Ghana Air Force
|Ghana Air Force|
Ghana Air Force Ensign
|Size||39 aircraft (on inventory)
24 aircraft flying (in 2012)
|Part of||Ghanaian Ministry of Defence and Central Defence Headquarters|
|Air Force HQ||Accra|
|Chief of the Air Staff||Air Vice Marshal M. Samson-Oje|
|Trainer||Aero L-39 Albatros Hongdu K-8 Karakorum|
|Transport||EADS CASA C-295 Fokker F28 Fellowship|
The Ghana Air Force (GAF) is the air force of the Republic of Ghana. The GAF, along with the Ghanaian Army and Navy, make up the armed forces of Ghana which are controlled by that nation's Ministry of Defence.
The 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).
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. Whirlwind helicopters and a squadron of 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 GAF headquarters and main transport base are located in Accra, close to Kotoka International Airport. Other air bases include:
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 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.
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 has 24 aircraft in service, including 4 trainer/light attack jets and 9 helicopters.
|Aircraft||Country of origin||Type||Versions||In service||Notes|
|Aermacchi MB-339||Italy||Trainer||MB-339A||none||4 grounded |
|Aero L-39 Albatros||Czechoslovakia||Trainer
|L-39ZO||none||2 grounded |
|Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander||United Kingdom||Utility Transport||BN-2||1|
|Cessna 172 Skyhawk||United States||Utility||3|
|Falcon 900B||France||VIP||1||Presidential Aircraft|
|EADS CASA C-295||Spain||Transport||2|
|Fokker F28 Fellowship||Netherlands||Passenger Transport||F28-3000||1|
|Hongdu K-8 Karakorum||China/ Pakistan||Trainer/Attack||K-8||4|
|Mil Mi-17 Hip-H|| Soviet Union
|Transport Helicopter||Mi-17||4 ||4-6 on order |
|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|
Chiefs of Air Staff
The senior appointment in the GAF is the Chief of Air Staff. The following is a list of the Ghana Air Force Chiefs of Air Staff:
- Air Commodore K. Jaswant-Singh (May 1959 – August 1960) - Indian
- Wing Commander I. M. Gundry-White (British) (September 1960 – March 1961)
- Air Commodore John N. H. Whitworth (British) (March 1961 - September 1962)
- Air Commodore J.E.S. de Graft-Hayford (First Ghanaian CAS) (September 1962 – July 1963)
- Air Vice-Marshal Michael Otu (July 1963 – March 1968) 
- Air Commodore N. Y. R. Ashley-Larsen (March 1968 – January 1971)
- Air Commodore Charles Beausoliel (January 1971 - December 1971)
- Air Commodore N. Y. R. Ashley-Larsen (December 1971 – January 1972)
- Air Commodore Charles Beausoliel (December 1972 - November 1976)
- Air Vice Marshal George Yaw Boakye (November 1976 - June 1979)
- Group Captain F. W. K. Klutse (June 1979 – December 1979)
- Air Commodore J. E. Odaate- Barnor (December 1979 – May 1980)
- Air Commodore K. K. Pumpuni (May 1980 – January 1982)
- Group Captain E. A. A. Awuviri (January 1982 – December 1982)
- Air Vice Marshal J. E. A. Kotei (December 1982 – June 1988)
- Air Marshal Harry Dumashie (June 1988 – June 1992)
- Air Marshal John Asamoah Bruce (? – 16 March 2001) 5 June 92 – February 2001
- Air Vice Marshal Edward Apau Mantey (February 2001 – January 2005)
- Air Vice Marshal Julius Otchere Boateng (20 May 2005  – to 28 January 2009)
- Air Vice Marshal M. Samson-Oje (31 March 2009–present)
The GAF's rank structure is similar to the RAF's rank structure from where its ranks were derived.
In descending order of importance the GAF officer ranks are:
- Air Marshal
- Air Vice Marshal
- Air Commodore
- Group Captain
- Wing Commander
- Squadron Leader
- Flight Lieutenant
- Flying Officer
- Pilot Officer
In descending order of importance the GAF airman ranks are:
- Warrant Officer Class I
- Warrant Officer Class II
- Flight Sergeant
- Leading Aircraftman
Aircraftman I Aircraftman II
- Ghana air force. gaf.mil.gh.
- Order of Battle - Ghana. milaviapress.com.
- Defence Equipment & Technology. janes.com.
- Ghana to take delivery of Mi-17s
- Air Force gets Diamond Da42 Planes. dailyguideghana.com.
- Ghana Air Force receives second C295 aircraft. airforce-technology.com.
- Ghana military aviation OrBat. milaviapress.com.
- Ghana takes delivery of C-295; to receive Mi-17 helicopters
- Ghana’s air force to take delivery of Mi-171s. helihub.com.
- Veep Commissions CASA -C295 Aircraft Into Armed Forces Service. Ghanaian Times. newtimes.com.gh.
- "Past Chiefs of Air Staff". Official website. Ghana Armed Forces. 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- Military Air Vice-Marshal. thestatesmanonline.com.
- "New Military Chiefs Take Over Command". General News of Monday, 26 March 2001 (Ghana Home Page). Retrieved 2007-06-19.
- "Immediate Past Chief of Air Staff - Ghana Air Force". Official website. Ghana Armed Forces. 22 April 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-11.
- "Chief of Air Staff - Ghana Air Force". Official website (Ghana Armed Forces). 21 May 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-11.
- "Military Reshuffle: More changes". General News of Saturday, 21 May 2005 (Ghana Home Page). Retrieved 2007-06-11.
- "Shake-up in Ghana Armed Forces". Ghana Home Page. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
- World Aircraft Information Files. Brightstar Publishing, London. File 338 Sheet 03
Media related to Ghana Air Force at Wikimedia Commons