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Air Force of Ethiopia

Last modified: 2021-08-21 by bruce berry
Keywords: ethiopia | roundel |
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  • Current roundel
  • 1985-1996? Roundel
  • 1974-1985 Roundel
  • 1946-1974 Roundel
  • 1935 Roundel
  • Unidentified air force flag
  • See also:

    Current Roundel

    Image by Željko Heimer, 29 Aug 2001

    The Air Force of Ethiopia currently uses a green, yellow, red roundel with a yellow five pointed star in the central disk.  The diameters of disks are approximately 4:3:2. The star does not reach quite the edge of the yellow disk. It may have been changed since1996 when the current flag was adopted.
    Željko Heimer and Armand du Payrat [pay00], 29 Aug 2001

    Nevertheless, a five pointed star was adopted sometime in or after 1974 and still in use today.
    See  There are many photos of this roundel as can be seen at:

    BC Wheeler in An Illustrated Guide to Aircraft Marking (1986) [whe86] shows the 5 pointed star.
    Dov Gutterman
    , 12 June 2004

    1985 - 1996(?) Roundel

    Image by Željko Heimer, 18 Oct 2001

    Previously the Ethiopian roundel was in the classical concentric pattern, with green, yellow, red, rings.  The rings were not equal and the outer green and yellow were much thinner.  (Source: Album des Pavillons, correction # 30, July 1998).

    My speculation is that this roundel was used in 1974 (after the revolution and to erase the "imperial" star) until the new roundel was adopted.
    Dov Gutterman, 12 June 2004

    1974 - 1985 Roundel

    Image by Željko Heimer, 18 Oct 2001

    I found this Ethiopian air force roundel in Flaggenmitteilung (No. 108 April 1985).  It has a six pointed star, with the rays touching the yellow circle.   This roundel used between 1974 until 1985.  There was no fin flash. (See based on Military Aircraft Insignia of the World  by Cochrane and Elliot (1998) [c2e98]).

    However, I have also checked some of photos of Ethiopian Air Force aircraft and have not come across a single photo showing such a star.  I found the previous star with 5 points. It seems that Cochrane and Elliot (1998) [c2e98] are also not so sure as they report that "the design of the central yellow marking has been changed several times. It is currently a simple 5 pointed star".  No dates, no description....nothing more.
    Also, the photo at shows an F-5 aircraft that left the service in 1984 with 5 pointed star.

    I suspect therefore that this roundel was used only for short time after the revolution and replaced shortly afterwards.
    Dov Gutterman, 12 June 2004

    1946 - 1974 Roundel

    Image by Željko Heimer, 18 Oct 2001

    In 1946 the new Imperial Ethiopian Air Force was founded (Ye Ethiopia Ayer Hail or Ye Ithopya Ayer Hayl) and adopted a new roundel.  The roundel had a six pointed star with 3 rays (those at 12, ~4 and ~7 o'clock) touching the yellow circle while the other three had shorter rays. 
    See photos: and more on the same site.
    Dov Gutterman, 12 June 2004

    1935 Roundel

    During the Italian-occupation era (1924-1936) the Imperial Ethiopian Aviation was formed in 1935 and dissolved in 1936).  According to Military Aircraft Insignia of the World by Cochrane and Elliot (1998) [c2e98]) a green-yellow-red triband was used both as a "roundel" (1:2) and rudder stripes (1:1) (See also
    Dov Gutterman, 12 June 2004

    I located a piece in Insignia at which says "No markings were carried on the wings of rudder at this stage, but by the time of the Italian occupation rudder stripes had been added and the inscription and Lion of Judah removed. Rudder stripes consisted of equal horizontal stripes of (from top) Green, Yellow and Red. Other aircraft in the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force carried a rectangle on the wing surfaces in Green, Yellow and Red, but it is not known if the Potez 25s did."  This confirms [c2e98].
    Dov Gutterman, 16 June 2004

    Unidentified air force flag

    Image by Eugene Ipavec, 02 March 2009

    A few weeks ago I saw an unidentified flag in a news report on the departure of Ethiopian occupation troops from Somalia.  Footage was shown of the troops arriving home on a jetliner.  As they disembarked, several happily brandished a flag as I have illustrated above.  The row of X's in the green ring represents an illegible line of text, while wings suggest an air force affiliation.
    Eugene Ipavec, 02 March 2009