List of aircraft of the Spanish Republican Air Force

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Fin flash (1931–1939)

This is a list of aircraft used by the Spanish Republican Air Force during the Spanish Civil War.


Polikarpov I-16 'Mosca', one of the primary aircraft of the Spanish Republican Air Force during the Civil War.

The Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed in 1931 and very soon the republican authorities set up to reform an antiquated military structure that was a financial burden for the Spanish state following the Great Depression.[1] The Spanish Republican Air Force inherited a great number of airplanes from the monarchy, most of which had been used in the Spanish Campaigns in Northern Africa during general Primo de Rivera's dictatorship in the 1920s. Hostile to the republican reforms, and with many of its top echelon officers sympathizing with the far-right movements of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, part of the military elite staged a failed coup led by General Sanjurjo in 1934. However, the rebellion led by General Franco against the Spanish Republic in 1936 was more successful and marked the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.[2]

While more than half of the aircraft of the Spanish Republican Air Force remained on the loyalist side, most of the material was obsolete. In the summer of 1936 the beleaguered Spanish Republic found itself direly in need of modern weapons, but the governments of the United Kingdom and France quickly led a policy of non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War.[3] In defiance of the non-intervention pact some aircraft were sent to Republican Spain from France thanks to the efforts of personalities supporting the republican cause, but these consisted mostly in old material, including trainers, transport aircraft and planes without weapons that could not be used for attacks. Owing to the international blockade against the republic other planes of dubious value were acquired by the republican government through various sources, including Mexico, the Netherlands, Belgium and Czechoslovakia which included a motley combination of obsolete aircraft, prototypes and almost discarded single models. Some of the shipments of aircraft did not make it to the Spanish fronts owing to the sinking of the merchant vessels transporting them or having been seized by the customs at the ports of origin.[4][5] The most well-known Spanish Republican Air Force planes such as the 'Chato', 'Mosca', 'Natacha' and 'Katiuska' would come later in the same year and throughout 1937, when the USSR would decide to openly assist the Spanish Republic.[6]


Information, both written and pictorial, regarding the identification of the aircraft of the Spanish Republican Air Force is found in a variety of sources. These include press reports of the time, official republican government documents, as well as documents and reports from the rebel side.[5]

Since republican aerodromes were restricted military areas, relatively few photographs are available. Most are pictures of aircraft taken with air force personnel posing near them in an informal way,[7][8] as well as photographs of crashed planes.[9][10] Except for the primary aircraft,[11] certain republican military plane types were never photographed, or if available, photographs have not been found, being only known from written documents or from pilot reports. This is often the case in the assorted —often obsolete and almost useless— aircraft of which only one or two units arrived in the first critical months at the beginning of the civil war.[12] There are also aircraft which had been known only from written documents, such as the Spanish Republican Air Force Farman F.430, of which a picture has surfaced only recently.[13]

Attack aircraft[edit]

Gourdou-Leseurre GL.32
Potez 25


Polikarpov R-Z 'Natacha'


Dewoitine D.510
Polikarpov I-15 "Chato"
Blériot-SPAD S.51

Patrol and liaison aircraft[edit]

Potez 58


Loring R-III


González Gil-Pazó GP-1
Morane-Saulnier MS.230
Hispano Suiza E-30
Focke-Wulf Fw 56
Romano R.82

Transport aircraft[edit]

Farman F.430
Breguet 470 Fulgur
Airspeed Viceroy
Avia 51
SFCA Maillet 21

Many of the aircraft used for transport and liaison by the Republican Air Force had been requisitioned from LAPE, the Spanish Republican airline.[27]


Captured aircraft[edit]

The Messerschmitt Bf109B captured at Bujaraloz in 1938.

Planes of the Nationalist Spanish Air Force that fell into the hands of the Republicans.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Gerald Howson, Aircraft of the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39, ISBN 9780851778426


  1. ^ Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros, Cambio de Rumbo, Ed. Ikusager, Vitoria 2001, pg. 273
  2. ^ Juan Eslava Galán, Una Historia de la Guerra Civil que no va a Gustar a Nadie, Ed. Planeta. 2005. ISBN 8408058835 p. 9-12
  3. ^ Antony Beevor, The Battle for Spain: the Spanish Civil War 1936–1939, Weidenfeld & Nicolson ISBN 978-0-7538-2165-7
  4. ^ A.D.A.R. - El desarrollo aeronáutico de los años treinta y su influencia en la Guerra Civil Española Archived 2015-01-20 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b Armas en acción. Aviones de las Fuerzas Aéreas republicanas
  6. ^ Hugh Thomas, The Spanish Civil War; New revised edition (2011)
  7. ^ Imágenes de la Guerra Civil española - FARE
  8. ^ Imágenes de personal de las Fuerzas Aéreas republicanas
  9. ^ Na španělském nebi - Blériot-SPAD S 51 a S 91
  10. ^ Aviation Corner - Potez 540 (N)
  11. ^ ADAR - Los Aviones
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j SBHAC - Aviones de la Fuerza Aérea de la República Española/Otros
  13. ^ Aviation Corner - Farman F.430
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av "Aircraft that took part in the Spanish Civil War". Archived from the original on 2015-02-05. Retrieved 2012-04-14.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l SBHAC - Aviones de la Fuerza Aérea de la República Española/Bombarderos
  16. ^ a b c d Jean Massé, Des avions pour l'Espagne ! : La guerre civile aérienne en Espagne vue de France, Broché, 2006. ISBN 978-2350731360
  17. ^ "Br.460 B4". Archived from the original on 2020-01-08. Retrieved 2014-12-21.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w SBHAC - Aviones de la Fuerza Aérea de la República Española/Aviones de Escuela y Enlace
  19. ^ a b Michael Alpert, The Republican Army in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9781107028739, p. 250
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j SBHAC - Aviones de la Fuerza Aérea de la República Española/Cazas
  21. ^ a b c d e f SBHAC - Aviones de la Fuerza Aérea de la República Española/Hidroaviones
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k SBHAC - Aviones de la Fuerza Aérea de la República Española/Aviones de Transporte
  23. ^ a b c Aircraft that may have participated in the Spanish Civil War
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h Rafael Ángel Permuy López, La identificación y denominación de los aviones militares españoles (1911 - 1936)
  25. ^ [1] accessdate:June 2015
  26. ^ "Aircraft that didn't participate in the Spanish Civil war". Archived from the original on 2012-12-03. Retrieved 2015-01-19.
  27. ^ El Transporte Comercial en España[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ "La guerra en el aire en Asturias durante los tres primeros meses de la Guerra Civil". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2015-01-25.

External links[edit]