The question about the strength and size of African countries’ military aircraft can theoretically be answered by the number of combat aircraft at the disposal of the country’s air force.
However, the 2023 statistics provided by Global Firepower and the World Directory of Military Aircraft in ranking countries’ armed air services do not only consider the quantity of aircraft but also their quality and general mix of inventory.
So, in terms of strength and size, here are the top 10 African countries with the largest military aircraft fleet.
Egypt has the largest combat aircraft in Africa.
Egypt has the largest military aircraft fleet in Africa, and arguably the most powerful on the continent.
The North African country currently has a total of 1,122 units in its active aircraft inventory. The country has 333 fighter jets and 318 helicopters in its fleet.
In terms of strength and size of military aircraft fleet, Algeria ranks second in Africa. [DW]
Founded in 1962, the Algerian Air Force has the second largest combat aircraft fleet in Africa with 541 total units in its active aircraft inventory.
In its fleet, Algeria has 125 fighter jets and 252 helicopters.
Angola has one of the best combat aircraft fleets in Africa.
With a total of 307 units of combat aircraft, Angola occupies the third position among African countries with significant military aircraft fleets.
The country ranks 55th in the world.
In terms of military aircraft fleet strength, Morocco ranks fourth in Africa with 244 total units in its active aircraft inventory.
Morocco’s combat aircraft fleet includes 83 fighter jets, 61 helicopters and two tankers.
The North African country also has over 13,500 personnel.
According to Global Firepower, South Africa has a total of 226 combat aircraft, while the statistics by the World Directory of Military Aircraft indicates that the country has 228 total units in its active aircraft inventory.
The fleet includes 17 fighter jets, 87 helicopters and 88 trainers.
With a total of 191 units of combat aircraft, Sudan is rated sixth in Africa by the Global Firepower.
The country also ranked 75 out of 145 countries considered for the 2023 rating.
Kenya has has 17 fighter jets and 79 helicopters.
Kenya currently counts 156 total units in its active aircraft inventory according to Global Firepower.
The data from the World Directory of Military Aircraft shows that the East African country has 17 fighter jets and 79 helicopters.
Tunisia ranks eighth in Africa with a total of 152 units of combat aircraft.
In the ranking by Global Firepower, the North African country is rated above Romania, Switzerland, Azerbaijan and Malaysia.
Nigeria has impressive collection of modern aircraft.
According to Military Factory, the Nigerian Air Force manages a relatively impressive collection of modern aircraft – mainly of Western origin.
The World Directory of Military Aircraft puts Nigeria’s active aircraft at a total of 138 units with 21 fighter jets, 29 helicopters and six Close Air Support (CAS) for warfare actions.
Libya ranks 80th in the world.
Rated ninth in Africa, Libya in its military aircraft fleet has 127 units of combat planes.
The Global Firepower rates the country 80th in the world out of 145 countries considered for the 2023 review.
Zambia’s military aircraft fleet is rated 89th in the world.
Zambia currently counts 98 units in its active combat aircraft inventory.
The country has 25 fighter jets and 25 helicopters in its military aircraft fleet.
Zambia’s military aircraft fleet is rated 89th in the world by Global Firepower.