Little unknown Djibouti, a city state on the Horn of Africa became an administrative capital of the French territory in 1896. On 8 May 1977 the population of the so called French Somaliland voted for independence and the name got changed to the Republic of Djibouti. Djibouti is situated on the eastern coast of Africa between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and covers 23.000 square kilometer.
Djibouti Air Force
The Djibouti Air Force (Force Aerienne du Djibouti - official name in French) was formed after the independence of June 27 1977 as part of the Djibouti Army. First aircraft were three Nord N2501 Noratlas transport aircraft and an Allouette II helicopter presented by the French Government. Task of the Djibouti Air Force is to back the Army with transport and liaison duties. Although Djibouti was now independent, France was responsible for its air defence and this task was performed by Escadre de Chasse 3/10 from Creil with Mirage IIIC fighters.
In 1982 the Air Force was augmented by two Aerospatiale AS355F Ecureuil 2 helicopters and a Cessna U206G Stationair followed in 1985 by a Cessna 402C Utiliner. In 1985 the Allouette II was withdrawn from use and put on display at Ambouli Air Base as Djibouti's airport is called. Two years later the three N2501 Noratlas were also put aside and given back to France later. New equipment came in 1991 by means of a Cessna 208 Caravan followed by all the Russian types in the early nineties. They included four Mi-2, six Mi-8 and two Mi-17 helicopters and a single Antonov An-28 light transport aircraft. The Air Force has no units of its own and forms as a whole part of the Army and its sole base is Ambouli. Serials system of the Djibouti Air Force is in the civilian bracket of the J2-M.. range although most of the time only last two letters are carried.
Pilot training, if necessary, is conducted in France and continued on the type of flying at home, although demand for new pilots is low with only approximately 310 men in the Djiboutian Air Force. As of 2018, the Air Force had a strength of 360 personnel, and operated a small number of transport aircraft and helicopters.