Namibia Military

Namibia is a state of southern Africa; it broadly overlooks the Atlantic Ocean between the mouths of the Cunene and Orange rivers ; almost always straight borders separate it to the North from Angola, to the South from South Africa, to the East from this country and from Botswana, while to the NE a long salient (‘Caprivi finger’ or Caprivi Strip), squeezed between Angola and Zambia to the N and Botswana to the S, extends the territory of the Namibia until it reaches that of Zimbabwe. The shape of the country derives from its long colonial past: its borders follow the lines of meridians and parallels, the Caprivi finger is an evident result of the German desire to reach the Zambezi. The name Namibia, imposed by the UN in 1968 to replace the old colonial name (South-West Africa), derives from that of the Namib Desert which occupies the entire coastal strip of the country, extending for about 600 km between the mouth of the Cunene to the North and that of the Orange to S.

From 1 March 1994 the territory of the Bay of the Whale, together with the Penguin Islands, became part of the state.

Physical characteristics

The territory of the Namibia has an essentially tabular structure and is a set of plateaus formed by Precambrian crystalline rocks, partially covered by sediments of the paleo-Cenozoic facies of karroo and sometimes surmounted by volcanic reliefs. The tabular complex ends at the W with a raised edge that falls with steep steps towards the narrow coastal plain of the Namib, while at the E it slopes rather gently towards the great basin of the Kalahari. The territory has been deeply affected by the erosive action of ancient and current watercourses, sometimes with the formation of real canyons (the one of Fish River) and extends at altitudes between 1100 and 1500 m, reaching in various cases much higher altitudes, usually at the outer edge (Brandberg, 2573 m), sometimes also within the highlands, as in the surroundings of Windhoeck, where it exceeds 2300 m. The coastal selvedge of the Namib is a long and narrow plain (no more than a hundred km wide), a predominantly rocky desert, sandy only in some parts closest to the sea. The easternmost section of the country falls partly within the Kalahari Depression.

The tropical latitude, the considerable altitude of much of the territory and a cold sea current (the Benguela Current) that laps the coasts determine the arid tropical climate of the country.

The hydrographic network is very poor. The only exorheic areas are located at the extreme N and at the extreme S and fall into the Cunene and Orange basins. For the rest, the waters drain off in temporary courses and collect in closed basins, the largest of which is the Etosha Pan.


The defense of Namibia comprises (2009) 9,000 men enlisted and is organized into six battalions, six patrol boats and ten combat aircraft. The material is mainly older and of Soviet origin. Semi-military security forces comprise 6,000 men. Defense spending increased in 1996-2007 from 3.0% to 3.2% of GDP. Namibia participates with observers in the UN peacekeeping operations in Ivory Coast (UNOCI), Liberia (UNMIL) and Sudan (UNMIS, UNAMID). To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that NAM stands for Namibia.

Namibia Army

The total force numbers for Namibia’s armed forces are 9900 active personnel (2018, IISS). In addition, there are 6,000 semi-military police forces. The Navy was established in 2002 with the help of the Brazilian government.

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The army has a strength of 9,000 active personnel. Materials include an unknown number of tanks of older Soviet origin (T-54, T-55 and T-34), 12 clearing vehicles, seven storm tanks, and 61 armored personnel vehicles. In addition, the Army has medium-heavy artillery and anti-aircraft artillery.

Air Force

The Air Force has eight fighters category F-7, five light reconnaissance aircraft, six light transport aircraft, about four trainers (which can also be used as light combat aircraft), and eight helicopters (two combat helicopters of the type Mi-25).

The Navy

The navy has a force of about 900 active personnel, of which about 700 marines, seven patrol vessels, one light aircraft and one helicopter.

International operations

Namibia participated in 2018 with observers and a small number of personnel in UN operations in Sudan (UNAMID and UNISFA), and in South Sudan (UNMISS).