Military of Suriname

Military of Suriname
Military of Suriname
Military age 18
Available for
military service
123,072, age 15–49 (2002 est.)
Fit for
military service
72,059, age 15–49 (2002 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
NA (2002 est.)
Budget NA
Percent of GDP 0.7%

After the creation of the Statute of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Royal Netherlands Army was entrusted with the defence of Suriname, while the defence of the Netherlands Antilles was the responsibility of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The army set up a separate Troepenmacht in Suriname (Forces in Suriname, TRIS). Upon independence in 1975, this force was turned into the Surinaamse Krijgsmacht (SKM):, Surinamese Armed Forces. On February 25, 1980, a group of 16 junior SKM officers overthrew the Government. Subsequently the SKM was rebranded as Nationaal Leger (NL), National Army.

The Netherlands has provided limited military assistance to the Surinamese armed forces since the election of a democratic government in 1991. In recent years, the USA has provided training to military officers and policymakers to promote a better understanding of the role of the military in a civilian government. Also, since the mid-1990s, the People's Republic of China has been donating military equipment and logistical material to the Surinamese Armed Forces, as has Brazil.



Suriname's National Armed Forces are composed of some 2,200 personnel, the majority of whom are deployed in the Army of Suriname.


  • A Light Infantry Battalion (33ste Bataljon der Infanterie) Formed in 1987.
  • A Special Forces Corps.
  • A support arm (Staf verzorgings Bataljon)

Infantry Weapons

Submachine guns
Machine guns
Grenade launchers and other heavy weapons



In 1977 Suriname received 2 patrol boats from the Dutch government. Little is documented on them.


  • 3x S-401 class PCs 30m with 2x40mm Bofors Guns, and M2HB heavy machine guns  Netherlands
  • 3x Rodman 105 ft class PCs with M2HB 12.7mm heavy machine gun  Spain
  • 5x Rodman 85 ft Interceptor class PCs with 7.62mm GPMG  Spain
  • Bel-(Bharat Electronics) Costal Communication System Server-CCN  India

Air Force


In 1982 a small air arm was formed within the Suriname defence force equipped with four PBN BN-2A Defenders. Later on during the decade a Cessna 172 and in 1993 a Cessna 310 was acquired. All aircraft undertake border patrols and SAR missions from the main base at Paramaribo-Zanderij and are occasionally detached to both Zorg en Hoop and Moengo. In 1986 anti-government guerrilla activity prompted the government to acquire a pair of Aerospatiale SA.316B Alouette III and then two PC7's for COIN missions. One of the Alouettes crashed and both PC7s were returned to Switzerland but one was later redelivered. Two CASA 212-400s was delivered in 1999


Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service Notes
CASA C-212-400 Aviocar  Spain Medium transport 2 In service since 1999. 1 with RDR-1500 MP Radar  United States
Britten-Norman BN-2B Defender  United Kingdom Light transport 5 In service since 1982
Cessna 182 Skylane  United States Light transport 1 In service since 1993
Cessna TU206 Turbo-Stationair  United States Light transport 1 In service since 1982
Pilatus PC-7  Switzerland Light attack aircraft 3 In service since 1985
HAL Dhruv  India Light helicopter 3

Obsolete aircraft

Military Police Corps

Command structure

The President of the Republic, Dési Bouterse, is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces (Opperbevelhebber van de Strijdkrachten). The President is assisted by the Minister of Defence, Ivan Fernald.

Beneath the President and Minister of Defense is the Commander of the Armed Forces (Bevelhebber van de Strijdkrachten), Colonel Ernst Mercuur, whose headquarters is in Parimaribo. The Military Branches and regional Military Commands report to the Commander.

Commanders of the Suriname Armed Forces

  • Yngwe Elstak (25 November 1975 - 25 February 1980)
  • Desi Bouterse (July 1980 – 3 December 1992)
  • Iwan Graanoogst (temporary, 3 December 1992 – 15 May 1993)
  • Arthy Gorré (15 May 1993 – 30 June 1995)
  • Glenn Sedney (30 June 1995 – 1 July 2001)
  • Ernst Mercuur (1 July 2001 - PRESENT )



The Armed Forces of Suriname were engaged in a domestic war, against a few hundred freedom fighters who named themselves "Jungle Commandos" led by Ronnie Brunswijk between 1986 and 1992. Surinamese armed forces had also fought with the Resistance Amerindian groups who call themselves "Tucayana Amazonas" was led by Alex Jubitana & Thomas Sabajo. This Amerindian insurgents fought from 1986 to 1989. they oppose the expropriation of land owned by indigenous and discrimination by the military regime


  • Defend the territorial integrity of Suriname.
  • Assist the civil power in the maintenance of law and order when required.
  • Contribute to the economic development of Suriname.

The Army also participated in the Multi-National Force in Haiti in the 90's. and were redeployed again in 2010.[1]


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