Salvadoran Army

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Salvadoran Army
Ejército Salvadoreño
Salvadoran Army Seal.svg
Badge of the Salvadoran Army.
CountryEl Salvador

The Salvadoran Army (Spanish: Ejército Salvadoreño) is the land branch and largest of the Armed Forces of El Salvador. In 2006 the government of El Salvador approached the Israeli ambassador to El Salvador seeking assistance in modernising its army.[2]


The Football War[edit]

The Football War (also called The Soccer War or 100-hours War) was a term coined by Polish reporter Ryszard Kapuściński to describe a brief conflict between El Salvador and neighbouring Honduras. He argued that the war began after the rival nations traded wins during the qualifying round for the 1970 FIFA World Cup. But this event was not the cause of the war. Tensions had been mounting between both nations for several years because of immigration and economic problems, resulting on the war in 1969. The soccer matches incidents just one of several events that happened during that time. Longstanding tensions between the countries were heightened by media reports on both sides, each accusing the other of hooliganism and violence toward their own football fans. On June 26, 1969, El Salvador dissolved all ties with Honduras, the events were used as a call for nationalist pride for both governments and the media.

On July 14 Salvadoran forces began moving rapidly into Honduras following a series of border clashes. Their progress halted after the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United States brought heavy diplomatic pressure to bear on both governments in an effort to effect a cease-fire.

A ceasefire was ultimately negotiated and signed by July 18, with Salvadoran forces withdrawing from Honduras by August 2 following guarantees of safety for Salvadoran citizens in Honduras by the Honduran government.

The Salvadoran Civil War[edit]

By the late 1970s, longstanding socio-economic inequality, human rights violations and the unwillingness of the National Conciliation Party dictatorship to address these problems led to the growth of a social movement. The government responded by assassinating thousands of political opponents and massacring students and protestors on several occasions. The heavy handed response of the government signaled to those identifying with the social movement that peaceful solutions were futile, which led to the growth of an insurgency.

On 15 October 1979, the military government was deposed by a joint military-civilian government calling itself the Revolutionary Government Junta of El Salvador or JRG. The JRG's policies were met with opposition from the military and economic elites and government repression increased, with tens of thousands of civilians being killed in 1980 and 1981 alone. This led to the formation of the FMLN, which brought on a twelve-year civil war.

The Iraq War[edit]

An unidentified Salvadoran special forces Soldier keeps a close eye on the borders of Camp Charlie in Al Hillah, Iraq, April 14, 2005. The Cuscatlan Battalion IV Soldier is helping support Operation Iraqi Freedom, which is being conducted mainly by Coalition Forces in Hillah.

Up to 380 Salvadoran troops, mostly paratroopers, were deployed as part of the Coalition Forces in Iraq between August 2003 and January 2009. They operated alongside the elite Spanish Legion in Najaf. While in Iraq, the Salvadoran contingent suffered 5 dead, and 20 wounded.[3]

Organizational structure[edit]

Salvadoran Special Forces

El Salvador is divided into 6 military zones, each of which has its own infantry brigade:

Furthermore, the army has the following units:

  • 1 Special Military Security Brigade consisting of 2 Military Police and 2 border security battalions,
  • 8 infantry detachments with 2 battalions,
  • 1 Engineer Command with of 2 battalions,
  • 1 artillery brigade with of 2 field artillery and 2 anti-aircraft battalions,
  • 1 mechanized cavalry regiment with 2 battalions, and the
  • Special Forces Command with 1 Special Operations Group, and 1 Anti-Terrorism Command.
  • 1 female soldiers battalion on the artillery brigade.


Infantry Weapons[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
P227 Handgun  Germany All its variants. Used By soldiers and special forces.
P226 Handgun  Germany All its variants including the Sig Sauer X Six SIG P226 X Six. Used By soldiers and special forces.
M9[4] Handgun  United States
CZ 75[4] Handgun  Czech Republic
92SB[4] Handgun  Italy
FN P35[4] Handgun  Belgium
IWI 941[4] Handgun  Israel
G17[4] Handgun  Austria Salvadoran Army's Special Forces and Anti-terrorist Command. Variants that are used: Glock 17, Glock 17C, Glock 17L, Glock 17MB, Glock 17M.
Uzi[4] Sub-machine gun  Israel Uzi submachine gun, Mini-Uzi.
Ingram MAC-10[4] Sub-machine gun  United States
MP5[4] Sub-machine gun  Germany MP5SD3, MP5A3, MP5A2, MP5, MP5A1
HK33[4] Assault rifle  Germany Including HK53 variant
HK416[4] Assault rifle  Germany
FN FNC Assault rifle  Belgium versions used: Standard" Model 2000 and Short" Model 7000, used by the Salvadoran Military Police and Paratrooper Battalion
M4 Assault rifle  United States M4 Carbine, Colt M4A1, Colt M4 (original 1993 version), M4 (Colt Model 933), Colt M4 (M162 sights, burst and full auto)
T65[4] Assault rifle  Republic of China
M16[4] Assault rifle  United States XM16E1, M16A1, M16A2, M16A3, M16A4, M16A1 with A2 handguards. M16A2 (Model 701, 703, 705 (Burst fire/single fire)), Model 711, Model 715 and Model 720 (Burst fire/single fire)). M16A2 Light Machine Gun (LMG). Some M16A1's have M16A2's brass defectors, XM16E1. M16A2 (Model 645), some M16A1's (also with the A2 handguards) have the M16A2 hand-grip. M16A1 with A2 handgrip A2 brass defectors. Also M16A1 with M16A2 handguards have M16A2 brass defectors and M16A1 handgrip.
IMI Galil[4] Assault rifle  Israel Galil AR, Galil SAR, Galil SAR339, Micro Galil, Galil ARM.
Galil ACE Assault rifle  Colombia ACE 21, ACE 22, ACE 23 (5.56×45mm NATO), ACE 32 (7.62×39mm), ACE 52, ACE 53 (7.62×51mm NATO).
M14[4] Battle rifle  United States Used as ceremonial gun, still used in active service on the Salvadoran Army infantry divisions,
Heckler & Koch G3[4] Battle rifle  Germany G3A3, G3A4, G3KA4
M24 Sniper rifle  United States
M21 Sniper rifle  United States Used in the Salvadoran Army Special Forces.
Barrett M82 Sniper rifle  United States Used in the Salvadoran Army Special Forces.
Dragunov SVD Sniper rifle  Russia Used in the Salvadoran Army Special Forces.
M79[4] Grenade launcher  United States
M203[5] Grenade launcher  United States mounted in M16 Rifles (all its variants), M4's, M4A1's and CAR-15's (all its variants).
M60[4] General purpose machine gun  United States M60, M60E2, M60B, M60C M60D. During the civil war some M60's were chopped from the front sights to give a CBQ capabilities.
M2HB[4] Heavy machine gun  United States
HK21[4] General purpose machine gun  Germany
FN MAG[4] General purpose machine gun  Belgium
M249[4] light machine gun  United States First-generation M249 SAW, M249 Paratrooper.
FN Minimi[4] light machine gun  Belgium Minimi Para, FN Minimi.
CAR-15 [4] Carbine  United States Colt Model 933, XM177, GAU-5/A (Colt Model 610), XM177E1 (Colt Model 609), XM177E2 (Colt Model 629), Colt Model 653 (M16A1 Carbine), Colt Model 654 (M16A1 Carbine), Colt Model 654 (M16A1 Carbine), Colt Model 727 (M16A2 carbine), Colt Model 733 (M16A2 Commando), Colt Model 723 "M16A2 Carbine". M16A2 SMG Model 635, XM177-E2 (Colt Model 629), Model 933, Colt Model 629, Colt 9mm SMG DOE (Model 633, US Car 15 Carbine (Colt Model 607), US XM177E1 (Colt Model 619), US XM177E2 GAU-5/A/B (Colt Model 639)).
Colt Canada C7 rifle Assault rifle  Canada Colt Model 715. Imported from Canada in the 2000s.
MPi-KM Assault rifle  East Germany Used since 1992 by the special forces.
AK-47 Assault rifle  Russia Used since 1992 by the special forces.
AKM Assault rifle  Russia Used since 1992 by the special forces.
Pistol Mitralieră model 1963/1965 Assault rifle  Romania Recovered from Gang members.
Diemaco C7A1 LSW Light Machine Gun  Canada Colt Model 715. Imported from Canada in the 2000s.
AK-63 Assault rifle  Hungary Used Since 1992.
Steyr AUG Assault rifle  Austria Used Since the 1990s by the Salvadoran Army Special Forces.

The Salvadoran Army/Navy/Marines/Air Force use the same kind of small arm types. Also it uses, telescopic sights, Aimpoint T2 Micro, Ohuhu OH-RG-SC Reflex Sights (panoramic sights), EOTech EXPS 3-0 sights, Barska Holographic Reflex Red Dot Sight, Ozark Rihno Tactical Sights, Trijicon MRO-C sights, EOTech 512..A65 sights, Vortex Optics StrikeFire II sights, Burrist Fast BFire3, Tasco Red Dot Sights, CVLIFE Optics Hunting Rifle Scope 2.5x40e red and green illuminated crosshair mount sights in every kind of assault rifle and rifle the every military branch of the Salvadoran armed forces usage.


Note: Sources are circa 1988, while some equipment listed may no longer be in service.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles
Model Image Type Number Origin Notes
AML 90[6] Panhard AML-90 img 2308.jpg Armoured Car 6 [1][7]  France
UR-416[6] UR-416 Policía Nacional.JPG Wheeled APC 6[1]  Germany
M3 Scout Car[6] White M3A1.jpeg Wheeled APC 5  United States
Cashuat APC 41  El Salvador/ United States Based on a Dodge M37. Armour kits and turrets purchased from the United States and applied in El Salvador[8]
VCTA2 Tank Hunter, created by the Salvadoran Military Forces 38  El Salvador
BC7A1 APC 4  El Salvador Armed with two HS 404 20mm cannons. Also used as Anti-Air vehicle, created by the Salvadorian Military
Blindado M113 (Ejército brasileño) en.jpg
APC 20  United States
CJ-8 (Scrambler) [6] Jeep SCrambler white SC-a.jpg Armoured Car unknown  United States
M3A1[6] M3 half track 9-08-2008 14-47-56.JPG Half-track 5  United States
Hamer VS 1.jpg
Light Armoured Car 50[7]  United States
Utility Vehicles
Model Image Type Number Origin Notes
F-Series[9] Ranger-FG.jpg medium-duty commercial vehicle unknown  Japan Part of a fleet of 45 new vehicles.
D22[9] 2016 Nissan NP300 Navara (D23) ST 4-door utility (2017-09-22) 01.jpg pick up unknown  Japan Part of a fleet of 45 new vehicles.
AIL Storm[10] Sufa 200804.jpg Light Utility Vehicle 38[1]  Israel
2011 Ford Ranger Light Utility Vehicle 37[11]  United States
Jeep CJ[10] Jeep-CJ.jpg Light Utility Vehicle  United States
M151[10] AMG M151 A2 (1978) GB (owner Gavin Broad).JPG Light Utility Vehicle  United States
Dodge M37[10] RAFBF 90th Birthday Air Show, East Kirkby - - 1440198.jpg Light Utility Vehicle  United States Mostly converted to Cashuats.[10][8]
M35 truck[10] M35.jpg Medium cargo truck 45  United States
M809 truck[10] Heavy cargo truck  United States
MAN 630 truck[10] Heavy cargo truck  Germany

[10] [8] [6]


Model Image Caliber Number Dates Origin Notes
M19[1] 60mm 306  United States
M29[12] Mortar M29.jpg 81mm 151[1]  United States
M74[12] 120mm  Yugoslavia Kept in storage.
UB M-52[12] 120mm  Yugoslavia Kept in storage.
Field Artillery
Model Image Caliber Number Dates Origin Notes
M101[12] M101-105mm-howitzer-camp-pendleton-20050326.jpg 105mm 8[1]  United States
M102[12] M102-105mm-howitzer-fort-bragg.jpg 105mm 24[1]  United States
M56[12] M101-105mm-howitzer-camp-pendleton-20050326.jpg 105mm 18[1]  Yugoslavia M101 copy produced in Yugoslavia
105/14 Model 56[13] Spanish-marines-man-105mm-howitzer-19811001.jpg 105mm 14  Italy Pack Howitzer
M114[12] USArmy M114 howitzer.jpg 155mm 6  United States
Anti-Aircraft Artillery
Model Image Caliber Number Dates Origin Notes
Zastava M55[12] 20mm 31[1]  Yugoslavia Hispano-Suiza HS.804 copy.
M55 (Self-propelled)[12] 20mm 4  Yugoslavia Truck or half-track mounted M-55.
TCM-20[12] TCM-20-hatzerim-2.jpg 20mm 4[1]  Israel Twin Hispano-Suiza HS.404s on towed pedestal mount.

[12] [13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "El Salvador". Military Technology World Defence Almanac. Bonn : Wehr & Wissen: 60. 2005. ISSN 0722-3226.
  2. ^ Itamar Eichner (March 20, 2006). "El Salvador seeks to copy IDF model".
  3. ^ "El Salvador withdraws last soldiers from Iraq". USA Today. February 7, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "Latin American Light Weapons National Inventories". Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  5. ^ World Armies 2008. Jane's Information Group.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g " > El Salvador > Appendix".
  7. ^ a b "Más dinero para el Ejercito salvadoreño". January 22, 2015. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c "Jane's VAL Light Assault Vehicle Cashuat". Jane's Information Group.
  9. ^ a b "23NOV2018 MDN ENTREGO VEHICULOS A FT". YouTube. November 23, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Jane's Military Vehicles and Logistics – El Salvador". Jane's Information Group.
  11. ^ "2012 News - Embassy of the United States San Salvador, El Salvador". January 22, 2015. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k " > Index of El Salvador Military Equipment".
  13. ^ a b "105/14 Model 56 105 mm Pack Howitzer". Forecast International. Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2009.


  • "El Salvador". Military Technology World Defence Almanac. Bonn : Wehr & Wissen: 60. 2005. ISSN 0722-3226.

External links[edit]