Ethiopian Air Force roundel


Sukhoi Su-27, Su-27UB
Sukhoi Su-27SK, Su-27UBK
Sukhoi Su-30K

Data update:

January 2024

Country / user:

Ityop'iya Federalawi Demokrasiyawi Ripeblik = Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Ityop'iya Ayer Hayl = Ethiopian Air Force (ETAF, F.D.R.E. Air Force)

In service:

Since 1998


unknown number (about 10; up to 15) of Su-27, Su-27UB, Su-27SK, Su-27UBK, Su-27P

Since January 2024: 2 x Su-30K

Deliveries / loses

11.1998-01.1999: 6 x Su-27 + 2 x Su-27UB
1 x Su-27UB lost in December 1999 crashed during a night training flight (later replaced by Su-27UBK).
2002: 4 x Su-27SK and 2 x Su-27UBK from Russia
2003: 3 x Su-27P from Ukraine
1 x Su-27UB (or UBK) destroyed in October 2019 crashed upon takeoff in Debre Zeyit air force base as a result of engine fire; both pilots died in the crash.

End of 2023: 2 x Su-30K from Russia, officially inducted into service 16th January 2024


Bishoftu (formerly Debre Zeyit) air base near Adis Abeba, probably 5th Squadron (Su-30K), 19th Sqn (Su-27), UAV Sqn (Bajraktar TB2 and '2024 Akinci umnanned combat aerial vehicle)

Bort numbers:

Su-27SK: 1951, 1952, 1956, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968
Su-27UBK: 1901, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909
Su-27P: 1961 (Ukrainian)
Su-30K: 2401, 2402


Eight Sukhois were bought in Russia, taken from 797th Fighter Regiment in Kyshchevskaya, overhauled in 275 ARZ in Krasnodar and upgraded to Su-27SK standard. In January 1999 one was destroyed in Adis-Abeba during demonstration flight, Russian pilot Viatcheslav Myzin survive, but Ethiopian pilot was killed. Russia delivered another airplane instead (Su-27UBK).

In 90's war with Eritrea. Eritrean MiGs fight with Ethiopian Su-27s. Some (2-5) MiGs were shot-down.

In 1999 Asther Tolossa find her place in aviation history, as first woman who shot down jet airplane (Eritrean MiG-29) in dog-fight.

Next 6 Su-27SK and Su-27UBK bought in Russia in 2002 are from Russian air force surplus. The airplanes are overhauled in 275 ARZ in Krasnodar and slighlty upgraded to Su-27SK standard by KnAAPO and then transported from Krasnodar air base to Ethiopia.

In 2003 three Su-27P overhauled in ZARZ (Ukraine) was bought in Ukraine (splinter camouflage).

Ethiopian Air Force roundel 2011
Apparently I've miss something: at least since 2011 Ethiopian Air Force has a new roundel. Sukhois were overhauled in Russia, in Krasnodar Repair Factory. Drawing (December 2013) is schematic, based on some poor quality footage from Ethiopian TV and photos of Russian Sukhois overhauled in Krasnodar.

Ethiopian Air Force roundel 2019

Since 2019 (at least) Ethiopian Sukhois have another new roundel. Around 2021 and early 2022 the Ethiopian planes were overhauled and painted in splinter camouflage (probably in Ukraine). Three Su-27SK (1952, 1961 and 1962) were painted a lightblue color with single "shrapnel" in two colors (unfortunately, I don't have so many photos to try to reproduce this paint job on the whole aircraft). It's not clear if it was complex overhaul, because nose radar cone look very fatigue. Three Su-27UBK (1906, 1908 and 1909) received in 2021 a brand new painting scheme, very well known from the Ukrainian Su-27 #56 years ago often featured at airshows (the scheme is almost identical, only the colors are different). Other Su-27SK remains in old camouflage (for example 1907, 1965, 1967).

Ethiopian Su-27SK - a few aircraft in exotic shrapnel camouflage, 2021.

Ethiopian Su-27UBK - splinter camouflage, February 2022.
The plane have a splinter camouflage almost identical to the Ukrainian Su-27UB number 56, known a dozen years ago from numerous airshows.
Were they overhauled in Ukraine just before the war, or whether it is only the Ukrainian camouflage just copied?

Ethiopian Su-30K, January 2024.

Two Su-30K are new acquisition of the Ethiopian Air Force, officially introduced into service 16th January 2024. These are two of the 18 old Su-30K that served in India Air Force (IAF) between 1997 and 2007 (called in India Su-30MKI-I and Su-30MKI-II) and when India received newer Su-30MKIs from Russia in 2006, in late 2011 all were returned to Russia, then shifted to Belarusian air factory at Baranovichi, where they waiting their fate for years. After years of searching for a buyer, 12 of the planes were bought by Angola in 2017, and the others eventually returned to Russia, after financial issues between Belarus and Russia were settled. Now, in early 2024, it looks like the first two planes of those six have been bought by Eritrea. It is to be expected that the remaining four will go to Eritrea in near future. It is unclear how the planes were upgraded.

Note: my drawing was prepared four days after Sukhois first public presentation on Ethiopian television. Unfortunately, the quality of the video does not allow to reproduce the painting on the upper surfaces accurately, so it is somewhat approximate.

Surprise! The two newest Su-30K aircraft were painted in camouflage identical to the '1994 Su-30MK prototype (former Su-27PU no. 596), prototype of first and second batch of Indian Su-30.

© 2008-2024 Mariusz Wojciechowski, Słupsk (Poland)