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Tanzania People's Defence Force
Jeshi la Ulinzi la Wananchi wa Tanzania
Zanzibar, 12 Jan. 2004, celebration of 40 years' Revolution.JPG
Founded 1 September 1964
Service branches Army
Naval Command
Air Force Command
Headquarters Upanga, Dar es Salaam
Commander-in-Chief Jakaya Kikwete
Minister of Defense Shamsi Nahodha
Chief of Defence Forces Davis Mwamunyange
Conscription 18 years (voluntary)
Available for
military service
9,985,445, age 16–49 (2010 est.)
Fit for
military service
5,860,339 males, age 16–49 (2010 est.),
5,882,279 females, age 16–49 (2010 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
512,294 males (2010 est.),
514,164 females (2010 est.)
Active personnel 27,000[1] (ranked 85th)
Reserve personnel 80,000
Budget $254,223,000 (2012 est.)
Percent of GDP 0.9% (2012 est.)
Foreign suppliers  Russia
 United Kingdom
Related articles
History The Tanganyika Rifles
Uganda–Tanzania War (1978-79)
Mozambican Civil War
2008 invasion of Anjouan
Ranks Rank and insignia of the Tanzanian Armed Forces

The Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) are the armed forces of Tanzania They were set up in September 1964. From its inception, it was ingrained in the troops that they were a people’s force under civilian control. They were always reminded of their difference from the colonial armed forces.[citation needed] Unlike some of its neighbors, Tanzania has never suffered a coup d'état or civil war.

The TPDF was given a very clear mission: to defend Tanzania and everything Tanzanian, especially the people and their political ideology. Tanzanian citizens are able to volunteer for military service from 15 years of age, and 18 years of age for compulsory military service upon graduation from secondary school. Conscript service obligation was 2 years as of 2004.

History[edit | edit source]

After an aborted mutiny in 1964, the army was disbanded and fresh recruits were sought within the Tanganyika African National Union youth wing as a source.[2] For the first few years of the TPDF, the army was even smaller than the 2,000 strong Tanganyika Rifles, the air force was minuscule, and no navy had yet been formed. However the army was four battalions strong by 1967.[3]

From 1964 to 1974, the TPDF was commanded by Marisho S.H. Sarakikya, trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, who was promoted from lieutenant to brigadier in 1964 and became the force's first commander.[4]

In 1972, the International Institute for Strategic Studies listed the army with 10,000 personnel, four infantry battalions, 20 T-59, 14 Chinese T-62 light tanks, some BTR-40 and BTR-152, Soviet field artillery and Chinese mortars. 'Spares [were] short and not all equipment was serviceable.' (IISS 1972-73, p. 40)

In 1992, the IISS listed the army with 45,000 personnel (some 20,000 conscripts), 3 division headquarters, 8 infantry brigades, one tank brigade, two field artillery battalions, two Anti-aircraft artillery battalions (6 batteries), two mortar, two anti-tank battalions, one engineer regiment (battalion sized), and one Surface to air missile battalion with SA-3 and SA-6.[5] Equipment included 30 Chinese Type 59 and 32 T-54/55 main battle tanks.

In 2007 Tanzania pledged forces for the SADC Brigade of the African Standby Force.[6]

Tanzanian Army[edit | edit source]

A Tanzanian soldier (right) with his Kenyan counterpart

As of 2015, the army is gradually modernising and restructuring. Much of the inventory is in storage or unreliable.[7]

  • 5 × infantry brigade
  • 1 × tank brigade
  • 3 × artillery battalion
  • 2 × air defence artillery battalion
  • 1 × mortar battalion
  • 2 × anti-tank battalion
  • 121st Engineer Regiment (battalion size; unit identification from usaraf.army.mil and Flickr)
  • 1 × central logistic/support group

Current senior officers include:

  • Chief of Staff: Lt. General Samuel Albert Ndomba
  • Commander of Land Forces Maj Gen Salum Mustafa Kijuu
  • Chief of National Service: Maj General Raphael Muhuga

Air Force Command[edit | edit source]

TPDF honour guard

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The current Commander of Air Force Command: is Maj Gen Ulomi.

A few of the Tanzanian air wing's transport remain serviceable. However, its Shenyang F-5s, and Chengdu F-7s are reported to fly rarely because of airworthiness problems.[8] Tanzania's long coastline means that transports are also used for patrol flights.

Contrary to what is usually reported, Tanzania never purchased any J-7Is from China. Instead, the Jeshi La Wananchi La Tanzania (Tanzanian People's Defence Force Air Wing, TPDF/AW) was given 14 MiG-21MFs and two MiG-21Us by the USSR in 1974. Many of these were lost in different accidents due to the poor training, and two were said to have been lost when their pilots defected. Nevertheless, the few surviving examples took part in the Tanzania-Uganda War, in 1978-1979, when they saw much action, even if one was shot down in a case of friendly fire (it was lost to SA-7s fired by Tanzanian troops). The Tanzanian Army captured seven MiG-21MFs and one MiG-21U trainer from the Ugandan Air Force, as well as a considerable amount of spare parts. All of these were flown out to Mwanza AB, to enter service with the TPDF/AW. In 1998, Tanzania purchased four additional MiG-21MFs from the Ukraine, but these were reportedly in a very poor shape, and not used very often. Meanwhile, in 1980, an order for 10 F-7Bs and two TF-7s was issued to China, and in 1997 also two F-7Ns were purchased from Iran, together with four ex-Iraqi Air Force transports of an unknown type. Today, no Russian-supplied MiG-21s remain in service with the TPDF/AW, and only three or four F-7s remain operational. The TPDF/AW MiG-21MFs are now confirmed to have carried serials - in black or green - underneath the cockpit, but no details about these are known.[citation needed]

Naval Command[edit | edit source]

The navy operates 7 fast attack craft and 12 patrol boats.

The current Commander of the Naval Command is Rear Admiral (Maj Gen) SS Omar.

Former Generals and high-ranking officers[edit | edit source]

Former CDFs[edit | edit source]

United Nations missions[edit | edit source]

A TPDF soldier

As of 30 June 2013, the army is involved in the following United Nations peacekeeping missions:[11]

Mission Location Number
MONUSCO Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,247
UNAMID Darfur, Sudan 1,123
UNIFIL Lebanon 159
UNISFA Abyei 5
UNOCI Ivory Coast 4
UNMISS South Sudan 1

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "CIA World Factbook: Tanzania". The World Factbook. 11 February 2013. 
  2. For the rebuilding programme, see Lee, J. M. (1969), African Armies and Civil Order, International Institute for Strategic Studies/Chatto and Windus, 1969, 149-150.
  3. Parsons, 2003, 168.
  4. Irving Kaplan, Tanzania: A Country Study, Library of Congress Country Studies, First Edition, 1978, p. 248–249.
  5. IISS Military Balance 1992-93, p. 211.
  6. Jane's Defence Weekly
  7. "Tanzania". Janes World Armies. http://articles.janes.com/articles/Janes-World-Armies/Tanzania-Tanzania.html. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  8. Tanzanian military aviation OrBat
  9. General Sarakikya attends Royal Military Academy's 50th reunion in Sandhurst, Arusha Times, 13–19 August 2011.
  10. Irving Kaplan, Tanzania: A Country Study, Library of Congress Country Studies, First Edition, 1978, p. 249, says that Twalipo took command in 1974.
  11. "UN Mission's Summary detailed by Country" (PDF). Page 33, UN. 30 June 2013. http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/contributors/2013/jun13_3.pdf. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  •  This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2005 edition".
  • Tanzania Refutes Cross Border Shelling
  • Simon Baynham, Civil-Military Relations in Post-Independent Africa
  • Allison Herrick, Area Handbook for Tanzania, American University, 1968
  • Irving Kaplan, Tanzania: A Country Study, Library of Congress Country Studies, First Edition, 1978, Second Edition, 1987.
  • Murdo Morrison), ed (2006). "World Air Forces". Flight International (Number 5063 ed.). London: Flight Global. p. 82. ISSN 0015-3710. 
  • Brian S. MacDonald (1990). "Africa armed forces". Military spending in developing countries (Number 5063 ed.). London. ISBN 978-0-88629-314-7. 
  • Timothy Parsons, The 1964 Army Mutinies and the Making of Modern East Africa
  • Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey, 'War in Uganda,' Zed Press, London, UK, 1982

External links[edit | edit source]

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