Malawi Defence Force


Malawi Defence Force

1. Order of battle
2. Overview
3. Defence economics
4. State of military forces
5. Country threat report
6. External deployments

1. Order of Battle

Total force strength Army: =/- 7 000
Navy: 220
Air Force: 200
Paramilitary: 1 000 (Police Mobile Unit)
Reconnaissance 12: Eland
12: FV721 Fox
8: Ferret
APC 12: Casspir
1: Rhino
Towed artillery 9: 105 mm
Mortar 8: L-16 (81 mm)
Rocket launcher RPG-7 Knout 73 mm
M18 57 mm
Anti-tank MILAN
Air defence missile 15: Blowpipe
Air defence gun 46: ZPU-4 14.5 mm
Structue 4 infantry battalions
1 parachute battalion
1 administrative unit
Army Air Wing
Transport aircraft 3: Dornier 228
1: Do 28D-2
2: Basler Turbo 67
1: King Air C90
Transport helicopter 2: AS 350 Ecureuil
1: AS 355
1: AS 532 Cougar
2: SA 330 Puma
Police Air Wing 3: BN-2 Defender
1: Skyvan
4: Cessna 206
2: AS 365 Dauphin 2
Maritime Wing
Patrol/harbor/river patrol 1: Kasunga class (Serviceability in doubt)
1: Chikala patrol boat
1: Spear type patrol craft
1: Namacurra type patrol boat
2: armed launches
12: Zodiacs

2. Overview

Head of State and Government: President Joyce Banda
Minister of Defence: Peter Mutharika
Commander Defence Force: General Henry O’Dillo

Member of: UN, AU, Commonwealth, ICAO

The President is ultimately responsible for the Malawi Defence Force, which is tasked with upholding and defending the sovereignty, territorial integrity and constitutional order of the country against external threats. The Defence Force is also tasked with assisting the police when necessary and conducting peace support operations.
3. Defence economics
Defence budget percentage per GDP (2000-2010)

Defence budget per US$ Mil (2000-2011)

Defence budget percentage growth (2000-2011)

4. State of military forces

In September 2011, the Ministry of Defence was abolished and the Malawi Defence Force brought under direct control of the Presidency, with the Minister of Internal Affairs and Public Security taking over this entity. After President Bingu wa Mutharika died in April 2012, the military vowed to uphold the constitution and allow Vice President Joyce Banda to become president, paving the way for a smooth transition to power. The military is generally loyal to the government and this contributes to stability within the country.

The MDF is generally considered to be a professional and effective service, but is hampered by poor equipment serviceability, with some estimates putting equipment serviceability at 20%.

The Malawi Defence Force conducts training and exercises with foreign partners like the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and South Africa. The UK provides the most military aid to the country.

Malawi participates in peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance operations in places like Rwanda, Burundi, the DRC, South Sudan, Liberia and Ivory Coast, giving it experience and discipline.

5. Country threat report

Threat type Overview
External • Malawi is currently facing no external military threats.
Internal • Malawi is currently facing no internal military threat and poverty and crime, poverty, and HIV/AIDS is considered to be the country’s most serious threat to security.
Regional • Recent insecurity in Mozambique due to a resurgent low scale insurgency by RENAMO may affect Malawi’s foreign security policies.
• There have been tensions with Tanzania over the border on Lake Malawi.
Political • Malawi is currently considered to be politically stable.
Economic • Malawi’s economy mainly depends on agriculture and accounts for 37 percent of GDP and 85 percent of export revenues.
• Malawi’s economy also depends largely on financial assistance provided by foreign donors such as the IMF and the World Bank.

6. External deployments

Operation Country Personnel/assets
Peacekeeping Western Sahara (MINURSO) 3: Experts on Mission
Peacekeeping DRC (MONUSCO) 9: Experts on Mission
5: Troops
Peacekeeping Sudan/Darfur (UNAMID) 40: Police


Defence Force HQ

Komuzu Barracks

Private Bag 43



Tel +265 01791510/790000

Fax: +265 01792216/790493

Email: [email protected]