Namibian Air Force

The Namibia Air Force was commissioned on 13 March 2005 at Grootfontein Air Force Base. Following the independence of Namibia from South Africa in 1990, the Air defense wing of the defense forces were established on 23 July 1994.
The policy, mission statements and concept of operations envisage the development of an Air Force to operate in support of the Army and the Navy.
Five separate roles for Air Force are; surveillance, transport of personnel and transport of supplies/equipment; support to the civil authorities or civil community, and training.
With Grootfontein as the main Air Force Base, expansion projects are underway to expand the Keetmanshoop air base, as well as construct a new base at Karibib. This was reported by The Namibian on 20 June 2008. The Air Force Headquarters are now based at Karibib Air Force Base.
The policy for the Air Force is as follows
To acquire dedicated air assets to undertake the surveillance and transport tasks. The MOD and NDF will train and employ their own pilots and technicians. Co-operation and co-ordination with other Ministries may extend to making such assets available for non-defence tasking. In addition, consideration will be given to arrangements whereby private and other national air assets could be employed where appropriate or necessary.


After commissioning in 1994 the first aircraft of the force were six Cessna O-2A donated by the United States government. The US also offered two advisors to train four pilots, six co-pilots and seven Namibian Mechanics. In December 1994 a total of four Cheetah and Chetak light utility helicopters bought from HAL where delivered to the then Air Wing at Eros Airport. The Indian air force also provided a chief engineer, five technicians and two pilots to train Namibian crews for at least six months. Two Harbin Y-12's were delivered in December 1997.


Aircraft Accidents

The Air Force has suffered a number of aircraft incidents and accidents. The first notable accident occurred during Operation Atlantic in the DRC, where during bad weather a Cheetah and Chetak helicopters air frame serials H-702 and H-708 crashed mid air, resulting in the death of 11 personnel 5 of whom where Namibian. On 27 November 2003 an MI-8 helicopter Airframe serial H-804 made a heavy landing resulting in it being written off. While in Opuwo on 1 August 2008 Chetak H-706 crashed resulting in injuries to the crews and passengers. An An-26 transport plane airframe NAF-3-642 crash landed at Omega Airfield during a mission to recover human remains of a Mozambican. In April 2014 a Harbin Z-9 helicopter air frame H-700 crash during take off at Grootfontein Air Force Base resulting in it being written off.

Air Force Bases

Expansion of the Air Base at Keetmanshoop is planned.

Flying Units

Air Defence Wing
23rd Squadron is a fighter squadron and is home to the Chengdu F-7 Airguards.
15 Wing
Consists of the helicopters in the Air Force. The squadron participated in the Second Congo War. The squadron lost two helicopters that were involved in a Mid-air collision.
13 Wing
Hosting the Fixed wing transport aircraft is the 13 wing. The wing consists of the AN-26 and Y-12 Aircraft.



The Air Force has deployed numerous times to help civic authorities during disasters. Health outreach workers have been ferried during immunization campaigns. It has assisted in transporting Electoral material and personnel during National elections. It has also flown foreign Heads of States during their stay in Namibia



Between 1998 and 2002 The Air force was deployed to the DRC during the Second Congo War. Harbin Y-12 transport aircraft where utilized on logistics supply missions to the DRC as well as withdrawing Namibian troops at the end of the war. on 01 August 1999 a Air Force flight engineer died after he was hit by anti aircraft fire on a Y-12 transport aircraft that was enroute to resupply Namibian and Zimbabwean troops that were besieged at Ikela. Two Namibian Allouette helicopters crashed in mid-air while on operations during the war due to bad weather on 15 January 1999. The accident claimed nine lives, including two Namibian pilots and three technicians.

During the 2014 floods at Tokwe-Murkosi in Masvingo, Zimbabwe the air force deployed a flight consisting of one Harbin Z-9 and two Allouettes to assist with the evacuation of the affected people. The mission lasted seven days in which 600 residents were airlifted with 56 tons of goods.
Exercise Blue Kavango

The airforce deployed a composite flight consisting of a Y-12 transport aircraft and Z-9 light utility helicopters to the SADC Air Forces exercise Blue Kavango held in Botswana.


The Air Force Commander exercise overall Executive command, he is deputized by an Air Commodore. The Air Force Sergeant Major is the principal Warrant Officer that advises the Air Force Commander on matters of discipline.

Command structure

Other establishments and units

The primary training institute in the Air Force is the School of Air Power Studies under the Command of Group Captain Hosea Ndjibu. The SOAPS is composed of three centres.

Ranks,Insignia, Uniforms, Proficiency Badges

The Air Force from inception used Army styled ranks and insignia. This however changed in April 2010 when the new system based on stripes was introduced and ranks changed to commonwealth system.

Commissioned officers

Officer rank insignia

The highest rank a commissioned officer can attain in the Air Force is Air Vice Marshal. There may however be an exception when an Air Force officer is appointed as Chief of the Defence Force for which the individual which ascend to the rank of Air Marshal.

Non-commissioned officers

The highest rank an enlisted member can attain is Warrant Officer Class 1.