Lao People's Armed Forces

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Lao People's Armed Forces
Emblem of Lao People's Armed Forces
Founded20 January 1949 (1949-01-20)
Service branchesLao People's Army
Lao People's Navy
Lao People's Liberation Army Air Force
Governing bodyDefence and Public Security Commission
DPSC Chairman, President and General SecretaryThongloun Sisoulith
Minister of DefenceGeneral Chansamone Chanyalath
Chief of the General StaffLieutenant General Khamlieng Outhakaysone
Military age18- 45 years of age for compulsory military service
Conscriptionminimum 18 months
Available for
military service
1,500,625 males, age 15–49 (2005 est.),
1,521,116 females, age 15–49 (2005 est.)
Fit for
military service
954,816 males, age 15–49 (2005 est.),
1,006,082 females, age 15–49 (2005 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
(2005 est.)
Active personnel100,000
Reserve personnel30,000
Budget$18.5 million (2019)
Percent of GDP0.5% (2006)
Foreign suppliers Current: Historical:
Related articles
HistoryFirst Indochinese War
Laotian Civil War
Insurgency in Laos
Thai-Laotian Border War
RanksMilitary ranks of Laos

The Lao People's Armed Forces (LPAF; Lao: ກອງທັບປະຊາຊົນລາວ) or the Lao People's Army (LPA) is the armed forces of the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the institution of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, who are charged with protecting the country.

Active forces

The army of 29,100 is equipped with 30 main battle tanks. The army marine section, equipped with 16 patrol craft, has 600 personnel. The air force, with 3,500 personnel, is equipped with anti-aircraft missiles and 24 combat aircraft (no longer in service).

Militia self-defence forces number approximately 100,000 organised for local defence. The small arms utilised mostly by the Laotian Army are the Soviet AKM assault rifle, PKM machine gun, Makarov PM pistol, and the RPD light machine gun.


The LPAF is divided into four military regions, with its headquarters in Vientiane

The LPRP statute states that its political leadership over the military emanates from the LPRP Central Committee's Defence and Public Security Commission (DPSC) and is the highest decision-making institution regarding military and security affairs.


Until 1975, the Royal Lao Armed Forces were the armed forces of the Kingdom of Laos.

Serving one of the world's least developed countries, the Lao People's Armed Forces (LPAF) is small, poorly funded, and ineffectively resourced. Its mission focus is border and internal security, primarily in internal suppression of Laotian dissident and opposition groups.

This includes the suppression of the 1999 Lao Students Movement of Democracy demonstrations in Vientiane, and in countering ethnic Hmong insurgent groups and other groups of Laotian and Hmong people opposing the one-party Marxist-Leninist LPRP government and the support it receives from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Together with the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and the government, the Lao People's Army (LPA) is the third pillar of state machinery, and as such is expected to suppress political and civil unrest and similar national emergencies faced by the government in Vientiane. The LPA also has reportedly upgraded skills to respond to avian influenza outbreaks. At present, there is no major perceived external threat to the state and the LPA maintains very strong ties with the neighbouring Vietnamese military (2008).

According to some journalists, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), humanitarian and human rights organisations, the Lao People's Army has repeatedly engaged in egregious human rights violations and the practice of corruption in Laos. The LPAF and its military intelligence play a major role in the arrest, imprisonment and torture of foreign prisoners in Vientiane's notorious Phonthong Prison and the communist Lao gulag system where Australians Kerry and Kay Danes were imprisoned and where civic activist Sombath Somphone may be imprisoned following his arrest in December 2012.

In 2013, attacks by the Lao People's Army against the Hmong people intensified, with soldiers killing four unarmed Hmong school teachers in addition to engaging in other human rights abuses according to the Lao Human Rights Council, the Centre for Public Policy Analysis and others.


Tanks, armored vehicles and trucks

Photo Model Type Origin Quantity Notes
T-72B1MS Main battle tank  Russia ~50
T-55 Main battle tank  Soviet Union
 Hungarian People's Republic
PT-76 Light tank  Soviet Union 25 30 were in service in 1996. Currently 25 are in service.
BTR-60PB Armored personnel carrier  Soviet Union 70 Currently 70 are in service. BTR-60s have been seen in service as recently as January 2019
BTR-152 Armored personnel carrier  Soviet Union Unknown
BTR-40 Armored personnel carrier  Soviet Union 10
BRDM-2M Armoured car  Soviet Union  Russia 20 Upgraded BRDM-2M supplied by Russia in late 2018. At least 10 in service.
Light armoured vehicle/Light assault vehicle
Dima DMT5070XFB Armored personnel carrier  China Unknown
Chinese Tiger 4x4 Infantry mobility vehicle  China Unknown
CS/VN3 4x4 Infantry mobility vehicle  China Unknown
KrAZ-6322 Truck  Ukraine Unknown
Ural-4320 Medium truck  Soviet Union Unknown
GAZ-3308 Medium truck  Russia Unknown
FAW Jiefang 141 Medium truck  China Unknown
Ural-43206 Light truck  Soviet Union Unknown
GAZ-66 Platform truck  Soviet Union Unknown
BAIC 4x4 vehicles Military light utility vehicle  China Unknown
UAZ-469 Military light utility vehicle  Soviet Union Unknown
BJ2022JC Military light utility vehicle  China Unknown
PTS Tracked amphibious transport  Soviet Union Unknown
Shaanxi SX2190 Launched bridge  China Unknown
Shaanxi SX2190 Floating bridge  China Unknown
Engineering and support vehicles
XCMG backhoe loader Engineering vehicle  China Unknown
XCMG excavator Engineering vehicle Unknown
XCMG wheel loader Engineering vehicle Unknown
XCMG XJY240WQ Engineering vehicle Unknown
XCMG XJY240Z Engineering vehicle Unknown


Photo Model Type Origin Quantity Notes
Dongfeng CS/SS4 Self propelled mortar system  China 14
SR-5 Multiple rocket launcher  China 12
BM-21 Grad 122mm multiple rocket launcher  Soviet Union 32
BM-14 Multiple rocket launcher 20
2S3 Akatsiya 152mm self-propelled howitzer Unknown
122-HL-70 122mm self-propelled howitzer  Laos 18
PCL-09 122mm self-propelled howitzer  China 12
M-30 122 mm howitzer Towed howitzers and guns  Soviet Union 15
122 mm howitzer 2A18 (D-30) 20
130 mm towed field gun M1954 (M-46)
M114 155 mm howitzer  United States 12
M101 howitzer 105mm (towed): M-101 20
M116 howitzer 75mm (towed): M-116 pack 10

Air defense

Photo Model Type Origin Quantity Notes
S-125 Neva/Pechora Short-range SAM system  Soviet Union Unknown
9K35 Strela-10 Vehicle-mounted SAM system  Soviet Union Unknown
Yitian anti air system Surface-to-air missile  China Unknown
ZSU-23-4 Shilka Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun  Soviet Union Unknown
Strela-2 Surface-to-air missile  Soviet Union Unknown Received 100 launchers from Soviet Union in the 80s
37 mm automatic air defence gun M1939 (61-K) Air defence gun Unknown
57 mm AZP S-60 Automatic anti-aircraft gun Unknown
ZPU Auto anti-aircraft gun Unknown
ZU-23-2 Anti-aircraft gun Unknown


Photo Model Type Caliber Origin Notes
TT-33 Semi-automatic pistol 7.62×25mm Tokarev  Soviet Union Standard service pistols for Laotian Armed Forces.
PM Semi-automatic pistol 9×18mm Makarov  Soviet Union
G2 Semi-automatic pistol 9x19mm Parabellum  Indonesia
JS 9 mm Bullpup Submachine gun 9×19mm Parabellum  China
Winchester Model 1200 Pump shotgun 12-gauge  United States
Simonov SKS Semi-automatic rifle 7.62×39mm M43  Soviet Union Limited use, used for ceremonial purpose only.
Mosin-Nagant Bolt-action rifle 7.62×54mmR  Soviet Union Limited use, in storage.
9A-91 Assault rifle, Carbine 9x39mm  Russia Used by Laotian special forces.


Assault rifle 7.62×39mm  Soviet Union Standard service rifles for Laotian Armed Forces, including police officer and Lao People's army.
QBZ-95 Bullpup Assault rifle 5.8×42mm DBP87 5.56×45mm NATO  China Standard issue for Laotian Special Forces and Special Police Forces.
Type 56 Assault rifle 7.62×39mm  China
Type 81 Assault rifle 7.62×39mm  China
AMD-65 Assault rifle 7.62×39mm  Hungarian People's Republic
Pindad SS1 Assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO  Indonesia In 2014, Laos imported 35 SS1 V2s and SS1 V4s.
Pindad SS2 Assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO  Indonesia
M16A2 Assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO  United States
STV-380, an assault rifle made from Vietnam based to Israeli's assault rifle. IWI ACE Assault rifle 7.62×39 mm  Israel
Laos received Vietnamese-made Galil ACEs in January 2019.
RPD Light machine gun 7.62×39mm  Soviet Union
PK machine gun General-purpose machine gun 7.62×54mmR  Soviet Union
M60 machine gun General-purpose machine gun 7.62×51mm NATO  United States
KPV heavy machine gun Heavy machine gun 14.5×114mm  Soviet Union
DShK Heavy machine gun 12.7×108mm  Soviet Union
Dragunov SVD Designated marksman rifle, Sniper rifle 7.62×54mmR  Soviet Union
RPG-7 Rocket-propelled grenade 40mm  Soviet Union
RPG-2 Rocket-propelled grenade 40mm  Soviet Union



On 17 May 2014, Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Douangchay Phichit was killed in a plane crash, along with other top ranking officials. The officials were to participate in a ceremony to mark the liberation of the Plain of Jars from the former Royal Lao government forces. Their Russian-built Antonov AN 74-300 with 20 people on board crashed in Xiangkhouang Province.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". November 2021.
  2. ^ "Laos Lao People's Army - Flags, Maps, Economy, History, Climate, Natural Resources, Current Issues, International Agreements, Population, Social Statistics, Political System". Retrieved 30 May 2023.
  3. ^ Amnesty International, (23 March 2007), "Lao People's Democratic Republic: Hiding in the jungle – Hmong under threat" "Lao People's Democratic Republic: Hiding in the jungle - Hmong under threat | Amnesty International". Archived from the original on 8 December 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  4. ^ The Centre for Public Policy Analysis, CPPA, Washington, D.C. (1 August 2013),
  5. ^ Scoop Independent News, Auckland, New Zealand, (19 March 2013) "Laos Officials Criticized for Obstructing Investigation" (Archive)
  6. ^ Businesswire, (4 March 2013) "Laos: Attacks Intensify Against Lao, Hmong People" (Archive)
  7. ^ "Russia receives 30 vintage tank from Laos". 10 June 2020. Archived from the original on 9 September 2021.
  8. ^ "Trade Registers".
  9. ^ Foss, Christopher F. (2000). Jane's tank & combat vehicle recognition guide. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780004724522.
  10. ^ Administrator. "PT-76". Pancerni 2. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  11. ^ Foss, Christopher F. (2000). Jane's tank & combat vehicle recognition guide. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780004724522.
  12. ^ Foss, Christopher F. (2000). Jane's tank & combat vehicle recognition guide. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780004724522.
  13. ^ Foss, Christopher F. (2000). Jane's tank & combat vehicle recognition guide. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780004724522.
  14. ^ Gibson, Neil; Fediushko, Dmitry (22 January 2019). "Laotian military parades Russian- and Chinese-made equipment". Jane's 360. London, Moscow. Archived from the original on 23 January 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Laos Army Equipment". Global Security. Archived from the original on 10 April 2023. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  16. ^ a b John Pike. "World Military Guide". Archived from the original on 18 April 2023. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  17. ^ a b "Laos". Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Trade Registers".
  19. ^ a b c d e Cove, The (25 February 2022). "Know Your Region (KYR): Laos - Military". Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  20. ^ "Laos Borong Senjata Buatan Pindad" (in Indonesian). 11 January 2018. Archived from the original on 21 March 2023.
  21. ^ a b "Cặp đôi súng Trung Quốc trong biên chế đặc công Lào mạnh cỡ nào?". 15 May 2020. Archived from the original on 2 April 2023.
  22. ^ Administrator, ANTARA (24 September 2017). "Laos Expresses Interest To Make Another Purchase of Pindad Weapon". Archived from the original on 10 April 2023. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  23. ^ Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  24. ^ a b c d "Library of Congress / Federal Research Division / Country Studies / Area Handbooks / Laos / Tables". Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  25. ^ "Laos Deputy PM Douangchay Phichit dies in plane crash". BBC News. 17 May 2014. Archived from the original on 11 April 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  26. ^ Williams, Martin (17 May 2014). "Laos plane crash kills defence minister and senior officials". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 8 March 2021. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  27. ^ "Lao Defense Chief Among Plane Crash Victims". Laos News.Net. 18 May 2014. Archived from the original on 18 May 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014.