Armed Forces Overviews

Zambia Air Force

Other Forces

Photo: Paul Mali

By Michiel Vermeer & Erwin van Dijkman

Zambia was previously known as Northern Rhodesia, a country formed in 1963. In those early years the force mainly consisted of transport aircraft and was basically run by the British. So when Zambia officially gained its independence, on 24 October 1964, a former RAF Group Captain became the first commander of the ZAF.

This situation lasted until 1 March 1973 when the first indigenous ZAF commander assumed this position. Logically, the British influence was clearly expressed in the inherited aircraft from the Rhodesia split-up. After this early years, the fledgling air force acquired material from more varied sources. Russia, Italy, and Yugoslavia to name a few. The modern-day ZAF still has this mix of influences with transports and light attack aircraft from China and helicopters from Russia and Italy.