Myanmar Air Force
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Air Force

Current Title: Tamdaw Lay
Title in English: Myanmar Air Force
Abbreviation: TL


Narrative History:

Mynamar Air Force - Narrative History

Key Dates:
15 December 1947    Union of Burma Air Force (UBAF) first established
1954    First jet aircraft received (Vampire T.55)
1958    First helicopter received (KB 47G)
15 February 1961    First and only air-to-air victory achieved
1988    Arms embargo imposed on Burma
19 June 1989    UBAF renamed Myanmar Air Force (MAF)
1990    First Chinese aircraft received

Current Status:
Offensive operations against Assam rebels in border regions are continuing, with assistance from Bangladesh, Bhutan and India. Support to ground units fighting Karen rebels near the Thailand border also continue.

Much of the world views Myanmar as a pariah state, and so the country has become increasing dependent upon its relationship with China. Acquiring spares for non-Chinese aircraft has become extremely difficult and consequently aircraft serviceability is low. China also helped to build an airbase at 'Manerpaw' (actually Manerplaw, a Karen town) during the late 1990s.

Future Plans:
An upgrade of the MiG-29s has been discussed with Hindustan Aeronautics. Russia has proposed the delivery of some Mi-24 helicopters. The supply of additional BN-2 Islanders and some Dhruv helicopters has been offered by India.


National Insignia:
Current --- Historical

Aircraft Serial Numbering System(s):
Between 1948 and about 1975 Union of Burma Air Force aircraft received serial numbers in the sequences UB-100 to UB-999, and later UB-1000 to UB-9999. The numbers did not run consecutively, but were allocated in blocks to each aircraft type, e.g. Vampire serials UB-501 to UB-508. Some aircraft types received an additional letter in the serial prefix, eg. UBT-xxx for C-47s and UBC-xxx for some Oxfords. The significance of this is not known.
Circa 1975 the 'UB-' prefix appears to have been dropped. With most in-service aircraft carrying four-digit serials, the practice of displaying the serial number either side of the fuselage national insignia appears to have been introduced around this time, eg xx ^ xx. In recent years some aircraft types have been carrying their serial number in Burmese characters, as shown below:

Unit/Base Aircraft Code System(s):
Not used.


Aircraft Designation System(s):
None used.

Current Aircraft Inventory:
Table of Current Service Aircraft

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

Aircraft NOT Used:
False reports of aircraft on order or in service

Aircraft Losses and Incidents:
No information.


Main Headquarters:

Current Organisational Structure:
The TL is organised RAF-style into individual Squadrons of 12-16 aircraft each plus a Flying Training School.

Current Order of Battle:
Table of Current Order of Battle

Historical Orders of Battle:
May 1948

All-Time Flying Units List:
No.1 Fighter Squadron
No.4 Fighter Squadron
No.41 Fighter Squadron
No.? Fighter Squadron (MiG-29)
No.? Attack Squadron (T-37/A-5M)
No.? Attack Squadron (A-5M)
No.? Attack Squadron (Vampire, AT-33)
No.? Attack Squadron (Oxford)
No.? Attack Squadron (Provost)
No.? Attack Squadron (Provost/SF.260)
No.? Helicopter Squadron (current)
No.? Helicopter Squadron (HH-43)
No.? Helicopter Squadron (KB 47G)
No.? Liaison Squadron
No.? Transport Squadron
Flying Training School

Air Bases

Current Air Bases:
The TL is based at seven main air bases but operates into a number of smaller airports and airfields around the country. See listing below for details.

All-Time Air Bases Used List:
Apart from a small number of main military air bases, there are also a several smaller airports and airfields around the country which have been frequently used by the Air Force to support anti-rebel operations.
Airports and Airfields Listing

More Information


See aircraft details pages.


World Air Power Journal Vol.8 Spring 1992


Myanmar and Israel Develop Military Ties

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First Created: 28 November 2005 - Last Revised: 4 August 2007
Copyright 2006 Jan Forsgren.    e-mail: