in 2010. It brings together elements of the Band of the National Gendarmerie, the Armed Forces and the Prytanée militaire de Libreville. It has a staff of 50 professional currently directed by Captain Jean-Baptiste Rabimbinongo. Its conductor, Lieutenant Léa Nzoufa Nze, was the first woman to conduct a military band to the Saumur International Festival of Military Bands. It takes part in many official ceremonies such as National Flag Day and the military parade marking the country's independence.[18]


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  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-14. Retrieved 2015-06-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ a b Steenkamp, Willem; Helmoed-Römer, Heitman (September 2016). Mobility Conquers: The Story Of 61 Mechanised Battalion Group 1978-2005. Solihull: Helion & Company. p. 142. ISBN 978-1-911096-52-8.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i "World Air Forces 2020". Flightglobal Insight. 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  11. ^ "ATR42 Gabon TR-KJD". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  12. ^ "World Air Forces 1987 pg. 56". Archived from the original on 17 December 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  13. ^ "World Military Helicopter Markey 1971 pg. 577". Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-07. Retrieved 2014-11-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ a b Trade Registers Archived 2010-04-14 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 29 May 2015
  16. ^
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