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Madagascar: Forces Armées Populaires
Country Study > Chapter 6 > Strategic Considerations > Forces Armées Populaires


In 1993 the FAP numbered about 21,000. Madagascar's president is commander in chief of the FAP. There is no reserve force. Males aged eighteen to fifty are subject to conscription for eighteen months of military or civil service. The majority of conscripts belonged to the relatively poor côtiers because exceptions to the conscription law allow influential or prosperous persons to avoid military service. The officer corps remains a promising career for most Malagasy. The FAP is divided into two operational services, the army and the aeronaval forces. The former is responsible for land operations and ground-based air defense; however, its primary role has been to defend state institutions and the president from armed opposition. The latter conducts air, naval, and amphibious operations.

The 20,000-member army, which is deployed as a coastal and internal security force, consists of two battalion groups, one engineer regiment, one signals regiment, one service regiment, and seven construction regiments. There is no reserve force. Because Madagascar lacks an indigenous arms production industry, the army imports all its equipment. The army weapons system includes twelve PT-76 light tanks; eight M-8, twenty M-3A1, ten FV-701 Ferret, and 35 BRDM-2 reconnaissance vehicles; and thirty M-3A1 half-track armored personnel carriers. Additionally, the army possesses fifty 14.5-mm ZPU-4 and twenty 37-mm Type 55 air defence guns; and twelve 76-mm ZIS-3, twelve 122-mm, and an unknown number of 105-mm artillery pieces. The mortar inventory consists of eight 120-mm M-43, twenty-four 82-mm M-43, and some 81-mm M-29s. There also are an unknown number of 89-mm rocket launchers and 106-mm M-40A1 recoilless launchers.

The mission of the aeronaval forces' 500-personnel air component includes combat, transport, and maritime patrol duties. The air force maintains its headquarters at Ivato, near Antananarivo, and operates from bases at Antalaha, Antsohiky, Arivoniamamo, Diego Suarez, Fianarantsoa, Fort Dauphin, Majunga, Nosy Be, Tamatave, and Tuléar. The air force consists of one fighter squadron with ten MiG-21 Fishbed and four MiG-17 Fresco aircraft; a transport squadron that includes four An-26 Curl, two Yak-40 Codling, three BN-2 Defender, two C-47 Dakotas, and two C212 Aviocar aircraft; and a helicopter squadron with six Mi-8 Hip transport helicopters. Additionally, the air force possesses one Cessna 310, three Cessna 337, one PA-23 Aztec utility/communications aircraft, and four Cessna 172 trainer aircraft.

The 500-member Malagasy navy, which lacks a sea-going capability, performs a coastal patrol mission from bases at Diego Suarez, Tamatave, Fort Dauphin, Tuléar, and Majunga. The naval inventory consists of one Malaika (French type PR48-meter design) patrol boat; and one Toky (French BATRAM design), one LCT (French EDIC design), one LCA, and three LCVP amphibious craft.

Data as of August 1994

Last Updated: August 1994

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Madagascar was first published in 1994. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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Section 48 of 55


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