Belize Defence Force

Belize Defence Force

Belize Defence Force emblem
Founded January 1978
Service branches Air Wing, Ground Forces
Headquarters Price Barracks, Ladyville
Commander-in-Chief Elizabeth II, represented by Governor General of Belize Colville Young
Minister of National Security the Hon. John Saldivar
Commander Brigadier General David Jones
Conscription No
Active personnel Approx 1330 (2016)[1]
Reserve personnel 750 (2016)[1]
Budget $US 32 million (2012)[1]

The Belize Defence Force (BDF) is the military of Belize, and is responsible for protecting the sovereignty of the country. The BDF, The Belize Police Department, and The National Coast Guard are under the Minister of National Security, which is currently headed by the Hon. John Saldivar; the BDF itself is commanded by Brigadier General David Jones. In 2012, the Belizean government spent about $17 million on the military, constituting 1.08% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).[2]


Brig. Gen. Lloyd Gillett, addresses soldiers at a ceremony marking the completion of training with a U.S. Marine Corps

The military of Belize dates back to 1817, when the Prince Regent Royal Honduras Militia, a volunteer organization, was founded. Between 1817 and 1978, the military force in Belize has had ten different names: The Prince Regent's Royal Militia (1817-1866), The Belize Volunteer Force (1866-1868); The Belize Volunteer Corps (1868-1883); The Belize Light Infantry Volunteer Force (1897-1905); British Honduras Volunteers (1905-1916); British Honduras Territorial Force (1916-1928); British Honduras Defense Force (1928-1944); British Honduras Home Guard (1942-1943), British Honduras Volunteer Guard (1943-1973), Belize Volunteer Guard (1973-1977).[3] The BDF was founded in 1978 following the disbanding of the Belize Volunteer Guard and the Police Special Force the year before.[4]

After Belize achieved independence in 1981 the United Kingdom maintained a deterrent force (British Forces Belize) in the country to protect it from invasion by Guatemala (see Guatemalan claim to Belizean territory). During the 1980s this included a battalion and No. 1417 Flight RAF of Harriers. The main British force left in 1994, three years after Guatemala recognised Belizean independence, but the United Kingdom maintained a training presence via the British Army Training and Support Unit Belize (BATSUB) and 25 Flight AAC until 2011 when the last British Forces left Ladyville Barracks, with the exception of seconded advisers.[4] The BDF Maritime Wing became part of the Belizean Coastguard in November 2005.[5]

In October 2015,due to rising tensions between Belize and Guatemala and also since the British cut back on military bases worldwide to focus on the War On Terror in 2011,Belize had asked them to bring BATSUB back; the British Government brought BATSUB to Belize once again.[6]


The BDF consists of:

The Belize Police Department is staffed by 1200 sworn officers and 700 civilian staff (2008).[7] The Belize Police Department and National Forensic Science Service report to the Minister of National Security.

As of 2012, there are also 40 British Army personnel stationed in Belize.[1]

Crew-served weapons

Weapon Origin Type Quantity
Recoilless rifle Sweden anti-armor anti-personal 6[1]
L16 81mm United Kingdom portable mortar 6[1]


Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Britten-Norman Defender United Kingdom Counter-insurgency BN-2B-21 1[8] In service since 1983
Slingsby T-67 Firefly United Kingdom Trainer T67M-260 1[8] In service since 1996
Britten-Norman Islander United Kingdom Utility transport BN-2A 1[8] In service since 2001
Cessna 182J United States Utility transport 182J 1[8] In service since 1996
Bell UH-1 Iroquois United States Utility helicopter UH-1H 2[9] In service since 2016
Bell 407 United States Utility helicopter 407 1[9] In service since 2015



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 IISS (2012), p. 374
  2. "Belize". CIA World Factbook.
  3. D.N.A. Fairweather, A Short History of the Volunteer Forces of British Honduras (now Belize)
  4. 1 2 Phillips, Dion E. (2002). "The Military of Belize".
  5. "Belize". Channel 5. 13 December 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-05-04.
  6. "No Joke Jimmy,The Brits Are Back". 7 News Belize. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  7. "Belize Police Department - About the Department". Retrieved 2012-06-08.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Goodson, Phil (August 1, 2003). "Belize Defence Force Air Wing" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 27, 2009. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  9. 1 2 "Taiwan donates two Helicopters to Belize". The San Pedro Sun. April 30, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
Works cited

External links

 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website

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