Zambian Air Force

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Zambian Air Force
Roundel of Zambia.svg
Air Force roundel
Active1968 - present
BranchAir force
Lieutenant General David Muma[1]
Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha
EnsignAir Force Ensign of Zambia.svg
Aircraft flown
FighterMiG-21, Shenyang J-6
HelicopterMil Mi-17, Bell 205, Bell 206
TrainerAermacchi SF.260, Hongdu K-8 Karakorum
TransportAn-26, Harbin Y-12, Xian MA60
a Zambian Air Force MA-60 MTI-1
A Zambian Chipmunk

The Zambian Air Force (ZAF) is the air force of Zambia and the air operations element of the Zambian Defence Force. Following the creation of the Republic of Zambia in 1964, the former Northern Rhodesian Air Wing was renamed as the Zambia Air Wing which lasted until 1968. The Zambian Air Force was then established.[2]

The primary missions of the Air Force are to defend Zambia's borders and protect its airspace. In addition, it provides various forms of air support to other government departments. It also flies reconnaissance, trooping and transport missions for the police and airlifts medical supplies and personnel to inaccessible areas. Finally, the organisation provides emergency transport whenever needed. One of the more recent relief operations mounted by the Air Arm occurred in early 2007, when it came to the aid of flood victims in the North-Western Province.


Current inventory[edit]

The IISS Military Balance 2013 lists the following aircraft, all with 'very low serviceability':[3]

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
MiG-21 Soviet Union fighter 10[4] MiG-21-2000[5]
Shenyang J-6 People's Republic of China fighter F-6A 8[4] licensed built MiG-19
Dornier Do 28 Germany transport 5[4]
Xian MA60 China transport 1[4]
Harbin Y-12 China transport 8[4]
Bell 205 United States utility 12[4]
Bell 206 United States utility 2[4]
Mil Mi-17 Russia utility Mi-171 4[4]
Harbin Z-9 China utility 7[4] licensed built Eurocopter AS365
Trainer Aircraft
Shenyang J-6 People's Republic of China jet trainer FT-6 2[4]
Hongdu JL-8 China jet trainer K-8 16[4]
SF.260TW Italy trainer 9 3 on order[4]
Hongdu L-15 China jet trainer 6

Few details are available on force deployment, but combat elements are understood to be located at Lusaka (K-8), Mbala (F-6) and Mumbwa (MiG-21), with the small fleet of transport aircraft and utility helicopters also reportedly stationed at Lusaka.[6]

Air Force commanders[edit]

  • 1972 to 1976 Lieutenant General P. D. Zuze
  • 1980 Major General C. Kabwe
  • 1991 to 1997 Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha[7]
  • 1997 to 2001 Lieutenant General Sande Kayumba
  • 2002 to 2006 Lieutenant General Christopher Singogo[8]
  • 2006 to 2010 Lieutenant General Samuel Mapala[8][9]
  • 2010 to 2011 Major General Andrew Sakala[9][10]
  • 2011 to 2018 Lieutenant General Eric Mwaba Chimese[11]
  • 2018 to present Lieutenant General David Muma[1]

Defence attachés

Brigadier General Samson Simwanda - Brussels, Belgium "2015 to 2018"


  1. ^ a b "Pres. Lungu Replaces Chimese as ZAF Commander". Zambia Online.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 October 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ IISS Military Balance 2013, 539.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "World Air Forces 2017". Flightglobal Insight. 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Mig21 in Service".
  6. ^ "Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis: IHS Jane's - IHS".
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b "People's Daily Online -- Zambian president fires air force commander".
  9. ^ a b "Zambia : President Banda retires top defense Chiefs(corrected)".
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 December 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "President Sata Suspends Two Contracts". Truly Zambian. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012.