South Sudan has launched the air force of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in the region’s capital Juba.

The nearly independent region fought a civil war with the north for two decades before the 2005 peace deal, which allowed the region to vote on secession from the north in a referendum this month.

The establishment of the air force was legislated in a defence bill, was passed in June 2008, that stated about the ground and aerial units in SPLA.

The SPLA has reportedly purchased its first batch of ten Mi-17 helicopters from Kazan, a Russian supplier, and has also ordered unarmed aircraft for transport purposes.

The region allocates about 40% of its budget to the military, according to the Sudan Tribune.