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Saarland

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History
   Formally part of Germany the Saarland became part of the French Zone in 1945. In 1955 a referendum was carried out which resulted in the area becoming an integral part of West Germany. Officials overseeing this procedure used aircraft with Saar civil registrations and bearing the 'national' shield of Saarland.

  

Sao Tome e Principe

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History
   These two small islands are an ex-Portuguese colony in the Atlantic Ocean. Independence was achieved in 1975. Recently a few aircraft have been reported marked with a roundel version of the national flag: red, yellow and green with two black stars for the two islands, but this may be a purely civil identification.

 

  

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia


History
   Hejaz and Nejd were two independent sultanates formed after Turkey's defeat in the First World War. The two states were at war until the formation of the Kingdom of Hejaz-Nejd in 1926. This became Saudi Arabia in 1932. Nejd was the victor in the 1920s war but seems to have had few, if any, aircraft. Its national flag was basically similar to the present flag of Saudi Arabia. Hejaz obtained a number of aircraft from Italy and the British in Egypt and formed the Royal Hejaz Air Force in 1925. Markings, if any, are unknown but many aircraft carried Islamic slogans. The Hejaz flag was the originator of the pan-Arab colours of red, black and green. 
   Originally called the Al Saud Air Arm, the Royal Saudi Air Force was formed in 1933 and markings are based on the national flag which is plain green and carries, in white, a sword and the legend 'There is but one God and Mohammed is his prophet'. The navy carries normal insignia with the addition of a superimposed black anchor.

 

  

Senegal
Senegal


History
   This ex-French West African country formed its air force in 1961 and used the pan-African colours as a basis for its insignia, a green star on a yellow circle with red side bars. Three colour rudder striping with the star on the yellow section is usually a feature. Between 1981 and 1989 Senegal's armed forces combined with those of Gambia, but this did not affect aircraft insignia.

 

  

Serbia
Serbia


History
   Serbian military aviation is divided into two quite separate parts. These are the periods 1912 to 1918, and then following the break-up of former Yugoslavia since 1992. 
   Serbian aircraft played a part in both Balkan wars in 1912 and 1913. At this time the Serbian flag was a horizontal tricolour, of red over blue over white. Rudders and wingtips were marked in this way. During the early part of the First World War, a red and blue roundel and rudder marking was used. After the complete occupation of the country by Austria, the French Air Force operated on the Macedonia front. These units included several Serbian squadrons. These carried normal French markings with the addition of a Serbian flag on the fuselage sides. 
   In 1918 Serbia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later Yugoslavia. This federation began to break up in the early 1990s with the independence of Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia and Bosnia. Serb forces were active in the civil war in Bosnia. There have been, in effect, four Serbian air forces active in the area. The Yugoslav Air Force, which is almost entirely Serb since 1992, carried a roundel split horizontally as the national flag, blue over white over red. These colours are also marked across the fin. Further information will be found under Yugoslavia, Croatia (for Krajina), and Bosnia (for Bosnian Serb forces). Serbia and Montenegro formed the rump of former Yugoslavia between 2003 and 2007. Military aircraft bore Serbian markings. The order of colours was changed to red over blue over white for a short time in 2006. This federation broke up in 2007 and Serbia became an independent nation. A new marking was introduced similar to that in use in Yugoslavia between the 1920s and 1941. 
Kosovo 
   This part of Serbia, with a large Albanian majority population, proclaimed de facto independence in 2008. Purchase of aircraft is intended but no insignia has been decided.

 

  

Seychelles Coastguard
Seychelles Coastguard


History
   These islands in the Indian Ocean became independent in 1967, but the flag of red, white and green dates from 1977, and the air arm from 1990. Aircraft use a roundel and fin flash of these colours. A new flag was adopted in 1993 but the few aircraft of the Seychelles still use the red, white and green roundel.  

Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone


History
   This West African country gained its independence from Britain in 1961. The military forces have occasionally obtained aircraft. During the civil war, which has ravaged the country since 1992, as well as the covert invasion from the war in Liberia, the Sierra Leone Air Wing has seen mercenary led action. Aircraft, usually helicopters, have carried the national colours of green, white and blue either in flag or roundel form.

 

  

Singapore
Singapore


History
   Singapore split from the Malaysian Federation in 1968 and within twelve months had formed its own air force, the Singapore Air Defence Command. This used a plain red, white and red roundel on wings and fuselage. In October 1973 the marking was changed to a red and white yin and yang-based symbol, which incorporated an 'S' for Singapore. In 1986 a low-visibility marking was adopted for some aircraft, This retained the 1973 marking but eliminated the white area and changed the red area to black. 
   Officially from 7 November 1990, but normally since January 1991, a new insignia has been used. This is a lion's head in a circle, red and white on natural-metal or light coloured aircraft and with a black outline on camouflaged combat aircraft.

 

  

Slovakia
Slovakia


History
   After the occupation of Czechoslovakia by German forces in 1938, the country was split into the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia and the Republic of Slovakia. Slovak aircraft were marked with standard German crosses on the fuselage and wings; in addition the Slovak double cross of blue on a red disc was marked on the wings, adjacent to the German markings, and on the fin. Slovak aircraft took part in the invasion of Poland in 1939, and during this campaign a white ring was added to the national insignia.
In 1941 the Slovak Air Force participated in the German invasion of Russia. Aircraft followed Axis practice by using a cross-type insignia. In this case a German type was used, but in blue with a central red spot. This was marked on wings, fuselage and fin. With the approach of the Russian armies in 1944 Slovak insurgents set up an air arm with captured German aircraft. These were marked with the pre-1938 Czech insignia and a Slovak double cross on the blue portion. The white sector of the roundel was always to the left, 
   Czechoslovakia was reunited in 1945, but in 1993 a split was agreed between the Czech and Slovak republics. Since this time Slovak Air Force aircraft have carried a shield marking of red and blue featuring the white double cross.

 

  

Slovenia
Slovenia


History
   Although Slovene aircraft took part in the Carinthia campaign in 1919, they are dealt with under Yugoslavia. Slovenia gained Its independence during the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in 1991. Aircraft of the Slovenian Territorial Defence Force are marked with the white, blue and red Slovene arms and the national flag, A low-visibility black outline version is also in use, Since 1996 a roundel of the national colours has been in use.

 

  

Somalia
Somalia


History
   The Somali Air Force was first formed in 1961 and has always used a variation of the national flag, namely a white star on a blue disc. Some aircraft have used a dark and light blue fin flash with a white star.

 

  

Somaliland
Somaliland


History
   On 17 May 1991 the area known as North Somaliland, approximately the previous British Somaliland Protectorate, broke away from the rest of Somalia. Although unrecognised by the rest of the world it has set up its own armed forces. Aircraft were originally reported marked with a white and green roundel, the white area carrying various Arabic inscriptions. A new flag was introduced in 1996. This was green, over white, over red, with a black star on the central white. A roundel split horizontally as the new flag is to be used but photographic confirmation is needed. 

 

  

South Africa
South Africa

 


 

History
   The South African Aviation Corps was founded in 1915 to assist the army in its conquest of German South West Africa. Aircraft bore standard RAF markings. With the fail of the German colony in 1917 the corps was disbanded. The South African Air Force was formed on 1 February 1920, and initially used standard RAF insignia. In 1921 a roundel of blue (outer), red, green, and orange. This was soon changed to one of blue (outer), then light yellow, red and green. These were marked on wings and fuselage. Rudders were striped in these colours, the blue forward. From about 1924 the markings changed to the standard RAF pattern, but with the centre spot and red rudder stripe in orange. Throughout the Second World War and after, South African aircraft continued to use the various styles of RAF markings, replacing the red with orange. 
   From 1947, and more generally from 1950, first on the wings and later on the fuselage, the centre spot was replaced with an orange springbok. Rudder striping or fin flashes of orange, white and blue continued in use. 
   In 1957 a completely new Insignia was devised. Although the rudder striping was retained, a representation of Cape Town fort was used on the wings and fuselage. This was in blue and carried a yellow or orange springbok, Low-visibility requirements of the late 1980s meant that many aircraft carried no markings at all and some a black outline version of the insignia.
With the change in the political situation in South Africa in 1994, the rudder striping was dropped and the springbok was replaced with an eagle. From 1995 some aircraft carried the new national flag as a fin marking. In 2003 the outline fort was superseded by a nine pointed star design for the nine regions of the country.
Homelands 
   In the late 1970s some areas of the country were designated African 'Homelands' with responsibility for their own defence. The following had air wings attached to a defence force.

Bophuthatswana.  Formed in 1981, aircraft carried the national arms.
Ciskei. Formed in 1982 using the blue and white national flag.
Venda. Formed in 1983 and again used their national flag of red and yellow,  
Transkei. Formed in 1986 Transkei's aircraft were listed on the South African Civil Register, but carried wingtip stripes of red, white and green.

 


 

  

Spain
Spain


History
   Spain's air force was first formed in 1911 and saw action in Morocco before the First World War. Aircraft were marked with wing and horizontal rudder stripes in the national colours of red, yellow and red. By 1918 roundels in these colours were being used. 
   Spain became a republic in 1931 and the colours, but not the format, of markings were changed. The new colours were red, yellow and purple. The air arm of the Spanish Navy, which had been established in 1917, marked a black anchor on the yellow portion of the rudder from about 1922.
The Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936 and initially all aircraft involved carried the same markings. This war, especially on the aviation side, was notable for the large amount of foreign involvement, and it became urgent to mark the two sides' aircraft in different insignia.
Nationalist Forces 
   These aircraft were part of the force that invaded Spain from Morocco. They were largely supplied by Italy and Germany and often flown by pilots of those countries. Aircraft had a white painted rudder marked with a black saltire cross. Wing and fuselage markings consisted of a black disc often associated with three black or white stripes. A white saltire cross was also marked on the wings or on the black wing disc. The fuselage disc was often used to carry a white unit marking.
Republican Forces
   As this was the recognised government of Spain in 1936, aircraft continued to carry the red, yellow and purple roundels. The small air arm was much enlarged with help from the Soviet Union and France, among others, and these aircraft bore wide red stripes around the fuselage and wings in addition to, and later in place of, the roundels. They normally retained the three-colour rudder striping. 
   The nationalist forces won the war in 1939 and kept to their markings. The stripes and wing crosses were eventually replaced by red, yellow and red roundels, and the black fuselage disc received a 'Falange' marking of a clutch of arrows in red or white. In 1942 the red, yellow and red roundels were brought back for all aircraft on wings and fuselage, retaining the black cross on the white rudder. This is the marking still in use today, although the need for low-visibility insignia has meant a restriction in size.

 

  

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 2012


History
   This island was originally known as Ceylon, and changed its name to Sri Lanka in 1972. Although volunteer units had been formed during the Second World War the Royal Ceylon Air Force was officially formed in 1950. The adopted marking was a red and yellow roundel and fin flash, the roundel flanked with orange and green bars. In spite of the change of country name this insignia was still used. In 2008 the rebel group calling itself the 'Tamil Tigers' obtained some aircraft but markings, if any, are unknown. In 2009 a roundel without bars, has been introduced. This is coloured yellow, from the outside, then red, green and orange. From 2010 bars of various colours are in use but these are similar to the old RAF squadron markings.

 

  

Sudan
Sudan


History
   This large African country became independent of joint Britain and Egyptian rule in 1956 and immediately formed a small air arm. The original national flag of blue over yellow over green was used as a fin marking and, in roundel form, on wings and fuselage. In 1969 these colours were changed to the pan-Arab colours of black, red, white and green. At first these four colours may have been marked in roundel form but later a red, white and black roundel with a green segment was adopted. The new national flag of red over white over black, with a green triangle, is used as a fin flash. Semi-independent South Sudan formed an air force on paper at least, in 2008. Independence was achieved in 2011. Aircraft carry the national flag as a fin flash and a roundel of the Government of South Sudan on a white disk. 

 

  

Surinam
Surinam


History
   The small air force of this ex-Dutch colony was established in 1983. Initially the national flag was used but this has now been replaced by a roundel version with the flag as a fin flash.This is red, white and green with a five-pointed yellow star, representing the five ethnic communities.

 

  

Swaziland

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History
   Aircraft of the air wing of the Swaziland Defence Force, founded in 1979, carry the national flag. This is blue, yellow and red, and bears the shield and spears of royalty on the red.

 

  

Sweden
Sweden


History
   Both the Swedish Army and Navy obtained aircraft in 1911, but the Swedish Air Force was not established until 1926. After the outbreak of war in August 1914, Sweden began to mark its military aircraft with a blue and yellow wing roundel, and a swallowtail version of the national flag on the fin. A large 'S' was also marked outboard of the roundels. In September 1915 three black crowns replaced the roundels. By 1917 these were also painted on the fuselage, Initially dark-painted aircraft marked their crowns on a white area, but by 1923 white crowns were marked on dark surfaces. During the period 1925 to 1926 army aircraft had white crowns with black borders, whereas navy aircraft had black crowns. 
   With the formation of the air force in July 1926 three black crowns on a white disc were standardised. The flag marking was replaced by blue and yellow rudder striping. In May 1937 the roundel colours were changed to yellow crowns on a blue disc, and the fin markings were eliminated. A yellow ring was added to the insignia in 1940. As a neutrality marking the insignia were painted very large on the wings, up to 1945. A greyed out, low visibility insignia has recently been introduced.

 

  

Switzerland
Switzerland


History
   The Swiss Air Force was formally established in July 1914, and by late 1915 its aircraft were marked with the Swiss flag. An as large as possible area of the wings was painted red and marked with a white cross. Usually the whole rudder was red, with the white cross centrally placed. During the Second World War neutrality markings of red and white stripes were used in addition to the flag markings. Since 1945 it has been usual to use a roundel form of the flag on wings and fin. 
   

 

  

Syria
Syria


History
   Syria started to obtain aircraft immediately after its independence in 1946, but did not officially establish an air force until 1948. The first marking was a green, white and black roundel and horizontal fin flash, with three red stars on the white portion.   In 1958 Syria joined with Egypt and Yemen to form the United Arab Republic. Roundel and fin colours were changed to red, white and black, with two green stars. Syria left the union in 1961 and reverted to the 1948 marking. In 1963 the marking of 1958 was again adopted, but with three stars. 1971 saw the stars dropped from the national flag and all markings. A gold hawk design was marked on the white portion of the flag and on the aircraft's fin flash. From 1980 the 1958 design of flag, roundel and fin flash with two stars has been used.