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Military of Madagascar
Service branches People's Armed Forces: Intervention Force, Development Force, and Aeronaval Force
National Gendarmerie
Conscription 18 months (military and non-military service)
Available for
military service
4,900,729 males, age 16-49 (2010 est.),
4,909,061 females, age 16-49 (2010 est.)
Fit for
military service
3,390,071 males, age 16-49 (2010 est.),
3,682,180 females, age 16-49 (2010 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
248,184 males (2010 est.),
246,769 females (2010 est.)
Active personnel 13,500 (military)
8,100 (National Gendarmerie)[1]

The Military of Madagascar is made up of the People's Armed Forces and the National Gendarmerie. The IISS detailed the armed forces in 2012 as including an Army of 12,500+, a Navy of 500, and a 500-strong Air Force.[1] An alternate report (seemingly from CIA World Factbook data) describes the People's Armed Forces as consisting of the Intervention Force, Development Force, and Aeronaval Force, which is the navy and air force.[2]

The armed forces were involved in the 2009 Malagasy political crisis. During World War II, Malagasy troops fought in France, Morocco, and Syria.

History[edit | edit source]

MiG-17 of the Malagasy Air Force.

The rise of centralized kingdoms among the Sakalava, Merina and other ethnic groups produced the island's first standing armies, first equipped with spears, but later with muskets, cannons and other firearms. King Ralambo (1575–1612) raised the first standing army in the highland Kingdom of Imerina with a handful of guns, although for at least two centuries the armies of the Sakalava were much larger and better equipped, possessing thousands of muskets obtained principally through trade with European partners.[3] By the early 19th century, however, the army of the Kingdom of Imerina was able to bring much of the island under Merina control. Merina Queen Ranavalona, like her predecessors, utilized the tradition of fanampoana (service due to the sovereign in lieu of taxes) to conscript a large portion of the population of Imerina into military service, enabling the queen to raise a standing army that was estimated at 20,000 to 30,000 soldiers.[4] By the late 19th century French plans to colonize Madagascar were gaining momentum, leading British mercenaries to provide training to the queen's army in an unsuccessful bid to repel the French troops. Madagascar was colonized in 1896, and during World War II over 46,000 Malagasy soldiers were drafted to fight with the Allies, over 2,000 of whom lost their lives fighting for France.[5]

Madagascar regained political independence and sovereignty over its military in 1960. Since this time Madagascar has never engaged in an armed conflict, whether against another state or within its own borders. As such the armed forces of Madagascar have primarily served a peace-keeping role. However, the military has occasionally intervened to restore order during periods of political unrest. When President Philibert Tsiranana was forced to step down in 1972, a military directorate ensured an interim government before appointing one of its own, Admiral Didier Ratsiraka, to lead the country into its socialist Second Republic. He launched a strategy of obligatory national armed or civil service for all young citizens regardless of gender. The majority were channeled into civil service, including agriculture and education programs for rural development based on the socialist Soviet model.[6] Ratsiraka would also mobilize elements of the military to pacify unarmed protesters, occasionally using violent means. His order to fire upon unarmed protesters in 1989 was the catalyst for transition to the democratic Third Republic in 1992. The military remained largely neutral during the protracted standoff between incumbent Ratsiraka and challenger Marc Ravalomanana in the disputed 2001 presidential elections. By contrast, in 2009 a segment of the army defected to the side of Andry Rajoelina, then-mayor of Antananarivo, in support of his attempt to force President Ravalomanana from power. It is widely believed that payoffs were involved in persuading these military personnel to change camps in support of the coup d'etat.[5]

As of 2010, the military of Madagascar is composed of the 8,100 paramilitary of the National Gendarmerie and the 13,500 members of the People's Armed Forces. According to the International Institute of Strategic Studies' Military Balance 2010, the latter includes an Army of 12,500, a Navy of 500 and a 500-strong Air Force,[7] while the CIA Factbook describes the People's Armed Forces as consisting of the Intervention Force, Aeronaval Force (navy and air) and the Development Force. Military service is voluntary and limited to males aged 18 to 25; every citizen of either gender is required to have perform either military or civil service for a minimum of 18 months. The Gendarmerie recruits Malagasy citizens between the ages of 20 and 30 (or 35 if the recruit has prior military service). Military expenses constituted just over one percent of GDP.[8] Under Ravalomanana, military expenditure doubled from 54 million USD in 2006 to 103 million USD in 2008.[9]

Equipment[edit | edit source]

Tanks[edit | edit source]

Armored cars and APCs[edit | edit source]

Artillery[edit | edit source]

Anti-aircraft[edit | edit source]

Anti-tank[edit | edit source]

Small arms[edit | edit source]

Naval[edit | edit source]

Aircraft[edit | edit source]

The AAM's roundel is based on the Flag of Madagascar.

Madagascar has a small air force (Armée de l'Air Malgache) based on its main aircraft, MiG-21s. A number of MiG-21s as well as transport aircraft are in 'open storage' at Ivato Airport outside Antananarivo.[citation needed]

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Antonov An-26 USSR tactical transport 1[1]
Cessna 172 Skyhawk USA primary trainer 172M 4[1]
Cessna 310 USA communications 310R 1[1]
Cessna 337 Skymaster USA utility aircraft 2[1]
Aero Synergie J300 Joker FRA trainer 2[1]
Humbert Tétras FRA 1[1]
Piper Aztec USA Communications PA-23-250 Aztec D 1[1]
Yakovlev Yak-40 USSR VIP transport 2[1]
Boeing 737 USA Passenger transport 2[1]
Aérospatiale Alouette II FRA Multi-purpose helicopter SA318C 4[1]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 IISS (2012), p. 442
  2. "Madagascar". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ma.html. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  3. Barendse, R. J. (2002). The Arabian seas: the Indian Ocean world of the seventeenth century. Berlin: M.E. Sharpe. pp. 259–274. ISBN 978-0-7656-0729-4. http://books.google.com/books?id=_qvq9dN8j5MC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved April 1, 2011. 
  4. Freeman, Joseph John; Johns, David (1840). A narrative of the persecution of the Christians in Madagascar: with details of the escape of six Christian refugees now in England. Berlin: J. Snow. http://books.google.com/books?id=rAMNAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved February 5, 2011. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Bradt (2010), pp. 7-10
  6. Strakes, Jason (2006). "Encyclopedia of the developing world". In Leonard, Thomas M.. Taylor & Francis. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-57958-388-0. http://books.google.com/books?id=3mE04D9PMpAC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved April 1, 2011. 
  7. IISS Military Balance 2010, p.314-315
  8. Central Intelligence Agency (April 1, 2011). "The World Factbook: Madagascar". Archived from the original on April 1, 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5xceOguhb. Retrieved April 1, 2011. 
  9. IISS Military Balance 2010, p.467
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 Jane's World Armies online edition (19 May 2011)

References[edit | edit source]

  • International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) (2012). The Military Balance 2012. London: IISS. ISSN 0459-7222. 
  • "Madagascar". Jane's World Armies (online edition). IHS Jane's. 19 May 2011. 
  • World Aircraft Information Files. Brightstar Publishing, London. File 339 Sheet 01

 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2006 edition".

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