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 (I BRIGADE), GADA-92 (II BRIGADE), GADA-93 (III BRIGADE), GADA-94 (IV BRIGADE), GADA-95 (V BRIGADE), GADA-96 (VI BRIGADE) and GADA-97 (I BRIGADE).
  • 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 66 - air base in Oruro
      • Transporte Aereo Boliviano-TAB
      • Task Force "Black Devils"
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-91
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-97
    • Second Air Brigade (Cochabamba):
      • Fighter group 34 "P.R.Cuevas": Aerotactico squadron 340, Link training squadron 341
      • Air group search and rescue 51: Helicopter Squadron 511
      • Air group training 22 - air base in Chimore (helicopter training)
      • Air group 67 - air base in Sucre
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-92
    • Third Air Brigade (Santa Cruz):
      • Fighter 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 83(air base Puerto Suarez): 831 squadron
      • Air group 61 "Gen.L.G.Pereiera (air base Robore): squadron 610
      • Task force "Red Devils" (air base El Trompillo-Robore)
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-93
    • Fourth Air Brigade (Tarija):
      • Air Group 82 "Cap.A.V.Peralta" (air base Camiri): squadron 821
      • Air Group 63 "Tcnl.E.L.Rivera" (air base Villamontes): squadron 630
      • Air Group 41 - (air base Tarija)
      • Air group 65 - (air base Uyuni)
      • Group air defence artillery GADA-94
    • Fifth Air Brigade (Trindad):
      • Group air 72 - air base Trindad
      • Group air 62 - air base Riberalta
      • Group air defence aritllery GADA-95
    • Sixth Air Brigade (Cobija):
      • 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[edit]

Current inventory[edit]

A Bolivian K-8
Bolivia's Presidential Falcon 50 at Geneva International Airport
Two Bolivian T-33’s in formation
A pair of R44’s fly over the Bolivian country side
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Reconnaissance
Learjet 25  United States surveillance 2[4]
Transport
Falcon 50  France VIP 1[5]
C-130  United States transport C-130B 3[4]
Jetstream 31  United Kingdom transport 2[4]
King Air 90  United States transport 90/200/350 5[4]
MA60  China transport 2 on order[4]
Helicopters
AS332  France utility / transport 1[4] 5 on order[4]
AS350  France utility / liaison 2[4]
EC145  France utility 3[4]
SA316  France laision 1[4]
UH-1  United States utility UH-1H 14[4]
Trainer Aircraft
DA40  Austria basic trainer 9[4]
Foxtrot 4  United States basic trainer 1[4] 1 on order[4]
K-8  China jet trainer 6[4]
PC-7   Switzerland trainer 3[4]
Tango XR  United States trainer 1[4]
T-33  Canada jet trainer AT-33A-N[6] 14[4]
R44  United States trainer 6[4] Air Training Group 22[7]
UAV
RemoEye-006  Republic of Korea surveillance 2[8]

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.

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. ^ "AviacinBoliviana.Net ::". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Home - Airline Amaszonas - Flights Bolivia,Cuzco,Sucre". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "World Air Forces 2015 pg. 11". Flightglobal Insight. 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "FAB-001". flightradar24.com. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Andrade 1982, p. 27
  7. ^ "Bolivia takes delivery of first two R44s". helihub.com. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Bolivia receives South Korean UAV". DMI 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  • Andrade, John (1982). Militair 1982. London: Aviation Press Limited. ISBN 0 907898 01 7.