|Active||1 August 1974|
|Part of||Angola Armed Forces|
|General Jaque Raúl|
|General Gouveia João de Sá Miranda|
On August 1, 1974, a few months after a military coup d'état had overthrown the Lisbon regime and proclaimed its intention of granting independence to Angola, the MPLA announced the formation of FAPLA, which replaced the EPLA. By 1976 FAPLA had been transformed from lightly armed guerrilla units into a national army capable of sustained field operations.
In 1990–91, the Army had ten military regions and an estimated 73+ 'brigades', each with a mean strength of 1,000 and comprising inf, tank, APC, artillery, and AA units as required. The Library of Congress said in 1990 that '[t]he regular army's 91,500 troops were organized into more than seventy brigades ranging from 750 to 1,200 men each and deployed throughout the ten military regions. Most regions were commanded by lieutenant colonels, with majors as deputy commanders, but some regions were commanded by majors. Each region consisted of one to four provinces, with one or more infantry brigades assigned to it. The brigades were generally dispersed in battalion or smaller unit formations to protect strategic terrain, urban centers, settlements, and critical infrastructure such as bridges and factories. Counterintelligence agents were assigned to all field units to thwart UNITA infiltration. The army's diverse combat capabilities were indicated by its many regular and motorised infantry brigades with organic or attached armor, artillery, and air defense units; two militia infantry brigades; four antiaircraft artillery brigades; ten tank battalions; and six artillery battalions. These forces were concentrated most heavily in places of strategic importance and recurring conflict: the oil-producing Cabinda Province, the area around the capital, and the southern provinces where UNITA and South African forces operated.
In 2014 Luzia Inglês Van-Dúnem became the first Angolan woman to be promoted to the post of General Officer of the Angolan Armed Forces; the promotion was decreed by President José Eduardo dos Santos.
It was reported on May 3, 2007, that the Special Forces Brigade of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) located at Cabo Ledo region, northern Bengo Province, would host a 29th anniversary celebration for the entire armed forces. The brigade was reportedly formed on May 5, 1978, and under the command at the time of Colonel Paulo Falcao.
As of 2011, the IISS reported the ground forces had 42 armoured/infantry regiments ('detachments/groups - strength varies') and 16 infantry 'brigades'. These probably comprised infantry, tanks, APC, artillery, and AA units as required. Major equipment included over 140 main battle tanks, 600 reconnaissance vehicles, over 920 AFVs, infantry fighting vehicles, 298 howitzers.
In 2013, the International Institute for Strategic Studies reported that the FAA had six divisions, the 1st, 5th, and 6th with two or three infantry brigades, and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th with five to six infantry brigades. The 4th Division included a tank regiment. A separate tank brigade and special forces brigade were also reported.
The Army operates a large amount of Russian, Soviet and ex-Warsaw pact hardware. A large amount of its equipment was acquired in the 1980s and 1990s most likely because of hostilities with neighbouring countries and its civil war which lasted from November 1975 until 2002. There is an interest from the Angolan Army for the Brazilian ASTROS II multiple rocket launcher.