The original Lao military aviation establishment was the 'Laotian Aviation' (French: Aviation laotiènne), established by the French on 28 January 1955 as a small aerial observation and transport arm of the then National Lao Army (ANL). As the French withdrew from Indochina, the Lao Aviation was supported by American aid. With the addition of offensive capabilities, it morphed into the Royal Lao Air Force (RLAF).
The RLAF began its operations as a liaison, logistics and transport unit. Its initial stock were a melange of French and American supplied rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft inherited from its predecessor, Aviation Laotienne.