El Salvador Air Force
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El Salvador
Air Force

 

Current Title: Fuerza Aérea Salvadoreña
Title in English: El Salvador Air Force
Abbreviation: FAS

History

Narrative Summary:
 

Military aviation started in El Salvador on 20 March 1923, when the Flotilla Aérea Salvadoreña (FAS) was established. For the training of pilots the Escuela de Aviación Militar was also formed. At about 1925 the FAS was renamed Cuerpo de la Aviación Salvadoreña. During this time only small quantities of aircraft were available. On the 22 January 1932 some of the aircraft were used for reconnaissance, attack and bombing missions during a communist uprise in El Salvador. During the 1930s two Escuadrillas (Flights) were formed with Osprey and Waco aircraft. During World War Two El Salvador received only small numbers of training aircraft. The El Salvador Air Force was again involved in combat operations, when some exil Salvadoreans tried to invade El Salvador from Guatemala and some AT-6 aircraft were ordered bombing and attack missions. On the 18 May 1946 the Air Force became an independent service and was renamed Fuerza Aérea Salvadoreña (FAS). After signing the Rio Treaty in 1947 El Salvador received large quantities of aircraft, including some Vought F4U-5 and FG-1D for use with the Escuadrón de Caza.

On the 14th of July 1969 the so called "Soccer War" between El Salvador and Honduras started. After two soccer matches for the 1970 World Soccer Cup, tensions rose high between the two countries. During and after these matches in Tegucigalpa and San Salvador, supporters of the visiting countries were mistreated, which led to looting and arson against inhabitants of Tegucigalpa, who came from El Salvador. On the 3rd of July 1969 the Fuerza Aérea Hondureña (FAH) forced a Piper PA-28 of the Fuerza Aérea El Salvadoreña (FAS) to land as it was accused of flying a reconnaissance mission for the Salvadoran Army.  On the 12th of July 1969 the FAH deployed many of this aircraft to San Pedro Sula, headquarters of the FAH Northern Command. Hostilities started at the 14th of July, when units of the Salvadorean Army invaded Honduras and aircraft of the FAS made attacks against Honduran troop concentrations and some bombing runs against Tegucigalpa. The next day the FAH organised some retaliatory strikes against Ilopango Airport in San Salvador and the oil refinery in Acajutla. On the same day a FAS Mustang and Corsair attack Toncontin Airport inflicting some demage on hangars at the airbase. On 18th of  July, the Organization of American States (OAS) intervened, ordered a cease-fire and the withdrawal of Salvadoran troops, but the Salvadoran government refuses to comply. It was not until the 5th of  August, after pressure from the OAS, that El Salvador withdraw its troops from Honduras.

During the 1980s a civil war was fought against the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN) in El Salvador. Large quantities of aircraft and helicopters were received from the United States during this time. After a guerilla raid on the airbase at Ilopango IAP on the 27 January 1982 six UH-1H, three C-47, five Ouragans were destroyed and some other aircraft and helicopters damaged. Immediately after the attack the United States sent replacement for the lost planes. In 1986 all Escuadrónes were renamed Grupos under the control of the Ala de Combate. The influx of UH-1H and UH-1M Gunships led for example to the creation of the Grupo de Helicópteros in February 1986 with two assault and one attack helicopters squadron. After signing a peace treaty in 1992 hostilities ended.

In 1987 the Centro de Instrucción Militar Aeronáutico (CIMA) was established, consisting of the Escuela de Aviación Militar “Capitán P.A. Guillermo Reynaldo Cortez” and the Escuela Técnica de Aviación Militar y la Escuela de Perfeccionamiento Aeronáutico. In 1994, the organisation of the FAS was changed again into two Air Brigades, Primera Brigada Aérea (Ilopango), Segunda Brigada Aérea (Comalapa) and the Centro de Instrucción Militar Aeronáutico (CIMA). Within the Brigades the operational squadrons, as the Grupos are now again known, are under the command of the Grupo de Operaciones (Operations Group). Today the Air Force is organised in four operational squadrons and one military flying school. 
 

 

Key Dates:
20 March 1923    The Flotilla Aérea Salvadoreña (FAS) was established
1925 FAS was renamed Cuerpo de la Aviación Salvadoreña
22 January 1932 Some of the aircraft were used for reconnaissance, attack and bombing missions during a communist uprise
18 May 1946 The CAS became an independent service and was rename Fuerza Aérea Salvadoreña (FAS)
14 July 1969 The so called "Soccer War" between El Salvador and Honduras started
5 August 1969    After pressure from the OAS,  El Salvador withdraw its troops from Honduras
1980s   Civil war was fought against FMLN
27 January 1982   Guerilla raid on BA Ilopango
1987   Centro de Instrucción Militar Aeronáutico (CIMA) was established
1994   FAS organisation was changed with the formation of two Brigada Aéreas
 

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):
First serials were allocated to aircraft in 19??. Serials began with number 1 and were used in chronological order as aircraft arrive in the Air Force. The prefix was FAS was used until 1979. Later FAES was used. Today FAS is used again.

 


 

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:
Base Aérea Ilopango, Ilopango IAP / San Salvador

Current Organisational Structure:
The Air Force is organised in four operational squadrons and one flying school.

Current Order of Battle:
Table of Current Order of Battle

 

 

Historical Orders of Battle:

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1923)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1933)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1969)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1982)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1988)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1995)

 

All-Time Flying Units List:

Ala de Combate

Escuadrilla de Caza

Escuadrilla Cobra

Escuadrilla Cuscatlán

Escuadrilla de Reconocimiento

Escuadrón Caza y Bombardeo

Escuadrón de Ataque e Intercepcion

Escuadrón de Helicópteros

Escuadrón de Reconocimiento

Escuadrón de Transporte

Escuela de Aviación Militar

Grupo Caza y Bombardeo

Grupo de Combate

Grupo de Helicópteros

Grupo de Helicópteros / Escuadrón Arcia Arcuna

Grupo de Helicópteros / Escuadrón Cuellar Aguilar

Grupo de Helicópteros / Escuadrón Duarte Arevalo

Grupo de Operaciónes Especiales

Grupo de Transporte

Primera Brigada Aérea

Segunda Brigada Aérea

Air Bases

Current Air Bases:
The El Salvador Air Force currently operates two mayor airbases and a number of secondary airfields.

Military Air Bases Listing

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

More Information

 

Books:

 

None.
 

Magazines:

World Air Power Journal No.32 p. 148-149

Websites:

Fuerza Aérea Salvadoreña


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First Created: 28 April 2003 - Last Revised:  29 November 2006
Copyright © 2003 Erich Klaus.    e-mail: erich.klaus@a1.net