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The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) is the army and Air Wing of Lesotho.

There is no conscription in Lesotho.

Of 400,457 (2005 est.) males age 18-49, the CIA [1] estimates 162,857 are fit for military service.

Military expenditures: $32.3 million (2004) 2.3% (2004) of GDP.

The Lesotho Government in 1999 began an open debate on the future structure, size, and role of the armed forces, especially considering the Lesotho Defence Force's (LDF) history of intervening in political affairs. In 2001, under an agreement with India, an Indian Army Training Team (IATT) started training the LDF. By 2011, it is widely perceived that the LDF is well on its way to becoming a professional and apolitical force. Indeed, there has been no instance since the arrival of the IATT when the LDF has interfered with the political process. It also won approbation when, on 22 April 2009, its soldiers beat back a mercenary attack on the Prime Minister's residence.

The Security Advisers from India have been Brigadiers Jasbir Singh, Budhwar, Ranvir Yadav, Neeraj Bali and AK Das. Currently Brigadier Dhanoa is holding that charge.

The Force currently has a strength of approximately 3100. It has a fair representation of female soldiers. All commissioned officers have to first serve in the ranks for at least three years.

It is led by a three-star General, Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli, 46.

Lesotho Defence Force air wingEdit

Lesotho Defence Force
Country Lesotho
Service history
Active 1978-present
Commanders Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli

The Lesotho air wing was an originally a 1978 offshoot of the parliamentary police mobile unit began operations with two Shorts Skyvans twin turboprop STOL transports, a leased Cessna A152 Areobat, two MBB BO 105 helicopters and a Westland built Bell 47G converted to solely turboshaft power. Two Mil Mi-2 twin turbine helicopters were donated by Libya in 1983 but were retired by 1986.

Deliveries of one Bell and three Augusta-Bell AB 412 helicopters were delayed in 1983 to 1986 because of South Africa's influence. This changed when a 1986 military coup resulted in new security agreements with Pretoria being signed. In the mid-1980s the air wing was renamed the Lesotho Defence Force. In 1989 the skyvans were replaced by two CASA C. 212 light turboprop transports; one immediately crashed, requiring a third to be delivered in 1992. A fifth Bell 412 (an EP model) was delivered in May 1998 to replace one written off in January 1998.

Defence force air equipmentEdit

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Bell 412 Flag of Italy.svg Italy Light utility helicopter 3 One written off in January 1998
212-300 Aviocar Flag of Spain.svg Spain Light transport 2 One crashed in 1989
Cessna 182 Flag of the United States.svg USA Light transport 1
Bo 105 Flag of Germany.png Germany Light utility helicopter 105C 2
Bell 47G Flag of the United States.svg USA Light helicopter 1
Gippsland GA8 Airvan Flag of Australia.svg AUS Light transport 1

Retired AircraftEdit


  • World Aircraft Information Files. Brightstar Publishing, London. File 340 Sheet 05

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