Ivoirian Air Force (Force Aerienne de Cote d'Ivoire — FACI)

Ivoirian Air Force (Force Aerienne de Cote d'Ivoire—FACI) began as a military transportation and liaison service rather than a combat force. This mission was reflected in FACFs official name, Ivoirian Air Transport and Liaison (Groupement Aerien de Transport et de Liaison—GATL). Like FANCI, FACI was an independent service arm of the Ministry of Defense and Maritime Affairs. By 1988 Colonel Abdoulaye Coulibaly was the FACI commander, having assumed that post from a French officer in 1974.

FACI had only about 200 personnel through the 1970s. It then entered a period of expansion, reaching an estimated strength of 930 in the mid-1980s. Organizationally, FACI consisted of a headquarters staff with operational, technical, and general services sections and also various field activities and air bases. FACFs one small combat aircraft squadron consisted of six French Dassault-Breguet light attack/trainer Alpha Jets, obtained during 1980 and 1981. The squadron was stationed at the Bouake air base, which opened in December 1980. Some of FACFs original light transport planes, including three Fokker F-27s and four F-28s, were transferred in 1979 to the national airline, Air Ivoire, and several old transports (three C-47s, five MH-1521 Broussard light transports, and one Mystere 20) have been retired from service. In 1987, in addition to the Alpha Jets, FACFs aircraft consisted of twenty fixed-wing aircraft and eleven helicopters used for training, light transport, ferrying of dignitaries, and communications and utility missions. Pilots received training on French Aerospatiale Rallye 160 and Rallye 235 aircraft, two Reims Aviation/ Cessna 150Hs, and six Beech F33C Bonanzas.

FACI operated from a number of strategically situated air bases. Port Bouet near Abidjan was the main base for FACI, along with the First Military Region/FANCI Battalion, the paratroop company, and the air defense forces. Other major bases were in the southwest at Daloa (the headquarters of the Second Military Region/ FANCI Battalion) and in the populous central savanna at Bouake (site of the Third Military Region/FANCI Battalion), which included a heavy weapons battery, an antiaircraft artillery battalion, and the engineering battalion. Yamoussoukro, Sassandra, San-Pedro, Tabou, Man, Seguela, Odienne, and Korhogo also had airfields.

Rebels seized all of Côte d’Ivoire’s military aircraft when they took Bouaké in 2002, these planes (including notably four Alpha Jets for light combat and training) were in disrepair and were unusable, according to the November 2005 report of the UN Group of Experts on Côte d’Ivoire. Under UN Security Council resolution 1643 (2005) of 15 December 2005, the Council renewed for a second year until 15 December 2006 an embargo on arms and related material and the provision of assistance, advice and training, and financing, including from natural resources for military activities in Côte d’Ivoire.

By 2006 foreign technicians were assisting with the single Mi-24 combat helicopter. Without test flights the Mi-24 will rapidly lose value. A solution was to arrange for such tests in an open, transparent and accountable manner, approved by the UN Security Council Committee, so that no threat to peace and security is posed. The Group recommends that testing be restricted to a flight range over the airport, and that all technical work occur only under UNOCI observation. To ensure safety and airworthiness, foreign technicians could be exempted individually when appropriate and accommodated in one place, such as the Hotel Ivoire, where they can be easily located. Such a procedure has also been agreed upon for the munitions for the Mi-24, which should all be stored in one easily verifiable location. By 2010 The Forces nouvelles repeatedly raised with the technical assessment mission the ongoing repair of the national army’s MI-24 helicopter, which they said is an indication that the Government may be retaining the option of reunifying the country by force.

The FACI An-12 aircraft registered TU-VMA and its crew would present an embargo violation only if there was evidence of a direct military application. The An-12 crew lived in a residential house in Attoban, a district of Abidjan. The rent for the house was paid for by the Presidency of Côte d’Ivoire from May 2004 until March 2006. The technicians departed this house for another at the end of March owing to financial problems involving the payment of rent. Robert Montoya, a French national resident in Lomé, Togo, who worked as an agent for the Belarus state arms export company Belspetsvnechtechnika (BSVT) in West Africa, supplied a significant portion of the FACI military aircraft prior to the arms embargo through his company Darkwood Logistique. Darkwood Logistique is part of Montoya’s stable of companies such as RM Holdings Riga and Gypaële — Darkwood and RM Holdings Riga share the same fax number in Lomé, for example.

The Government of Côte d’Ivoire operated two IAR 330 Puma helicopters. One helicopter was purchased in a VIP configuration and is painted white (TU-VHI), while the second is painted in a green military camouflage pattern and is configured for search and rescue purposes (TUVHM). The Romanian company that sold these helicopters to the Government of Côte d’Ivoire produced documentation to the Group showing that the sale of these helicopters was for civilian use only. The use of the Puma helicopters, and especially TUVHM, as rapid reaction troop transports blurred the distinction between the intended civilian use and a more direct military role in transporting Government soldiers to flash points in Côte d’Ivoire.

The UN Group of Experts conducted an inspection of aircraft stored in Bouaké under Forces nouvelles control on 9 August 2006. The Group was able to inspect and photograph the aircraft. There were five Alpha Jets, characterized as "Repairs needed/ not operational". Of the six Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft on hand, four were characterized as "Repairs needed/ not operational", while two were "Airframe only". The Forces nouvelles informed the Group that a test had been conducted on both engines of the Cessna 421C in early 2006. The aircraft was not airworthy at this stage.

As of 2010 FACI had no flight-worthy aircraft since October 2008. The helicopter gunship MI-24, registered TU-VHO, did not seem to have moved from its place since the submission of the final report of the previous group of Experts (S/2009/521). The Antonov 12, registered TU-VMA, belongs in principle to FANCI, although it has been assigned in the past to civilian use. This aircraft remained grounded since November 11, 2007, due to a defect in its left engine. An officer of the FACI confirmed that the first test of the engine still in working order dated back to March 19, 2008. The IAR-330 helicopter registered TU-VHM, didn't seem to be flying. According to the officer of the FACI, the last flight of the aircraft was dated October 14, 2008, the arms embargo prevented the importation of the parts required for its maintenance.

On January 27, 2010, the UN group inspected the Bouaké airbase, which was controlled by the Forces nouvelles. The site was unused and abandoned. The Beechcraft Bonanza, Cessna 421, and Alpha Jets, were all in very poor condition and do not appear to have been moved or repaired for a long time. According to an officer of the FDS-FN present during the inspection, these devices have not flown since November 06, 2004, i.e. Since the French armed forces had destroyed the bulk of the air fleet of the FACI. The Group believed it will take a lot of resources to again State and that this expenditure is unfeasible. So it can be said that the aircraft will fly no more.

In January 2010, the UN group inspected the FACI in Yamoussoukro air base. No manned aircraft took off from the base since November 06, 2004, date on which the FACI has transferred all of its aircraft to fly at the base in Abidjan. The group inspected the unique device which is still at the base, an Aerospar drone. This unarmed unit is intended for aerial surveillance. He was met by Israeli military technicians, who left Côte d'Ivoire in November 2004. The drone is seemingly well maintained. The Group also inspected the mobile checkpoint that he also is kept in good condition. According to the FACI officer, the drone had flown until November 2006 but ever since, the embargo on weapons and related material which prevented its maintenance.

On March 15, 2010, the Group learned that the drone and the checkpoint were more at the base of Yamoussoukro. He asked UNOCI to Yamoussoukro military observers to inspect the base to verify the veracity of this information. However, FACI officials refused the base entry to the team on the grounds that she had not warned them of the inspection. The Group fears that the drone was transferred in the vicinity of Abidjan to be used for surveillance purposes. He recalled that one of its members had seen a drone of the same type, which did not belong to the impartial Forces (UNOCI and Licorne), fly over on February 14, 2010. Ivory Coast probably id not have technical resources to maintain and fly the drone, saw that she previously had to resort to using foreign technicians for this. The Group continued to seek to locate the drone.

The German company Helog AG rented four IAR-330 helicopters, which are registered DH - axis, DH - AXF, DH - AXR, and ST - returned, respectively, and stored and maintained near the airbase in Abidjan Ivorian authorities. Three of these helicopters are operational. ST - Returned and DH - AXR are reserved for the service of the President. DH - Axis and DH - AXF must be used for various operations, including training of pilots of Helog. A Helog AG representative informed the UN group in 2010 that the devices from the company are used exclusively for civilian purposes.

The Presidency of the Ivory Coast has three devices: a Fokker 100 registered TU-VAA, which was damaged by a rocket in 2007 attack. a Gulfstream 3 registered TU-VAF, which is being repaired in St. Louis in the State of Missouri (United States) since October 2009 (this unit didn't have been brought to Ivory Coast because maintenance costs were not paid); and a Gulfstream 4, registered TU-VAD, which is the only operational aircraft of the presidential fleet.

On February 18, 2010, the UN Group was informed by a confidential source in the presence of Robert Montoya in Abidjan. Mr. Montoya had in the past served as an intermediary in an arms sale Belarusian to Ivory Coast, in particular the Mi-24 and the Sukhoi sale that had been reported by the previous expert groups. According to reports in the press on March 4, 2010, M.Montoya led a Belarusian delegation, which included the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of agriculture and food, in Côte d'Ivoire. The group later learned that Mr. Montoya, a national french, was then accompanied by Mikhail Kapylou, Belarusian national.

These two men spend to have recruited foreign technicians who, before the end of 2006, had maintained and ensured the proper functioning of the helicopter Mi-24 registered TU-VHO. March 10, 2010, the Chief of staff of the FANCI sent to UNOCI and the Licorne Force a letter announcing the resumption of maintenance of the Mi-24. This work would have interrupted in 2006, the sanctions regime prevented the country to receive the help of foreign technicians and to import the necessary parts. Ivory Coast is not able to restore the Mi-24 technicians nor competent drivers. The Group believes that the Mi-24 can be repaired and flown by foreign technicians and that it will probably import necessary parts. Each of these activities would be a violation of the sanctions regime. At the time of writing of the present report, maintenance of the unit had not yet started. The Group remains vigilant, watching for any evidence of the presence of foreign technicians or importation of parts. He noted that the previous flights of the Mi-24, in 2005 and 2006, had effect of exacerbating tensions in Abidjan and to disrupt the security across the country.

Air Force

90 95 00 05 10 15 16 20 25 30
Personnel ,000 - - - - - - - - - -
Active -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Reserve -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Aircraft Source Inventory
Attack - - - - - - - - - -
Alpha Jet EU 6 -- 5 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Transport - - - - - - - - - -
Fokker 100 EU - -- 1 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Fokker F-28 EU 1 -- - - - - - - - -
Gulfstream IV USA -- -- 1 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Gulfstream III USA 1 1 1 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Gulfstream II USA 1 -- - - - - - - - -
Super King Air USA -- -- 1 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Cessna 421 USA -- -- 1 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Cessna 401 USA -- -- 1 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Trainer - - - - - - - - - -
Rallye 160/235 FR 2 -- - - - - - - - -
Cessna 150 Riems Aviation FR 2 -- - - - - - - - -
Beech F33C Bonanza USA 6 -- 4 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Helicopter 11 - 2 - - - - - - -
SA365 Dauphin FR + -- 1 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
SA330H Puma FR + -- 1 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
SA316B Alouette III FR + -- - - - - - - - -
SA313B Alouette II FR + -- - - - - - - - -

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