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The Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Argentina or FAA) is the national aviation branch of the armed forces of Argentina. As of 2007, it had 14,606 airmen and 6,854 civilans on duty.

History

The Argentine Air Force's history begins with the establishment of the Escuela de Aviación Militar (Military Aviation School) on 10 August 1912. Several military officers were amongst the pioneers of Argentine aviation, including Jorge Newbery, a retired Argentine Navy officer. The School began to turn out several military pilots who participated in milestone events in Argentine aviation, such as the crossing of the Andes mountains.

In 1927 the (General Directorate of Aeronautics) was created to coordinate the country's military aviation. In that same year, the Fábrica Militar de Aviones (Military Aircraft Factory, FMA) was founded in Córdobamarker, which would become the heart of the country's aviation industry.

By the 1940s there were several air units in the Army and the Navy, and the first step towards an independent force came on 11 February 1944 with the establishment of the Aeronautical Command, which would go on to become the Argentine Air Force on 4 January 1945, an independent force on par with the Army and the Navy.

Immediately after the end of World War II, the Air Force began a process of modernization, incorporating aircraft such as the Gloster Meteor jet fighter, thus becoming the first air force in Latin America equipped with jet-propelled aircraft. In addition, a number of Avro Lincoln and Avro Lancaster bombers were acquired, creating a powerful strategic force in the region. The Air Force, in collaboration with German technicians, also began to develop its own aircraft, such as the Pulqui I and Pulqui II, making Argentina the first country in Latin America and the sixth in the world to develop jet fighter technology on its own.

In 1952, the Air Force began flights to supply the early Antarctic scientific bases, expanding its activities in the Antarctic continent and establishing Marambio Base on 25 September 1969.

During the 1970s, the Air Force reequipped itself with modern aircraft for the period, including the Mirage III interceptors, IAI Dagger multi-role fighters (Israeli derivatives of the Mirage V), A-4 Skyhawk attack aircraft and C-130 Hercules cargo planes. Also, a counter-insurgency airplane, the Pucará, was used in substantial numbers.

FAA A-4 Skyhawk pilots - May 1982


The Falklands War, termed by the Argentines Guerra de las Malvinas / Guerra del Atlántico Sur, took a great toll on the Air Force, which lost 60 aircraft. Due to the deteriorating economic situation, international opposition and political distrust upon the military, the Air Force was denied the resources needed to replace the war losses. This, coupled with diminishing budgets, led to a period of reduced activity and growing materiel obsolescence.

In the 1990s, the British embargo was officially eliminated and after economic and political failure attempts of getting surplus IAI Kfirs or F-16As, the United States sold 36 refurbished A-4M Skyhawk (known as A-4AR Fightinghawks.) Since their reception, the A-4AR demonstrated being a worthy replacement of the Bravos and Charlies that fought during the war.

The FAA has been greatly involved in United Nations peacekeeping missions around the world. They sent a Boeing 707 to the 1991 Gulf War. Since 1994, the UN Air contingent (UNFLIGHT) in Cyprusmarker under UNFICYP mandate is provided by the FAA, achieving 10,000 flight hours (as of 2003) without any accidents . The FAA has also since 2005 deployed Bell 212 helicopters to Haitimarker under MINUSTAH mandate.

In early 2005, the top seventeen brigadiers of the Air Force, including the Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Carlos Rohde, were sacked by President Néstor Kirchner following a drug traffic scandal through Ezeiza International Airportmarker. Kirchner cited failures in the security systems of Argentine airports (which were overseen by the National Aeronautic Police, a branch of the Air Force) and cover-ups of the scandal, even though it later became known that many government agencies, among them the Interior Ministry, the Customs Administration and the Secretariat of State Intelligencemarker knew about the drug traffic operations.

The primary concerns of the Air Force nowadays are the establishment of a radar network for control of the country's airspace, the replacement of its older combat aircraft (Mirage III, Mirage V) and the incorporation of new technologies. The possibility of purchasing surplus French Air Force Mirage 2000C fighters, like the option chosen by the Brazilian Air Force, has been considered.

Since the last decade, the FAA had established good relations with neighbours Brazilian Air Force and Chilean Air Force. They annually meet, on a rotation basis, in the join exercises Cruzex in Brazil, Ceibo in Argentina and Salitre in Chile.

In 2007, an FAA FMA IA 58 Pucará was converted to carry a modified engine operating on soy-derived bio-jet fuel. The project, financed and directed by the Argentine Government ( ), made Argentina the second nation in the world to propel an aircraft with biojet fuel. The project intends to make the FAA less reliant on costly fossil fuels.

Organization

The Argentine Air Force is one of the three branches of the Argentine military, having equal status with the Army and the Navy. The President of Argentina is Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force as well as of the other branches of the military.

The Air Force is headed by the Chief of the General Staff ( ), directly appointed and removed by the President. The Air Force Chief of Staff usually holds the rank of Brigadier General, the highest rank of the Air Force. The Chief of Staff is seconded by a Deputy Chief of the General Staff and three senior officers in charge of the Air Force's three Commands: the Air Operations Command, the Personnel Command and the Materiel Command.

The Air Operations Command ( ) is the branch of the Air Force responsible for aerospace defense, air operations, planning, training, technical and logistical support of the air units. Subordinate to the Air Operations Command are the Air Brigades ( ), the Air Force's major operative units. A total of eight Air Brigades are currently operational. Brigades are headquartered at Military Air Bases ( , commonly abbreviated "BAM").

Each Air Brigade is made up of three Groups, each of which bear the same numeral as its mother Brigade. These groups include:
  • One Air Group ( ), which operates the aircraft assigned to the Brigade. The Air Group is divided into a variable number of Air Squadrons. Air Groups may be named according to their primary mission, for example an air group specialized in fighter operations receives the designation of Fighter Group (Grupo de Caza). Currently the Air Force includes three Fighter Groups (4th, 5th and 6th), one Attack Group (3rd), one Transport Group (1st) and three plain Air Groups (2nd, 7th and 9th). The 7th Air Group operates all the helicopters of the Air Force, while the 2nd includes a small reconnaissance unit as well as light transport aircraft. 9th Air Group is a light transport unit.
  • One Technical Group ( ), in charge of the maintenance and repair of the Brigade's aircraft.
  • One Base Group ( ), responsible for the air base itself, weather forecasting, flight control, runway maintenance, etc. Base Groups also include Base Flights ( ), generally made up of two or three liaison aircraft.


The Personnel Command ( ) is responsible for the training, education, assignment and welfare of Air Force personnel. Under the control of the Personnel Command are the Military Aviation School (which educates the future officers of the Air Force), the Air Force Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) School and other educational and training units.

The Materiel Command ( ) deals with planning and executing the Air Force's logistics regarding flying and ground materiel. Materiel Command includes "Quilmes" and "Río Cuarto " Materiel Areas (repairing and maintenance units) and "El Palomar" Logistical Area.

Ranks

Officers

Officers wear their rank insignia in their sleeves, in the pattern depicted below. There are also shoulderboards with the same insignia (albeit in gray) for the ranks between Ensign and Commodore. General officers wear different shoulderboards.

Equivalent NATO Rank Code Rank in Spanish Rank in English Commonwealth equivalent US Air Force equivalent
OF8 / OF-9 Brigadier General Air Marshal or Air Chief Marshal Lieutenant General or General
OF-7 Brigadier-Major Air Vice-Marshal Major General
OF-6 Brigadier Air Commodore Brigadier General
OF-5 Commodore Group Captain Colonel
OF-4 Vice-Commodore Wing Commander Lieutenant Colonel
OF-3 Major Squadron Leader Major
OF-2 Captain Flight Lieutenant Captain
OF-1 First Lieutenant Flying Officer First Lieutenant
OF-1 Lieutenant Pilot Officer Second Lieutenant
OF-D Ensign Acting Pilot Officer


Enlisted personnel and Non-Commissioned Officers

Insignia Rank in Spanish Rank in English
Senior Sub-Officer or Sub-Officer-Major
Principal Sub-Officer
Staff Sub-Officer or Adjutant Sub-Officer
Auxiliary Sub-Officer
Principal Corporal
Corporal First Class
Corporal
Volunteer First Class
Volunteer Second Class


Order of battle



FMA Pampa




  1. 1st Air Transport Squadron (C-130 Hercules)
  2. 2nd Air Transport Squadron (Fokker F-28)
  1. 2nd Reconnaissance Squadron (Learjet 35A)
  2. 4th Air Transport Squadron (Fokker F-27)
  1. 2nd Attack Squadron (IA-58A Pucara)
  2. 3rd Attack Squadron (IA-58A Pucara)
  1. 1st Training Squadron (Lockheed Martin AT-63 Pampa serie 2)
  2. 3rd Search and Rescue Squadron (SA-315B Lama)
  3. 4th Cruz del Sur Acrobatics Squadron (Su-29)
  4. Fighter School
  1. 1st Fighter-Bomber Squadron (A-4AR Fightinghawk)
  2. 2nd Fighter-Bomber Squadron (A-4AR Fightinghawk)
  1. 1st Fighter-Bomber Squadron (AMD Mirage 5P Mara)
  2. 2nd Fighter-Bomber Squadron (IAI Finger)
  3. 3rd Air Interceptor Squadron (AMD Mirage IIIEA/DA)
  1. 1st Search and Rescue Squadron (Bell 212)
  2. 2nd Tactical Squadron (Hughes 500D)
  3. 3rd Squadron (UH-1H)
  4. 4th Squadron (UH-1H, Hughes 500E)
  1. 6th Air Transport Squadron (SAAB 340B)
  2. 7th Air Transport Squadron (DHC-6 Twin Otter)
  1. Glider Flight
  2. Services Squadron
  3. Mentor Squadron (Mentor B-45)
  4. Tucano Squadron (Embraer EMB-312 Tucano)


Inventory

The FAA operates 250 aircraft of various types, including 50 primary combat aircraft.

Aircraft Origin Type Versions Quantity Notes
Fighter Aircraft
Dassault Mirage III Fighter
Trainer
Mirage IIIEA
Mirage IIIDA
10
2
McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Attack and fighter
Attack, fighter and trainer
A-4AR
OA-4AR
30
4
IAI Finger (Mirage 5 subtype) Attack and fighter
Trainer
Finger
Dagger B
8
3
Dassault Mirage V Attack and fighter Mirage 5A 5
Ground Attack
FMA IA 58 Pucará Attack IA-58A 36
Trainer
Beechcraft T-34 Mentor Trainer FMA T-34A 31
Sukhoi Su-29 Aerobatics Su-29 7
Embraer Tucano Trainer 27
FMA IA 63 Pampa Trainer 18
Helicopters
Aérospatiale SA 315 Lama Andes rescue helicopter SA 315B 3
Bell 212 Twin Huey Utility helicopter (UN, CSAR and Antarctic operations) 7
MD/RACA MD 500 Defender Utility helicopter 500D 10
Hughes 369 Scout helicopter 1
Transports
Cessna 182 Skylane Utility A182 18
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter Utility DHC-6-200 8
Fokker F27 Friendship Transport F27-400M
F27-600
4
2
Fokker F28 Fellowship Transport F28-1000
F28-1000C
F28-4000
1
4
1
Learjet 35 Special missions 35A 4
Learjet 60 VIP transport 1
Lockheed C-130 Hercules Transport/Aerial refueling C-130B
C-130H
KC-130H
L-100-30
2
5
2
1
Rockwell Aero Commander 500 Transport 500U 5
Rockwell Sabreliner VIP transport Sabreliner 75A 1
Saab-340 Transport Saab-340B 4


Chiefs of the Argentine Air Force

Commanders of the Army Military Aviation (1912-1919)
  • Colonel Arenales Uriburu (1912-1915)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Alejandro P. Obligado (1915-1919)


Commanders of the Army Aeronautical Service (1919-1927)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Alejandro P. Obligado (1919-1920)
  • Colonel Enrique Mosconi (1920-1922)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Jorge B. Crespo (1923)
  • Colonel Luis A. Cassinelli (1923-1927)


Commanders of the General Directorate of Aeronautics (1927-1941)
  • Colonel Luis A. Cassinelli (1927-1929)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Jorge B. Crespo (1929-1930)
  • Colonel Angel M. Zuloaga (1941)


Commanders of the First Air Division (1936)
  • Brigadier General (Army) A. Verdaguer (1936)


Commanders of the Army Air Forces (1936-1939)
  • Brigadier General (Army) A. Verdaguer (1936-1939)


Commanders of the Army Aviation Command (1938-1944)
  • Colonel Antonio Parodi (1938-1941)
  • Colonel Angel M. Zuloaga (1941)
  • Colonel Pedro Zanni (1941-1942)
  • Brigadier General (Army) Jorge J. Manni (1942-1944)


Commanders-in-Chief of the Aeronautica (1944)
  • Brigadier General (Army) Bartolomé de la Colina (1944)


Commanders of the Argentine Air Force (1945-1947)
  • Brigadier Edmundo Sustaita (1945)
  • Brigadier General Oscar Muratorio (1945)
  • Brigadier P. Castex Lainford (1945-1946)
  • Brigadier General Oscar Muratorio (1946-1947)


Commanders-in-Chief of the Argentine Air Force (1947-1973)
  • Brigadier General Oscar Muratorio (1947-1951)
  • Brigadier General Hermansson (1951-1952)
  • Brigadier General Carlos Mauriño (1952-1955)
  • Brigadier General Juan Fabri (1955)
  • Brigadier General Hermansson (1955-1956)
  • Brigadier General Heriberto Ahrens (1956-1957)
  • Brigadier General Guillermo Zinny (1957)
  • Brigadier General Angel A. Peluffo (1957)
  • Brigadier General Alfredo Vedoya (1957-1958)
  • Brigadier Miguel Moragues (1958)
  • Brigadier General Manuel L. Aleman (1958-1960)
  • Brigadier General Cayo Alsina (1960-1962)
  • Brigadier General Carlos Armanini (1962-1966)
  • Brigadier General Adolfo Alvarez (1966-1968)
  • Brigadier General Martinez Zuviría (1968-1970)
  • Brigadier General Carlos A. Rey (1970-1973)
  • Brigadier General Hector Fautario (1973)


General Commanders of the Argentine Air Force (1973-1976)
  • Brigadier General Hector Fautario (1973-1975)
  • Brigadier General Orlando R. Agosti (1975-1976)


Commanders-in-Chief of the Argentine Air Force (1976-1983)
  • Brigadier General Orlando R. Agosti (1976-1979)
  • Brigadier General Omar Graffigna (1979-1981)
  • Brigadier General Basilio Lami Dozo (1981-1982)
  • Brigadier General Augusto Hughes (1982-1983)


Chiefs of the General Staff of the Argentine Air Force (1983-present)
  • Brigadier General Teodoro Waldner (1983-1985)
  • Brigadier General Ernesto Crespo (1985-1989)
  • Brigadier General José A. Julia (1989-1993)
  • Brigadier General Juan Paulik (1993-1996)
  • Brigadier General Rubén Montenegro (1996-1999)
  • Brigadier General Walter Barbero (1999-2003)
  • Brigadier General Carlos A. Rohde (2003-2005)
  • Brigadier General Eduardo Schiaffino (2005-2006)
  • Brigadier-Major Normando Costantino (2006-incumbent)


See also



References

  1. FAA site:United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)
  2. Helis.com Database



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