Ethiopia’s Defense

Ethiopia’s armed forces number a total of 138,000 active personnel (2018, IISS).

After Eritrea declared its independence in 1993, Ethiopia undertook a comprehensive demobilization and reorganization of the defense. The navy, which was originally built during the imperial era with the help of Norway, was wound up in 1996. The UN had a multinational force (UNMEE) standing in Ethiopia and Eritrea between 2000 and 2008 to monitor the implementation of the peace agreement between the two countries.


The army has a workforce of 135,000 active personnel. Heavy equipment includes about 461 tanks (about 246 T-54, T-55 and T-62, and 215 T-72), about 100 clearing vehicles, about 20 storm tanks, about 300 armored vehicles, and about 10 self-propelled artillery. In addition, the Army has heavy artillery, medium range anti-aircraft missiles and anti-aircraft artillery.

Ethiopia Army

Air Force

The Air Force has a workforce of 3000 active personnel. Material includes 11 fighter aircraft of the type Su-27, eight fighter of a MiG-23, 15 transport, 16 trainers, and 37 helicopters, 18 combat helicopters (15 Mi-24 and three Mi-35).

International operations

In 2018, Ethiopia participated in UN operations in Sudan with 1684 personnel and five observers (UNAMID), and 4368 personnel and 77 observers (UNISFA), and in South Sudan (UNMISS) with 2122 personnel and 17 observers.

In addition, Ethiopia participated in the African Union Operation in Somalia (AMISOM) with six infantry battalions (4,323 personnel).

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