Forces Armées Gabonaise
By Michiel Vermeer & Erwin van Dijkman
Gabon gained its independence from France in 1960. The armed forces are divided in several branches. Noteworthy is the Republican Guard. This controls some of the flying units, not only the presidential flight but also the air force training school for example. Following the French example, Gabon als has a gendermerie and this military police is featured in our oorder of battle as well.
Armée de l'Air Gabonaise
Gabon's air force has used European hardware for decades. It is one of the few countries that acquired modern jet fighters at a relatively early stage with the Mirage 5 the contract for which was signed on 9 October 1975. More French material in use were Aloutte, Gazelle and Puma helicopters and Fouga trainers, albeit acquired second hand from Austria. Not that much has changed over the years but recently Mirage F1ZAs were obtained from South Africa. Two main bases are used, base aérienne 01 at Libreville and base aérienne 02 at Franceville.
Aviation Légère des Armées
Most of the helicopter fleet falls under the 'light aviation' branch of the armed forces. Apart from the French pedigree, with the EC135 being the most recent addition, a single Bell 412SP is also used. Main base is Libreville were the material is co-located with the air force who also take care of maintenance.
Garde Républicaine Gabonaise
Most modern part of the armed forces is the Presidential flight that is controlled by the republican guard. They operate modern business jets, like the Falcon 900EX and G-IVSP, AS332 VIP helicopters and even a B777, but also the SA342L and MB326 light attack and tactical aircraft. Obviously, nothing is spared to guard the presidency.
For aerial support, the police uses helicopters. The current fleet only numbers one, an AS355. Although we list the Gendarmerie separately, they nominally belong to the Aviation Légèr des Armées and are operated from Libreville.
For aerial support, the police also uses helicopters. Like the Gendarmerie, they have one single airframe, an AS350. Much as with the Gendarmes, the police helicopter is part of the ALA and based at Libreville.