Lesotho Defence Force

Lesotho Defence Force

Coats of arms of Lesotho
Active 1978-present
Country Lesotho
Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli
Aircraft flown
Helicopter Bell/Agusta-Bell 412, Bo 105
Trainer Cessna 182Q
Transport CASA C-212 Aviocar

The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) is the army and air force of Lesotho.

There is no conscription in Lesotho.

Of 400,457 (2005 est.) males age 18-49, the CIA estimates 162,857 are fit for military service.

Military expenditures: $32.3 million (2004) 2.3% (2004) of GDP.

The Lesotho Government in 1999 began an open debate on the future structure, size, and role of the armed forces, especially considering the Lesotho Defence Force's (LDF) history of intervening in political affairs. In 2001, under an agreement with India, an Indian Army Training Team (IATT) started training the LDF. By 2011, it is widely perceived that the LDF is well on its way to becoming a professional and apolitical force. Indeed, there has been no instance since the arrival of the IATT when the LDF has interfered with the political process. It also won approbation when, on 22 April 2009, its soldiers beat back a mercenary attack on the Prime Minister's residence. However, in August 2014 the army attempted a military coup.

The Security Advisers from India have been Brigadiers Jasbir Singh, Budhwar, Ranvir Yadav, Neeraj Bali (now a Maj Gen) and AK Das (also a Maj Gen now) . Currently Brigadier Birender Dhanoa is holding that charge.

The Force currently has a strength of approximately 3100. It has a fair representation of female soldiers. All commissioned officers have to first serve in the ranks for at least three years.

It is led by a three-star General, Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli, who, in 2014 became embroiled in what was considered to be a 'coup attempt'.

Lesotho Defence Force air wing

The Lesotho air wing was an originally a 1978 offshoot of the parliamentary police mobile unit began operations with two Shorts Skyvans twin turboprop STOL transports, a leased Cessna A152 Areobat, two MBB BO 105 helicopters and a Westland built Bell 47G converted to solely turboshaft power. Two Mil Mi-2 twin turbine helicopters were donated by Libya in 1983 but were retired by 1986.

Deliveries of one Bell and three Agusta-Bell AB 412 helicopters were delayed in 1983 to 1986 because of South Africa's influence. This changed when a 1986 military coup resulted in new security agreements with Pretoria being signed. In the mid-1980s the air wing was renamed the Lesotho Defence Force. In 1989 the skyvans were replaced by two CASA C. 212 light turboprop transports; one immediately crashed, requiring a third to be delivered in 1992. A fifth Bell 412 (an EP model) was delivered in May 1998 to replace one written off in January 1998.


Current inventory

Lesotho Defense Force Air Wing roundel
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
CASA C-212 Spain utility / transport 2[1]
Bell 206 United States trainer 1[1]
Bell 412 United States utility 3[1]
Bo 105 Germany utility / scout 1[1]
EC135 France / Germany utility 1[1]

Retired Aircraft


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "World Air Forces 2015 pg. 22". Flightglobal Insight. 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015.

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