Chile Air Force
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Chile
Air Force

 

 

Current Title: Fuerza Aérea de Chile
Title in English: Chile Air Force
Abbreviation: FACh

History

Narrative Summary:
Military aviation started on 11.2.1913, when the Escuela de Aeronáutica Militar at Lo Espejo, near Santiago was formed with three Blériot XI-1, four Bréguet, four Sánchez-Besa and one Deperdussin. In 1918 the first combat unit, Primera Compañía de Aviación, was formed at Base Aérea El Bosque with Bristol M1c fighter and de Havilland DH.9 bomber. In March 1919 the Departamento de Aviación was transformed in the Dirección de la Fuerza Aérea Nacional incorporating both Army and Navy units. Due to rivalries between the Army and Navy, the Inspección General de Aviación was formed on 15.7.1920 as and independent unit directly responsible to the Ministerio de Guerra y de Marine.

In 1921 a British military mission arrived in country and the Air Force received many aircraft from the United Kingdom, such as eight Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a or twenty de Havilland DH.9. In 1923 the Aviación Naval de la Armada de Chile was formed. At 1924 four air bases existed at El Bosque (Santiago), Los Cóndores (Iquique), Charniza (Puerto Montt) y Maquehue (Temuco). In 1926 the Servicio Aéreo del Ejército at Santiago and the Grupo Mixto de Aviación N° 1 at Iquique and Grupo Mixto de Aviación N° 3 at Temuco were formed. In 1928 the Escuadrilla de Bombardeo with six Junkers R42 bomber was formed, while a naval air component, the Escuadrilla de Anfibios was formed in 1929 with Dornier Wal.

On 21.3.1930 the Air Force became an independent service and was called Fuerza Aérea de Chile (FACh).

During the 1930s the FACh received many additional aircraft from Great Britain, Germany and Italy In 1937 two Brigadas Aéreas were formed at El Bosque and Temuco as well as the Academia de Guerra Aérea. The two Brigadas Aéreas were composed of three Grupos de Aviaciónes each plus some training schools in 1939. One year later I Brigada Aérea moved from El Bosque to Antofagasta, while its place was taken by II Brigada Aérea from Temuco, where III Brigada Aérea was formed. In 1941 a training mission from the United States arrived in country and the FACh received larger quantities of training aircraft and also some combat aircraft through Lend-Lease agreements during the next years. IV Brigada Aérea was formed at Punta Arenas in 1944 to operate the then independent units in this region.

The first transport unit was formed in 1945 and operated Douglas C-47 Dakota from 1947. In 1954 another reorganisation took place and two Alas (Wings) at Antofagasta and El Quintero were formed as principal operational unit at one air base, composed of an Escadrilla de Enlace (liaison flight), a Grupo de Defensa Antiaérea (air defence group) and a variable number of operational squadrons, Grupos de Aviacións (aviation groups). During this year the FACh received its first jet aircraft from Great Britain, the de Havilland Vampire. During the 1950s the Air Force got Lockheed T-33A and F-80C fighter aircraft and Sikorsky S-55 helicopter. In 1959 Ala 3 was formed in Punta Arenas.

From 1963 the FACh received new training aircraft, the Cessna T-37B/C Tweet and the Academia Politécnica Aeronáutica was formed the same year. From 1967 the Lockheed aircraft were replaced by Hawker Siddeley Hunter from Great Britain. Hunters of Grupo de Aviación 9 a principal role in attacking the presidencial palace in Santiago on September 11, 1973 as part of the military coup to oust President Allende. In 1972 the transport capacity of the FACh was improved by the acquisition of Lockheed C-130H Hercules. During the 1970s the Air Force got only small quantities of aircraft exept for 18 Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II and 44 Cessna A-37B Dragonfly fighter and attack aircraft.

In 1977 the system of the Brigadas Aéreas was dissolved and the Ala became the largest operational unit. Ala 4 at Iquique was formed the same year. But it was only on 21.4.1980 that the Brigadas Aéreas was reactivated. In the 1980s many new aircraft were bought such as 17 Dassault Mirage 50 from France or about fifty locally built ENAER T-35A/B/D Pillán. V Brigada Aérea was formed in 1995 at Antofagasta and in the same year the FACh received 25 Dassault Mirage M5 Elkan from the Belgian Air Force.

From 2005 Grupo de Aviación 3 and from 2006 Grupo de Aviación 8 received Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft.

 

Key Dates:
12 February 1913    Escuela de Aeronáutica Militar was established.
1918 Primera Compañía de Aviación was formed at Base Aérea El Bosque.
1919

Dirección de la Fuerza Aérea Nacional was established, incorporating both Army and Navy units.

1926 Servicio Aéreo del Ejército at Santiago and the Grupo Mixto de Aviación N° 1
21 March 1930 The Air Force became an independent service and was called Fuerza Aérea de Chile (FACh).
1937   Two Brigadas Aéreas were formed at El Bosque and Temuco.
1954   Two Alas (Wings) at Antofagasta and El Quintero were formed.
1977  

The system of the Brigadas Aéreas was dissolved and the Ala became the largest operational unit.

21 April 1980   The Brigadas Aéreas was reactivated.
1995   V Brigada Aérea was formed.
 

Current Status:
Units of the Air Force are fully operational.

Future Plans:
No information available.

Markings

National Insignia:
Current --- Historical


Aircraft Serial Numbering System(s):
In 1922, the Army adopted a straight-forward numbering and naming system, marking all surviving aircraft with a unique number (painted in dark characters on a white rudder) with an individual name (usually a reference to a martyr of the Republic or a historic battle) in a large white panel on the fuselage of each aircraft.

 

Postwar serial numbers were normally allocated in blocks with frequent reallocations. The letter prefixes  H- and J- were used for helicopters and jet aircraft respectively. Serial blocks were initially:

  01 to  49  basic trainers

  50 to  99  trainers and helicopters

100 to 199 primary trainers

200 to 299 basic trainers

300 to 399 fighters

400 to 499 communications aircraft

500 to 599 miscellaneous types

600 to 699 close support aircraft

700 to 799 fighters and fighter-bombers

800 to 899 bombers

900 to 999 transports

 

 

Unit/Base Aircraft Code System(s):
Coding system not used.

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:
Ministerio de Defensa, Alameda Bernardo O'Higgins, Santiago de Chile

Current Organisational Structure:
The Air Force is composed of three mayor commands. The Comando de Combate (Combat Command). the Comando Logistico (Logistic Command) and the Comando de Personal (Personal Command), which is headquarter to all schools of the FACh.

Current Order of Battle:
Table of Current Order of Battle

 

 

Historical Orders of Battle:

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1922)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1928)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1930)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1938)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1940)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1944)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1954)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1964)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1978)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1988)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1998)


 

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

None.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases:
The Chile Air Force currently operates eleven mayor airbases.

Military Air Bases Listing

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

More Information

 

Books:

 

Central American and Caribbean Air Forces (Daniel Hagedorn)

Air Arsenal North America (Phil Butler)

Texan and Harvards in Latin America (Dan Hagedorn)

Latin American Fighters (Iñigo Guevara y Moyano)

Latin American Air Wars and Aircraft 1912-1969 (Dan Hagedorn)

Armed Forces of Latin America (Adrian English)

Latin-American Military Aviation (John Andrade)

World Air Forces Directory (Ian Carroll)

Military Balance (IISS)

 

'Magazines:

 

World Air Power Journal 31, p. 146-152

World Air Power Journal 33, p. 25

Websites:

Fuerza Aérea de Chile

Scramble: Chilean Air Arms

Rzjets

Base Aérea Quintero

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First Created: 15 December 2008 - Last Revised:  15 December 2009
Copyright © 2008 Erich Klaus.    e-mail: erich.klaus@a1.net