Top 10 smallest air forces in the world
8. Estonian Air Force
Shiny Estonian An-2 (Photo: Giorgio Ciarini / Wikipedia)
Estonian air force has a long and rich history, but very few planes. Their several utility helicopters are supposed to be written off in 2020. They still have several transporters, including two antique Soviet An-2 biplanes and at least one operational L-39 trainer capable of ground attack. Unluckily for them, Estonian border guard, which employs several modern patrol and utility aircraft, is considered as part of the police force, rather than army. Thus, the small Baltic nation lands on this list.
7. Air Wing of the Armed Forces of Malta
Malta is a small island nation whose aerial capabilities are focused on patrolling and surveying its borders, hence four small maritime patrol airplanes and three helicopters in their disposal. Several additional utility helicopters complete the lineup, with none of them weaponized.
6. Latvian Air Force
Presently it consists of a couple of An-2 biplanes and several Mi-27 and Mi-2 helicopters, all used for transport. Four Sikorsky UH-60Ms were recently ordered and scheduled for delivery in 2021, pushing Latvia out of this list.
5. Central African Republic Air Force
An aerial warfare branch of CAR Armed Forces, which is conducting its aerial warfare with two Britten-Norman BN-2 light transport turboprops, one AS350 utility helicopter and maybe a couple of other older helicopters and transport planes whose fate is unknown.
4. Moldovan Air Force
Reportedly, Moldova has conducted their last airshow in 2015, demonstrating one operational Yak-18T trainer and An-2 biplane. Their several Mi-8 helicopters remain grounded and unable to take off, although steps to repair them may have been taken since then. They also have one An-26 and maybe one An-30 of unknown level of disrepair. Reportedly, a lot of discussions in regards to purchasing new aircraft happened in Moldova, but the situation has not changed.
3. Suriname Air Force
With three HAL Chetak (Indian-built Aérospatiale Alouette III) under their belt, Suriname made attempts to purchase some passenger turboprops, but nothing came of it. Presently, three utility helicopters are used for transport, SAR and patrolling.
2. Royal Bhutan Army Air-Arm
Decade or so ago, Bhutan has purchased several helicopters and transport planes from India. Reportedly, just two Mil Mi-8Ts are operational now, with their real status being indiscernible in the mist of Himalayan Mountains. Maybe they fly, maybe they don’t. If you have seen them, please, be polite in the comments.
1. Luxembourg Army Air Force
Half-Luxembourgeoise Airbus A400M Atlas (Photo: Airbus)
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, until recently, had a half of Airbus A400M Atlas transporter, the other half being in Belgium. Technically, the whole airplane was Belgian, although the nation shared it with Luxembourg and operated from a Luxembourgeoise airport. Technically, Luxembourg itself has another A400M, but that one is still at Airbus, undelivered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Luxembourg considers the latter as already operational, though. So, do two halves of A400M constitute one? It’s complicated.
Luckily, the grand Duchy also has one Airbus H145 utility helicopter, but that one has bright inscription “Police” on its side. So, does it belong to the Air Force? Is it the same half-half situation as with A400M? Who knows. Luxembourgers probably do, but until they bother to tell anybody, we will keep them here.
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