The Tunisian Armed Forces consist of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
As of 2008, Tunisia had an army of 27,000 personnel equipped with 84 main battle tanks and 48 light tanks. The navy numbered 4,800 operating 25 patrol boats and 6 other craft. The air force had 4,000 personnel, 27 combat aircraft and 43 helicopters. Paramilitary forces consisted of a 12,000-member national guard. Tunisia has participated in peacekeeping efforts in the DROC and Ethiopia/Eritrea. Previous United Nations peacekeeping deployments for the Tunisian armed forces have included Cambodia (UNTAC), Namibia (UNTAG), Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi and the 1960s mission in the Congo, ONUC.
The modern Tunisian Army had its origins in the time of the French Protectorate (1881-1956). During this period, Tunisians were recruited in significant numbers into the French Army, serving as tirailleurs (infantry) and spahis (cavalry). These units saw active service in Europe during both World Wars, as well as in Indo-China prior to 1954. The only exclusively Tunisian military force permitted under French rule was the Beylical Guard.
The Tunisian National Army was established in 1956, at the time of independence. It initially comprised about 1,300 officers and men transferred from French Army service, plus 850 former members of the Beylical Guard. Approximately 4,000 Tunisian soldiers continued in French Army service until 1958, when the majority transferred to the Tunisian Army, which reached a strength of over 6,000 that year. The Tunisian Navy was created in 1959 and the Tunisian Air Force in 1960.
In 1960 Tunisian troops served with the United National Peacekeeping Force in the Congo. In 1961 clashes occurred with French forces based at Bizerte. The French evacuated the base after subsequent negotiations with the Tunisian Government.
Tunisia has contributed military forces to United Nations peacekeeping missions, including an army company to UNAMIR during the Rwandan Genocide. In his book Shake Hands with the Devil, Canadian force commander Roméo Dallaire gave the Tunisian soldiers high credit for their work and effort in the conflict and referred to them as his "ace in the hole".
Main Battle Tanks:
Armored Personnel Carriers:
Infantry Fighting Vehicles:
Anti-Tank Guided Missiles:
Air Defense Systems:
- 3 Combattante III Fast Attack Craft - 425 tons full load - 8 MM40 Exocet - commissioned 1985
- 6 Type 143 Fast Attack Craft - 393 tons full load - 4 MM38 Exocet - 1976-77
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