Eritrea Military - 2021


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Military and security forces

Eritrean Defense Forces: Eritrean Ground Forces, Eritrean Navy, Eritrean Air Force (includes Air Defense Force) (2021)

Military expenditures

5.1% of GDP (2017 est.)

5.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

5.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

5.1% of GDP (2014 est.)

5% of GDP (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Eritrean Defense Forces are comprised of an estimated 200,000 personnel, including about 2,000 in the naval and air forces; note – it is unclear how many of the EDF’s  personnel are on active duty; the force includes significant numbers of conscripts, many of which are reportedly not under arms (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Eritrean Defense Forces inventory is comprised primarily of older Russian and Soviet-era systems; Eritrea was under a UN arms embargo from 2009 to 2018; from the 1990s to 2008, Russia was the leading supplier of arms to Eritrea, followed by Belarus; in 2019, Eritrea expressed interest in purchasing Russian arms, including missile boats, helicopters, and small arms; in January 2020, Russia announced it would provide two helicopters by the end of the year (2020)

Military service age and obligation

18-40 years of age for male and female voluntary and compulsory military service (18-27 for female conscription); 18-month conscript service obligation, which includes 6 months of military training and one‐year of military or other national service (military service is most common); note - in practice, military service reportedly is often extended indefinitely (2020)

NOTE: The information regarding Eritrea on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Eritrea 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Eritrea 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.