Katanga Air Force

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The former Belgian Congo was given independence on 30 June 1960, amid a prolonged period of political and economic upheaval. Very shortly afterwards, the Province of Katanga declared unilateral independence from the newly established Republic of Congo. The breakaway province was fortunate in having many of the assets of the former colonial policing air arm, the Aviation de la Force Publique du Congo. All AFP aircraft in Katanga were immediately seized and used to form a new air arm, the Katanga Air Force, or Avikat for short. Additional aircraft were later obtained via a variety of legal and illegal means.

The Congo government successfully appealed from help from the United Nations, and a civil war followed, which saw the Katanga Air Force operate extensively in direct support of the rebel ground forces. The United Nations air and ground forces eventually proved decisive, with the Katangan capital Elisabethville being captured on 30 December 1962 and the remnants of the Katangan forces being rounded up soon after. On 21 January 1963, the last stronghold of Kolwezi surrended, formally ending the war.

Key Dates

11 July 1960    Katanga Air Force created
6 Jan 1963    Avikat disbanded

Current Status

The Katanga Air Force was disbanded in January 1963.

Future Plans

Not applicable.

Markings

National Insignia

The Katanga Air Force used a red-green-white roundel.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Katanga Air Force aircraft carried numerical serial prefixed by the letters KAT or KA, e.g. Piper PA-22 KAT-72.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used.

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

To be added.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

See individual aircraft histories.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Luano Airfield, Elisabethville.

Organisational Structure

To be added.

Current Order of Battle

Not applicable.

Historical Orders of Battle

Order of Battle for 1960
Order of Battle for 1961
Order of Battle for late 1962

All-Time Flying Units List

To be added.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

The main air base was Luano, but Kolwezi, Jadotville, Kisenge, Dilolo and Kipushi were also used.

To be added.

More Information

Books

African Military Aviation by Winston A. Brent (Freeworld Publications, 1994)

African Air Forces by Winston Brent (Freeworld Publications, 1999)

Air Wars and Aircraft by Victor Flintham (Arms and Armour Press, 1989)

Magazines

To be added.

Websites

wikipedia: Katangese Air Force

Katangan Air Force

All-Time Aircraft Used List
Katanga Air Force

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
de Havilland D.H.104 Dove 11 1960 1963 Force Publique
de Havilland D.H.114 Heron 2 1 1960 1961 Force Publique
de Havilland D.H.115 Vampire T.11 2 1961 1961 Portuguese AF
Dornier Do 28A 5 1961 1963 ?
Douglas C-47 Dakota 6 1961 1962 various
Fouga CM.170 Magister 3 1961 1961 ?
Lockheed Lodestar 1 1962 196? ex-civil
North American T-6 Texan 15 1960 1963 Force Publique
Piper L-18C Super Cub 1 1960 1961 Force Publique
Piper PA-20 Pacer Caribbean 2 1961 1961 ?
Piper PA-22 Tripacer 5 1962 19?? ?
Piper PA-24-250 Comanche 3 1962 196? ?
Sikorsky S-55 3 1960 1961 Force Publique
Aerospatiale SA 313 Alouette II 3 196? 196? Force Publique