Bolivian Air Force

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Bolivian Air Force
Escudo de armas o emblema de la FAB.JPG
Coat of arms of the Bolivian Air Force
Founded 1923
Country Bolivia
Part of Bolivian Armed Forces
Commanders
Current
commander
General del Aire (Air General) Tito Gandarillas
Insignia
Roundel Bolivian Air Force roundel.svg
Aircraft flown
Helicopter Helibras HB350 Esquilo
Trainer Hongdu JL-8VB, Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer, Diamond DA40
Transport Lockheed C-130 Hercules, BAE Systems 146

The Bolivian Air Force ('Fuerza Aérea Boliviana' or 'FAB') is part of the Military of Bolivia.

History[edit]

By 1938 the Bolivian air force consisted of about 60 aircraft (Curtiss Hawk fighters, Curtiss T-32 Condor II and Junkers W 34 bombers, Junkers Ju 86 used as transport craft, and Fokker C.V, Breguet 19 and Vickers Vespa reconnaissance planes), and about 300 staff; the officers were trained in Italy.[1]

Current organization[edit]

FAB is organized into air brigades, which is formed by one to three air groups. The air groups are based at La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Puerto Suárez, Tarija, Villamontes, Cobija, Trindad, Riberalta, Roboré, Uyuni, Oruro, Sucre and Chimoré.

Major commands included the following:

  • General Command Systems Department in La Paz, equipped with sophisticated computers.
A Cavalier Mustang, formerly of the Bolivian Air Force, parked on a Canadian airfield.
  • Group of Air-Defense (Grupo Aereo de Defensa Anteaerea - GADA): GADA-91, GADA-92, GADA-93, GADA-94, GADA-95 and GADA-96.
  • Six air brigades with subordinate air groups.
    • First Air Brigade (El Alto):
      • Fighter Group 31 "Gral. Jorge Jordán Mercado":[2] Fighter squadron 311, Executive squadron 310
      • Transport air group 71 "Gen.W.A.Rojas" (Military airlift TAM):Air squadron 710, Air squadron 711, Air squadron 712
      • Aerophotogrammetry National Service (NSS)
      • Air group 1 - Air group VIP
      • Air group 65 - air base in Uyuni
      • Air group 66 - air base in Oruro
      • Transporte Aereo Boliviano-TAB
      • Task Force "Black Devils"
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-91
    • Second Air Brigade (Cochabamba):
      • Fighter Group 34 "P.R.Cuevas": Aerotactico squadron 340, Link training squadron 341
      • Group air search and rescue 51: Helicopter Squadron 511
      • Group air 67 - air base in Sucre
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-92
    • Third Air Brigade (Santa Cruz):
      • Hunting air group 32 "B.B.Rioja" (CEPAC): squadron 321, squadron 320, squadron 327 (maintenance)
      • COLMILAV Air group training 21 - Training squadrons: primary squadron, basic squadron, squadron "NN" (prob.navigation)
      • Air group air reconnaissance and exploration 83(air base Puerto Suarez): 831 squadron
      • Air group 61 "Gen.L.G.Pereiera (air base Robore): squadron 610
      • Air group training 22 - air base in Chimore (helicopter training)
      • Task force "Red Devils" (air base El Trompillo-Robore)
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-93
    • Fourth Air Brigade (Tarija):
      • Group air reconnaissance and exploration 82 "Cap.A.V.Peralta" (air base Tarija): squadron 821
      • Air Group 63 "Tcnl.E.L.Rivera" (air base Villamontes): squadron 630
      • Group air 41 - (air base Tarija)
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-94
    • Fifth Air Brigade (Trindad):
      • Group air 72 - air base Trindad
      • Group air defence aritllery GADA-95
    • Sixth Air Brigade (Cobija):
      • Group air 62 - air base Riberalta
      • Group air 64 - air base Cobija
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-96

Civil Aviation[edit]

The General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics (Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil—DGAC) formerly part of the FAB, administers a civil aeronautics school called the National Institute of Civil Aeronautics (Instituto Nacional de Aeronáutica Civil—INAC), and two commercial air transport services TAM and TAB.

TAM (Transporte Aéreo Militar)[edit]

TAM - Transporte Aéreo Militar (the Bolivian Military Airline) is an airline based in La Paz, Bolivia. It is the civilian wing of the 'Fuerza Aérea Boliviana' (the Bolivian Air Force), operating passenger services to remote towns and communities in the North and Northeast of Bolivia. TAM (aka TAM Group 71) has been a part of the FAB since 1945.

A similar airline serving the Beni Department with small planes is Línea Aérea Amaszonas,[3] using smaller planes than TAM.

TAB (Transportes Aéreos Bolivianos)[edit]

Although a civil transport airline, TAB - Transportes Aéreos Bolivianos, was created as a subsidiary company of the FAB in 1977. It is subordinate to the Air Transport Management (Gerencia de Transportes Aéreos) and is headed by an FAB general. TAB, a charter heavy cargo airline, links Bolivia with most countries of the Western Hemisphere; its inventory included a fleet of Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft. TAB's Base of operations was headquartered at El Alto, adjacent to La Paz's El Alto International Airport. TAB also flew to Miami and Houston, with stops in Panama.

Aircraft Inventory[edit]

Aircraft Photo Origin Type Versions In service[4] Notes
Trainers
K-8 Karakorum K8 Fuerza Aerea de Bolivia.jpg  China/  Pakistan Attack/Trainer JL-8VB/K-8VB or K-8B 6 in service at GAC-34 (Cochabamba)
Canadair T-33 Silver Star T-33 LA PAZ.jpg  Canada Attack/Trainer AT-33 MKIII 10 in service (4 T-33MKIII and 4 T-33SF at GAC-31; 2 T-33SF at GAC-32}
Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer   Switzerland Attack/Trainer PC-7 4 in service at GAC-32 {plus 5 out of order)
NEIVA T-25 Universal  Brazil Trainer 5
Diamond DA40  Austria Trainer 9
Helicopters
Eurocopter EC-145  France Utility helicopter and VIP EC-145 2 {plus 2 on order}
Harbin Z-9  China Utility helicopter H425 6 {to Army Air Force}
Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma  France Utility helicopter AS332 C1e 6 {on order}
Eurocopter As-350B3 Écureuil  France Utility helicopter AS-350B3 2
Bell UH-I Iroquois  United States Utility helicopter UH-1H 12
Robinson R44 Helicoptero del ejercito boliviano.jpg  United States Trainer/Police Patrol R44 Total 9 (6 Bolivian Air Force; 2 Bolivian Air Police; 1 Army Air Force)
MD Helicopters MD 500  United States Police Patrol MD-530F 2 (on order)
Transports
Beechcraft Baron  United States Utility B-55 1
British Aerospace Jetstream  United Kingdom Utility, Transport (TAM) Bae Jetstream-31 2
Beechcraft King Air  United States Utility B-90 1
Beechcraft Super King Air  United States Staff, Transport, VOR/NDB/RNAV, MEDEVAC Super King Air 200/250/350 total 4 (2 serie 200/ 1 serie 250/ 1 serie 350)
BAE Systems 146  United Kingdom Transport (TAM) 146-100/146 200 6
CASA C-212 Aviocar  Spain Transport (TAM) 4
Cessna 152  United States Utility 6
Cessna 206 Stationair  United States Utility 11
Cessna 210 Centurion  United States Utility 9
Xian MA60 MA60 TAM.jpg  China Transport (TAM) 2
Cessna 402  United States Utility and aerophotogrammetry service 402B 1
Cessna 421 Golden Eagle  United States Utility 421B 1
Fokker F27 Friendship  Netherlands Transport (TAM) F27-400M 1
Learjet 25  United States VIP Transport and aerophotogrammetry service 25B
25D
1
1
Lockheed C-130 Hercules  United States Transport A and H (TAB), B ('Black Devils') C-130A
C-130B
C-130H
1
3
1
McDonnell Douglas DC-10  United States Transport (TAB) DC-10-10F /DC-10-30F /MD-10 Total 3 (one of each model)
Piper PA-34 Seneca  United States Utility 2
Rockwell Sabreliner  United States VIP Transport Sabreliner 60 1
Dassault Falcon 50 F-HUNT Dassault Falcon Mystere 50EX FA50 FAB 002 "Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia" (ex M-GPIK) (10840181333).jpg  France VIP Transport Falcon 50EX 1 Designated FAB-002 and used as presidential transport.
Dassault Falcon 900  France VIP Transport Falcon 900EX 1 Designated FAB-001 and used as presidential transport.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
RemoEye-006  Republic of Korea Reconnaissance 2 [5]

Future Acquisitions[edit]

Under construction by CITA, a total of 10 units of two models (Tiluchi and Gavilán) mounted in Bolivia under license of American Team Tango Company to be used to training, acrobatics and liaison. Bolivia evaluates to acquire until 6 units of Mi-17 (maybe to be used by Army Air Force); talks in progress.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ R. Schnitzler, G.W. Feuchter, R. Schulz (Eds.): Handbuch der Luftfahrt (Manual of Aviation). Jahrgang 1939. p. 17-18. J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, München & Berlin
  2. ^ AviaciónBoliviana.Net ::
  3. ^ Amaszonas
  4. ^ Aerospace Sourcebook. Aviation Week & Space Technology 2009, 26 JAN 2009 240. Web. 14 Aug 2009.[dead link]
  5. ^ Bolivia; Air Force receives S.Korean designed UAV - Dmilt.com, 7 June 2013
  6. ^ Russia Seeks New Arms Deals on Growing Latin American Market | Defense & Security News at DefenceTalk