Katanga Government Aviation Unit

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 took over many of the assets of the former colonial policing air arm, the Aviation de la Force Publique du Congo, and formed a new air arm, the Katanga Air Force. A few AFP aircraft were also used to establish a Katanga Government Aviation Unit, for the transport of supplies and government officials. Several additional civil aircraft were later impressed into government service. This page covers the non-military transport aircraft used by the Katanga Government. Katanga Air Force aircraft are covered elsewhere.

After the Congo government received substantial outside help, the rebels were put on the defensive and the Katangan capital Elisabethville was captured by pro-government forces on 30 December 1962. On 21 January 1963, the last rebel stronghold of Kolwezi surrendered, formally ending the war.

Key Dates

11 July 1960    Katanga Government Aviation Unit created
21 Jan 1963    Katanga surrenders

Current Status

The Katanga Government Aviation Unit was disbanded in January 1963.

Future Plans

Not applicable.

Markings

Special Markings

No special markings were carried. Aircraft normally retained their previous colour scheme.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Katangan Government aircraft retained their previous registration, or used the unofficial registration prefix ‘KA’, e.g. Heron KA-TUR.

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

A variety of semi-fictional airlines and aircraft operators were involved in smuggling weapons and equipment to the Katanga forces. These unofficial operations are not included here, only the officially operated aircraft.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

See individual aircraft histories.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Luano Airfield, Elisabethville.

Organisational Structure

Katanga Government Aviation was an ad-hoc entity that operated without much central organisation or structure. There were no subordinate units.

Current Order of Battle

Not applicable.

Historical Orders of Battle

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

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.

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

To be added.

All-Time Aircraft Used List
Katanga Government

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Aero 45 1 1961 1961 ex-civil
Boeing YC-97 Stratofreighter 1 1961 1961 ex-civil
Cessna 310 2 1961 1962 ex-civil
de Havilland D.H.114 Heron 2 1 1960 1961 Force Publique
Douglas C-47 Dakota 2 1961 1962 ex-civil
Douglas DC-4/C-54 Skymaster 2 1963 1963 ex-civil