Ghana Air Force

Ghana Air Force

Ghana Air Force roundel
Founded 29 July 1959 – present
(57 years, 4 months)
Country  Ghana
Allegiance Constitution of Ghana
Type Air Force
Role Aerial warfare
Size 24 aircraft[1]
Part of Ghana Armed Forces
GHF HQ Burma Camp
Chief of the Air Staff Air Vice Marshall Maxwell Mantsebi-Tei Nagai
Aircraft flown
Trainer Hongdu K-8 Karakorum
Transport EADS CASA C-295
Fokker F28 Fellowship

The Ghana Air Force (GHF) is the aerial warfare organizational military branch of the Ghanaian Armed Forces (GAF). The GHF, along with the Ghanaian army (GA) and Ghanaian navy (GN), make up the Ghanaian Armed Forces (GAF) which are controlled by the Ghanaian Ministry of Defence (MoD).


The GHF (Ghana Air Force) started on 24 July 1959 as a Flying Training School with Israeli instructors and technicians. The School was established as a cradle of a service to complement the Army and the Navy. Later that year a headquarters was established in Accra under the command of Indian Air commodore Jaswant Singh who was appointed as the first Chief of Air Staff (CAS).[2] In 1960 Royal Air Force personnel took up the task of training the newly established Ghana Air Force and in 1961 they were joined by a small group of Royal Canadian Air Force personnel. In September 1961 as part of President Kwame Nkrumah's Africanization program, a Ghanaian CAS was appointed, with the first being J.E.S. de Graft-Hayford. Although born in the U.K. he was of Ghanaian descent. The Ghana Air Force was in the beginning equipped with a squadron of Chipmunk trainers, and squadrons of Beavers, Otters and Caribou transport aircraft. In addition a DH125 jet was bought for Kwame Nkrumah, Hughes helicopters were bought for mosquito spraying plus DH Doves and Herons. British-made Westland Whirlwind helicopters and a squadron of Italian-made MB-326 ground attack/trainer jets were also purchased. In 1962 the national school of gliding was set up by Hanna Reitsch, who was once Adolf Hitler's top personal pilot. Under the command of Air Commodore de Graft-Hayford, she served as director, operations instructor and trainer of the school. She also acted as the personal pilot of Kwame Nkrumah from 1962−1966.


The GHF headquarters and main transport base are located in Accra, close to Kotoka International Airport. Other GHF air bases include:

GHF Air Force Base, Sekondi-Takoradi, started as Ghana Air Force, Sekondi-Takoradi, on 1 March 1961. The Chipmunk Basic Trainer Aircraft was the first aircraft used at the Station with an all Rank Air Force Station.

The GHF Air Force Base, Accra, came into being soon after the Royal Air Force (RAF) had taken over the administration from the Indian and Israeli Air Force officers at the beginning of 1961. The station was housed at No 3 hangar at the Accra Airport (Kotoka International Airport) with hardly any aircraft. The Unit had four main sub-units, i.e. the Administration Wing, Flying Wing, Technical Wing and Equipment Wing. The School of Technical Training was also located at this station. The Station moved from No 3 hangar to its present location in Burma Camp towards the end of 1965.[2]


The role of the Ghana Air Force, as defined in the National Defense Policy, is to provide “Air Transport and Offensive Air Support to the Ghana Armed Forces and to protect the territorial air space of Ghana”. The National Defense Policy further states certain specific tasks, which the Ghana Air Force is expected to perform. These tasks are as follows:

The Ghana Air Force is also responsible for the co-ordination and direction of Search and Rescue (SAR) within the Accra Flight Information Region.[2]


Current inventory

A Ghanaian special forces team board a Mi-17 helicopter
Ghana’s Fokker F27 Friendship
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Embraer EMB 314 Brazil light attack / COIN 5 on order[3]
Diamond DA42 Austria surveillance 2[4]
CASA C-295 Spain utility / transport 2[4] 1 more to be delivered in January 2016.[5]
Fokker F27 Netherlands transport 1[4]
Mil Mi-17 Russia utility / transport Mi-17/171 7[4] 6 on order[4]
Mil Mi-35 Russia attack 1 on order as of January 2016.[5]
Bell 412 United States utility 1[4]
AgustaWestland A 109 Italy light utility 2[4]
Harbin Z-9 China utility Z-9EH[6] 4[7]
Trainer Aircraft
Hongdu K-8 China jet trainer 4[4]
Diamond DA42 Austria multi engine trainer 1[4]

Retired aircraft

A former Short SC.7 Skyvan from the GHF
Aircraft Origin Type In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Aermacchi MB-339 Italy light attack 4[8] In service from 1992 to 2014
Hawker Hunter United Kingdom Light attack 5 In service from 1958 to 1982
Hawker Hurricane United Kingdom Light attack 6 In service from 1958 to 1972
MiG-15 Soviet Union Fighter aircraft 4 In service from 1960 to 1988
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 Soviet Union Fighter aircraft 6 In service from 1961 to 1988
MiG-21 Soviet Union Interceptor 16 In service from 1970 to 2013
Su-7 Soviet Union Tactical Bomber 14 In service from 1963 to 1994
Su-22 Soviet Union Tactical Bomber 12 In service from 1980 to 2014
Short Skyvan United Kingdom transport 2[8] overhaul in 2004, later retired from service
Antonov An-12 Soviet Union Tactical Airlift 6 In service between 1962 and 2004
Antonov An-26 Soviet Union VIP Transport 2 In service from 1981 to 2015
BN-2T Islander United Kingdom transport 4[8] retired from service
Cessna 172 United Kingdom liaison / utility 3[8] retired from service
Aérospatiale Alouette III France light utility 5[8] retired from service
Bell 212 United Kingdom utility 2[8] placed in storage
Trainer Aircraft
Aero L-39ZO Czech Republic jet trainer 2[8] retired from service
HAL HT-2 India Basic Trainer 12 retired from service

Chiefs of Air Staff

The senior appointment in the GHF is the Chief of Air Staff. The following is a list of the Ghana Air Force Chiefs of Air Staff:[9]

Rank structure

Honor Guards with M-16s from GHF (Ghana Air Force)

The GHF's rank structure is similar to the RAF's rank structure from where its ranks were derived.


In descending order of importance the GHF officer ranks are:[14]


In descending order of importance the GHF airman ranks are:


  1. "World Air Forces 2014". Flightglobal Insight. 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 Ghana air force.
  3. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "World Air Forces 2015 pg. 16". Flightglobal Insight. 2015. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  5. 1 2 "Ghana to get Mi-35 helicopter | IHS Jane's 360". Retrieved 2016-01-06.
  6. "Prez Mahama commissions 4 Ghana Gas helicopters".
  7. "Prez Mahama commissions 4 Ghana Gas helicopters".
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "World Air Forces 2004 pg, 42". Flightglobal I. 2004. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  9. "Past Chiefs of Air Staff". Official website. Ghana Armed Forces. 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
  10. Military Air Vice-Marshal.
  11. "Immediate Past Chief of Air Staff - Ghana Air Force". Official website. Ghana Armed Forces. 22 April 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-11.
  12. "Chief of Air Staff - Ghana Air Force". Official website. Ghana Armed Forces. 21 May 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-11.
  13. "Chief of Air Staff - Ghana Air Force". Official website. Ghana Armed Forces. 31 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
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