|Lao People's Liberation Army Air Force|
|Part of||Lao People's Armed Forces|
|Chief of Air Force||Colonel Khamlek Sengphachanh|
|Helicopter||Mil Mi-17, Kamov Ka-32, Bell UH-1H, Harbin Z-9|
The present-day LPLAAF is descended from the Aviation Laotienne, which was established by the French and later became the Royal Lao Air Force. Pathet Lao guerrilla forces began to operate a few aircraft from 1960, as did another rebel group led by Kong Le. Kong Le forces were later re-incorporated into the Royal Lao Air Force. The communist take-over in 1975 resulted in the adoption of the present title.
Military co-operation agreement with Russia in 1997 resulted in 12 Mil Mi-17 (second handed) helicopters that entered service in mid-1999 to follow on from previous deliveries of Mi-8s. SAM systems also entered service such as the SA-3 'Goa'.
The LPLAAF operates from two main bases—Vientiane and Phonsavan—with another three bases supported by detachments from the main units. Apart from the main military air bases, there are also a number of smaller airports and airfields around the country which are frequently used by the air force and the semi-military airline Lao Airlines. In 1961 Laos had 25 airstrips capable of landing a C-47.
|Antonov An-26||Soviet Union||transport||1|
|Mil Mi-17||Soviet Union||utility / transport||17|
|Bell UH-1||United States||utility||UH-1H||4|
|Yakovlev Yak-130||Russia||advanced trainer||4||6 on order|