The Somali Air Force (SAF), initially known as the Somali Aeronautical Corps, operated most of its aircraft from bases near Mogadishu and Hargeysa. Its mission was to support ground forces.
Since the Ogaden War, the SAF's performance had been hindered by inadequate equipment, lack of spare parts, and poor maintenance. During the late 1980s, however, the SAF managed to deploy some of its fighter aircraft against rebels in northern Somalia. Some of these aircraft were kept operational by Zimbabwean contract personnel.
In 1990 the SAF was organized into three fighter ground attack squadrons equipped with J-6 and Hawker Hunter aircraft; three fighter squadrons equipped with MiG-21MF and MiG-17 aircraft; a counterinsurgency squadron equipped with SF-260W aircraft; a transport squadron equipped with An-2, An-24, An-26, BN-2, C-212, and G-222 aircraft; and a helicopter squadron equipped with Mi-4, Mi-8, and Augusta-Bell aircraft. The SAF also possessed a variety of training aircraft such as the MiG-15UTI, the SF-260W, the Yak-11, and the Cessna. The SAF used Somali Airlines aircraft to ferry troops and supplies to war zones.
None of the squadrons have been operational for some time.