African Air Forces (Prev. African Military Aviation)
Details: 298 x 210mm, 216 pp, 230 colour photos, 25 b/w photos
Reviewed By: Guy Ellis and Dean Wingrin
Previousy called African Military Aviation, this edition has been revised and enlarged enlarged, yet is still printed on good paper and sturdily bound. This publication is for the aviation enthusiast by an aviation enthusiast.
All the countries of Africa (from Algeria to Zimbabwe) are included in alphabetical order, covering both air forces and para-military organisations. Each section commences with some form of history of the force and then is brocken down into logical divisions, such as fighters, transports and helicopters. These sections follow the tried and tested listing of aircraft by serial, description, constructor's number, date into service, previous identity and subsequent fate. In fact, over 5 000 serials are listed. The cut-off date is given as 31 March 1999.
For what is essentially a 'numbers' book, this publication is well illustrated and includes plenty of colour photographs. In a departure from the first edition, lesser known air forces such as Biafra and Katanga, as well as the former South African homelands (Transkei, Boputhatswana, Venda and Ciskei) have been left out. The quantity of detail in the history of each air force varies, as can be expected from a continent shrouded in military secrecy, but the author has had help from numerous correspondents to fill in the gaps.
It was not the authors intention to produce a history of African air forces. The publication is designed for a specific market of aviation buffs who track planes and who wish to have easy reference to past and current airframe inventories. It is admirable that so much data was obtained during the SAAF's 'period of isolation', which indicates the amount of research and collation that was required to complete the manuscript.
I enjoyed paging through, picking up snippets of information and increasing my knowledge. In the short time I have had this book I have referred to it on numerous occasions, used it to cross reference data and believe that it is a valuable addition to my library.
298 x 210mm, 216 pp, 230 colour photos, 25 b/w photos