THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE ARMED FORCES (RSLAF) - AIRWING...
Chapter XI, Section 165 of the 1991 Constitution of the Republic of Sierra Leone, makes provision for the establishment of the Armed Forces of Sierra Leone, which shall consist of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. The Army and Navy were already in existence while the Air Force was yet to be established. The Air Wing was then given birth to, during the peak of the rebel incursion. This was precipitated on the urgent requirement by the Government of Sierra Leone to boost the effort of the much stretched Army and Navy, by providing fire power from an air platform as well as rapid response capability for the armed forces. Thus, the idea of establishing an Air Wing was borne as foundation from which it would be further developed into an Air Force in future. The Air Wing was actually ‘hatched’ in earlier days of 1995 and it has since been in existence despite several challenges confronting it survival.
The Air Wing is currently co-located at the Cockerill Barrack Wilkinson Road, Freetown with Headquarters Joint Force Command.
The present structure is depicted below:
ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITY OF THE AIRWING
In line with the Joint Force Command concept of operation, the Air Wing is to:
To Conduct Air Operations within the territorial waters and international borders in order to secure the territorial integrity of Sierra Leone.
The Air Wing has under-taken several combat and support operations in concert the other components of the RSLAF. Prominent among them were: the Operation BARRAS-Westside raid, Operation KAMBIE-border patrol between Sierra Leone and Liberia, MEDEVAC and CASEVAC Operations and various Relief–of–Troops such as: Operation TASSKONEH 1&2.
PREVIOUS AND PRESENT AIR PLATFOMS
Since the inception of the Air Wing, the following air assets have been operated in fulfillment of its defence mission:
FUTURE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE AIR WING
The endorsed air capability for RSLAF - Air Wing reviewed as at 2004 is 2 Attack Helicopter, 2 Support Helicopter and 2 Fixed Wing with personnel strength of 44 Officers and 100 airmen. This design is a model of small but very effective Air Force.
With this proposed capability, the Air Wing is expected to move to its permanent Air Base at Hastings Air Field, were the hanger and runway facilities will be used. It current location at Cockerill Barracks will remain as a rear Air Base.
(Quote him: Sqadron Leader Alie Mouh Kamara, B.Eng (Hons), MSLIE