The Syrian Arab Air Force  القوات الجوية العربية السورية al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Arabiya as-Souriya - SAAF was formed in 1948

The largest  build-up was initiated during the reign of the late President Hafez Al Assad, (a former Commander of the Syrian Air Force) through acquisitions of former Soviet Union equipment, although mainly were primarily of low-grade export versions of combat aircraft subsequently resulting in heavy loses during combat engagements

Throughout the rest of the 1980s and into the 1990s Syria's Air Force experienced difficulties maintaining its airborne equipment  operational.

Due to the police nature of the current Syrian regime, little is know about the current modernization drive. However the Syrian Air Force is equipped with MiG-25s which are most likely going to be upgraded to the latest, acquired a number of second-hand MiG-29 'Fulcrum' aircraft with 20 plus were delivered in 2001-02, complementing about sixty delivered earlier (from 1987). Although more Russian deliveries were earlier rumored in  2011 but many do not see it forthcoming due to the political situation in the region.


Jane’s Sentinel Country Risk Assessments - Eastern Mediterranean Countries (dated: Dec 08, 2011)

Possess a substantial number of combat aircraft, but it remains unclear as to how many are actually operational. Many are approaching obsolescence and becoming increasingly difficult to maintain, which inevitably has an adverse effect on the force's capabilities. 

Commander of the Air Force: Major General Ahmad al-Ratyb
Air Force Personnel Strength: 30,000 plus 10,000 (reserve)
Inventory Summary:


  • Combat: 490 (total), 390 (in service)
  • Transport: 23 (total), 23 (in service)
  • Helicopters: 225 (total), 195 (in service)