Covering an area of almost 2.4 million square kilometers Algeria is one of the biggest countries in the world, with the population of around 40 million people. Population is mostly homogenous, around 99% of the nation indentifies itself as Arab-Berber (combining Islamic faith with North African Berber cultural identification). Algeria unlike some other North African countries hasn’t been destabilized with the Arab Spring, however certain security issues are becoming a major problem for the government.
Throughout the second part of the twentieth century the Algerian government had been actively supporting various anti-imperialist movements in the region and many leftist terrorist organizations in Europe as well. Algeria was a leading contributor for the African Liberation Committee whose objective was to coordinate and help African liberation movements. In the sixties the government provided training for more than a thousand guerilla fighters from Mozambique, Angola and South Africa. The country also provided security and safe refuge for members of Red Brigades, Baader-Meinhofand Black Panthers. This revolutionary, anti-imperialist also anti-capitalist attitude was sustained even after the end of the Cold war and was also implemented in the country’s armed forces.
Until the Arab Spring and the overall destabilization of the MENA region, Algiers had more or less stable relations with their neighbors. Traditional disputes over the borders with Morocco and geopolitical contest with the Libyans in northern Mali were petty issues in comparison to the problems which have risen after the Arab Spring. The collapse of the Libyan regime and evolving crisis in northern Mali combined with a massive proliferation of armed groups in the region are representing the most serious security threats for the Algerian nation. AQIM, Ansar al-Dine, GSPC, Islamic State and other groups are exploiting the situation in the region, including Algerian long and porous borders, to move and operate in the country. Preventing further terrorist activities will be the top priority of all Algerian security forces in the future.
The Algerian military has a long tradition that reaches back to the Roman ages and Berber tribesmen. Crisis, resistance and hardships throughout history had solidified the Algerian military prowess which is now manifested in the country’s armed forces. In 1954 the modern foundations of the Algerian armed forces was laid by the revolutionary leaders. The military was divided into six different regions which were later subdivided into zones, areas, etc. The armed forces consist of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The president is the supreme commander under the constitution and he is also responsible for national defense. High Security Council and the Council of Ministers are also involved in creation of the country’s defensive policy. Both of these governmental bodies are present when the president is deciding whether to declare state of emergency in cases of imminent danger to the country’s institutions, independence or territorial integrity.
Algeria is one of the leading proponents of the combined training in the region in order to counter terrorist activities and has built solid relations with other security forces in Maghreb and Sahel. Algeria also has one of the largest military forces in the region, made of 130,000 active and 150,000 reserve military personnel.
The Algerian Army
The Army represents the core of the Algerian armed forces with 110,000 active personnel and 150,000 reserves. The enlargement of the army happened in 1978 when the size almost doubled, main reason behind this was a dispute over Western Sahara with Morocco which could have easily escalated into an open conflict. The Army is divided across six military regions, each with its own HQ located in the principal city. The regions are: Military Region I (Blida), Military Region II (Oran), Military Region III (Bechar), Military Region IV (Ouargla), Military Region V (Constantine), Military Region VI (Tamanrasset). This regional military structure was adopted shortly after the country gained its independence. While regions Ouargla and Tamanrasset are crucial military points since they are located on the borders with Libya and Mali most of the military is usually deployed in the west of the country where most of the industry is located. The country has been following the Soviet doctrine since its independence and was quite reserved towards the Western military powers, however in recent times there has been a significant progress towards cooperation with other militaries (even with the US).
FORCES BY ROLE
2 armored divisions and 1 independent armored brigade
2 mechanized divisions and 3 independent mechanized brigades
2 independent motorized brigades
1 airborne division
EQUPEMENT OF THE ALGERIAN ARMY
MBT 1,195: 300 T-90S; 325 T-72; 300 T-62; 270 T-54/T55
RECCE 134: 44 AML-60; 26 BRDM-2; 64 BRDM-2M with 9M133 Kornet
AIFV 1,089: 100 BMP-3; 304 BMP-2M with 9M133 Kornet; 685 BMP-1
APC (W) 729: 250 BTR-60; 150 BTR-80; 150 OT-64; 55 M3 Panhard; 24 TPz-1 Fuchs; 100 Fahd
ARTY 1,091 ♦ SP 224: 122mm 140 2S1; 152mm 30 2S3; 155mm 54 PLZ-45 ♦ TOWED 393: 122mm 345 160 D-30; 25 D-74; 100 M-1931/37; 60 M-30; 130mm 10 M-46; 152mm 20 ML-20 M-1937; 155mm 18 Type-88 ♦ MRL 144: 122mm 48 BM-21; 140mm 48 BM-14/16; 240mm 30 BM-24; 300mm 18 9A52 Smerch ♦ MOR 330: 82mm 150 M-37; 120mm 120 M-1943; 160mm 60 M-1943
AT ♦ MSL ▪ MANPATS Milan: 9k135 Kornet-E; 9K115-2 Metis-M1; 9K11 Malyutka; 9K111 Fagot; 9K113 Konkurs ♦ RCL 180: 107mm 60 B-11; 82mm 120 B-10 ♦ GUNS 250: 57mm 160 ZIS-2 M-1943; 85mm 80 D-44; 100mm 10 T-12
AD ♦ SAM 288 ▪SP 132: 48 9K33M Osa; 20 9K31 Strela-1; 96K6 Pantsir-S1 ▪ MANPAD 9K32 Strela-2 ♦ GUNS 830 ▪ SP 225 ZSU-23-4 ▪ TOWED 605: 14.5mm 100: 60 ZPU-2; 40 ZPU-4; 23mm 100 ZU-23; 37mm 150 M-1939; 57mm 75 S-60; 85mm 20 M-1939 KS-12; 100mm 150 KS-19; 130mm 10 KS-30
The Algerian Navy
The Algerian Navy has around 6,000 personnel deployed in the north of the country on the Mediterranean coast. During the 80s the Navy went through a comprehensive modernization and enlargement. This modernization endeavor was mostly financed by the Soviet Union. This naval project was very important for the government in order to deal with the Libyan and Moroccan fleets in the Mediterranean, furthermore, it allowed the Algiers to project its naval power deeper into the Mediterranean. During the 90s the Algerian Navy slowly started to cooperate with the Western countries. Many high-ranking officers were or are undergoing advance training and education in various countries such are Russia, France and the US. Principal naval bases are located near Algiers, Mers el Kebir, Annaba.
EQUPEMENT OF THE ALEGIRAN NAVY
SUBMARINES ▪ TACTICAL ▪ SSK 4: 2 Kilo with 6 Single 553mm TT with Test-71ME HWT/3M54 Klub-S AShM; 2 improved Kilo with 6 single 533mm TT with Test-71ME HWT/3M54 Klub-S AShM
PRINCIPAL SURFACE COMBATANTS ▪ FRIGATES ▪ FF 3: 3 Mourad Rais with 2 twin 533mm TT, 2 RBU 6000 Smerch 2, 2 twin 76mm gun
PATROL AND COASTAL COMBATANTS 24 ♦ CORVETS6 :FGSM 3 RaisHamidou with up to 4 twin launchers with 3M24 Uran AShM, 1 twin launcher with 9M33 Osa-M SAM, 1 AK630 CIWS, 1 twin 57mm gun ♦ FSG 3 Djebel Chenoua with 2 twin launchers with C-802 AShM, 1 AK630 CIWS, 1 76mm gun ♦ PBFG 9 Osa II with 4 single launchers with P-15 Termit AShM ♦ PB 9 Kebir with 1 76mm gun
PRINCIPAL AMPHIBIOUS SHIPS ▪ LPD 1 Kalaat Beni Abbes with 1 16-cell A50 VLS with Aster-15 SAM, 1 76mm gun ♦ LS 3: LSM 1 Plnochny B with 1 twin AK230 CIWS; LST 2 Kalaatbeni Hammad with 1 medium helicopter landing platform
LOGISTICS AND SUPPORT 11 : AGS 1 El Idrissi; AX 1 Daxin with 2 twin AK230 CIWS, 1 76mm gun, 1 helicopter landing platform; YGS 2 Ras Tara; YPT 1 Pluchat I; YTB 6: 1 El Chadid; 1 Kader; 4 Mazafran
The Algerian Air Force
The Algerian Air Force is charged with guarding the country’s air space, providing support for ground troops, supplying military with transportation capabilities and airlift and also carrying out land and maritime reconnaissance. In the 90s the Air Force was augmented with more than 190 combat air craft and more than 50 helicopters. The Algerian Air Force is mostly using Soviet technology which required extensive training of the Algerian pilots. The pilots were regularly sent to Egypt, Syria or Russia to receive the needed training and specialization. The Air Force has around 14,000 active personnel with pilots having 150 flying hours per year.
FORCES BY ROLE
FIGHTER: 1 squadron with MiG-25DS/RU Foxbat; 4 squadrons with MiG-29C/UB Fulcrum
FIHTER/GROUND ATTACK: 2 squadrons with Su-24M/MK Fencer D; 3 squadrons with Su-30MKA Flanker
ELINT: 1 squadron with Beech 1900D
ISR: 1 squadron with Su-24MR Fencer; MiG-25RBSh Foxbat
TANKER: 1 squadron with Il-78 Midas
TRANSPORT: 1 squadron with C-130H/H-30 Hercules; 1 squadron with C-295M; 1 squadron with Gulfstream IV-SP; 1 squadron with Il-76MD/TD Candid
TRAINING: 2 squadrons with Z-142; 1 squadron with Yak-130 Mitten; 2 squadrons with L-39C/ZA Albatros; 1 helicopter squadron with PZL Mi-2 Hoplite
ATTACK HELICOPTER: 3 squadrons with Mi-24 Hind
TRANSPORT HELICPOTER: 1 squadron with AS355 Ecureuil; 5 squadrons with Mi-8 Hip; 1 squadron with Ka-27PS Helix
EQUPEMENT OF THE ALGERIAN AIR FORCE
120 combat capable Aircrafts
FTR 35: 12 MiG-25 Foxbat; 23 MiG-29C/UB Fulcrum
FGA 77: 44 Su-30MKA; 33 Su-24M/MK Fencer
ISR 8: 4 MiG-25RBSh Foxbat; 4 Su-24MR Fencer
TKR 6 Il-78 Midas
TPT 67: Heavy 12: 3 Il76MD Candid B; 9 Il76TD Candid; Medium 17: 9 C-130H Hercules; 6 C-130H-30 Hercules; 2 L-100-30; Light 32: 3 Beech C90B King Air; 5 Beech 200T King Air; 6 Beech 300 King Air; 12 Beech 1900D; 5 C-295M; 1 F-227 Friendship; PAX 6: 1 A340; 4 Gulfstream IV-SP; 1 Gulfstream
TRG 99: 36 L-39ZA Albatros; 7 L-39C Albatros; 16 Yak-130 Mitten; 40 Z-142
ATK 32 Mi-24 Hind
SAR 3 Ka-27PS Helix D
MRH 3 Bell 412EP
MRH/TPT 75 Mi-8 Hip
TPT 45: Medium 4 Ka-32T Helix; Light 41: 8 AS355 Ecureuil; 5 AW139; 28 PZL Mi-2 Hoplite
AD♦ SAM S-75 Dvina; S-125 Pechora-M; 2K12 Kvadrat; S-300PMU2 ▪ GUNS 725 100mm/130mm/85mm
MSL ♦ ASM Kh-25; Kh-29; Kh-23; Kh-31P/A; Kh-59ME ▪ ARM Kh-25MP ▪ AAM ♦ IR R-3; R-60; R-73; IR/SARH R-40/46; ARH R-77