Lesotho Defence Force

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Lesotho Defence Force
Coats of arms of Lesotho.svg
Coats of arms of Lesotho
Active 1978-present
Country Lesotho
Commanders
Current
commander
Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli
Aircraft flown
Helicopter Bell/Agusta-Bell 412, Bo 105
Trainer Cessna 182Q
Transport CASA C-212 Aviocar

The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) is the army and air force of Lesotho.

There is no conscription in Lesotho. Of 400,457 (2005 est.) males age 18-49, the CIA estimates 162,857 are fit for military service. Military expenditures in 2004 were $32.3 million, representing 2.3% of the country's GDP.[1]

The Lesotho Government in 1999 began an open debate on the future structure, size, and role of the armed forces, especially considering the Lesotho Defence Force's (LDF) history of intervening in political affairs. In 2001, under an agreement with India, an Indian Army Training Team (IATT) started training the LDF. In August 2014 the army attempted a military coup.

The Force currently has a strength of approximately 3,100, including female soldiers. All commissioned officers must first serve in the enlisted ranks for at least three years.

It is led by a three-star general, Lt. Gen. Tlali Kamoli, who in 2014 became embroiled in what was considered to be a 'coup attempt'.[citation needed]

Lesotho Defence Force air wing[edit]

The Lesotho air wing was an originally a 1978 offshoot of the parliamentary police mobile unit and began operations with two Short Skyvan twin turboprop STOL transports; a leased Cessna A152 Aerobat; two MBB Bo 105 helicopters; and a Bell 47G helicopter converted to turboshaft power. Two Mil Mi-2 twin turbine helicopters were donated by Libya in 1983 but were retired by 1986.

Deliveries of four Bell 412 helicopters were delayed in 1983 to 1986 because of South Africa's influence. This changed when a 1986 military coup resulted in new security agreements with South Africa being signed. In the mid-1980s the air wing was renamed the Lesotho Defence Force. In 1989 the Skyvans were replaced by two CASA C-212 Aviocar light turboprop transports; one immediately crashed, requiring a third to be delivered in 1992. A fifth Bell 412 (an EP model) was delivered in May 1998 to replace one written off the previous January.

Aircraft[edit]

Current inventory[edit]

Lesotho Defense Force Air Wing roundel
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Transport
CASA C-212 Spain utility / transport 2[2]
Helicopters
Bell 206 United States trainer 1[2]
Bell 412 United States utility 3[2]
MBB Bo 105 Germany utility / scout 1[2]

Retired aircraft[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d "World Air Forces 2015 pg. 22". Flightglobal Insight. 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  • World Aircraft Information Files. Brightstar Publishing, London. File 340 Sheet 05