Uruguayan Air Force

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Uruguayan Air Force
Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya
Uruguayan Air Force emblem.png
Uruguayan Air Force emblem
Active 1 April 1935–present
Country Uruguay Uruguay
Branch Air Force
Role "To defend the honor, the independence, and the peace of the Republic, the integrity of its territory, its constitution and its laws. To be an exemplary Air Force, though small according to the possibilities of the country, with a high degree of professionalism and skill, with modern and suitable equipment, capable of dissuasion and being a pride to the nation."[1]
Size 3,000 personnel
Garrison/HQ Captain Boiso Lanza Air Base, Montevideo
Motto "La aviación vanguardia de la Patria"
Aviation vanguard of the homeland
Mascot Tero
Anniversaries 17 March: Air Force Day
10 August: Day of the Martyrs of Military Aviation
Commanders
Current
commander
Gen. Washington R. Martínez
Insignia
Roundel Roundel of Uruguay.svg
Fin Flash Flag of Artigas.svg
Aircraft flown
Attack IA-58
Fighter A-37
Trainer T-41, SF.260, PC-7, B-58
Transport C-130, C-212, EMB-120, EMB-110, UH-1, Bell 212, AS-365, U206, D50

The Uruguayan Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya or FAU) is one of the three main branches of the Armed Forces of Uruguay under the Uruguayan Ministry of Defense. The current head of the force is General of the Air Enrique A. Bonelli.

History[edit]

Military aviation in Uruguay was born on 17 March 1913 when the Military Aviation Academy (Escuela de Aviación Militar) was formed at a small airport 50 km from Montevideo. The first aircraft were a Farman Longhorn biplane and a Blériot XI monoplane. As with many other Latin American countries, flight instruction was initially performed by a European (in this case French) instructor. Ten army officers formed the select group chosen to be the first Uruguayan military aviators. Among them were Cpt Juan Manuel Boiso Lanza and Lt. Cesáreo L. Berisso. Boiso Lanza was the first fatality of the FAU, dying in a plane crash on 10 August 1918; he later became the namesake of Cpt Boiso Lanza Air Base in Montevideo, the current FAU headquarters. Berisso became the first commander of the Air Force flight school and was later the namesake of Gen. Cesáreo Berisso Air Base in Carrasco, the headquarters of Air Brigade I.

Along with two other young officers, Adhemar Saenz Lacueva and Esteban Cristi, they gained their military aviator rating in Argentina and Chile and formed the Military Aeronautical School on 20 November 1916. This school was the only military aviation facility in Uruguay until 1935. Several European aircraft types were used in fairly large numbers during the twenties, among them sixteen Avro 504Ks, thirteen Breguet 14s, five Castaibert 913-IVs, twenty-eight Nieuport 27s. These pioneering years saw many air routes opened and an overall increase in the awareness of the military potential of this nascent force.

In 1935 the school was transformed into the Military Aeronautics division (Aeronáutica Militar,) and five units were created as well as several airbases. Typical aircraft of the thirties and forties were European types like the Potez XXV A.2 TOE, the SPAD S.VII and S.XIII, the de Havilland DH 82A, and the IMAM Ro.37; but this era also saw the transition to aircraft of American pedigree. Beech AT-11 and Douglas C-47 transports, Waco JHD and NAA Texan trainers, and NAA B-25J bombers were used in this period. The arrival of F-51 Mustangs in the early 50s notably enhanced the capabilities of the air force. There were now nine Aviation Groups and the Military Aeronautics division was officially renamed the Military Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Militar) on 4 December 1952. This change in nomenclature was important because it signified the independence of the branch from the army command structure. The new force was reorganized into three commands (tactical, training, and material) and a brigade structure was implemented along with a fully staffed headquarters.

The Uruguayan Air Force grew from this foundation. Later, some new units were created such as the Aerial Commands, but no radical changes were made. The FAU received its first jets when Lockheed T-33s and F-80s arrived in 1955 and 1958.[2] The FAU also employed the de Havilland Chipmunk, using 10 from 1954 to 1962. The first helicopters were Bell 47s and Hiller H-23Fs, followed by the venerable Bell UH-1B Hueys.

Present[edit]

A substitute for the two Lockheed C-130B is needed in near time, despite the Program Depot Maintenance(PDM) and major upgrade realized by Chilean aircraft manufacturer ENAER.[3][4] Candidates are the EADS C-295 and maybe Shaanxi Y-8 despite no official statement has been done yet. In the medium and light transport branch Bandeirantes are putting back in flight by Algar Aviation in Brazil since the end of 2013.[5][6] In 2009 two CASA C-212 were bought from Sweden as a temporary solution plus another two to be incorporated on 2015 from Portuguese Air Force.[7] China has offered the Harbin Y-12 and rumours about a purchase of some Cessna 208 were deny recently.

Uruguayan Air Force is looking for a new fighter plane. Dragonflies are reaching the end of their operative lives. In May 2013 eighteen refurbished Sukhoi Su-30 MkI were offered by the Russian Federation and Sukhoi in remarkably favorable conditions that included credit facilities and an agreement branch for maintenance. These conditions were offered for the Yak-130 Mitten, too. By December 2013 Uruguayan personnel flew this plane in Russia.[8] Current negotiation is on process.[9] According to Scramble a number of Cessna A-37B were purchased from Ecuadorian Air Force by January 2014. By August 2014 ten Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II plus a large engines, spare parts and training agreement is on the agenda between Swiss Air Force and uruguayan government.[10] Also, the UAF showed interest on the Pucará Delta modernization program offered by FADEA.[11]

Organization[edit]

Today[when?] the FAU comprises about 3000 personnel organized into three brigades and various support groups.

Air Brigade I was founded as Nº1 Aeronautics on 1 April 1936. It originally consisted of eight Potez XXV biplanes. Today, the brigade includes the Central Office for Assistance and the Carrasco Central Coordinator for Rescue. It also includes
Nº3 Squadron (Transport) and
Nº5 Squadron (Helicopters).
Air Brigade II includes
Nº1 Squadron (Attack),
Nº2 Squadron (Fighters),
the "Advanced Flight" Squadron, and
the "Liaison" Squadron.
Air Brigade III includes
Nº7 Squadron (Observation & Liaison).

The Uruguayan Air Force also includes Service divisions for Logistics, Communications and Computer Science, Information, Infrastructure, Maintenance, Meteorology, Health, Remote Aerospace Sensors, and Transport. The FAU is involved in search and rescue, disaster assistance, and transportation to remote locations within the country.

Air bases[edit]

The Uruguayan Air Force currently has five bases. Air Brigade I is based at Gen. Cesáreo L. Berisso Air Base at Carrasco International Airport (SUMU) near Carrasco; Air Brigade II is based at 2nd Lt. Mario W. Parrallada Air Base at Santa Bernardina International Airport (SUDU) in Durazno; Air Brigade III, the high command, and the Command School (Escuela de Comando y Estado Mayor Aéreo) are based at Capitán Boiso Lanza Air Base (SUBL) in Montevideo; Air Squadron 7 is based at Ángel S. Adami Airport (SUAA), also in Montevideo; and the EMA is based at Gen. Artigas Air Base(SUGA) in Pando.[12]

The Aeronautics Technical School (Escuela Técnica de Aeronáutica) is located in Toledo Sur in the Department of Canelones.[13]

Aircraft inventory[edit]

The table below lists the aircraft currently[when?] in service with the Uruguayan Air Force.

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[14] Notes Photo
Cessna A-37 Dragonfly  United States
attack/fighter A-37B/GOA-37B/OA-37B
4 (16 delivered. FAU 279, 280, 281 and 285 on active service) Air Brigade II, Nº2 Squadron Uruguayan Air Force Cessna OA-37B Dragonfly (318E) Lofting.jpg
FMA IA 58 Pucará  Argentina attack A-58 5 (11 delivered, six from FMA in 1980 registered as FAU 220 to 225. FAU 225 was lost in an accident on 1993. FAU 221 written off. FAC-2201, FAC-2202 and FAC-2203 were purchased from Colombian Air Force to be used as spare parts. A-574 and A-605 incorporated from FMA and put on active service since 1998 as FAU 226 and 227) Air Brigade II, Nº1 Squadron Cruzex IV 2008 Natal - RN - Brasil.jpg
Lockheed C-130 Hercules  United States transport/utility C-130B 2 (three originally delivered, FAU 590 used for spare parts. FAU 591 and FAU 592 received an extensive overhaul by ENAER) Air Brigade I, Nº3 Squadron Uruguayan Air Force C-130B Hercules Lofting.jpg
Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante  Brazil transport/utility C-95 2 (3 delivered and one decommissioned in October 2014 and given to the Aeronautical Museum at Carrasco Airport). Air Brigade I, Nº3 Squadron
Beechcraft Twin Bonanza  United States transport/utility D50 1
CASA C-212 Aviocar  Spain transport C-212-200/MP 4 Air Brigade I, Nº3 Squadron C-212 Aviocar.jpg
Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia  Brazil transport EMB 120 1 Air Brigade I, Nº3 Squadron
Cessna 206 Stationair  United States utility/liaison U206H 10 Air Brigade II, "Liaison" Squadron; &
Air Brigade III, Nº7 Squadron
Cessna C-206 H Stationer.jpg
Beechcraft B58 Baron  United States trainer/liaison B-58 2
Aermacchi SF.260  Italy trainer T-260 EU 12
Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer   Switzerland trainer/attack AT-92 5 (6 originally delivered. FAU 307 was rebuilt by Pilatus from crashed FAU 304) Air Brigade II, "Adv. Flight" Squadron.
Cessna T-41 Mescalero  United States trainer T-41D 7 Air Brigade III, Nº7 Squadron
Aerospatiale AS 365 Dauphin  France VIP/SAR AS 365 1 Air Brigade I, Nº5 Squadron Eurocopter AS-365 Dauphin.jpg
Bell 212 Twin Huey  United States transport/utility Bell 212 4 Air Brigade I, Nº5 Squadron Bell212 Twin Huey 02.jpg
Bell UH-1 Iroquois  United States transport/utility UH-1H 6 Air Brigade I, Nº5 Squadron

Rank structure[edit]

Officers wear their rank insignia on their sleeves; the insignia are nearly identical to that used by the RAF and air forces of Commonwealth nations.[15]

Equivalent NATO Rank Code Rank in Spanish Rank in English Commonwealth equivalent US Air Force equivalent
OF-8 General del Aire Lieutenant General Air Marshal Lieutenant General
OF-7 Brigadier General Major General Air Vice-Marshal Major General
OF-5 Coronel Colonel Group Captain Colonel
OF-4 Teniente Coronel Lieutenant Colonel Wing Commander Lieutenant Colonel
OF-3 Mayor Major Squadron Leader Major
OF-2 Capitán Captain Flight Lieutenant Captain
OF-1 Teniente Primero First Lieutenant Flying Officer First Lieutenant
OF-1 Teniente Segundo Second Lieutenant Pilot Officer Second Lieutenant
OF-D Alférez Ensign Acting Pilot Officer

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya, (2008). [1]. Retrieved 2 October 2008.
  2. ^ Air International August 1990, p. 73.
  3. ^ ttp://modocharlie.com/2011/10/enaer-modernizara-aeronaves-c130b-de-la-fau/#.VAKkMKOs8_w
  4. ^ http://maquina-de-combate.com/blog/?p=24197
  5. ^ http://www.infodefensa.com/latam/2013/09/24/noticia-la-fuerza-aerea-uruguaya-continua-ejecutando-su-plan-de-mantenimiento-de-aeronaves.html
  6. ^ http://www.pazlanuevaradio.net/2013/11/la-fuerza-aerea-uruguaya-repara-y.html
  7. ^ http://www.infodefensa.com/latam/2014/07/31/noticia-fuerza-aerea-uruguaya-confirma-compra-aviones-c212300mp.html
  8. ^ http://maquina-de-combate.com/blog/?p=33894
  9. ^ http://www.elobservador.com.uy/noticia/283175/mujica-negocia-la-compra-de-seis-aviones-rusos-para-fuerza-aerea/
  10. ^ http://fdra-aereo.blogspot.com/2014/08/f-5-suizos-uruguay.html
  11. ^ http://sur1810.com/nota/11013/argentina_y_uruguay_estudiaron_la_modernizacion_de_los_aviones_ia_58_pucara/
  12. ^ Aeroflight, (2008). [2]. Retrieved 2 October 2008.
  13. ^ Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya, (2008). [3]. Retrieved 2 October 2008.
  14. ^ "World Military Aircraft Inventory", Aerospace Source Book 2007, Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 15, 2007.
  15. ^ Insignias

Bibliography[edit]

  • "Shoestring Top Cover...The Uruguayan Air Force". Air International, Vol. 39 No. 2, August 1990. pp. 65–73.

External links[edit]