Angola Table of Contents
Regular and informal training was provided throughout the country at troop recruitment centers, officer candidate schools, specialized technical training centers, and field units. The military regional headquarters were responsible for providing individual training in basic military subjects to troops and noncommissioned officers. In 1985 the government cited as major accomplishments the establishment of formal training programs for military cadres, the creation of military education centers throughout the country (particularly at the intermediate level for officers and specialists), and the creation of various specialized branches of the armed forces. The Soviet Union and other communist countries provided most of the formal military training. The United States Department of State estimated that 3,260 Angolan military personnel had been trained in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe through the end of 1986 and that 1,700 Warsaw Pact military technicians were present in Angola that year. Most of the technicians were engaged in maintaining and otherwise servicing military equipment furnished by the Soviet Union and other communist states.
Individual officer candidate training was conducted at the Commandante Zhika Political-Military Academy in Luanda, which opened in 1984. Most of the instruction was originally given by Soviet and Cuban officers and specialists, but since then qualified Angolan instructors reportedly had joined the staff. As the academy's name suggested, the curriculum included training in such military subjects as strategy, tactics, and weapons, as well as political and ideological indoctrination. Another training program at the academy--a condensed version of the officer candidate political-military curriculum--was attended by senior party officials on weekends over a ten-month period.
Senior military officers participated in an eight-month advanced course at the Escola de Oficiais Superiores Gomes Spencer at Huambo, but details on the curriculum were not available. The school's eighth class, which graduated in 1984, included about fifty senior FAPLA officers. Advanced officer training and highlevel training for officers and enlisted personnel in armor, artillery, and other specialties was also conducted in Huambo. The Gomes Spencer academy was attacked and extensively damaged by a UNITA commando raid in July 1986.
Although information on unit-level training was not available, battalion-level exercises had been reported in the northern and western provinces, far removed from the war zone. It is likely that such large unit-training exercises immediately preceded deployment to the combat zone. Reserve units also trained, as indicated by the report of a reserve battalion having completed a three-month course that included physical conditioning, hand-to-hand combat, and infantry tactics.
In addition to basic individual and unit-level training, technical training was provided in such specialized functional areas as communications, intelligence, artillery, armor, air defense, motor transport, and logistics. This training was provided at facilities such as the Commandante Economica Communications School. FAPA/DAA inaugurated a two-year course for cadets in 1979 at the National Air Force School in Negage. In early 1983, 176 cadets completed the nine-subject course, which was administered by Angolan instructors and "internationalists" (presumably Soviet and Cuban advisers). A course for radio technicians and radar specialists was also offered at the Negage training center.
Some military training was conducted abroad, particularly in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and Cuba. In mid-1985 the commander of the Fifth Military Region's FAPA/DAA reported the arrival in the region of many new pilots and technicians who had recently completed their training program in the Soviet Union. From 1977 to 1981, Soviet specialists trained more than 3,000 motor mechanics and drivers and 100 aircraft technicians in both Angola and the Soviet Union.
Data as of February 1989
Angola Table of Contents