War of Intervention in Angola

Volume 3 - Angolan and Cuban Air Forces, 1975-1989

Adrien Fontanellaz, José Matos, Tom Cooper

War of Intervention in Angola, Volume 3 covers the air warfare during the II Angolan War - fought 1975-1992 - through narrating the emergence and operational history of the Angolan Air Force and Air Defence Force (FAPA/DAA) as told by Angolan and Cuban sources.
Date Published :
November 2020
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Illustration :
81 b/w photos, 8 b/w & 1 color maps, 23 color profiles, 11 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781913118617
Pages : 72
Dimensions : 11.75 X 8.25 inches
Stock Status : Available


War of Intervention in Angola, Volume 3 covers the air warfare during the II Angolan War – fought 1975-1992 – through narrating the emergence and operational history of the Angolan Air Force and Air Defence Force (FAPA/DAA) as told by Angolan and Cuban sources.

Most accounts of this conflict – better known in the West as the ‘Border War’ or the ‘Bush War’, as named by its South African participants – tend to find the operations by the FAPA/DAA barely worth mentioning. A handful of published histories mention two of its MiG-21s claimed as shot down by Dassault Mirage F.1 interceptors of the South African Air Force (SAAF) in 1981 and 1982, and at least something about the activities of its MiG-23 interceptors during the battles of the 1987-1988 period.

On the contrary, the story told by Angolan and Cuban sources not only reveals an entirely different image of the air war over Angola of the 1980s: indeed, it reveals to what degree this conflict was dictated by the availability – or the lack of – air power and shows that precisely this issue dictated the way that the commanders of the Cuban contingents deployed to the country – whether as advisors or as combat troops – planned and conducted their operations.

It is thus little surprising that the first contingent of Cuban troops deployed to Angola during Operation Carlota, in late 1975, included a sizeable group of pilots and ground personnel who subsequently helped build-up the FAPA/DAA from virtually nothing. They continued that work over the following 14 years - sometimes in cooperation of Soviet advisors and others from East European countries – eventually establishing an air force that by 1988 maintained what South African military intelligence and the media subsequently described as the ‘most advanced air defence system in Africa’. Not only the air defence system in question, but also the aircraft serving as its extended arms, ultimately managed a unique feat in contemporary military history: they enabled an air force equipped with Soviet-made aircraft and trained along the Soviet doctrine to establish at least a semblance of aerial superiority over an air force equipped with Western-made aircraft and operating under a Western doctrine.

Based on extensive research with help of Angolan and Cuban sources, the ‘War of Intervention in Angola, Volume 3’, traces the military build-up of the FAPA/DAA in the period 1975-1992, its capabilities and its intentions. Moreover, it provides a unique, blow-by-blow account of its combat operations and experiences.

The volume is illustrated with 100 rare photographs, half a dozen maps and 15 colour profiles, thus providing a unique source of reference on this topic.

About The Author

Adrien Fontanellaz, from Switzerland, is a military history researcher and author. He developed a passion for military history at an early age and has progressively narrowed his studies to modern-day conflicts. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Pully-based Centre d’histoire et de prospective militaries (Military History and Prospectives Center), and regularly contributes for the Revue Militaire Suisse and various French military history magazines. He is co-founder and a regular contributor to the French military history website L’autre cotè de la colline.

José Matos is an independent researcher in military history in Portugal with primary interest in operations of the Portuguese Air Force during colonial wars in Africa, especially in Guinea. He is a regular contributor to numerous European magazines on military aviation and naval subjects, and has collaborated in the major project ‘The Air Force at the end of the Empire’, published in Portugal in 2018. This is his first instalment for Helion.

Tom Cooper is an Austrian aerial warfare analyst and historian. Following a career in worldwide transportation business – during which he established a network of contacts in the Middle East and Africa – he moved into narrow-focus analysis and writing on small, little-known air forces and conflicts, about which he has collected extensive archives. This has resulted in specialization in such Middle Eastern air forces as of those of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, plus various African and Asian air forces. Except for authoring and co-authoring more than 30 books - including about a dozen of titles for Helion’s @War series - and over 1000 articles, Cooper is a regular correspondent for multiple defense-related publications.


"...this volume is an excellent assemblage of photographs, illustrations, data, and maps. The authors have a well-earned reputation for their exceptional research that includes interviews with those who have firsthand knowledge of the subject."

- Air Power History

"Helion’s superb series will likely remain the best, popular, English-language studies of late 20th-century Angolan conflicts."

- Cybermodeler

"Another fine addition to the series."

- Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

"The authors have really done their homework on this one, contacting as many people involved during this time as possible...add in some great period photos and the usual number of nice color profiles and you have a book that is truly a great read."

- ModelingMadness.Com

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