Lesotho Defence Force

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Lesotho Defence Force
Coat of arms of Lesotho.svg
Coats of arms of Lesotho
Active1978-present
CountryLesotho
ColorsDark Green
Commanders
Current
commander
Lieutenant General Mojalefa Exavery Letsoela
Aircraft flown
HelicopterBell/Agusta-Bell 412, Bo 105
TrainerCessna 182Q
TransportCASA 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 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.

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[citation needed], led by controversial three-star general, Lt. Gen. Tlali Kamoli.[citation needed]Kamoli was later forced into retirement and replaced by Khoantle Motsomotso in 2016, after the Southern African Development community (SADC) recommended his removal from the post. On Tuesday, 5 September 2017, Motsomotso was killed in a shootout with two rival officers.[2]

Air Wing[edit]

The Lesotho Defence Force Air Wing was an originally a 1978 offshoot of the paramilitary 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 mergerd into 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
An abandoned Casa C.212 of the LDF
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Transport
CASA C-212 Spain utility / transport 2[3]
GippsAero GA8 Airvan Australia utility / transport 1[4]
Helicopters
Bell 206 United States trainer 1[3]
Bell 412 United States utility 3[3]
MBB Bo 105 Germany utility / scout 1[3]
Airbus Helicopters H125 EU utility / scout 1[5]

Retired aircraft[edit]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 13 April 2017, a Eurocopter EC135 T2+ crashed on 13 April 2017 in the area of Thaba Putsoa, killing all four people on board. The helicopter was carrying three soldiers and an official from the Ministry of Finance who was delivering pensions to outlying districts. Officials reported it hit power lines and crashed in mountainous terrain near Thaba Putsoa, killing two of the soldiers and critically injuring the other two passengers, both of whom later died in hospital from their injuries.[6][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Commander of Lesotho defense force shot dead: defense official". Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d "World Air Forces 2015 pg. 22". Flightglobal Insight. 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  4. ^ "GippsAero". GippsAero. 18 March 2004. Archived from the original on 16 February 2011. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  5. ^ "Lesotho Defence Force has received a new helicopter". defenceWeb. 2017-11-20. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  6. ^ "Helicopter crash kills two Lesotho soldiers". SABC News. 14 April 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-07-21. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Four dead after Lesotho helicopter crash". ENCA. 14 April 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  • World Aircraft Information Files. Brightstar Publishing, London. File 340 Sheet 05