Armed Forces of Gabon

Armed Forces of Gabon
Gabonese Coat of arms.svg
Coat of arms of Gabon
Founded 1960
Service branches Army[1]
Air Force
Headquarters Libreville
Commander in Chief Ali Bongo Ondimba
Minister of National Defence Etienne Massard Kabinda Makaga
Chief of Staff Jean Claude Ella-Ekogha
Military age 20 years of age[1]
Active personnel 5,000 (2017)
Budget $81.52 million (FY17)
Percent of GDP 0.55% (FY17)
Foreign suppliers  France
 United States
Related articles
History 1964 Gabonese coup d'état
Central African Republic Civil War (2012–present)
2019 Gabonese coup d'état attempt
Ranks Military ranks of Gabon

The Armed Forces of Gabon (French: Forces armées gabonaises) is the national professional military of the Republic of Gabon, divided into the Army, Air Force, Navy, and a National Gendarmerie, consisting of about 5,000 personnel. Gabonese forces are oriented to the defense of the country and have not been trained for an offensive role. The armed forces includes a well-trained, well-equipped 1,800-member guard that provides security for the President of Gabon.

Organizational Structure


A row of uniformed men stand in formation, with guns at shoulders
Military members from the Armed Forces of Gabon stand in formation during the opening day ceremony for the June 2016 Central Accord Exercise in Libreville, Gabon

The Gabonese Army (Armée de terre gabonaise) is the land component of the armed forces, specializing in infantry and mechanized reconnaissance. It was created on December 6, 1960 by decree of president Leon Mba from non-commissioned officers who served in the French colonial army, mainly the 2nd company of the 21st BIMA. Following independence, Gabon signed defense agreements with France, mainly on technical assistance and training. Until June 1964, the title of Chief of Staff of the Gabonese Armed Forces was held by a senior French Army officer. In 1962 a detachment of the Auxiliary Women of the Gabonese Armed Forces (AFFAG), commanded by Lieutenant Ba Oumar at the military camp of Owendo, was created. President Mba promoted the initiative following a visit to Tel Aviv, Israel, where he met female staff in its Defense Forces.

  • Republican Guard Battalion (Libreville)
      • 1 Light Armoured recon unit
    • 83 Infantry companies
      • 1 Artillery battery
    • 1 AirDefence battery
  • Airborne Regiment
    • 1 Command company
    • 1 Recon & Support company
    • 3 Airborne companies
  • 1 Light Armoured Recon Battalion
    • 2 Armoured squads
    • 1 Command & Logistics company
  • Support Command Regiment
    • 1 Artillery battery
    • 1 Mortar battery
    • 1 MRLS battery (8 Teruel MRL)
    • 1 Engineer company
    • Logistic units
  • 7 Military Regions
    • 7 Motorised infantry battalions (1 battalion for each region)

Air Force

  • Fighter Squadron 1-02 Leyou at BA02 Franceville with:
    • Mirage F-1AZ
    • MB-326M Impala I
  • Heavy Transport Squadron at BA01 Libreville with:
    • C-130 Hercules
    • CN-235
  • Ministerial Air Liaison Group (Groupe de Liaison Aérien Ministériel or GLAM) at BA01 Libreville with:
    • 1 Falcon-900EX
    • 1 Gulfstream-III


The Gabonese Navy uses a P400-class patrol vessel similar to this one

The Gabonese Navy (Marine Nationale du Gabon) is the official maritime branch of the armed forces. It was created in December 1960 as part of the army, and only became an independent entity in 1983. The navy's core purpose is to monitor the country's coastal waters, including 800 km of coastline.[2]

National Gendarmerie

The National Gendarmerie of Gabon (Gendarmerie nationale gabonaise) is the national police force of Gabon responsible for law enforcement in the country. It was formed on March 10, 1960 when Gabon, formerly French Equatorial Africa, gained its independence from France. It originated from Libreville Gendarmerie Detachment 1929, which was commanded by Governor General of French Equatorial Africa, Félix Eboue. The main tasks of the gendarmerie are to defend the country's borders, ensure public safety, and to enforce actions taken by judicial and government authorities. The National Gendarmerie is under the direct command of the President of Gabon.[3][4][5]

The following is a list heads of the National Gendarmerie since 1964:

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Piette (1964 - 1967)
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Maitrier (1967 - 1969)
  • General Nkoma Georges (1969 - 1979)
  • General Nzong André (1979 - 1990)
  • General Mamiaka Raphael (1990 - 1994)
  • General Doumbeneny Jean Pierre (1994 - 2002)
  • General Olery Honoré (2002 - 2008)
  • General Sougou Abel (2008 - 2012)
  • General Ekou Jean (since 2012)

The Gendarmerie is also in charge of the Republican Guard (Garde républicaine, GR).[6]


Small Arms

A FAMAS similar to this one is used by Gabon


Current inventory

A Gabonses ATR-42 on approach
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Mirage F1 France fighter 6[10]
Mirage 5 France fighter Mirage 5G 3[11]
ATR 42 France VIP 1[12]
CASA CN-235 Spain / Indonesia transport 1[10]
C-130 Hercules United States transport C-130H 1[10]
Alouette III France light utility 2[10]
SA342 Gazelle France scout / attack 3[10]
Eurocopter AS332 France transport 1[10]
Aérospatiale SA 330 France transpot / utility 5[10]
Eurocopter EC135 France utility 2[10]
Eurocopter EC120 France light utility 2[10]

Retired aircraft

Previous aircraft operated by the Air Force consisted of the CM.170 Magister, C-130H Hercules, Embraer EMB 110, Fokker F28, Aérospatiale N 262, Reims C.337, and the Alouette II helicopter.[13][14]

Naval Equipment

Vessel Origin Type In service Notes
Kership France offshore patrol 1 on order[15]
P400 France coastal patrol 3[16]
BATRAL France landing craft 1[16] 2 ordered, only one received


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  12. ^ "ATR42 Gabon TR-KJD". Archived from the original on 4 June 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  13. ^ "World Air Forces 1987 pg. 56". Archived from the original on 17 December 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  14. ^ "World Military Helicopter Markey 1971 pg. 577". Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-07. Retrieved 2014-11-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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