Ethiopian National Defense Force

Ethiopian National Defense Force
Service branches Ethiopian Army
Ethiopian Air Force
Ethiopian Navy (1955–96)
Commander-in-Chief Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali
Minister of Defence Motuma Mekassa
Chief of General Staff General Se'are Mekonnen
Military age 16-49 years old
Available for
military service
38,794,315, age 16–49 (2015)
Fit for
military service
24,757,344, age 16–49 (2015)
Reaching military
age annually
1,949,125 (2015)
Active personnel 382,500 (2015)[1]
Reserve personnel 0
Budget $3.1 billion[2]
Percent of GDP 0.8% (2015 est.)
Related articles
History Abyssinian–Adal war
British Expedition to Abyssinia
Ethiopian–Egyptian War
Mahdist War
First Italo-Ethiopian War
Second Italo-Ethiopian War
World War II
Korean War
United Nations Operation in the Congo
Eritrean War of Independence
1964 Ethiopian-Somali Border War
Ogaden War
1982 Ethiopian–Somali Border War
Ethiopian Civil War
Eritrean–Ethiopian War
War in Somalia (2006–09)
2007–08 Ethiopian crackdown in Ogaden
Ranks Military ranks of Ethiopia

The Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) is the military of Ethiopia. Civil direction of the military is carried out through the Ministry of Defense, which oversees the ground forces, air force, as well as the Defense Industry Sector. The current defense minister is Motuma Mekassa.[3]

The size of the ENDF has fluctuated significantly since the end of the Ethiopia-Eritrea war in 2000. In 2002 the Ethiopian Defense Forces had a strength of approximately 400,000 troops.[4] This was roughly the same number maintained during the Derg regime that fell to the rebel forces in 1991. However, that number was later reduced, and in January 2007, during the War in Somalia, Ethiopian forces were said to comprise about 300,000 troops.[5] In 2012, the IISS estimated that the ground forces had 135,000 personnel and the air force 3,000.[6]

As of 2012, the ENDF consists of two separate branches: the Ground Forces and the Ethiopian Air Force.[6] Ethiopia has several defence industrial organisations that produce and overhaul different weapons systems. Most of these were built under the Derg regime which planned a large military industrial complex. The ENDF relies on voluntary military service of people above 18 years of age. Although there is no compulsory military service, armed forces may conduct call-ups when necessary and compliance is compulsory.[7]

Being a landlocked country, Ethiopia today has no navy. Ethiopia reacquired a coastline on the Red Sea in 1950 and created the Ethiopian Navy in 1955. Eritrea's independence in 1991 left Ethiopia landlocked again, but the Ethiopian Navy continued to operate from foreign ports until it finally was disbanded in 1996.

History of the Army

The Ethiopian army's origins and military traditions date back to the earliest history of Ethiopia. Due to Ethiopia's location between the Middle East and Africa, it has long been in the middle of Eastern and Western politics, and has been subject to foreign invasion and aggression. In 1579, the Ottoman Empire's attempt to expand from a coastal base at Massawa was defeated. The Army of the Ethiopian Empire was also able to defeat the Egyptians in 1868 at Gura, led by Ethiopian Emperor Yohannes IV. Clapham wrote in the 1980s that the "Abyssinians [had suffered] from a 'superiority complex' which may be traced to Gundet, Gura and Adwa".[8]

In accordance with the order of the emperor of Ethiopia, Directly Nikolay Leontiev organized the first battalion of the regular Ethiopian army in February 1899. Leontiev formed the first regular battalion, the kernel of which became the company of volunteers from the former Senegal shooters, which he chose and invited from Western Africa, with training of the Russian and French officers. The first Ethiopian military orchestra was organized at the same time.[9][10]

Battle of Adwa

The Battle of Adowa is the best known victory of Ethiopian forces over invaders. It maintained Ethiopia's existence as an independent state. Fought on 1 March 1896 against the Kingdom of Italy near the town of Adwa, it was the decisive battle of the First Italo–Ethiopian War. Assisted by all of the major nobles of Ethiopia including, Negus, Tekle Haymanot of Gojjam, Sebhat Aregawi, Ras Makonnen, Ras Mengesha Yohannes, and Ras Mikael of Wollo, Emperor Menelek II of Ethiopia struck a powerful blow against the Italians.

The Ethiopian army had been able to execute the strategic plan of Menelik's headquarters, despite a feudal system of organization and adverse circumstances. A special role was played by the Russian military advisers and the volunteers of Leontiev's mission.[11][12][13] The first problem was the quality of its arms, as the Italian and British colonial authorities were able to sabotage the transportation of 60,000 to 100,000 modern Berdan rifles from Russia into landlocked Ethiopia.[14]

Secondly, the Ethiopian army was based on a feudal system of organization, and as a result, nearly the entire army was a peasant militia. Russian military experts advising Menelik II suggested trying to achieve full battle collision with Italians, to neutralize the superior firepower of their opponent and potentially nullify their problems with arms, training, and organization, rather than engaging in a campaign of harassment.[15] In the battle that ensued wave upon wave of Menelik's warriors successfully attacked the Italians.

Boundary confrontation against the British colonialists 18961899

After the successful colonial capture of the Sudan, Kenya and Uganda, the British expansion against Ethiopia became a real danger, which diminished only after the start of the Second Boer War in 1899. The Ethiopian army became more effective against British colonial forces. The numerous expeditions of Ethiopian forces stopped colonial expansion. As the Russian Alexander Bulatovich, one of the Russian military advisers and a participant in the expedition of the legendary army of Ras Wolde Giyorgis, wrote:

"Many consider the Abyssinian army to be undisciplined. They think that it is not in any condition to withstand a serious fight with a well-organized European army, claiming that the recent war with Italy doesn't prove anything. I will not begin to guess the future, and will say only this. Over the course of four months, I watched this army closely. It is unique in the world. And I can bear witness to the fact that it is not quite so chaotic as it seems at first glance, and that on the contrary, it is profoundly disciplined, though in its own unique way. For every Abyssinian, war is normal business, and military skills and rules of army life in the field enter in the flesh and blood of each of them, just as do the main principles of tactics. On the march, each soldier knows how to arrange necessary comforts for himself and to conserve his strength; but on the other hand, when necessary, he shows such endurance and is capable of action in conditions which are difficult even to imagine.

You see remarkable expediency in all the actions and skills of this army; and each soldier has an amazingly intelligent attitude toward managing the mission of the battle.

Despite such qualities, because of its impetuousness, it is much more difficult to control this army than a well-drilled European army, and I can only marvel at and admire the skill of its leaders and chiefs, of which there is no shortage."[15]

In obedience to the agreement with Russia and the order of Menelik II, First Ethiopian officers began to be trained at the First Russian cadet school in 1901. 30 to 40 Ethiopian officers were trained in Russia from 1901 until 1913.

Under Haile Selassie I

Modernization of the army took place under the regency of Tafari Mekonnen, who later reigned as Emperor Haile Selassie I. He created an Imperial Bodyguard, the Kebur Zabagna, in 1917 from the earlier Mahal Safari who had traditionally attended the Ethiopian Emperor. Its elite were trained at the French military academy at Saint-Cyr or by Belgian military advisers. He also created his own military school at Holeta in January 1935.[16]

Ethiopian military aviation efforts were initiated in 1929, when Tafari Mekonnen hired two French pilots and purchased four French biplanes.[17] By the time of the Italian invasion of 1935, the air force had four pilots and thirteen aircraft.

However, these efforts were not sufficient nor instituted in enough time to stop the rising tide of Italian fascism. Ethiopia lost its independence in the Italian invasion of Ethiopia of 1935-36, marked for the first time Ethiopia was colonized by a foreign power. The country regained its independence after the 1941 East African Campaign of World War II with the intervention of forces from the British Commonwealth of Nations. After the Italians had been driven from the country, a British Military Mission to Ethiopia, under Major General Stephen Butler, was established to reorganise the Ethiopian Army.[18] The Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement of 1944 removed the BMME from the jurisdiction of East Africa Command at Nairobi and made it responsible to the Ethiopian Minister of War.[19]

Ethiopia bought twenty AH-IV tankettes in the late 1940s. They arrived in Djibouti on 9 May 1950 after which they were carried by rail to Addis Ababa. They were used until the 1980s when they participated in the fighting against Somalia.[20]

Korean War

In keeping with the principle of collective security, for which Haile Selassie was an outspoken proponent, Ethiopia sent a contingent under General Mulugeta Buli, known as the Kagnew Battalion, to take part in the Korean War. It was attached to the American 7th Infantry Division, and fought in a number of engagements including the Battle of Pork Chop Hill.[21] 3,518 Ethiopian troops served in the war, where 121 were killed and 536 wounded during the Korean War.[22]

On May 22, 1953, a U.S.-Ethiopian Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement was signed. A U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group was dispatched to Ethiopia, and began its work by reorganising the army into three divisions. On 25 September 1953, Selassie created the Imperial Ministry of National Defence that unified the Army, Air Force, and Navy.[23] The First, Second, and Third Divisions were established with their headquarters at Addis Ababa, Asmara, and Harar, respectively.[24] By 1956, the three divisions had a total of 16,832 troops. In May 1959, he established the Imperial Territorial Army as a reserve force that provided military training to civil servants.

In 1960 the U.S. Army Area Handbook for Ethiopia described the very personalised command arrangements then used by the Emperor:[25]

The Emperor is by constitutional provision Commander-in-Chief, and to him are reserved all rights respecting the size of the forces and their organisation and command, together with the power to appoint, promote, transfer and dismiss military officers. He seeks the advice and consent of Parliament in declaring war. Traditionally, he assumes personal command of the forces in time of war.'

The Office of the Chief of Staff of the Imperial Ethiopian Armed Forces directed the Commanders of the Army, Air Force, and Navy, and the three army divisions were directly responsible to the Commander of the Army.[26] The three divisions seemingly included the Third Division in the Ogaden, seen as a hardship post.[27] While technically the Imperial Bodyguard (Kebur Zabagna) was responsible to the Army Commander, in reality its commander received his orders directly from the Emperor.

Balambaras Abebe Aregai was one of the noted patriotic resistance leaders of Shoa (central Ethiopia) that rose to preeminence in the post-liberation period.[28] He became Ras, a general and minister of defence of the Imperial Ethiopian Armed Forces until his death in the 1960 Ethiopian coup attempt.

Ethiopia contributed troops for the United Nations operation in the Congo – the United Nations Operation in the Congo - from July 1960. By 20 July 1960, 3,500 troops for ONUC had arrived in the Congo.[29] The 3,500 consisted of 460 troops from Ethiopia (later to grow into the Tekil Brigade)[30] as well as troops from Ghana, Morocco and Tunisia. Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie raised some 3,000 Imperial Bodyguard personnel- about 10 percent of the Ethiopian army’s entire strength at that time-and made it part of the UN peacekeeping force in the Congo, along with an air force squadron.[31] This volunteer battalion from the Imperial Bodyguard were authorized by the Emperor. The Tekil (or “Tekel”) Brigade was stationed in Stanleyville.

Aman Mikael Andom commanded the Third Division during the Ogaden War of 1964. He later became chief of staff of the Armed Forces in July 1974, and then Minister of Defence.[32] He then became chairman of the Derg from September to December 1974.

Emperor Haile Selassie divided the Ethiopian military into separate commands. The US Army Handbook for Ethiopia notes that each service was provided with training and equipped from different foreign countries "to assure reliability and retention of power."[33] The military consisted of the following: Imperial Bodyguard (also known as the "First Division", 8,000 men); three army divisions; services which included the Airborne, Engineers, and Signal Corps; the Territorial Army (5,000 men); and the police (28,000 men).[33]

Among reported U.S. equipment deliveries to Ethiopia were 120 M59 and 39 M75 armoured personnel carriers.

By July 1975 the International Institute for Strategic Studies was listing a mechanised division in addition to three infantry divisions,(IISS 75-76, p. 42) and it appears that there were five divisions active by the time of the 1977 Ogaden War. With significant Soviet assistance, after that point force sizes grew rapidly.

Seizure of power by the Derg 1974 and aftermath

The Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territorial Army, or the Derg (Amharic "Committee"), was officially announced 28 June 1974 by a group of military officers to maintain law and order due to the powerlessness of the civilian government following widespread mutiny in the armed forces of Ethiopia earlier that year. Its members were not directly involved in those mutinies, nor was this the first military committee organized to support the administration of Prime Minister Endelkachew Makonnen: Alem Zewde Tessema had established the Armed Forces Coordinated Committee 23 March. However, over the following months radicals in the Ethiopian military came to believe he was acting on behalf of the hated aristocracy, and when a group of notables petitioned for the release of a number of government ministers and officials who were under arrest for corruption and other crimes, three days later the Derg was announced.[34]

The Derg, which originally consisted of soldiers at the capital, broadened its membership by including representatives from the 40 units of the Ethiopian Army, Air Force, Navy, Kebur Zabagna (Imperial Guard), Territorial Army and Police: each unit was expected to send three representatives, who were supposed to be privates, NCOs and junior officers up to the rank of major. According to Bahru Zewde, "senior officers were deemed too compromised by close association to the regime."[35]

The committee elected Major Mengistu Haile Mariam as its chairman and Major Atnafu Abate as its vice-chairman. The Derg was initially supposed to study the grievances of various military units, and investigate abuses by senior officers and staff, and to root out corruption in the military. In the months following its founding, the power of the Derg steadily increased. In July 1974 the Derg obtained key concessions from the Emperor, Haile Selassie, which included the power to arrest not only military officers, but government officials at every level. Soon both former Prime Ministers Tsehafi Taezaz Aklilu Habte-Wold, and Endelkachew Makonnen, along with most of their cabinets, most regional governors, many senior military officers and officials of the Imperial court found themselves imprisoned.

When the Derg gained control of Ethiopia, they lessened their reliance on the West. Instead they began to draw their equipment and their sources for organisational and training methods from the Soviet Union and other Comecon countries, especially Cuba. During this period, Ethiopian forces were often locked in counter-insurgency campaigns against various guerrilla groups. They honed both conventional and guerrilla tactics during campaigns in Eritrea, and the Ethiopian Civil War that toppled Ethiopian former military dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991 and also by repelling an invasion launched by Somalia in the 1977–1978 Ogaden War.[36]

The Ethiopian army grew considerably under the Derg (1974–1987), and the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia under Mengistu (1987–1991), especially during the latter regime. Gebru Tareke describes the organization of the Ethiopian military in early 1990, a year before Mengistu fled the country:

Ethiopian ground forces comprised four revolutionary armies organized as task forces, eleven corps, twenty-four infantry divisions, and four mountain divisions, reinforced by five mechanised divisions, two airborne divisions, and ninety-five brigades, including four mechanised brigades, three artillery brigades, four tank brigades, twelve special commando and paracommando brigades  including the Spartakiad, which became operational in 1987 under the preparation and guidance of North Koreans  seven BM-rocket battalions, and ten brigades of paramilitary forces.[37]

Estimated forces under arms increased dramatically:[38]

  • 1974: 41,000 (Ethiopian Revolution)
  • 1977: 53,500 (Ogaden War)
  • 1979: 65,000
  • 1991: 230,000 (overthrow of Mengistu)

Cuba provided a significant influx of military advisors and troops over this period, with the largest escalation during the Ogaden War with Somalia, supported by a Soviet airlift:[39]

  • 1977–1978: 17,000 (Ogaden War)
  • 1978: 12,000
  • 1984: 3,000
  • 1989: All forces withdrawn

1991 Order of Battle

By 1991, the Ethiopian army under the Mengistu government had grown in size, but the regime was overcome by the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ, former EPLF), Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and other opposition factions during a decades-long civil war. Mengistu's People's Militia had also grown to about 200,000 members. The mechanized forces of the army comprised 1,200 T-54/55, 100 T-62 tanks, and 1,100 armored personnel carriers (APCs), but readiness was estimated to be only about 30 percent operational, because of the withdrawal of financial support, lack of maintenance expertise and parts from the Soviet Union, Cuba and other nations.[38]

The army commands consisted of the following:

  • First Revolutionary Army (headquartered at Harar)
  • Second Revolutionary Army (headquartered at Asmera)
  • Third Revolutionary Army (headquartered at Kombolcha)
  • Fourth Revolutionary Army (headquartered at Nekemte)
  • Fifth Revolutionary Army (headquartered at Gondar)

To these armies were assigned the operational forces of the army, comprising:

From 1991

After the defeat of the military government in 1991, the provisional government disbanded the former national army and relied on its own guerrilla fighters for national security.[40] In 1993, however, the Tigrayan-led government announced plans to create a multi-ethnic defence force. This process entailed the creation of a new professional army and officer class and the demobilization of many of the irregulars who had fought against the military government. With the collapse of the Soviet Union Ethiopia again turned to the Western powers for alliance and assistance. However, many Tigrayan officers remained in command positions. This transformation was still underway when war with Eritrea broke out in 1998, a development that saw the ranks of the armed forces swell along with defense expenditures.

Although the armed forces have significant battlefield experience, their militia orientation has complicated the transition to a structured, integrated military.[40] Ranks and conventional units were only adopted in 1996. A United States-assisted effort to restructure the armed forces was interrupted by mobilisation for the war with Eritrea.

The Ethiopia-Eritrea war

The former allies EPRDF and PFDJ (former EPLF) led their countries Ethiopia and Eritrea, respectively, into the Eritrean-Ethiopian War of 1998. The war was fought over the disputed region of Badme. During the course of the war, some commanders and pilots from the former army and air force were recalled to duty. These officers helped turn the tide decisively against Eritrea in 2000. Following the war's end, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, a body founded by the UN, established that the Badme region had in fact belonged to Eritrea.[41] Although the two countries are now at peace, Ethiopia rejected the results of the international court's decision, and continued to occupy Badme. Most observers agree that Ethiopia's rejection of international law, coupled with the high numbers of soldiers maintained on the border by each side  a debilitatingly high number, particularly for the Eritrean side  means that the two countries are effectively still in conflict.

After the September 11 attacks in 2001, the Ethiopian army began to train with the U.S. Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) established in Djibouti. Ethiopia allowed the US to station military advisors at Camp Hurso.[42] Part of the training at Camp Hurso has included U.S. Army elements, including 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry, training the 12th, 13th and 14th Division Reconnaissance Companies, which from July 2003 were being formed into a new Ethiopian anti-terrorism battalion.[43]


Ethiopian troops helped drive the Islamic Courts Union out of Mogadishu in Somalia. In December 2006, the ENDF entered Somalia to confront the Islamic Courts Union, initially winning the Battle of Baidoa. This led to the seizure of Mogadishu by Ethiopian troops and TFG militias, and subsequent heavy fighting there. After the Islamists split into two groups, moderate Islamists led by Sheikh Ahmed signed a UN backed peace deal with the TFG and established a larger government in Mogadishu. Ethiopian troops withdrew as part of the terms of the peace deal. Government forces have been engaged in battle against Ogaden insurgents led by the Ogaden National Liberation Front.

Gabre Heard commanded the forces in Somalia. As of 2014, the Ethiopian troops in Somalia are being integrated into the AMISOM peacekeeping force. According to Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ambassador Dina Mufti, the Ethiopian military's decision to join AMISOM is intended to render the peacekeeping operation more secure.[44] Analysts also suggested that the move was primarily motivated by financial considerations, with the Ethiopian forces' operational costs now slated to be under AMISOM's allowance budget. It is believed that the Ethiopian military's long experience in Somali territory, its equipment such as helicopters, and the potential for closer coordination will help the allied forces advance their territorial gains.[45]


Ethiopia has served in various United Nations and African Union peacekeeping missions. These have included Ivory Coast,[46][47] on the Burundi border,[46][48] and in Rwanda.

Two major Ethiopian missions are in Liberia and Darfur. The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) was established by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1509, of 19 September 2003, to support the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the peace process, protect United Nations staff, facilities and civilians, support humanitarian and human rights activities; as well as assist in national security reform, including national police training and formation of a new, restructured military.[49] In November 2007, nearly 1,800 Ethiopian troops serving with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) were presented with UN Peacekeeping medals for their "invaluable contribution to the peace process."[50] Up to three Ethiopian battalions used to constitute Sector 4 of the UN Mission, covering the southern part of the country.

Many thousands of Ethiopian peacekeepers are involved in the joint African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur, western Sudan. The Security Council authorized a UNAMID force of about 26,000 uniformed personnel.[51][52]

Ethiopia also provides the entire force for the UN's Abyei mission, the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei. An Ethiopian officer commands the force.

Ground forces

The International Institute for Strategic Studies estimated in the Military Balance 2009 that the army comprised 4 Military Regional Commands; (Northern (HQ Mekele.[53]), Western, Central, and Eastern) each acting as corps HQ,[54] there also being a Support Command and a strategic reserve of four divisions and six specialist brigades centred on Addis Ababa.

Each of the four corps comprises a headquarters, an estimated one mechanised division and between 4-6 infantry divisions.

In 2014 the regional commanders were listed by dissident sources as:

  • Central Command, Major General Yohannes Woldegiorgis
  • Northern Command, Major General Gebrat Ayele
  • Western Command, Major General Birhanu Julla
  • Eastern Command, Major General Abraha Woldemariam[55]

The modern ENDF has a wide mix of equipment. Many of its major weapons systems stem from the Communist era and are of Soviet and Eastern bloc design. The United States was Ethiopia's major arms supplier from the end of the Second World War until 1977, when Ethiopia began receiving massive arms shipments from the Soviet Union.[56] These shipments, including armored patrol boats, transport and jet fighter aircraft, helicopters, tanks, trucks, missiles, artillery, and small arms have incurred an unserviced Ethiopian debt to the former Soviet Union estimated at more than $3.5 billion.

Ethiopia made significant purchases of arms from Russia in late 1999 and early 2000 before the May 2000 United Nations arms embargo went into effect.[40] It is likely that much of that equipment suffered battle damage in the war with Eritrea. Thus, raw numbers alone will probably overstate the capacity of the ENDF.

Infantry weapons

Name Type Origins Notes
MakarovSemi-automatic pistol Soviet Union[57]
Beretta Model 38Sub-machine gun Italy[57]
UZISub-machine gun Israel[57]
AK-103Assault rifle Russia
The Gafat Armament Engineering Complex produces the AK-103 rifle in Ethiopia. Supplements the AKM and AK-47 in the Ethiopian Armed Forces.[58]
AK-47Assault rifle Russia
AKMAssault rifle Soviet Union100,000+[57][58]
BM59Assault rifle Italy[57]
G3Assault rifle Germany[59]
Vz. 58Assault rifle Czechoslovakia[57]
RP-46 "Degtyaryov"Light machine gun Soviet Union[57]
RPDLight machine gun Soviet Union[57]
RPKLight machine gun Soviet Union[57]
DShKHeavy machine gun Soviet Union[57]
PSL (rifle)Designated marksman rifle RomaniaWas used by Ethiopian soldier training with an American 10th Mountain Division counterpart.[60]

Tanks and armored fighting vehicles

The Military Balance 2012 estimated that about 450 BRDM, BMP, BTR-60, BTR-152, and Type 89 armoured fighting vehicles and armoured personnel carriers were in service.[6]

A total of 1,270 T-55 - 900 from  Soviet Union, +40 from Belarus, +190 from Bulgaria, +50 from  East Germany, +90 from  Ukraine and 260 T-54 (200 from the USSR and 60 from East Germany may have been in service over the years. Up to 150 M113 armoured personnel carriers may have been delivered from the United States.

Name Type Origins Notes
T-72Main battle tank Soviet Union\  Ukraine300+[61] delivered. 200+ from Ukraine, 60 were bought from Ukraine and some were in service from Soviet Union
T-62, T-54/55Main battle tank Soviet Union
ASU-57Assault gun Soviet Unionseveral dozen received in 1977
BTS-5BArmored recovery vehicle Ukraine4 Ex-Ukrainian; BTS-5B version; possibly modernized before delivery[62]
BMP-1Infantry fighting vehicle Soviet Union80[63] received. These vehicles were ordered in 1977 from Soviet Union and delivered between 1977 and 1978.[62] Current condition unknown.
YW-534/ Type-89Armored personnel carrier China10 delivered in 2013[62]
WZ-523/ Type-05IFV China20 delivered in 2013[62]


Name Type Quantity Origins Notes
Type-88\WA-021155mm self-propelled howitzer18 China
M-109|M-109A1155mm self propelled howitzer 17 America
Type-63107mm MRLS25 China
BM-21 Grad122mm MRLs158 Soviet Union
2S19 Msta152mm SPH12 Russia[6]
2S5152mm SPH10 Russia\ Soviet Union
2S1 Gvozdika122mm SPH10+ Soviet Union[6]
D-20152mm towed howitzer20 Soviet Union
M-46130mm towed gun+ Russia\ Soviet Union\ Kazakhstan138 delivered
D-30122mm towed howitzer250 Russia\ Soviet Union\ Kazakhstan640 delivered
M-30122mm towed howitzer100 Soviet Union250 Delivered
M101105mm towed howitzer? United States52 Delivered status unknown
Oto Melara Pack M-56105mm towed howitzer? Italy4-40 delivered
T-12 2A19100mm gun+ Soviet Union50 Delivered
D-4485mm gun? Soviet UnionStatus unknown
ZIS-3 M-194376mm gun? Soviet Union
M11675mm Pack howitzer? United States36 Delivered stastus Unknown
M-43120mm heavy mortar100 + Soviet Union
QF-2525PDR 87.6mm towed gun\howitzerreported United Kingdomout of service
M30107mm heavy mortar+ United States146 Delivered
M2107mm heavy mortar+ United States140 Delivered
M-4382mm medium mortar+ Soviet Union
M29\M-29A181mm medium mortar+ United States
M181mm medium mortar+ United States
M1960mm light mortar+ United States

Air defence & Anti-tank weapons

16 M55 Quad quadruple anti-aircraft machine guns may have been in service from the US. M163 Vulcan self-propelled anti-aircraft guns may have been ordered but never delivered.

Name Type Quantity Origins Notes
HQ-64 / LY-60Medium-range SAM1[62] China
Kolchuga passive sensorpassive radio detection radar station3[64] Ukraine
ZSU-23-4 "Shilka"Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun60[65] Soviet Union
ZSU-57-2Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun10[66] Soviet Union10 ordered in 1977 from Soviet Union and delivered in 1978 (the vehicles were previously in Soviet service).
SA-3 GoaSAM25(x4) Launchers\900 missiles Soviet UnionS-125 Neva\Pechoca
SA-2 GuidelineSAM18 Launchers Soviet UnionS-75 Dvina
SA-6 GainfulSP-SAM Soviet Union2K12 Kub[67]
SA-4 GanefSP-SAM Soviet Union2K11 Krug
SA-9 GaskinSP-SAM Soviet Union9K31 Strela-1[68]
KombatLaser guided Anti-Tank Missile250 Ukraine1250 ordered from Ukraine in 2011 for T-72 tanks[62]
SA-7/SA-7BMANPAD Soviet Union[6]
M-193937mm towed AAG Soviet Union
S-6057mm towed AAG Soviet Union
ZPU14.5mm x2\4 towed AAG Soviet Union
Son-9fire control radar20 Soviet Union
Oerlikon-S20mm AAGout of service  Swiss
Bofors M3640mm AAGout of service Sweden\ United States50 Delivered
BGM71-A\C TOWATGM Launcher22 Launchers\600 missiles United States
AT-14 Kornet-EATGM Launcher80 reported Russia
AT-6 SpiralATGM Launcher10 Soviet Union9K114 Shturm
AT-4 SpigotATGM Launcher50 Soviet Union9K-111 Fagot
AT-3 SaggerATGM1,000 missiles Soviet Union9K-11 Malyutka, for BMP-1 & BRDM-2
Nord SS-11ATGM4 Launchers France
RPG-7\RPG-7VLight ATRLs Soviet Union\ Ethiopia
RPG-18Light ATRLs Russia
M72 LAWLight ATRLs United StatesStatus Unknown
M79GL1,009 Delivered United States
B-11RCL 107mm Soviet Union
M40A1CRCL 105\6mm United States
B-1082mm RCL Soviet Union
QLZ-8735×32 mm AGL China

Logistics and support vehicles

Name Type Quantity Origins Notes
HMMWVArmored multi-purpose vehicle???? United StatesUnknown quantity delivered.[69]
ZiLtruck+ Soviet Union
Uraltruck+ Soviet Union
PTS-MAmphibious transporter+ Soviet Union
Reo M35truck+ United States
Gaz-63truck+ Soviet Union
Gaz-3308truck+ Russia
UAZ-469utility+ Soviet Union
M37Light truck+ United States
Toyota Land Cruiserutility+ Japan
Mercedes Benztruck+ Germany
Ford M151A1\2jeep+ United States
Willys Jeepjeep+ United States
MTU-55AVLB+ Soviet Union
T-55 ARVRecovery tank+ Soviet Union

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website

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References and further reading

  • Fantahun Ayele, "The Ethiopian Army: from Victory to Collapse 1977-91,' Evanston, Northwestern University Press, 2014
  • George Lipsky, U.S. Army Area Handbook for Ethiopia, American University, Washington DC, U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1964, Second Edition.

Sources on defence in Ethiopia include Jeffrey Isima, Report on the current position with regard to the security sector in Ethiopia, 2003; SSR in Ethiopia, A Prerequisite for Democracy; a note indicating British supported SSDAT/DfID/FCO/MOD defence transformation in Ethiopia in Bendix and Stanley 2008; and Adejumobi and Binega, Budgeting for the Military Sector in Africa, Ch. 3; Nathan 2007 on DDR Commission.

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