Military of Tunisia
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|Military of Tunisia|
|Commander-in-Chief||Pres. Zine el Abidine Ben Ali|
|Minister of National Defense||Kamel Morjane|
|Percent of GDP||1.4%|
The Tunisian Armed Forces consist of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
As of 2002, Tunisia had an army of 27,000 personnel equipped with 84 main battle tanks and 54 light tanks. The navy numbered 4,500 operating 21 patrol boats and other craft. The air force had 3,500 personnel, 29 combat aircraft and 15 armed helicopters. Paramilitary forces consisted of a 12,000-member national guard. Tunisia has participated in peacekeeping efforts in the DROC and Ethiopia/Eritrea. Previous United Nations peacekeeping deployments for the Tunisian armed forces have included Cambodia (UNTAC), Namibia (UNTAG), Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi and the 1960s mission in the Congo, ONUC.
The modern Tunisian Army had its origins in the time of the French Protectorate (1881-1956). During this period, Tunisians were recruited in significant numbers into the French Army, serving as tirailleurs (infantry) and spahis (cavalry). These units saw active service in Europe during both World Wars, as well as in Indo-China prior to 1954. The only exclusively Tunisian military force permitted under French rule was the Beylical Guard.
The Tunisian National Army was established at the time of independence in 1956. It initially comprised about 1,300 officers and men transferred from the French Army, plus 850 former members of the Beylical Guard. Approximately 4,000 Tunisian soldiers continued in French Army service until 1958, when the majority joined the new Tunisian Army, which reached a strength of over 6,000 that year. The Tunisian Navy was created in 1959 and the Tunisian Air Force in 1960.
In 1960 Tunisian troops served with the United National Peacekeeping Force in the Congo. In 1961 clashes occurred with French forces based at Bizerte. Tunisian casualties numbered about 1,000, but the French evacuated the base after subsequent negotiations with the Tunisian Government.
Tunisia contributed with a company of UN peacekeepers in UNAMIR during the Rwandan Genocide. In his book Shake Hands with the Devil, Canadian force commander Roméo Dallaire gave the Tunisian soldiers high credit for their work and effort in the conflict and referred to them as his "ace in the hole".
Main Battle Tanks:
- 54x SK-105 Kürassier
Armored Personnel Carriers:
Infantry Fighting Vehicles:
- 100x M901 ITV (with TOW)
- 95x 81 mm
- 78x 107 mm 4.2 in
- 18x 120 mm Brandt
Anti-Tank Guided Missiles:
Air Defense Systems:
- ?x "Rasit"
- 3 Combattante III Fast Attack Craft - 425 tons full load - 8 MM40 Exocet - commissioned 1985
- 6 Type 143 Fast Attack Craft - 393 tons full load - 4 MM38 Exocet - 1976-77
Naval Craft:20 Meter patrol craft, with assistance from South Korea
No known nuclear activity. Signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
Chemical weapons and protective equipment
No known CW activities. Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)
No known BW activities. Party to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)
References and links
- The CIA World Factbook
- This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2006 edition".
External Link in Arabic,English,French