Portuguese Army Aviation

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The process to establish a helicopter equipped force for the Portuguese Army was launched in 1991 and the unit was officially formed on 1 June 2000. Initially called the Grupo de Aviacao Ligeira de Exercito (GALE – Army Light Aviation Group), it was later renamed Unidade de Aviação Ligeira do Exército (UALE – Army Light Aviation Unit). Army helicopters were to be used primarily for tactical transport, observation/liaison and close air support missions.

The order for nine EC635s to serve as initial equipment was cancelled after a contractual dispute. Delays in the development and production ramp-up of the NH90 medium transport helicopter meant the original in-service date of 2008 was not achieved, and with no likelihood of imminent deliveries, the Portuguese government took the oportunity to cancel the order in 2012. Army personnel who had trained as helicopter pilots were deployed elsewhere. In July 2015 the UALE was officially disbanded, as the Army moved to a new organisational struture.

Key Dates:
1 June 2000 Army aviation force (GALE) formally established.
1 July 2006 GALE renemed UALE.
June 2012 NH90 helicopter order cancelled.
July 2015 Army aviation unit formally disbanded.

Current Status

The unit was disbanded in 2015.

Future Plans

Not applicable.

Markings

National Insignia

Not applicable – no helicopters flew in Army markings. It was expected that the service title EXERCITO would be displayed on the fuselage sides.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Portuguese army helicopters would have used the same serialling system as the air force – a unique five-figure number for each airframe.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

No aircraft or helicopters entered service.

Aircraft NOT Used

A number of contracts were placed for helicopters to be used by the UALE, but all were subsequently cancelled.
Reports of aircraft on order

Organisation

Main Headquarters:
Avendia Leite Vasconcelos 27, Alfagide, P-2700 Amodora.

Organisational Structure

Two helicopter squadrons were planned to be initially formed.

Current Order of Battle

Not applicable.

Historical Orders of Battle

The planned army aviation organisation was as follows:

Squadron Type Base
Unidade de Aviação Ligeira do Exército
Equadrilha de Reconhecimento EC635 Tancos
Equadrilha de Transporte NH90TTH Tancos

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

All helicopters were to be operated from Tancos.

More Information

Books

To be added

Magazines

To be added.

Websites

Official Portuguese Army webpage

wikipedia: Portuguese Army Light Aviation Unit

 

Aircraft Not Used
Portuguese Army Aviation

This page gives details of some of the aircraft types that were offered or promised to the Portuguese Army Aviation but not delivered, cancelled official orders, and types have been falsely reported as being in service.

Eurocopter EC635T1
A contract was placed in 1999 for nine (9) Eurocopter EC135T1 helicopters to be upgraded to EC635T1 standard by OGMA, but due to a contractual dispute the order was cancelled in 2002. These helicopters were intended for the utility, anti-tank and reconnaisance roles.

NHI NH90 TTH
Ten (10) NH90 TTH medium transport helicopters were ordered in June 2001, but the order was cancelled in June 2012 due to budget cuts.

Royal Saudi Land Forces

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) is the oldest branch of the Saudi military, being formed in 1902 at the start of the War of Unification of Saudi Arabia. The Army was modernised to keep pace with military developments in the following decades. In 1988 (1986?) a plan to establish an Aviation branch was approved and the first helicopters joined the RSLF Aviation Command in 1990. An airborne attack capability was added in 1992, with the arrival of AH-64 Apache helicopters.

Key Dates

13 Jan 1902    Royal Saudi Land Forces first established
1988?    RSLF Aviation Command created
1990    First helicopters received – Bell 406CS

Current Status

The Aviation Command is fully operational.

Future Plans

To be added.

Markings

National Insignia

Current — Historical

Aircraft Serial Numbers

The Saudi Army serial numbering system consists of a three digit number (Bell 406CS and Schweizer 330) or a five digit mumber (S-70/UH-60 and AH-64), e.g. 844 for Bell 406CS and 27181 for UH-60L.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used.

Current Aircraft Inventory

Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

False reports of aircraft on order or in service

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Airport Rd, Riyadh 11165.

Organisational Structure

The RSLFAC is organised into two Aviation Battalions and one Aviation Group.

Current Order of Battle

Table of Current Order of Battle

Historical Orders of Battle

To be added.

All-Time Flying Units List

1st Aviation Battalion
2nd Aviation Battalion
3rd Aviation Group

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

The main air base is Hafr Al Batin at King Khalid Military City.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

As above.

More Information

Books

Saudi Military Aviation Bibliography – to be added.

Magazines

To be added.

Websites

Official RSLF website

wikipedia: Saudi Arabian Army

Scramble: Saudi Arabia

All-Time Aircraft Used List
Saudi Arabian Army Aviation

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Bell 406CS 15 1990? 1998 USA
Boeing AH-64A Apache 12 1992 current USA
Boeing AH-64D Apache 12 2010 current USA
Sikorsky S-70A-1 (UH-60A) Desert Hawk 13 1990 current USA
Sikorsky S-70A-L1 Desert Hawk 8 ? current USA
Sikorsky UH-60L Desert Hawk 24 2010 current USA
Sikorsky UH-60M Desert Hawk 9 2016 current USA
Schweizer 330 19 2010 current USA

Current Aircraft Inventory
Saudi Arabian Army Aviation

Aircraft Type Total Del’d Total Active Still on Order Role
Bell 406CS 15 15 0 Observation
Boeing AH-64A Apache 12 8 0 Attack
Boeing AH-64D Apache 12 11 0 Attack
Sikorsky S-70A-1 Desert Hawk 13 13 0 Utility
Sikorsky S-70A-L1 Desert Hawk 8 8 0 Utility
Sikorsky UH-60L Desert Hawk 23 24 0 Utility
Sikorsky UH-60M Desert Hawk 9 9 0 Utility
Schweizer 330 19 19 0 Trainer

 

Aircraft Not Used
Saudi Arabian Army Aviation

This page gives details of some of the aircraft types that were offered or promised to Saudi Arabian Army Aviation, (Royal Saudi Land Forces), but not delivered, cancelled official orders, and types have been falsely reported as being in service.

Bell OH-58
The Bell 406CS ‘Combat Scout’ helicopters are often reported as “Bell OH-58 Kiowa” helicopters. The Bell 406CS design is a commercial version of the OH-58D, without the rotor mounted sight.

Schweizer 269
The Schweizer 330 trainers were originally reported as Schweizer 269 models in ‘Flight International’.

Boeing CH-47 Chinook
Boeing has often mentioned Saudi Arabia as a sales target for the CH-47 Chinook, but no contracts have been signed to date.

MD Helicopters MD530
Various sources list 12 MD530 helicopters as being in service. These helicopters actually serve with the Saudi Arabian National Guard – a completely different organisation.

National Markings
French Army Aviation

This section describes and illustrates the various national insignia used by the French Army since its formation:




Main MarkingFin Flash

1953-present
The main marking is displayed in 6 positions (ie above and below each wing, and on each side of the fuselage) on aircraft – but on fuselage sides only on helicopters. The fin flash is nowadays rarely carried by frontline types, but on second-line types is usually displayed in the form of rudder stripes. Army aircraft also usually carry the title armee de TERRE on the fuselage sides.

National Markings
Danish Army Aviation

    This section describes and illustrates the various national insignia used by Danish Army Aviation since its formation:




    Main MarkingFin Flash

    1971-2003
    The main marking was displayed on each side of the fuselage on helicopters. The Piper L-4 Cubs displayed the main marking in 6 positions (i.e. above and below each wing and on the fuselage sides). The fin flash was displayed on the fin. Army helicopters and aircraft did not carry service titles.