Angola: November 23, 1999


The UNITA rebels in Angola have acquired six Mi-24 helicopter gunships and six MiG-23 fighters from Ukraine, possibly with Ukrainian pilots and mechanics. These are based at the former airfield at Luca, which South Africa once used to fly weapons to UNITA. While the government military forces have an extensive air defense arsenal, this has been neglected (deprived of manpower, maintenance, and training) for a decade since UNITA posed no air threat. The recent downing of a plane carrying weapons to UNITA had to be conducted by South African mercenaries since the Angolan government had no other way to bring the plane down.--Stephen V Cole


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