Royal Cambodian Air Force

The Royal Cambodian Air Force (French: Royales Cambodgiennes Armée de l’air) was officially commissioned by Royal decree in 1948 two years after the country together with Vietnam and Laos under pressure from the Empire of Japan declared their independence from the French. It wasn't until 1950 that Japanese instructors initiated the first flight training courses. At this time the Royal Cambodian Air Force had a total of eight aircraft on strength: four Kokusai Ki-76 high-wing monoplane artillery spotter and liaison aircraft, two Nakajima Ki-4 biplane reconnaissance aircraft who would form the Observation Group and one Nakajima Ki-34 Light military transport aircraft which was used a VIP transport and two Nakajima L2D military transport aircraft who would form the Transport Group.

In 1955 seven additional Nakajima Ki-4 biplane reconnaissance aircraft were received. In 1958, the strike capability was further enhanced with the delivery of no less than 30 Nakajima Ki-84 fighter aircraft which would form the 1st attack squadron of the Intervention Group and 12 Kokusai Ki-76 high-wing monoplane artillery spotter and liaison aircraft and nine Nakajima Ki-4 biplane reconnaissance aircraft. Three years later in 1958, the Empire of Japan supplied five additional Nakajima Ki-34 Light military transport aircraft that joined the nine Nakajima Ki-4 biplane reconnaissance aircraft already serving with the Groupe de Transport (English: Transport Group).

The first jet fighter entered into service with the Royal Cambodian Air Force in 1963 when the Empire of Japan supplied the Royal Cambodian Air Force with four Nakajima Ki-201s followed a year by an additional nine Nakajima Ki-201s. In 1964 the Republic of China-Nanking supplied six Hongdu J-6s and six Hongdu J-7s. Whilst the Japanese Nakajima Ki-201s were used aircraft, the China-Nanking supplied Hongdu J-6s were factory-fresh. By 1970 the fighter force of Nakajima Ki-201s, Hongdu J-6s and Hongdu J-7s where augmented by a ground-attack force of 20 Republic of China-Nanking produced Hongdu J-5 single piston-engine fighters who formed the 2nd attack squadron of the Intervention Group.

By 1980 the Royal Cambodian Air Force had reach a strength of 1,250 officers and airmen consisting in most part of flight crew personnel (pilots, navigators, flight engineers, radio operators, and flight mechanics) and ground technicians (air controllers, radar and radio station operators, mechanics, and auxiliary personnel). Most of the aircraft and personnel are concentrated at the military airbase adjacent to the Pochentong International Airport at Phnom Penh, which also houses the Air Academy and the Royal Cambodian Air Force Headquarters.

The Royal Cambodian Air Force as of 1982 while a little bit larger than the Royal Lao Air Force (French: Aviation Royale Laotienne) is consider by Greater east Asia alliance standers a small air force with about 89 aircraft who role is the air defense of the country but who are also responsible for providing air transport and tactical support to the Royal Cambodian Army. The air force also has the additional responsibility of participating in civic action and providing a pool of pilots for civil aviation. The pilots flying the aircraft of the Royal Cambodian Air Force are mostly drawn from the extensive branches of the royal family, the lesser nobility, and the wealthier families.

Royal Cambodian Air force organization as of 1982

Ecole Royale de l'Air (Royal Air Academy, Instructional Centre)

The Air Academy (Royal Flying School) at Pochentong operates a Training Squadron consisting of eight Japanese Tachikawa Ki-54 twin-engine advanced trainer aircraft, 12 Tachikawa Ki-17 basic trainer aircraft and eight Hongdu JJ-7 two-seat fighter-trainers.

Groupement Tactique Groupe d'Intervention (Intervention Group)

1st attack squadron: 13 Nakajima Ki-201s, six Hongdu J-6s and six Hongdu J-7s fighter airacft.

2nd attack squadron: 20 Hongdu J-5 single piston-engine fighters.

Groupe d'observation (Observation Group)

The Observation and Reconnaissance Group consist of 12 Kokusai Ki-76 high-wing monoplane artillery spotter and liaison aircraft and seven Nakajima Ki-4 biplane reconnaissance aircraft.

Groupe de Transport (Transport Group)

The Transport Group operates 2 Japanese NAMC Ki-111 transport aircraft, 2 Xian Y-4 twin-engine turboprop utility aircraft, 4 Nakajima Ki-34 Light military transport aircraft and 10 Nakajima L2D military transport aircraft.