Maldives Table of Contents
The Seychelles People's Defense Force (SPDF) consist of the SPLA, a people's navy, and a people's air force. In December 1992, the government amalgamated the Seychelles People's Navy and the Seychelles People's Air Force to form the Seychelles Coast Guard. Each service commander reports to the armed forces chief of staff, who is responsible to the commander in chief, René. The president also retains the minister of defense portfolio. The Defence Forces Council, which is chaired by the armed forces chief of staff, manages the SPDF.
The 1,000-man SPLA comprises one infantry battalion, two artillery troops, and one support company. The army possesses six BDRN and eight Shorland reconnaissance vehicles, four BTR-152 armored personnel carriers, three D-130 122-mm towed artillery pieces, two BM-21 122-mm multiple rocket launchers, six M-43 82- mm mortars, ten SA-7 surface-to-air missiles, and an unknown number of RPG-7 rocket launchers. The SPLA's mission includes defending the nation's territorial integrity and, when necessary, assisting the People's Militia in preserving domestic law and order. Because much of its equipment requires maintenance work, the army has minimal capabilities. Western observers believe that the army would be ineffective against a professional military force.
The 100-member air wing of the coast guard operates one Britten-Norman BN-2A Maritime Defender and a Cessna A-150 Aerobat trainer. The former aircraft, which the British government donated in 1980, patrols the EEZ, which extends over an area of almost 1 million square kilometers. The Britten-Norman, which normally operates in conjunction with patrol boats from the navy wing of the coast guard, searches for vessels conducting illegal fishing and smuggling activities. The aircraft also conducts light transport, search and rescue, and medical evacuation missions. The air wing is the most effective service with equipment in good operating condition.
The navy wing of the coast guard, based in Port Victoria, owns one Topaz coastal patrol boat, one Andromache, one Zoroaster, and two Zhuk inland patrol boats, and one amphibious landing craft. The navy wing patrols the country's EEZ and conducts antidrug and search and rescue missions. The navy wing's effectiveness is extremely limited, largely because it rarely has more than two of its vessels operational at one time.
Data as of August 1994