Peruvian Air Force
|Peruvian Air Force
Fuerza Aérea del Perú
Coat of arms of the Peruvian Air Force
|Active||1929 (as Peruvian Aviation Corps)|
|Part of||Peruvian Ministry of Defense|
|Engagements||Colombia–Peru War 1932 – 1933
Ecuadorian-Peruvian war (1941)
Paquisha War 1981
Falklands War 1982
Cenepa War 1995
Internal conflict in Peru 1980– 2015
|Commander-In-Chief||Dante Antonio Arévalo Abate|
|Chief of Staff||Julio Valdez Pomareda|
|Inspector General||Javier Ramírez Guillen|
|Fighter||MiG-29, Mirage 2000|
|Attack helicopter||Mi-25D, Mi-35P|
|Trainer||MB-339, EMB-312, Zlin 242L|
|Transport||An-32B, C-130 Hercules, Y-12, Boeing 737, DHC-6, PC-6|
The Peruvian Air Force (Spanish: Fuerza Aérea del Perú, FAP) is the branch of the Peruvian Armed Forces tasked with defending the nation and its interests through the use of air power. Additional missions include assistance in safeguarding internal security, conducting disaster relief operations and participating in international peacekeeping operations.
- 1 History
- 2 Organization
- 3 Personnel
- 4 Aircraft
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 Sources
- 8 External links
On May 20, 1929, the aviation divisions of the Peruvian Army and Navy were merged into the Cuerpo de Aviación del Perú (Peruvian Aviation Corps, abbreviated CAP). During the Colombia-Peru War of 1933, its Vought O2U Corsair and Curtiss F11C Hawk planes fought in the Amazon region. The CAP lost three aircraft to the Colombian Air Force . The corps was renamed Cuerpo Aeronáutico del Perú (Peruvian Aeronautical Corps, also abbreviated CAP) on March 12, 1936.
1941 Ecuadorian invasion of Peru
In 1941, the CAP participated in the Peruvian-Ecuadorian War. At that time, the CAP were equipped with Caproni Ca.114 and North American NA.50 Torito fighters, Douglas DB-8A-3P attack aircraft, and Caproni Ca.135 Tipo Peru and Caproni Ca.310 Libeccio bombers, among others.
The Peruvian Air Force had also established a paratroop unit during the war and used it to great effect by seizing the strategic Ecuadorian port city of Puerto Bolívar, on July 27, 1941, marking the first time in the Americas that airborne troops were use in combat.
Lieutenant José A. Quiñones was a Peruvian pilot during the war. On July 23, 1941, his plane, a North American NA-50 fighter, was hit while performing a low-level attack on an Ecuadorian border post on the banks of the Zarumilla river. According to traditional Peruvian accounts, Quiñones, upon being hit by ground fire, crashed his damaged aircraft deliberately into the Ecuadorian anti-aircraft position, destroying it. He was promoted posthumously to Captain, and is today considered a National Hero of Peru.
During the 1950s presidency of General Manuel A. Odría, the Peruvian Air Force was reorganized and on July 18, 1950 had its name changed to the Fuerza Aérea del Perú (Air Force of Peru, or FAP). Peru was an ally of the United States during this period, and was predominantly equipped with aircraft built in the US and Great Britain. By the end of General Odria's presidency, the FAP ushered in the Jet Age with the introduction of English Electric Canberra bombers and Hawker Hunter, Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star and North American F-86 Sabre fighters.
However, on October 3, 1968 a military junta led by pro-Soviet Peruvian Army General Juan Velasco Alvarado organized a swift and bloodless coup d'état against president Fernando Belaúnde Terry. Velasco aligned Peru more closely with the Soviet Bloc and relations with the United States deteriorated. The US declared an arms embargo in 1969, making it difficult to obtain spare parts for Peru's American weaponry. In the 1970s and 1980s, Peru turned to the Soviet Union for its military hardware. During this time, the FAP acquired several Soviet-made aircraft, including Sukhoi Su-22 fighters, Antonov An-26 and An-32 transport aircraft, as well as Mil Mi-8, Mi-17, Mi-25 and Mi-26 helicopters. Soviet advisors were also dispatched to Peru.
Velasco was overthrown by other military officers in 1975 and Belaúnde returned to power as a civilian president in 1980. The FAP purchased the French-made Mirage 5P and 5DP and the Mirage 2000 in 1984. Relations improved with the United States and the FAP obtained American aircraft like the Cessna A-37B Dragonfly attack aircraft, as well as Lockheed C-130 and L-100-20 Hercules transport aircraft.
The stagnation of the Peruvian economy during the late 1980s and early 1990s forced cost reductions and the downsizing of the fleet size. Budget cuts in training meant Peruvian pilots had a low number of annual flying hours (AFH) per pilot if compared to the 1970s. The number of annual flying hours is of course very important in estimating the individual skill and experience of the pilots of an air force: more annual flying hours suggests better trained pilots and general readiness. There are also a number of possible explanations for FAP`s low AFH: concern over the aging of equipment, scarcity of spare parts – especially for the older aircraft – difficulties with worn airframes and the scarcity of fuel are all contributing factors. It is very likely however that some 'elite' pilots and regiments such as those based in Talara AFB and La Joya AFB received considerably more flying hours. Especially since those regiments until today are equipped with modern aircraft and tasked with homeland defence.
In 1997 and 1998 however things started to change for better in FAP's outlook. In order to achieve Fujimori's colossal military bold plans meant FAP getting a much needed general overhaul and new purchases.
1997 and 1998 purchases
Therefore, it is correct to state that the FAP was revived after 1995.
In 1998 an additional 3 MiG-29 fighters were bought from Russia which along with the 12 Mirage 2000 fighters purchased from France's Dassault Aviation in 1984, makes a total of 54 fighters in Peru's inventory.
Peru's Mirage 2000C/B and MiG-29S fighters form the backbone of its current multi-role fighter fleet, alongside old SU-22 strike fighters and specialized SU-25 close air support jets.
The Mirages were bought from France in 1984, while the MiG-29s arrived via a disastrous 1995 deal with Belarus. Fortunately, Peru patched things up with Russia, and RAC MiG agreed to provide service and support.
These purchases have been expensive, and a number of observers have questioned their usefulness against more pressing security concerns, like Peru's fanatical Marxist Sendero Luminoso ("Shining Path") guerrillas. On the other hand, the FAP still remembers the 1995 Canepa War with Ecuador, and its Russian fighters are stationed very close to that border at Chiclayo AFB and Talara AFB.
Its Mirage 2000Ps sit at La Joya AFB near the border with Bolivia and Chile; the 3 Andean countries have a minor 3-way maritime borders dispute, and residual tensions with historical foe Chile have been a long-running theme in Peru.
In 2008, RAC MiG began the upgrade of FAP's MiG fleet to the MiG-29SMT external link standard.
In 2009, Dassault began working with Peru on a comprehensive inspection of the Mirage fleet, coupled with some electronics modernization.
Finally, since 2013 Peru is in talks with European suppliers as part of a long-term plan of replacing FAP's aging air force aircraft with second-hand Su-35, Rafale or Eurofighters. Hitherto, FAP was exploring the possibility of buying as many as 60 Eurofighter Typhoon EF-2000 from Spain and 60 Sukhoi 35 from Russia. Cost was a major issue for Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, who was looking at competitively priced fighter jets that will fit the national budget.
The current Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force of Peru is General Jaime Marin Figueroa Olivos. Aerial forces are subordinated to the Ministry of Defense and ultimately to the President as Commander-in-Chief of the Peruvian Armed Forces. Operational units are organized as follows:
Ala Aérea Nº 1
1st Air Wing, headquartered at Piura
- Grupo Aéreo Nº 6 (6th Air Group) based at Chiclayo
- Escuadrón Aéreo 612 (Fighter Squadron 612 "Fighters Cocks") – operating MiG-29S/SE/SMP/UBP
- Grupo Aéreo Nº 7 (7th Air Group) based at Piura
- Escuadrón Aéreo 711 (Fighter Squadron 711 "Scorpions") – operating A-37B
- Grupo Aéreo Nº 11 (11th Air Group) based at Talara
Ala Aérea Nº 2
2nd Air Wing, headquartered at Callao
- Grupo Aéreo Nº 3 (3rd Air Group) based at Callao
- Escuadrón Aéreo 315 (Light Helicopter Squadron 315) – operating BO-105
- Escuadrón Aéreo 331 (Helicopter Training Squadron 331) – operating Schweizer 300 (based at Las Palmas)
- Escuadrón Aéreo 332 (Medium-Airlift Helicopter Squadron 332) – operating Bell 212 and Bell 412
- Escuadrón Aéreo 334 (Surveillance Squadron 334) – operating C-26B
- Escuadrón Aéreo 342 (Heavy-Airlift Helicopter Squadron 342) – operating Mi-17
- Grupo Aéreo Nº 8 (8th Air Group) based at Callao
Ala Aérea Nº 3
3rd Air Wing, headquartered at Arequipa
- Grupo Aéreo Nº 2 (2nd Air Group) based at Vítor
- Grupo Aéreo Nº 4 (4th Air Group) based at La Joya
- Escuadrón Aéreo 412 (Fighter Squadron 412 "Hawks") – operating Mirage 2000P/DP
- Grupo Aéreo Nº 51 (51st Air Group) based at Pisco
Ala Aérea Nº 4
4th Air Wing, headquartered at Iquitos
- Grupo Aéreo Nº 42 (42nd Air Group) based at Iquitos
|Personnel (as of 2001)|
|NCO in training||296|
- Acig.org: The Most Powerful Air Force in Latin America
- The paratroopers were dropped from Italian Caproni Ca.111 bomber-transports. Skydiving in Peru by General Alberto Thorndike Elmore
- Diario La Republica http://www.ecuadorinmediato.com/Noticias/news_user_view/investigacion_peruana_corrupcion_impidio_bombardear_ecuador_2da_parte--11212
- Flight Global http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/spain-offers-eurofighters-to-peru-381843/
- United Press International http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2013/03/26/Peru-mulls-replacing-aged-air-force-jets/16101364290342/
- http://www.resdal.org/art-rial.htm, based on Supreme Decree DS No. 69 DE/SG of 2001.
- "World Air Forces 2016 pg. 26". Flightglobal Insight. 2016. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- Administrator. "Demora en la entrega de dos aviones C-26 modificados para la Fuerza Aérea del Perú". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
- "Peru buys Dutch SAR Bell 412 fleet". helihub.com. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
- Efraín Cobas|Cobas, Efraín]], Las Fuerzas Armadas Peruanas en el Siglo XXI. CESLA, 2003.
- Alejo Marchessini|Marchessini, Alejo, "La Fuerza Aérea del Perú"; Defensa 295: 30–42 (November 2002).
- Alejo Marchessini|Marchessini, Alejo, "La aviación de combate de origen ruso de la FAP"; Defensa 342: 34–36 (October 2006).
- Alejo Marchessini|Marchessini, Alejo, "El Servicio de Material de Guerra de la FAP"; Defensa 355: 48–50 (November 2007).
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