Mexican Naval Aviation
|Mexican Naval Aviation|
Mexican Naval Air Force insignia
|Role||Aerial 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.
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
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.
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.
- Tampico Naval Air Base, Tampico
- Las Bajadas Naval Air Base, Veracruz
- Campeche Naval Air Base, Campeche
- Chetumal Naval Air Base, Chetumal
Pacific Naval Air Force – HQ in Manzanillo, Colima
- Guaymas Naval Air Base, Guaymas
- La Paz Naval Air Base, La Paz
- Lázaro Cárdenas Naval Air Base, Lázaro Cárdenas
- Acapulco Naval Air Base, Acapulco
- Salina Cruz Naval Air Base, Salina Cruz
- Tapachula Naval Air Base, Tapachula
- 1st Transport Naval Air Squadron – operating Gulfstream G450, Learjet 25, Learjet 31, Learjet 60, DHC-8-Q202
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 March 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "World Air Forces 2019". Flightglobal Insight. 2019. Retrieved 12 May 2019.