Tanzania Air Force Command

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Tanzania Air Force Command
Kamandi ya Jeshi la Anga
Roundel of Tanzania.svg
Tanzania Air Force roundel
Active 1964-present
Country  Tanzania
Branch Air Force
Part of Tanzania People's Defence Force
Engagements Uganda–Tanzania War
Commander Maj. Gen. George William Ingram
Aircraft flown
Fighter F-7, F-5, F-6, MiG-21MF and MiG-21U
Helicopter Bell 206
Trainer K-8
Transport Y-8, Y-12

The Tanzania Air Force Command is the national air force of Tanzania.[1]The current Commander of the Tanzania Air Force Command is Major General William Ingram, who replaced Major General Joseph Kapwani upon the latter's retirement in January 2016. During a visit to Zimbabwe in March 2014, Kapwani commended Zimbabweans for 'remaining resolute and firmly safeguarding the country's sovereignty despite the suffering brought on by illegal Western sanctions.' He made the remarks when he paid a courtesy call on Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perence Shiri at AFZ headquarters in Harare on 12 March 2014. General Kapwani, who was then the chair of the SADC Standing Aviation Committee, said he was in Zimbabwe to share experiences and strengthen relations.

A few of the Tanzanian air wing's transport remain serviceable. However, its Shenyang F-5s, and Chengdu F-7s are reported to fly only on rare occasions because of airworthiness problems. 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 Air Force Command 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 air base, 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]

On 14 November 2013, Helmoed-Römer Heitman reported for Jane's Defence Weekly that a 'usually reliable source' had informed Jane's that the TPDF had replaced its 12 old CAC J-7 fighters with 14 new J-7s, twelve single-seat and two dual-seat. Deliveries were completed in 2011. Heitman also reported that the aircraft were fully operational at Dar es Salaam and Mwanza air bases.

Recent estimates (2014) suggest that Tanzania's air force command operates 32 aircraft in 3 different types. It is believed they are operating 14 fighters, 11 fixed-wing attack aircraft and 7 transport aircraft. On October 1, 2015 a K-8 trainer jet of Tanzania Air Force Command crashed into the sea killing both pilots.


Current inventory

A Bell 205 of the Tanzania air force command
A line of Tanzanian Mig-21s.
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Shenyang F-7 People's Republic of China fighter 12[2] licensed built MiG-21
Mig-21MF USSR fighter ?
Mig-21U USSR Fighter ?
Seabird Seeker Jordan surveillance 1[3]
Antonov An-28 Poland transport 1[2]
DHC-5 Buffalo Canada transport 4[2]
Shaanxi Y-8 China transport 2[2]
Y-12 China transport 2[2]
Bell 412 United States utility 1[2]
Trainer Aircraft
Shenyang J-5 People's Republic of China fighter FT-5 1[2]
Chengdu J-7 People's Republic of China jet trainer FT-7 2[2]
Hongdu JL-8 China jet trainer K-8 6[2]



  1. ^ "TPDF Air Wing" (PDF). air-britain.com. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "World Air Forces 2015 pg. 30". Flightglobal Insight. 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Tanzania operating Seabird Seeker". Air Forces Monthly. Key Publishing: 26. March 2015. 

External links

  • Shenyang J-6
  • Images of Operation Maliza Matata September 2014
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