Belize Defence Force

French Armed Forces United Kingdom Armed forces of the Netherlands
Belize Defence Force
Belize Defence Force emblem.svg
Belize Defence Force emblem
Flag of the Belize Defence Force.svg
Belize Defence Force flag
MottoShoulder To Shoulder
FoundedJanuary 1978; 42 years ago (January 1978)
Current formDefence Force
Service branches
HeadquartersPrice Barracks, Ladyville
Commander-in-ChiefElizabeth II
Minister of National SecurityHon. Michael Peyrefitte
Chief of Defence StaffRear Admiral John Borland
Military age18-23 years
ConscriptionLaws allow for conscription only if volunteers are insufficient.
Available for
military service
121,249, age 18-49 years (2007)
Fit for
military service
87,871, age 18-49 years (2007)
Reaching military
age annually
6,313 (2007)
Active personnel1,630 (2016 approx)[1]
Reserve personnel850 (2016 approx)[1]
Budget$US 32 million (2012)[1]
Foreign suppliers
Related articles
RanksMilitary ranks of Belize

The Belize Defence Force (BDF) is the military of Belize, and is responsible for protecting the sovereignty of the country. The BDF is under the Ministry of National Security, which is currently headed by Hon. Michael Peyrefitte; the BDF itself is commanded by Brigadier General Steven Ortega. 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 the 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:[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 the deterrent British Forces Belize in the country to protect it from invasion by Guatemala. 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 Belize Coast Guard Service in November 2005.[5]

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


The BDF consists of:

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 Variant In service Notes
Britten-Norman BN-2 United Kingdom transport / utility 1[7]
Bell UH-1 United States utility UH-1H 2[7]
Trainer Aircraft
T67 Firefly United Kingdom basic trainer M260 1[7]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k 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. ^ a b Phillips, Dion E. (2002). "The Military of Belize". Archived from the original on 2012-12-11.
  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. ^ a b c "World Air Forces 2020". Flightglobal Insight. 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2020.