Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) Air Force / Armée de l'Air du Congo
By Michiel Vermeer & Erwin van Dijkman
The Republic of The Congo gained independence from France in 1960 and it is no surprise that its armed forces relied on the French industry to start with. However, due the communist regime, the country turned to the Soviet Union for additional hardware. This led to a mix of Western and Soviet types being operated.
The country has been far from stable. By the time the Marxist spree ended in 1990, the air force used several MiG-15/17/21 fighters and the left-overs from the early years with regards to training aircraft, T-6 Harvards from various sources, and Russian transports and helicopters. By 1992, a democratically elected government was installed. This was short-lived however. In 1997, the Marxists retook the incumbency and a decade of instability led to a shaky peace in 2003.
Currently, the air force operates a handful of helicopters, SA365, Mi-8, Mi-24/25, along with some transports and VIP aircraft in the shape of a single CN235-100, An-32, Il-76 and leased MD-83.