Powered by a license-built Rolls Royce Viper Mk 22-6 turbojet, the G2-A was the standard version for the Yugoslav Air Force. They were used primarily for school-combat training of VVA (Military Air Force Academy) cadets, so that the largest number of these aircraft was located in the VVA units. The aircraft was very easy and forgiving in flight, with easy maintenance, so students and technicians loved it. They regularly achieved 5,000 hours in the air (the G-2 Galeb in the Yugoslav Aeronautical Museum had 6,200 hours in its logbook). A G2-AE export variant became available from late 1974 and was built for Libya and Zambia.
The G-2A was used extensively by the 105th Fighter-Bomber Regiment of the Yugoslav Air Force, in combat over Bosnia-Herzegovina.
First Congo War
According to some reports, France and Yugoslavia supported Mobutu's government during the First Congo War. Namely, Yugoslavia agreed to deliver three J-21 and one G-2 aircraft, as well as four MiG-21PFMs, while three Mi-24s were purchased from Ukraine. All these aircraft were based at Gbadolite and flown mainly by Serbian mercenaries.
With few exceptions it remains unknown exactly what happened with each of these aircraft and how were they used after their arrival in Zaire, in late 1996-1997. In the case of Mi-24s it is known that one hit a power line and crashed on 27 March 1997, killing the three crewmen and four passengers.
The fate of at least one J-21 Jastreb was not much better: one of the Serbian mercenaries, called Ratko Turcinovic, was killed while flying an ultra-low-level pass over Gbadolite and clipping a lamp post with his wing. The wreckage of his aircraft fell directly into a column of young soldiers on a parade, killing dozens of them. Turcinovic apparently fell victim to a massive alcohol problem.
After this event, the Serbs were expelled and the Jastrebs and Galebs were abandoned along with the MiG-21s and two Mi-24s which were meant to be put together by group of Russian or Ukrainian technicians at Gbadolite but the assembly work was never completed.
Colonel Gaddafi's forces used the type to attack rebel forces during the 2011 Libyan civil war. One was destroyed after landing on 24 March 2011 by a French Dassault Rafale after violating the No-Fly-Zone over Misrata. Another five together with 2 Mi-35 helicopters were reported destroyed by the French Air Force in the same area the following day, but satellite images showed that the five fixed wing aircraft were MiG-23s.
During the current Second Libyan Civil War, Islamist forces from Libya Dawn (led by the unrecognized new General National Congress based in Tripoli) are reported to have two to four Galebs in service. However, their actual operational status is hard to determine.
Before the Yugoslav Wars, at least a dozen Galebs were purchased by American warbird dealers, and several are still on the civil register today. Other operators are located in Indonesia, Serbia, New Zealand, Slovenia and the United States. It's been also used in Air combat scenes of the Aces: Iron Eagle III movie.