Argentina Naval Aviation
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Argentina
Naval Aviation

 

 

Current Title: Comando de la Aviación Naval Argentina
Title in English: Commando of the Argentine Naval Aviation
Abbreviation: COAN

History

Narrative Summary:
Military aviation started on 11.2.1916, when the Parque y Escuela de Aerostación y Aviación de Fuerte Barragán was formed at Aerostación de la Armada Fuerte Barragán with some Maurice Farman and Henry Farman aircraft. In March 1919 a Misión Aeronáutica Italiana (Italian Air Mission) came to Argentina and brought some aircraft to the country with them. The División Aviación Naval was formed as headquarter of naval aviation unit on 17.10.1919 dependent of the Secretaría General del Ministerio de Marina. The Destacamento Aeronaval San Fernando was formed on 1.11.1919 with two Macchi M.7 and two Macchi M.9 donated by the Misión Aeronáutica Italiana. The first naval air station, at Puerto Militar de Bahía Blanca, as the naval station was called at that time was opened on 3.10.1921. The Escuela de Aviación Naval was formed on 29.10.1921 at that base with Curtiss HS-2L and Avro 552. In 1921 the División Aviación Naval was renamed Servicio Aeronaval. The Escuela de Aerostación Naval with Italian globes, dirigibles and baloons was formed on 29.11.1921 and moved to Estación Aeronaval de Punta Indio on 7.2.1924, when the decision was made to concentarte all training units there.

The first opeartional unit, the Escuadrilla de Patrulleros, was formed in 1922 with Curtiss F5L and Dornier Wal. Puerto Militar de Bahía Blanca was renamed Base Naval de Puerto Belgrano (BNPB) on 12.6.1923 and was a main operations base for naval aircraft during the next decades. From 1930 until 1936 the service operated an Escuadrilla de Caza (Fighter Squadron) with Dewoitine D-21 from Estación Aeronaval Punta Indio. In 1934 the first the operational wings, Escuadra Aérea de Escuela, Escuadra Aérea de Defensa de Puerto Belgrano and Escuadra Aérea de Defensa del Río de la Plata were formed. The name of the Naval Aviation Service was changed to Dirección General de Aviación Naval on 31.7.1936 and the wings got their present names, Escuadra Aeronaval N° 1, Escuadra Aeronaval N° 2 and Escuadra Aeronaval N° 3 in 1937.

During World War Two Argentina was the only country in Latin America not to receive aircraft from the United Stated through the Lend-Lease-Program. Argentina had to fly regular neutrality patrols along Argentina's long coastline in obsolete aircraft, which had to be kept serviceable despite a chronic shortage of spares. However, by the end of the war, replacement of the existing aircraft had become an urgent necessity. From 1946 Argentina got large quantities of aircraft from the United States, such as Canadian Vickers PBV-1A Canso, Douglas C-47A Dakota, Grumman J2F-4/-5/-6 Duck, North American AT-6 Texan, Stearman N2S-5 Kaydet or Vultee BT-13 Valiant. Dirección General de Aviación Naval became Comando de la Aviación Naval (COAN) on 24.11.1947.

The Flotilla de Transportes Aeronavales was formed in 1949 and became Comando de Transportes Aeronavales on 3.6.1955 at BAN Com. Espora with three squadrons, the 1° Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Transporte with Douglas C-54A Skymaster, 2° Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Transporte with Douglas C-47 Dakota and the 3° Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Transporte with Douglas C-39 and Beech AT-11 Kansan. During the same year the COAN became the first Latin American naval air arm to introduce helicopters, forming the Escuadrilla de Helicópteros at BAN Com. Espora with six Bell 47D Sioux. In September 1951 units of Fuerza Aeronaval N° 1 at BAN Punta Indio, Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Ataque with North American AT-6 Texan and Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Bombardeo with Beech AT-11 Kansan, participated in a rebellion against President Juan Perón. This uprise was however easily suppressed by troops loyal to the regime. On 14.12.1954 the first permanent naval air station, Estación Aeronaval Teniente Jubany, became operational at Bahía Guardia Nacional,Isla 25 de Mayo at Antártica and was operated by the Navy until 12.2.1982.

The Navy started another rebellion in June 1955. On June 16 Navy airplanes bombed the Plaza de Mayo, wounding or killing several hundreds of civilians. The rebel Naval aircraft consisted of about 12 armed AT-6As, a single Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina, two Douglas C-47s and a Beech AT-11, which had been concentrated at the BAN Ezeiza. The victory of the loyal forces was short-lived, however, and, during the following months, the political crisis in the nation deepened. In September 1955 there was another military uprising that ended the second presidential term of Juan Perón in Argentina, on September 16, 1955, the Revolución Libertadora.

In 1958 Argentina bought a British light aircraft carrier of the "Colossus"-class, the ARA Independencia (V-1), which was used by the Canadian Navy as HMCS Warrior from 1946 till 1948 and by the Royal Navy as HMS Warrior from 1948 till 1958. The air group in those years was composed of F4U Corsair, SNJ-5C Texan and Grumman S-2A Trackers. During the same year the COAN received its first jet fighter, the Grumman F9F-2B Panther, while in 1959 the command got new patrol aircraft, the Lockheed P2V-5 Neptune.

Another military revolution took place from April 2, 1963 until April 4, 1963, this time to overthrow the government of José Maria Guido. Again aircraft from BAN Punta Indio participated in the uprise. F4U Coirsair, AT-6 Texan and F9F Panther attacked tanks from Regimiento 8 de Tanques killing many soldiers. In retaliation aircraft of the Argentine Air Force (FAA) bombarded BAN Punta Indio on April 3, 1963 and destroyed at least seven F9F Panther, one C-47 Dakota and one C-54 Skymaster. On the next day hostilities ended.

The Escuadra Aeronaval N° 4 was formed on 7.2.1964, composed of the Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Búsqueda y Salvamento, the Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Helicópteros and the 2° Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Propósitos Generales at Base Aeronaval Punta Indio, while the Escuadra Aeronaval N° 5 was formed on 30.12.1963 and the subordinated squadrons were named 1° Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Sostén Logístico Móvil and Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Sostén Logístico Móvil.

A large force of attack aircraft was obtained in 1966 with the purchase of North American T-28F Fennec from the French Air Force. In 1969 Argentina bought another British light aircraft carrier of the "Colossus"-class, the ARA 25 de Mayo (V-2), which was used by the Royal Navy as HMS Venerable from 1944 till 1947 and by the Netherlands Navy as HNLMS Karel Doorman from 1948 till 1968. It could carry up to 24 aircraft. The air group started with F9F Panthers and F9F Cougars and later they were replaced with A-4Q Skyhawks supported by S-2 Tracker aircraft and Sikorsky Sea King helicopters.

During the 1970s obsolete aircraft were gradually disposed of and replaced by more modern aircraft such as Aérospatiale SA.316B Alouette III, McDonnell Douglas A-4Q Skyhawk, Lockheed L-188 Electra, Beech 200 King Air, Sikorsky S-61D Sea King or Beech T-34C Turbo Mentor. In 1981 fourteen Dassault Super Etendard were added to the inventory.

Falklands War (2.4.1982 to 14.6.1982)

During the 1980s and 1990s the COAN received only small quantities of new equipment, such as Aérospatiale AS.555SN Fennec, Lockheed P-3B Orion and Bell UH-1H Iroquois, which were only operated from 1999 until 2008.

The Argentinian Naval Aviation is today composed of two Naval Air Forces (Fuerza Aeronaval), with each having one or two Naval Air Wings (Escuadra Aeronaval) with one or two Naval Air Squadrons (Escuadrilla Aeronaval) and one Training Command (Comando de Instrucción Aeronaval) with two Naval Air Wings (Escuadra Aeronaval).

 

Key Dates:
11 February 1916    The Parque y Escuela de Aerostación y Aviación de Fuerte Barragán was formed.
17 October 1919 The División Aviación Naval was formed as headquarter of naval aviation unit.
1 November 1919 The Destacamento Aeronaval San Fernando was formed.
29 October 1921 The Escuela de Aviación Naval was formed.
1922 The first opeartional unit, the Escuadrilla de Patrulleros, was formed with Curtiss F5L and Dornier Wal.
1934   The Escuadra Aérea de Escuela, Escuadra Aérea de Defensa de Puerto Belgrano and Escuadra Aérea de Defensa del Río de la Plata were formed.
31 July 1936   The name of the Naval Aviation Service was changed to Dirección General de Aviación Naval.
1937   The wings got their present names, Escuadra Aeronaval N° 1, Escuadra Aeronaval N° 2 and Escuadra Aeronaval N° 3.
24 November 1947   Dirección General de Aviación Naval became Comando de la Aviación Naval (COAN).
14 December 1954   The first permanent naval air station, Estación Aeronaval Teniente Jubany, became operational at Bahía Guardia Nacional,Isla 25 de Mayo at Antártica.
June 1955   The Navy started a rebellion in June 1955.
September 1955   The Revolución Libertadora took place.
1958   Argentina bought a British light aircraft carrier of the "Colossus"-class, the ARA Independencia (V-1), The COAN received its first jet fighter, the Grumman F9F-2B Panther.

 2 April 1963 -

4 April 1963   

  Another military revolution took place.
1969   Argentina bought another British light aircraft carrier of the "Colossus"-class, the ARA 25 de Mayo (V-2).

2 April 1982 -

14 April 1982   

  Falklands War
 

Current Status:
Units of the Naval Aviation are fully operational.

Future Plans:
No information available.

Markings

National Insignia:
Current --- Historical


Aircraft Serial Numbering System:
From 1946 a permanent identification system is used, which consists of a four-digit serial number, usually painted on the fin or the rear fuselage. e.g. 0751 Dassault Super Etendard (3-A-201)

 

Functional Serial Numbering System:
From 1921 until 1936 functional serial were used. e.g. B-5 Curtiss F5L

 

AC - Avión de Caza - Fighter aircraft

AE - Avión de Escuela - Training aircraft

AP - Avión de Patrullero - Patrol aircraft

B - Bombarderos - Bomber (is used for patrol aircraft, because at that time the terminus was "Bombarderos de Patrulla"

C - Caza - Fighter

E - Escuela - Trainer

F - Fotográfico - Photographic

HB - Hidroavión Bombarderos - Bomber seaplane

HC - Hidroavión Caza - Fighter seaplane

HE - Hidroavión Escuela - Training seaplane

HP - Hidroavión Patrullero - Patrol seaplane

HR - Hidroavión Reconocimiento - Reconnaissance seaplane

P - Patrullero - Patrol

R - Reconocimiento - Reconnaissance

T - Transporte - Transport

 

Unit/Base Aircraft Code System:
A unit coding system ist used since 1936 consisting of a digit indicating the Escuadra Aeronaval to which the aircraft is assigned, a role code and an individual number with two or three digits. Two digits are used, if there is only one squadron of its kind operational, while three digits are used, if there are more than one squadron operational, the first digit being the squadron number. e.g. Dassault Super Etendard 3-A-201 means Escuadra Aeronaval N° 3 - 2da Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Caza y Ataque - Aircraft 201. Role codes include:

 

A - Ataque - Attack

AS - Anti Submarino - Anti-Submarine

B - Bombardeo - Bomber

BP - Bombardeo en Picada - Dive Bomber

BS - Búsqueda y Salvamento - Search and Rescue

C - Caza - Fighter

E - Escuela - Trainer

F - Fotográfico - Photographic

G - Propósitos Generales - Utility

GT - Generales y Transporte - Utility Transport

H - Helicóptero - Helicopter

HT - Helicóptero de Transporte - Transport Helicopter

O - Observación - Observation

P - Patrullero - Patrol

PH - Patrulla Helicópteros

T - Transporte - Transport

Aircraft

Aircraft Designation System(s):
None.

Current Aircraft Inventory:
Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List:
Alphabetical Order --- Chronological Order

Organisation

Main Headquarters:
Edificio Libertad, Comodoro Py a Corbeta Uruquay, 1104 Buenos Aires

Current Organisational Structure:
The Argentinian Naval Aviation is today composed of two Naval Air Forces (Fuerza Aeronaval), with each having one or two Naval Air Wings (Escuadra Aeronaval) with one or two Naval Air Squadrons (Escuadrilla Aeronaval) and one Training Command (Comando de Instrucción Aeronaval) with two Naval Air Wings (Escuadra Aeronaval).

Current Order of Battle:
Table of Current Order of Battle

 

 

Historical Orders of Battle:

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1919)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1922)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1925)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1928)

 

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1931)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1932)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1934)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1937)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1939)

 

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1942)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1945)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1949)

 

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1951)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1956)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1958)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1959)

 

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1960)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1962)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1964)

 

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1970)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1974)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1977)

 

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1980)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1982) (Falklands War)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1986)

 

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1990)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1994)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1997)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 2004)


 

All-Time Flying Units List: (only units, which are not included in the Orders of Battle)

Destacamento Aeronaval Río Grande

Escuadrilla de Patrulla y Propósitos Generales

Air Bases

Current Air Bases:
The Argentina Naval Aviation currently operates three mayor airbases and three secondary airfields.

Military Air Bases Listing

All-Time Air Bases Used List:
Military Air Bases Listing

More Information

 

Books:

 

Texan and Harvards in Latin America (Dan Hagedorn)

 

'Magazines:

 

World Air Power Journal No.31 p. 136-140

Websites:

Scramble: Argentina Air Arms

HISTARMAR - Historia y Arqueologio Maritima

Instituto Aeronaval

Historia de la Aviación Naval Argentina - Tomo III

Argentine Airpower in the Falklands War

Argentine Air Forces in the Falklands War

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First Created: 15 December 2009 - Last Revised:  15 December 2009
Copyright © 2009 Erich Klaus.    e-mail: erich.klaus@a1.net