Military Wiki
Tunisian Armed Forces seal
القوات المسلحة التونسية
Armoiries Forces armées tunisiennes.svg
Founded 24 June 1956
Service branches

شعار أركان جيش البر، تونس.svgArmy 50pxNavy

أركان جيش الطيران، تونس.svg Air Force
Headquarters Tunis
Commander-in-Chief Pres. Moncef Marzouki
Minister of National Defense Rachid Sabbagh
Active personnel 35,800-45,000
Deployed personnel Unknown number in UN Missions
Percent of GDP 1.6%

The Tunisian Armed Forces (Arabic language: القوات المسلحة التونسية‎) consist of the Tunisian Land Army, Navy, and Air Force.

As of 2008, Tunisia had an army of 27,000 personnel equipped with 84 main battle tanks and 48 light tanks. The navy numbered 4,800 operating 25 patrol boats and 6 other crafts. The Air Force had 4,000 personnel, 27 combat aircraft and 43 helicopters. Paramilitary forces consisted of a 12,000-member national guard.[1] Tunisia has participated in peacekeeping efforts in the DROC and Ethiopia/Eritrea.[2] Previous United Nations peacekeeping deployments for the Tunisian armed forces have included Cambodia (UNTAC), Namibia (UNTAG), Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi and the 1960s mission in the Congo, ONUC.


Tunisian artillery and gunners, circa 1900

The modern Tunisian Army had its origins in the time of the French Protectorate (1881–1956). During this period, Tunisians were recruited in significant numbers into the French Army, serving as tirailleurs (infantry) and spahis (cavalry). These units saw active service in Europe during both World Wars, as well as in Indo-China prior to 1954. The only exclusively Tunisian military force permitted under French rule was the Beylical Guard.[3]

The Tunisian National Army was established on 24 June 1956, at the time of independence. It initially comprised about 1,300 officers and men transferred from French Army service, plus 850 former members of the Beylical Guard. Approximately 4,000 Tunisian soldiers continued in French Army service until 1958, when the majority transferred to the Tunisian Army, which reached a strength of over 6,000 that year. The Tunisian Navy was created in 1959 and the Tunisian Air Force in 1960.

In 1960 Tunisian troops served with the United National Peacekeeping Force in the Congo. In 1961 clashes occurred with French forces based at Bizerte. The French evacuated the base after subsequent negotiations with the Tunisian Government.

Tunisia has contributed military forces to United Nations peacekeeping missions, including an army company to UNAMIR during the Rwandan Genocide. In his book Shake Hands with the Devil, Canadian force commander Roméo Dallaire gave the Tunisian soldiers high credit for their work and effort in the conflict and referred to them as his "ace in the hole".

During the 2011 Libyan civil war, Tunisian forces, mostly border guards, saw some limited action when fighting between Libyan rebels and loyalist soldiers spilled over the border and clashes ensued between the Libyan Army and the Tunisian Army, resulting in at least one Tunisian civilian being injured by a Libyan rocket.[4]

Air Force equipment[]

Combat aircraft[]

Jet training/light attack aircraft[]

Training/COIN piston-engined aircraft[]

Liaison aircraft[]

Transport aircraft[]

Attack helicopters[]

Naval attack/search and rescue helicopters[]

  • 2 Sikorsky HH-3E Pelican
  • 16 Sikorsky S-61R Pelican
  • 1 SNIAS AS-365N Dauphin-II

Medium transport helicopters[]

  • 2 Sikorsky S-76 Spirit
  • 4 Agusta Bell AB-412EP
  • 1 SNIAS SA-330C Puma
  • 4 Agusta-Bell AB-212
  • 6 Bell UH-1N
  • 18 Bell 205\UH-1H Iroquois
  • 18 Agusta-Bell AB205B

Light transport helicopters[]

  • 2 SNIAS AS-355 Ecureuil-II
  • 12 SNIAS AS-350B Ecureuil
  • 8 SNIAS AS-316B Alouette-III
  • 7 SNIAS AS-313 Alouette-II


  • 7ScanEagle
  • NASNAS MK1 short range UAVs
  • Super Nasnas short range UAVs
  • Jbelassa UAV


  • AIM-9J Sidewinder AAMs
  • AGM-65A Maverick AGMs
  • Raytheon BGM-71C Improved-Tow(for MD-500 Defender Helicopters)
  • MBDA HOT for SA-342 Helicopters


  • 14 TRS-2230
  • 12 TRS-2100 Tiger-S
  • 24 Giraffe-40

Military airfields[]

  • Bizerte(Sidi-Ahmad)
  • Bizerte(La-Kharouba)
  • Gabes
  • Gafsa
  • Sfax

Navy equipment[]


  • 3 Combattante-III-M class(with 8xMM-40 SSMs,1x76mm Gun,2x40mm Guns,4x30mm Guns)
  • 6 Type-143 Lurssen Albatros class (2x76mm Gun,Mine Laying Capability)
  • 3-4 P-48 Bizerte class (with 8xSS-12M SSMs (Obsolete, no longer installed),4x37mm Guns)

Gun frigates[]

  • 1 Savage class (1200\1490ton,19 knots,2x3inch Guns,2x20mm Guns)- OUT OF SERVICE

ASW vessels[]

  • 1 Le-Fougeux class Corvette (325\400ton,18.5 knots,2xAnti-Submarine Mortars,1x76mm Gun,2x40mm Guns) (out of service)


  • 6 Kondor-II class (635ton,3x2x25mm Guns)
  • 2 Adjutant class (320\375ton,1x20mm Gun) - OUT OF SERVICE

Gun boats[]

  • 3-5 Modified Hazhui\Shanghai-II class (128 ft,30 knots, 4x37mm Guns, 4x25mm Guns)

Patrol boats[]

  • 4 Ch.Navals De Lestrel 31.5m class (104 ft,30 knots,2x20mm Guns)
  • 6 Ch.Navals De Lestrel 25m (83 ft,23 knots,1x20mm)
  • 5 Bremse class (22.6m,2x14.5mm HMGs)[6]
  • 11 Socomena class(20.5m,1x12.7mm HMG)
  • 4 Gabes class(12.9m,2x12.7mm HMGs)
  • 4 Rodman-38 class(11.6m)
  • 1 Barcelo class(36.2m,1x40mm Gun,1x20mm Gun,2x12.7mm HMGs)
  • 2 Vosper Thornycroft 103 ft class(27 knota,2x20mm Guns) - OUT OF SERVICE
  • 4 Tazarka class(with 2x20mm Guns)
  • 6 20meter long PCs

Landing craft[]

  • 1 LCT-3 class

Auxiliary vessels[]

  • 1 Robert Conard class 63.7m Survey vessel
  • 1 Wilkes class (T-AGS-33) 87m
  • 2 El Jem class Training ships
  • 1 Simeto class Tanker
  • 2 White Sumac 40.5m class
  • 1 AGS Salammbo class – OUT OF SERVICE
  • 2 WLM Tabarka class
  • 1 TRC Kheireddine class


  • MBDA MM-40 Exocet SSMs
  • Nord SS-12M SSMs (Obsolete, no longer in use)

ASW Torpedo[]

  • 25 MK-44

Naval bases[]

  • Bizerte
  • Kelibia
  • Sfax
  • Sousse
  • Tunis
  • La Goulette

Weapons of mass destruction[]

No known nuclear activity. Signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

No known chemical weapons activity. Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

No known biological weapons activity. Party to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).


External links[]

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