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  • Kapedani
    Rank 5 Registered User

    The Albanian AF and its future

    The Albanian Air Force has finally revealed what its plans and projects for the near future are, and what the force will look like in the future. The articles are in Albanian unfortunately, but can be found on the Albanian MoD website, www.mod.gov.al.

    Currently the AAF still operates the MiG-19s, MiG-15s and MiG-17s and CJ-6 trainers. The MiG-21s have been grounded this year and are planned to be withdrawn from service by 2006-2007. The same fate will be for the MiG-19s and MiG-15s. Only a small number of MiG-17 trainers (7 of them) will continue flying in the near future, providing training and flight hours for the existing pilots. Many of the CJ-6 trainers will also keep on flying. There are currently 4 An-2 tranpsorts on active duty and 8 more which are in reserve. These are to be grounded in the near future when a new transport becomes available. The Mi-4s were officially withdrawn in 2003, however 5 of them still fly regularly. These are to be grounded in the near future as well as new helicopters become available. The helicopter regiment at Farka now operates 7 AB-206s and 7 AB-205s as its main force. About a dozen more western helicopters and Mi-8 fly with various government and police agencies as well.

    For the future, the AAF plans the acquistion of many more new western helicopters, a new transport type, as well as a new western fighter aircraft. According to Director of Protocol of the MoD, Colonel Artur Sheiko, the future plans for a fighter wing are several. New fighter aircraft are not planned to be purchased until 2010. So far, several offers have been made and are still on the table as options. According to the MoD, Turkey has offered 26 F-5 fighters for a 10 year lease at the relativly low cost of $100 per month per aircraft. The aircraft are to be upgraded by Turkey to the latest standards of Turkish F-5s (which have begun upgrading recently), however the upgrade costs for these Albanian F-5s are to be taken from military aid that Turkey gives Albania (so Albania will in a way be paying for their upgrade). The second option that the MoD has been offered is from Germany, which has offered Alpha Jet aircraft. No other details are known about this offer. Holland has also offered fighter jets, with no other details given. Currently, Albanian pilots are in training in Turkey. One pilot, Ndrec Llusku, has already become certified in the F-5 as well has undertaken introductory training flights on Turkish F-16s. However, the MoD has not specified which of these plans, if any, will be chosen in the future. Rumor has it that China has also made several offers to the Albanian defense minister during his recent visit to China.

    On the transport aircraft side, the MoD has specified that it is working on a deal with a European firm for 3 medium transport aircraft of the class of the G-222.

    Regarding the helicopter regiment, the MoD has specified that it is planning to purchase 12 more new transport helicopters of the type AB-212. Furthermore, several helicopters specialized in SAR operations are planned to be purchased. According to the MoD, the helicopters into which it is looking at are the AB-412, AB-212, AS-532 and the NH-90. No decision has been made specifically which type will be selected.

    Furthermore, the MoD has specified that after 2006 attack helicopters will enter service with the AAF. It has not specified what type of attack helicopter will be purchased, but it is rumored to be TOW-armed MD-500s. Albanian pilots are undergoing training in Italy on this type.

    Furthermore, a Turkish and German firm are currently undergoing an upgrade and modernization of the aircraft factory at Kucova with the installation of a Bell helicopter line to produce parts for Bell helicopters both for Albanian needs and for other markets. Turkey is also currently undertaking the modernization of the Zadrima AFB to bring it up fully to NATO standards.

    A contract has also recently been signed with Locheed-Martin for the building of a new air-control system of radars and control centers in Albania and integrate these with NATO systems.

    As far as air defence, the AAF has specified the need for a new AAA to replace the 37mm, as well as a new SAM system to replace the Sa-2s...all of which will continue to be in use for several more years until a replacement is found.

    Some of this information, and others, can be found at the official web page of the AAF, http://www.air.mil.al/ (website is still being build)
  • flex297
    Senior Member

    #2
    I see several wise decisions here have been made... The F-5A offer seems pretty reasonable, as long as Albanians insist on having a fighter force. NH90 is a bit of a financial overkill, but otherway I have seen some pretty neat points

    BTW, I got one pic of Albanian Bell 222UL, is this one still active?
    Last edited by flex297; 6th April 2005, 09:58.

    Comment

    • jbritchford
      Rank 5 Registered User

      #3
      Albainian AF

      I don't see that Albania really has a requirement for a fighter force. They have no real strategic enemies, so the only reason to have fighters would be for counter-instugency or air policing from terrorists ( but how likely is that?). Why not just save on the fighers and buy a modern fleet of helicopters, transport planes and if need be some cheap air-ground capable planes (e.g. Alpha jets or Su-25s). I think this would suit Albania's needs much more effectively.
      "Quicquid agas age"

      Comment

      • flex297
        Senior Member

        #4
        Originally posted by jbritchford
        I don't see that Albania really has a requirement for a fighter force. They have no real strategic enemies, so the only reason to have fighters would be for counter-instugency or air policing from terrorists ( but how likely is that?). Why not just save on the fighers and buy a modern fleet of helicopters, transport planes and if need be some cheap air-ground capable planes (e.g. Alpha jets or Su-25s). I think this would suit Albania's needs much more effectively.
        Su-25s ain't that cheap to operate. And they would be definitely more expensive to get than the quoted $100/month/aircraft for F-5A.

        Alpha Jet is a maintenance nightmare, Germans knew why they had got rid of those just after 10 years of using.

        Comment

        • LIKA
          Rank 5 Registered User

          #5
          Keeping a decent fighter component in the structure of the future Albanian Air Force doesn't seem a realistic option due to budget constraints and other reasons as well. It will make much more sense to have some decent polyvalent helos and a couple of tactical transports. If the country wants to join NATO it will have to bring with something useful to the Alliance.

          Comment

          • Ja Worsley
            The last sane man a live!

            #6
            Didn't the AAF recently receive some B206's from some local air force (Italy I think)?

            IMHO the AAF might want to thjink first before commiting to any major plan, if they take the F-5's from Turkey, it will only be for a ten year period. What happens after that? Will Turkey then offer them F-16's for which pilots are being trained as mentioned?

            I think the Chinese deal is more likely, Albainia would be able to afford a small fleet of FC-1's and K-8's to replace those remaining Mig-17's

            As for Transports and Helos, China is also in a position to offer better products at cheaper prices (and by better I mean better than what they have in service at the moment). Y-8's, Y-14's and Y-12's could make up a good fleet of transports thrown in with some Z-9's and Chinese Mi-17's

            Putting it this way the Chinese offer the best deal, the Dutch would offer F-16's and Fokkers and the Germans would offer Mig-29's and UH-1's with some G-160's with maybe some Do-228's
            It's a good thing you are short, that way you don't have to live up to a high IQ!

            Comment

            • Aurel
              Rank 5 Registered User

              #7
              Putting it this way the Chinese offer the best deal, the Dutch would offer F-16's and Fokkers and the Germans would offer Mig-29's and UH-1's with some G-160's with maybe some Do-228's
              The C-160's got absolutely no life left in them. The MiG-29 are completely "sold" to Poland or given to a museum, the UH-1's are as old as the C-160's.
              I don't know how many Do-228 are left, but they are at least no scrap metal.

              And the Alpha Jet's where retired because they are unable to carry decent weapon load-outs. An update with Mavericks and (???) was planned, but after reunification these plans where dropped.

              Comment

              • Kapedani
                Rank 5 Registered User

                #8
                I don't think a lot of Chinese equipment will be purchased for the AAF since we are well on the way to integrating with NATO and facilities being upgraded for western types...so if the factory at Kucova has a Bell production line...we'll stick with those types for the near future. And I don't think MiG-29s and other such types are an option at all...most of them are too old and to costly to operate.

                However, Chinese equipment has already and will continue to come into service for the ground forces

                The AAF insits on having a fighter aircraft force in the future...but that won't happen for another 5 years. 26 F-5s does seem like a lot however...but I guess Turkey is eager to get rid of them.

                Anyone know how Turkish F-5s are to be upgraded...becasue that upgrade would also apply to these AAF F-5s. A 10 year lease on these is a good deal...they'll be in service from 2010 to 2020. By 2020, who knows what the plans are and what the situation is.

                The Bell-222 is still in service but is used for government agencies. Government agencies also use 4 SA-319s, 3 AS.350s and 1 Mi-8.

                Keeping a decent fighter component in the structure of the future Albanian Air Force doesn't seem a realistic option due to budget constraints and other reasons as well. It will make much more sense to have some decent polyvalent helos and a couple of tactical transports. If the country wants to join NATO it will have to bring with something useful to the Alliance.
                A fighter wing is feasable economically...or so says the MoD...with a lease of only $100 per aircraft per month, it comes down to a very small ammount needed to lease these planes. Much of the other money needed to support these will come from Turkey itself and from other NATO members which already give large ammounts of aid to the Albanian military. Furthermore, the budget is expected to raise to 2% of the GDP by 2010, which would be a considerable ammount. What Albania gives to the Alliance is a partner it can rely on 100%...as well as military airfields which can be used at will...which may not be the case with airfields in Greece for example.

                Comment

                • LIKA
                  Rank 5 Registered User

                  #9
                  With all the due respect those sound like tales from "Aero Disneyland". What money from Turkey and other Allies are you talking about? As they have nothing better to do but just modernise the Albanian Air Force and possibly give it all the things you are dreaming of?

                  Comment

                  • Kapedani
                    Rank 5 Registered User

                    #10
                    These are not tales I am dreaming off...as I said these are from articles from official publications of the MoD. Foreing military aid to Albania has ammounted to over 40 million dollars this year alone.

                    Comment

                    • fantasma_337
                      Citizen of the World

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Kapedani
                      I guess Turkey is eager to get rid of them.
                      Exactly. And don't think that 100$ is not without a catch... The Turkish F-5s that were not upgraded to F-5/2000 are old and with few hours left in their airframes. Avionics wise they are in the early 60s, not very modern at all... If however their SLEP and possible(?) avionics upgrade is undertaken by Turkish companies with Albanian money, then probably its a possibility... If you think German MiG-29's are costly, wait till you see what a fiscal year 1965 F-5 can cost...


                      as well as military airfields which can be used at will...which may not be the case with airfields in Greece for example.
                      Becoming a Yes-man all the time does not give you bargaining power, lowers your credibility, but then again after 45 years of Hoxha its understandable to move to the other extreme... BTW Aktion AB is a forward deployment base for E-3's while Souda is used 24/7 by the USN, USAF, RAF, RN, LW etc, especially in times of crisis were the amount of flying that goes on increases dramaticaly... Same goes for Incirlik...

                      Lika's view is more realistic, look for more helos and emphasis in training. Training means flying hours, flying hours mean lots of fuel and spare parts, spare parts mean qualified technicians and flowing logistics base. In 2 words people + money... Lots of them...
                      A.C.I.G. Team Member
                      http://acig.org
                      Unofficial HAF photos and profiles
                      http://hafcphotos.cs.net
                      "It is not the bravest men that fight best, but those who are strongest" (ARISTOTLE)

                      Comment

                      • Kapedani
                        Rank 5 Registered User

                        #12
                        The F-5s are to be upgraded, if they are going to be purchased. But again, that is just one of the offers available now...and the selection of which won't happen for another 5 years...so probably something totally different will be chosen then.

                        Secondly, our pilots are being trained in Turkey and Italy on new types...as well as with the help of the US in Albania itself (flight simulators have been installed at the AF academy). The helicopter pilots get plenty of flight time...they are very active in carrying out all sorts of missions...and most of them are former fighter pilots or helicopter pilots with many years of experience. The fighter force doesn't get as much however since the fighter wing is on its last leg now...and won't return to service until 5 years from now.

                        As for being a "yes man" and losing "credibility" or "bargaining power", thats the typical Greek view of things so I expected that. For us its not about being a "yes man" at all...but it is working and cooperating with valuable allies who have been good allies to us and who have done so much for us already (Kosova, aid to the army and so forth).















                        An-2 under repairs
















                        For further information on the AAF and the Albanian military in general, go to the old thread we had in this forum before: http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/sho...light=albanian

                        I have plenty of more photos...if anyone is interested I can post them here.
                        Last edited by Kapedani; 7th April 2005, 08:55.

                        Comment

                        • Anton
                          Member

                          #13
                          Yes please! post more pics! very interesting!

                          Comment

                          • Ja Worsley
                            The last sane man a live!

                            #14
                            There, those Bell 206's, those are the gift from Italy right??? In which case they'd be AB-206's right???
                            It's a good thing you are short, that way you don't have to live up to a high IQ!

                            Comment

                            • fantasma_337
                              Citizen of the World

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Kapedani
                              The F-5s are to be upgraded, if they are going to be purchased. But again, that is just one of the offers available now...and the selection of which won't happen for another 5 years...so probably something totally different will be chosen then.
                              This will mean that the F-5 that were not upgraded in F-5/2000 standard, will be +5 years in storage and their condition probably worst than what they are now... Again for a symbolic 100$ price you can bet that the upgrade will be undertaken by Turkish companies, would recquire hard cash and it will be significantly more than 100$...


                              Secondly, our pilots are being trained in Turkey and Italy on new types...as well as with the help of the US in Albania itself (flight simulators have been installed at the AF academy). The helicopter pilots get plenty of flight time...they are very active in carrying out all sorts of missions...and most of them are former fighter pilots or helicopter pilots with many years of experience. The fighter force doesn't get as much however since the fighter wing is on its last leg now...and won't return to service until 5 years from now.
                              Sending few pilots to other countries and logging simulator hours does not qualify for flight training. Former pilots that were not current to their types and flew for years the hours that other contries' pilots log in a month, are not the ideal material for a demanding flight schedule. In order to train pilots you need to start with cadets that are going to follow a rigorous and hard training, with lots of hours... Again this -except from the help of experienced instructor pilots- needs money, and you don't send them directly to fighters just for prestige reasons...


                              As for being a "yes man" and losing "credibility" or "bargaining power", thats the typical Greek view of things so I expected that. For us its not about being a "yes man" at all...but it is working and cooperating with valuable allies who have been good allies to us and who have done so much for us already (Kosova, aid to the army and so forth).
                              My friend, wanna ask the Turks their opinion about this type of 'alliance'...? What is 'typical' is the rather naive view that the willing submission to the tune of a superpower is a 'valuable' alliance for a country like Albania. There is no such thing as a free meal in the real world. The only thing that matters is realpolitik. Other countries had similar views 60 years ago and later found out the hard reality... Time for you to go through this maturing process now, so be sure to wear a helmet, you are entering a hazard zone...

                              BTW the 'typical' Greek view is the one of Democracy (Demos + Kratos) where the people has a saying to what the state will do and not vice versa... In a Democracy the people have the right do disagree with allies and superpowers and care little for freeloaders. Now try to be more friendly and don't use stereotypes, its not very helpful...
                              Last edited by fantasma_337; 7th April 2005, 21:49.
                              A.C.I.G. Team Member
                              http://acig.org
                              Unofficial HAF photos and profiles
                              http://hafcphotos.cs.net
                              "It is not the bravest men that fight best, but those who are strongest" (ARISTOTLE)

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                              • Guest's Avatar
                                Miroslav

                                #16
                                I think our shiptar neighbor is being overly optimistic.

                                I would like to see some proof that Albania is getting $40 million of military aid like you claim. More likely you are confusing military aid with ordinary aid that various organizations give to "immature democracies" to help them implement reform.

                                Now, about the Turkish F-5's, since no one has explained what exactly was upgraded on them and how capable they are, allow me:

                                The Turkish F-5 upgrade is called the F-5/2000 and is carried out by a Turkish company and IAI of Israel. The purpose of the upgrade was to make the F-5 a lead-in trainer (LIFT) for training Turkish F-16 pilots, since an ordinary F-5 from 1965 did not have a cockpit which even remotely resembled an F-16C cockpit.

                                This means that the F-5 upgrade included only things which would make it a better trainer, not anything that would actually make it a better fighter.

                                Turk F-5's have no radars. They do have a virtual radar which can be used to simulate BVR combat (like many advanced jet trainers, which is basically what this version of the F-5 is). The upgrade also added a MFD, a HUD, a new flight computer, and the engines were brought back to zero hours. The only big fighting capability increase it got was AIM-9M capability.

                                Regarding other suggestions such as someone saying Albania could afford a fleet of FC-1's and K-8's, please explain how many FC-1's a military budget of 56 million dollars will buy after you subtract soldiers' salaries and other costs. China will only accept hard cash. No, buying anything new is out of the question. Instead the Alb AF must depend on donations.

                                Comment

                                • LIKA
                                  Rank 5 Registered User

                                  #17
                                  This could have been an interesting thread about the air force of a small country in Europe that only in the last decade came out of long self imposed isolation and is facing now like other nations around the same logical dilemas and hard choices.

                                  it is really a pity that Kapedani spoiled it like he usually does in every thread by listing pseudopatriotic boostings and by thus drawing the usual comments from its neighbours. It is much better when he just post pictures.

                                  Comment

                                  • milavia
                                    Rank 5 Registered User

                                    #18
                                    I agree that most things said here are far too optimistic, based on the article by Polderman in AFM and the recent visit of my parents to the country.

                                    If they'd insist of having a fighter force, that's their choice, but if you look at near-by countries who have joined NATO and are modernizing their air forces, why would they need 26 fighters, while those countries seems to have a requirement of 12-14 fighter jets.

                                    I think that 40 million aid largely went into the construction of NATO's requirements. I believe NATO is planning a kind of "forward operating base". Which lead to the Lockheed contracts.

                                    Helicopters, utility/liasion aircraft and a few transports, are the way to go. Look at Slovenia and Iraq, that's how you start building a NATO/Western air force. I think it would be wise for the Albanians to follow the advise, get rid of the old Chinese equipment and forget about a fighter force or new Chinese aircraft for the moment. By the way, I was under the impression that the China connection was dead for the couple of decades. And I don't think the allies would allow their aid to leave the economic system.

                                    By the way, a few years ago, AFM published a photo of an Albanian Alouette III, gifted by some European nation (I forgot which). It was painted in overall red. Anyone have any idea what happened to it? I suppose it didn't go to the air force inventory.

                                    PS: needless to say I hope, most of those MiGs are Chinese-built copies.
                                    AirShow Schedules 2015

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                                    • Kapedani
                                      Rank 5 Registered User

                                      #19
                                      LOL...guys seriously take this elsewhere. Of course whenever a thread like this is opened anywhere...it will attract all the "desirable" elements from our neighbours...but seriouslly...I have ABSOLUTELY no desire or intention to talk about such pointless things with any of you. I will end this at this...no politics talk or lessons...period. I am trying to have a real discussion here...don't ruin it.

                                      Now back on track...

                                      There, those Bell 206's, those are the gift from Italy right??? In which case they'd be AB-206's right???
                                      Correct...those are AB-206s from Italy. Most of the helicopters are from Italy. The Bell-222 is from the US, the Alouette IIIs and the AS-350s are from France and the Mi-8 is from Bulgaria.

                                      This will mean that the F-5 that were not upgraded in F-5/2000 standard, will be +5 years in storage and their condition probably worst than what they are now... Again for a symbolic 100$ price you can bet that the upgrade will be undertaken by Turkish companies, would recquire hard cash and it will be significantly more than 100$...
                                      Again do not assume that this deal is going to happen. Most likely, things will be very different 5 years from now. The money to upgrade them will come out of the military aid that Turkey gives to Albania...which since 1998 has ammounted to over 80 million dollars (this does not count many other services Turkey provides for us, such as training for pilots, commandos and sailors and so forth). The problem is the MoD would much rather see that money in military aid in other forms rather than have to forego it by upgrading these F-5s. So I don't know how or when this upgrade would happen if this deal was chosen...but the F-5 deal is most likely NOT going to happen. The deal was rejected once before I think becasue the F-5s were not offered as upgraded...and then Turkey revised it to what it is today and this is now being considered. Either way, the requirement has been set forth for a fighter wing to be purchased by 2010...whatever those will be has nowhere near been determined.

                                      Sending few pilots to other countries and logging simulator hours does not qualify for flight training. Former pilots that were not current to their types and flew for years the hours that other contries' pilots log in a month, are not the ideal material for a demanding flight schedule. In order to train pilots you need to start with cadets that are going to follow a rigorous and hard training, with lots of hours... Again this -except from the help of experienced instructor pilots- needs money, and you don't send them directly to fighters just for prestige reasons...
                                      I don't think you are understanding this. The pilots send to Turkey are mostly new trainees. Other pilots have been trained under Italian supervision earlier during the operations of the Italian mission in Albania to train new pilots. Also, helicopter pilots are all trained in Italy. So this isn't a "few" pilots, its ALL the new pilots that are trained in foreign countries. The older pilots are also quite capable of handeling these "demanding" flight schedules...thats not a problem at all. And these are not being send to train on fighters simply for "prestige" reasons, but as I said based on the requirement of the AAF to have a fighter wing in the future. The training process, both in expertise and money is being helped out a lot by Italy and Turkey, so most of the issues you brought up are addressed.

                                      I would like to see some proof that Albania is getting $40 million of military aid like you claim. More likely you are confusing military aid with ordinary aid that various organizations give to "immature democracies" to help them implement reform.
                                      Thank you Miroslav for bringing up that observation...and I can assure you I am not confusing it with such aid It breaks down as the following in MILITARY aid: Italy 11 mil $, USA 8 mil $, Turkey 5 mil $, GB 4 mil $, Grecce 3 mil $ and 7 mil $ from other countries. These are from 2004.

                                      Regarding other suggestions such as someone saying Albania could afford a fleet of FC-1's and K-8's, please explain how many FC-1's a military budget of 56 million dollars will buy after you subtract soldiers' salaries and other costs. China will only accept hard cash. No, buying anything new is out of the question. Instead the Alb AF must depend on donations.
                                      FC-1 is not a suggestion anyone has made other than on this forum...so its not an option. China has indeed made several offers to Pandeli Majko, the Ministerof Defense, during his recent visit to China, but most of them were for for ground equipment for the army. China is very interested in renewing military links with Albania...and already plenty of purchases have been made there...including large numbers of HJ-8 ATGMs, engineering equipment and others. Fighters...it is rumored...were offered by China since Majko also visited Chinese fighter aircraft production facilities. However, no details are known of any of this.

                                      Furthermore, Albania's military budget is 139 million dollars, not 56. And yes we do rely on "donations", but we'r not short on those.

                                      it is really a pity that Kapedani spoiled it like he usually does in every thread by listing pseudopatriotic boostings and by thus drawing the usual comments from its neighbours. It is much better when he just post pictures.
                                      LOL...I am the one person here who hasn't said anything of the sort...but whatever. Here are some more pictures...hope you enjoy them:

                                      Bell-222


                                      Used by Ministry of Health as Medivac


                                      J-7A 0209


                                      0203


                                      0304


                                      0207










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                                      • Kapedani
                                        Rank 5 Registered User

                                        #20
                                        Row of MiG-15 trainers at Pish Poro AFB in Vlora






                                        Some of these are painted in camouflage patterns


















                                        Kids from the Aero Club "Eagle" next to some An-2












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