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Libyan Air Force (2011–present)
Country Flag of Libya.svg Libya
Branch Air Force
Service history
Active 2011–present
Role Aerial warfare, close air support,[1] frontier patrol/territorial sovereignty missions[2]
Size unknown
Battles 2011–present Libyan factional fighting[1]
Commanders Saqr Geroushi[3][4]Commander Mahmoud Berrhouma[5]
Insignia Free Libyan Air Force roundel

The Libyan Air Force is the aviation branch of the Libyan National Army following the Libyan civil war and replacing the Libyan People's Air Force, which was mostly destroyed during the war. Some of its aircraft came from the Jamahiriya's army and air forces that were captured by opposition fighters, or were taken by defected personnel. It was formed on the basis of the Free Libyan Air Force section of the armed opposition.[6]


On 20 June 2012 the Air Force Chief of Staff, Saqr Geroushi,[3] announced plans for the rebuilding of the Libyan Air Force. The plans included proposals for the purchase of two squadrons of French Rafale fighter aircraft, a number of British Eurofighter Typhoons; and additional new French F1-Mirage jets, American C-130H Hercules cargo planes and CH-47 Chinook helicopters[4] – as the post–2011 air force inherited some intact Mirages, C-130Hs and CH-47s following the civil war.[2]


Aircraft Country of origin Type Version In service Notes
Fighter Aircraft
Dassault Mirage F1 Flag of France.svg France fighter aircraft F1ED 2 2 defected to Malta on the 21st February 2011, handed back on the 22nd February 2012. One possibly shot down during the war.[citation needed] One F1ED (cn502) crashed on 12 April 2012 killing the pilot (this accident is unconfirmed). Two airframes spotted in 2012.[7]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union fighter aircraft MiG‑21bis N/A Several captured in Benina and Tobruk airbases. Up to four MiG-21bis/UM defected at Benina airbase.[8] One MiG-21bis crashed after take-off from Benina airport due to technical malfunction on 17 March 2011.[9] One of these was deployed along with a MiG-21UM during the 2012 Sabha clashes.
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union fighter aircraft MiG‑23ML N/A Four captured by rebels at Tobruk air base.[10] Four captured by rebels in hangar at Misrata.[11] One captured by rebels at Al-Abrak.[12] One MiG-23BN claimed to be lost over Tripoli in 13 March 2011. One MiG-23 was shot down over Benghazi in 19 March 2011. At least one is based at Benghazi along with a MiG-23UB.
Trainer Aircraft
Aero L-39 Albatros Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Czechoslovakia light attack/trainer Aero L-39ZO 3 Two seized during the battle of Tripoli.[13] At least 3 operational in 2013.[14][15][16]
Soko G-2 Galeb Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg Yugoslavia fighter trainer G-2A-E 4 Several captured in Misrata airbase;[11] At least 4 operational in 2013.[17]
Aermacchi SF.260 Flag of Italy.svg Italy basic trainer SF.260WL/ML 6 Several captured in Misrata airbase. At least 6 operational in 2013.[18]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union Lead-In Trainer MiG-21UM 2 2 confirmed via photographs. One of these was deployed along with a MiG-21bis during the 2012 Sabha clashes.
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union Lead-In Trainer MiG-23UB 1 At least one based at Benghazi along with a MiG-23ML.
Transport Aircraft
Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules Flag of the United States.svg USA Military transport aircraft C-130J 0 2 on order[19]
British Aerospace 146 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom regional airliner BAe 146-300 1 Used for medical evacuation and delivering medical supplies,[20] as well as supplying ammunition to remote rebel units.
Ilyushin Il-76 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union strategic airlifter Il-76TD 2 Seized by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, transferred to the Free Libyan Air Force on 11 August,[21] additional one seized during the battle of Tripoli. Probably not airworthy.[13]
Antonov An-26 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union medium transport 3 One captured by protesters in Kufra on 17 February,[22] two seized during the battle of Tripoli. Probably not airworthy.[13]
Boeing CH-47 Chinook United States heavy transport helicopter CH-47C 1 One seized during the battle of Tripoli. Probably not airworthy.[13]
Mil Mi-2 Flag of Poland.svg Poland transport helicopter Mi-2 1+ Several captured in Misrata airbase; currently status is unknown.
Mil Mi-8 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union transport helicopter Mi-8T/MT 1 Captured in abandoned condition at Ra's Lanuf airfield on 4 March.[22] Another Mi-8T(cn8335) crashed 11 April 2012 without any fatalities.
Mil Mi-14 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union ASW helicopter Mi-14 3 At least three captured in Benina airbase.[23]
Mil Mi-17 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union/Flag of Russia.svg Russia transport helicopter Mi-17 2+ At least one captured in Benghazi. One was seen during the Battle of Sirte, another during the Battle of Misrata.[24]
Mil Mi-24 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union attack helicopter Mi-25 1 At least two captured in Benina airbase;[25] One shot down by loyalist forces.[26]
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Aeryon Scout Flag of Canada.svg Canada Miniature UAV Aeryon Scout 1 [27] Aeryon Labs Inc provided one Aeryon Scout to the Libyan rebels, including training provided by Zariba Security Corporation.[27][28]
Air defence SAM


  1. 1.0 1.1 "First images of Mig-21s in Free Libya Air Force markings". The Aviationist. 9 April 2012 (updated 21 April 2012). Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Libyan Air force to be re-equipped with Rafale and Typhoon multi-role fighters. And some U.S. planes too.". The Aviationist. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012. "...Geroushi said that the Libyan Arab Air Force is looking to purchase two squadrons of French Rafale, along with a number of French Mirage F-1 aircraft (to bolster those they already have). The Libyans also plan to buy Eurofighter Typhoons from the UK as well as some more C-130 cargo planes and Ch-47 [sic] Chinook helicopters from the United States." 
  3. 3.0 3.1 George Grant (23 June 2012). ""Business as usual" for British embassy following rocket attack on ambassador". Libya Herald. Retrieved 6 September 2012. "Sir Dominic [Asquith] refused to confirm or deny whether or not the British government had been approached by Libya for the purchase of a number of Eurofighter Typhoons, as announced earlier this week by the air force chief of staff, Saqr Geroushi." 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Libyan air force set for major upgrade". Libya Herald. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  5. "Air force commander shot in Benghazi hit-and-run attack". Libya Herald. 30 August 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  6. Souhail Karam (15 March 2011). "Libyan website reports rebels sink Gaddafi ships". Rabat: Reuters. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  9. Aviation Safety Network (17 March 2011). "ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 121151". Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  11. 11.0 11.1
  12. "Libya unrest – in pictures". The Guardian. London. 24 February 2011. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3
  20. "Picture of the British Aerospace BAe-146-300 aircraft". 6 July 2011. 
  21. "DJ Cargo Plane Handed Over To Libya Rebels". The Morning Star. 11 August 2011. 
  22. 22.0 22.1
  25. "Libya unrest: Benghazi revels in freedom from Gaddafi". BBC News. 26 February 2011. 
  26. McGreal, Chris (10 April 2011). "Libya: rebel defences 'failing' as Gaddafi forces move towards Benghazi". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  27. 27.0 27.1 [1] Aeryon Scout Micro UAV Helps Libyan Rebels in March to Tripoli
  28. Canadian robot spy flies for Libyan rebels

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