Uruguayan Air Force
|Uruguayan Air Force
Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya
|Active||1 April 1935–present|
|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."|
|Garrison/HQ||Captain Boiso Lanza Air Base, Montevideo|
|Motto||"La aviación vanguardia de la Patria"
Aviation vanguard of the homeland
|Anniversaries||17 March: Air Force Day
10 August: Day of the Martyrs of Military Aviation
|Gen. Washington R. Martínez|
|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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. Current negotiation is on process. 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. Also, the UAF showed interest on the Pucará Delta modernization program offered by FADEA.
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.
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.
The Aeronautics Technical School (Escuela Técnica de Aeronáutica) is located in Toledo Sur in the Department of Canelones.
The table below lists the aircraft currently in service with the Uruguayan Air Force.
|Cessna A-37 Dragonfly|| United States
||4 (16 delivered)||Air Brigade II, Nº2 Squadron|
|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|
|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|
|Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante||Brazil||transport/utility||C-95||3||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|
|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
|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|
|Bell 212 Twin Huey||United States||transport/utility||Bell 212||4||Air Brigade I, Nº5 Squadron|
|Bell UH-1 Iroquois||United States||transport/utility||UH-1H||6||Air Brigade I, Nº5 Squadron|
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.
|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-4||Teniente Coronel||Lieutenant Colonel||Wing Commander||Lieutenant Colonel|
|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|
- History of Uruguay
- Uruguayan Army
- Uruguayan Navy, which includes a Naval Aviation contingent
- Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Air force of Uruguay.|
- Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya, (2008). . Retrieved 2 October 2008.
- Air International August 1990, p. 73.
- Aeroflight, (2008). . Retrieved 2 October 2008.
- Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya, (2008). . Retrieved 2 October 2008.
- "World Military Aircraft Inventory", Aerospace Source Book 2007, Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 15, 2007.
- "Shoestring Top Cover...The Uruguayan Air Force". Air International, Vol. 39 No. 2, August 1990. pp. 65–73.
- Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya - Official website (in Spanish)
- "Memories from the Age of Flight" (in Spanish)
- The Fuerza Aerea Uruguaya in Microsoft Flight Simulator FS2004 (in Spanish)
- Aeroflight: Uruguay Air Force (in English)