Air Force of Burkina Faso

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Air Force of Burkina Faso
Roundel of Burkina Faso.svg
Country Burkina Faso
TypeAir force
Part of Burkina Faso Army
Aircraft flown
AttackEmbraer EMB-314
HelicopterBell UH-1H , Eurocopter AS350 , Mil Mi-17 , Mil Mi-24
TrainerAermacchi SF.260TP
TransportCASA/IPTN CN-235 , Air Tractor AT-802
An Upper Volta Air Force transport

The Air Force of Burkina Faso was founded in 1964 as the Escadrille de la République de Haute-Volta (EHV) or the Republic of Upper Volta Air Squadron, a subordinate unit of the Army. That year a transient air support base was created with the assistance of the French Air Force. After acquiring an initial fleet of utility and transport aircraft the squadron was attached to an inter-army support regiment. In 1970 the Escadrille was renamed the Force Aérienne de Haute-Volta, or FAHV, and in 1977 became an autonomous force. In October 1985, the Force Aérienne de Burkina Faso, or FABF, was officially inaugurated.


The EHV was initially formed with two Douglas C-47 Skytrain and three MH.1521M Broussard aircraft. These were later followed by two Alouette III SA.316 B helicopters, used mostly for liaison purposes, one twin-engined Aero Commander 500 light utility aircraft, two Hawker-Siddeley HS.748-2Atwin turboprop transport aircraft, and two Nord 262 twin turboprop transport aircraft. Two escadrilles (squadrons) or sub-formations were created: the Escadrille de Transport (Transport Squadron), and the Escadrille d'Hélicoptères (Helicopter Squadron). Later, the Escadrille d'Entraînement (Training Squadron) was added. All squadrons were initially based at Ouagadougou.

In mid-1984 Libyan military aid brought eight Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 jet fighters along with two MiG-21U combat trainer versions. These ex-Libyan Air Force MiG-21 Fishbed fighters were based in Ouagadougou, although they were actually operated by the Libyan Air Force, and were removed in 1985 without seeing combat. A single MiG-17F Fresco that was also operated by the FABF did see combat service in the Agacher Strip War in 1985–86. In 1985 the FABF also acquired two ex-Soviet Mi-4 transport helicopters from an unknown supplier, followed by an additional two Mi-4s. The Mi-4s were operated by the FABF until the late 1980s, when they were taken out of service. Five Mi-8/17 transport helicopters were later added to the Escadrille d'Hélicoptères. While supervising the ceasefire after the Agacher Strip War an FABF SA.316B Alouette III crashed at Kouni on 14 January 1986, leaving only one SA.316B still in service with the Escadrille d'Hélicoptères.

In 1986 the FABF formed a new unit, the Escadrille de Chasse (EdC) (Attack Squadron). In mid-1986 six ex-Philippine Air Force SF.260WP Warrior armed trainers/light strike aircraft were acquired from a dealer in Belgium. These offered the FABF a much simpler and less expensive tactical air support alternative to the expensive MiGs. The Warriors were not only used for pilot training, but also as light strike aircraft, and a number of them were employed by the FABF's Escadrille de Chasse (EdC). Four additional SF.260WPs were subsequently bought directly from Italy. The six ex-Philippine SF.260WP aircraft were taken out of service in 1993 and returned to their previous owner, although the four newly built SF.260WP aircraft were retained in service and stationed at Bobo Dioulasso air base.Most of the other light aircraft acquired by the FABF in the 1970s and 1980s have also now been retired along with the Mi-4 helicopters, but some recent acquisitions have been made. These include a Beechcraft King Air, a Piper PA-34 Seneca, a CEAPR Robin light training aircraft, and a single Air Tractor AT-802 aerial sprayer aircraft for spraying insecticides, purchased after the northern part of the country suffered heavy crop damage from a 2004 invasion of swarming locusts. In 2009 two Xenon Gyroplane autogyros were purchased for use by police and security forces.

In late 2005 the FABF acquired two Mil Mi-35 'Hind' attack helicopters from Russia in apparent response to moves by neighbouring Ivory Coast to bolster its own air attack capabilities during the Ivorian Civil War.


A SF 260C of the Burkina Faso Air Force

Current inventory[edit]

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Embraer EMB-314 Brazil light attack 3[1]
CASA/IPTN CN-235 Spain / Indonesia transport 1[1]
Super King Air United States transport King Air 200 1[1]
Bell UH-1 United States utility UH-1H 2[1] donated by the Government of Taiwan[2]
Eurocopter AS350 France utility 1[1]
Mil Mi-17 Russia utility 3[1]
Mil Mi-24 Russia attack Mi-35 2[1]
Trainer Aircraft
SF.260 Italy trainer 4[1]

Retired Inventory: Douglas C-47, MH.1521M Broussard, Alouette III SA.316 B, Aero Commander 500, Nord 262 ,Hawker-Siddeley HS.748-2A, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21, Shenyang J-5, PA-34 Seneca, Air Tractor AT-802, Mil Mi-8, Mil Mi-35, Boeing 727


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "World Air Forces 2018". Flightglobal Insight. 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  2. ^ Cherisey, de, Erwan (9 June 2017). "Burkina Faso receives Taiwanese Hueys". IHS Jane's 360. Paris. Archived from the original on 12 June 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.

External links[edit]