Mexican Naval Aviation

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Mexican Naval Aviation
Roundel of Mexico - Naval Aviation.svg
Mexican Naval Air Force insignia
Activesince 1918
CountryMexico Mexico
BranchMexican Navy
TypeNaval aviation
RoleAerial Surveillance, Troop Transport, Search and Rescue

The Mexican Naval Aviation (FAN; Spanish: Fuerza AeroNaval, literally "Naval Air Force"), is the naval air arm of the Mexican Navy. The Mexican Navy is divided into two naval fleets: Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.[1][2]


A Mexican Naval Air Force BO-105 helicopter in 2002

Naval aviation for Mexico dates back its roots all the way to 1918, when an indigenous made float biplane was successfully tested at the Port of Veracruz, the aircraft was flown by Carlos Santa Ana. In the year 1926 a squadron of float planes were designed and made for the Mexican Navy, but without personnel. Carlos Castillo Breton, became the very first Naval pilot in 1927 after training in The U.S. and in Mexico. Between 1927 and 1943, some aircraft were acquired, with a total of seven naval officers gaining their wings, although some of these joined the Mexican Air Force. World War II saw the creation of the Naval Aviation school in 1943 at Las Bajadas, Veracruz. These were also ex-FAM aircraft, used to patrol the Gulf of Mexico for German submarines and were later used for training at the Naval Aviation School.

Years after the war, the role of Mexican Naval Aviation were assigned as supporting the ground and sea naval units in Search & Rescue, coastal patrol and assistance to the general population in case of emergencies or disasters.

Times of Modernization[edit]

In the nineties, the Mexican navy started to acquire Russian built aircraft and helicopters like the Mil Mi-2, Mil Mi-8 and Antonov An-32B, also purchasing French, U.S. and German made helicopters and even Finnish built L-90 Redigo. In 1999, the Mexican navy started a programme to build kit planes and light helicopters at Las Bajadas, Veracruz.

As of 2001, Mexican naval aviation reported to have 118 aircraft, of which 68 are fixed wing in 9 squadrons and 50 helicopters in 9 squadrons, either in land bases or assigned on board of ocean patrol boats and frigates.

More recent purchases to the fleet were three ex-IDF/AF E-2C Hawkeyes, the first arriving in early July 2004. At the end of the same month, the first two EADS upgraded C212-200 Aviocars flew back to Mexico, with the remainder six being upgraded at BAN Las Bajadas. The most recent purchase are two AS565 Panthers. These helicopters will perform shipborne duties.[3]


The factor of the country's geographical position, requires the deployment of units and aircraft facilities, allowing The Mexican Navy to exercise its naval power.[4]

Gulf of Mexico Naval Air Force – HQ in Tuxpan, Veracruz

A Mexican Naval Air Force CASA C-212-400E Aviocar cargo plane in 2007

Pacific Naval Air Force – HQ in Manzanillo, Colima

Mexico City Naval Air Base


Current inventory[edit]

A Mexican Navy Mi-8 takes off from the flight deck of the USS Bataan
A CASA C-295M on the tarmac
An AS565 Panther of the Mexican Navy
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Maritime Patrol
King Air United States surveillance 350 5[5]
CASA C-212 Spain maritime patrol 8[5]
CASA CN-235 Spain / Indonesia maritime patrol / SAR 6[5] equipped with a thermal imaging camera for surveillance
Cessna 208 United States utility / transport 1 on order[5]
Cessna 402 United States utility / transport 2[5]
Super King Air United States utility transport 350 3 1 on order[5]
CASA CN-235 Spain / Indonesia maritime patrol / SAR 6[5]
Bombardier Dash 8 Canada maritime patrol / SAR 1[5]
Turbo Commander United States transport 5[5]
Mil Mi-17 Russia utility 24[5]
MD Explorer United States utility 5[5]
Sikorsky UH-60 United States utility UH-60M 9[5]
Eurocopter EC725 France SAR / utility 3[5]
Eurocopter AS565 France SAR / utility 13[5]
Eurocopter AS555 France utility 2[5]
Trainer Aircraft
Zlín Z 42 Czech Republic trainer 242 27[5]
Zlin Z 43 Czech Republic trainer 143 2[5]
T-6 Texan II United States trainer T-6C+ 13[5]
Lancair ES United States basic trainer 2[5]
Hughes 269 United States trainer 4[5] also used for shore patrol
Robinson R44 United States rotorcraft trainer 1[5]
Robinson R22 United States rotorcraft trainer 1[5]
Sikorsky S-333 United States rotorcraft trainer 10[5]
MD 500 Defender United States rotorcraft trainer 3[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 August 2009. Retrieved 31 August 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 September 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 March 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "World Air Forces 2019". Flightglobal Insight. 2019. Retrieved 12 May 2019.