Air Force of Zimbabwe
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Air Force


Current Title: Air Force of Zimbabwe
Title in English: Air Force of Zimbabwe
Abbreviation: AFZ


Narrative Summary:
Summary Narrative History

Timeline - Key Dates in Zimbabwean Air Force History

Current Status:
The primary roles of the AFZ are interception and close air support. The AFZ plays a major role in supporting the Zimbabwean Army, and did so successfully in Mozambique and the Congo. The air force is currently experiencing very low serviceability rates due to a shortage of foreign currency to buy spares.

Future Plans:
With the retirement of the long serving Hunters in 2002, it is expected that the AFZ will acquire a new multi-role fighter. This will most likely be the MiG-29, if a good price can be obtained. Rumours of the acquisition of this type have been floating around for nearly 10 years.


National Insignia:
Current --- Historical

Aircraft Serial Numbering System(s):
Serial Numbering System Explained

Unit/Base Aircraft Code System(s):
Coding system not used.


Aircraft Designation System(s):

Current Aircraft Inventory:
Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List:
Alphabetical Order --- Chronological Order

Aircraft NOT USED List:
List of aircraft falsely reported to be in service


Main Headquarters:
Rhodesian Defence Headquarters, Milton Buildings, Salisbury (1930s-1970?)
Air HQ, Private Bag 7721, Causeway, Salisbury(Harare) (1970-1988+)
Air Headquarters, KG6, Borrowdale Road, Harare (198?-present)

Current Organisational Structure:
The Air Force comprises the Engineering Wing (responsible for aircraft maintenance, aeronautical inspection services, Mechanical, Electrical and Ground equipment services); the Administration Wing (which supports the running of the air force and includes the accounts section, the orderly room, stores, canteens, the recruiting of personnel, and the purchasing of aircraft and equipment); the Flying Wing (includes the Flying School for new pilots, the Parachute Training School, and aircrew personnel), and the Regimental Wing (includes 201, 203 and the now defunct 203 Squadrons which are responsible for guarding air force personel and installation). The Engineering Wing is also responsble for the School of Technical Training. The Flying Wing comprises eight Squadrons deployed at two main bases, with two more smaller bases also owned by the military but without resident Squadrons.

Current Order of Battle:
Table of Current Order of Battle

Historical Orders of Battle:
Table of Orders of Battle

All-Time Flying Units List:
1 (Rhodesian) Sqn, SRAF,  Communications Flight,  
1 Sqn,  2 Sqn,  3 Sqn,  4 Sqn,  5 Sqn,  6 Sqn,  7 Sqn,  8 Sqn

Air Bases

Current Air Bases:
The main air bases are Thornhill, near Gweru, and Manyame (formerly New Sarum) near Harare, plus smaller bases at Chegutu and Chiredzi/Buffalo Range.

All-Time Air Bases Used List:
Military Air Bases Listing

More Information


'Britain's Rebel Air Force - The War From The Air In Rhodesia 1965-1980' [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Roy Nesbit & Dudley Cowderoy
Published by Grub Street, 1998 ISBN: 1 902304 05 5
* Detailed history of Rhodesian Air Force operations in the guerrilla war.

'Rhodesian Air Force: A Brief History 1947-1980'
by W A Brent
Published by Freeworld Publications, Nov 1987 ISBN: 0 620 11805 9
* Concise history of the RhAF, with details of aircraft used, units, casualties etc.

'Aerospace Encyclopedia of World Air Forces' [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by David Willis
Published by Aerospace Publishing, 1999 ISBN: 1 86184 045 4
* Includes half-a-page entry on Zimbabwe.


World Air Power Journal Vol.29 Summer 1997 (Aerospace Publishing)

Take Off No.89 (Aerospace Publishing Ltd, 1990) - Sanctions busting feature

Aeromilitaria No.1 1989 (Air-Britain)

Scale Aircraft Modelling August 1982 (Alan W Hall (Publications) Ltd)

Air September, October, November 1989 & January 1990 (WLAG)


Rhodesian Air Force Photo Feature

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First Created: 13 January 2003 - Last Revised: 22 June 2008
Copyright 2003 John Hayles.     e-mail: