Operator Profile

Key Facts

Current Title:
Fuerza Aérea Panameña
English Title:
Panamanian Air Force
First Established:
ICAO Code:


Narrative Summary

The Guardia Nacional established an air force in 1931, after the decision was made in 1914 to disband the Panamanian Navy and formed the Guardia Nacional del Aire (Air National Guard) with 3 light airplanes. Very little military flying was done until Pearl Harbor in 1941, because units of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army Air
Corps, which were based in the Canal Zone, fulfilled the security requirements of Panama. After that the United States established many military bases in Panama to defend the Canal. In the 1940s the Guardia Nacional del Aire was reorganised and became known as Fuerza Aérea de la Guardia Nacional, but was finally disbanded in 1945.

During the next years no military flying took place by the Panamanian government. It was only in October 1964, when an Cessna 185 was taken on charge, that the Guardia Nacional formed the Destacamento Aéreo No.1 (1. Air Detachment). But it took another five years, when the service was expanded with the purchase of additional aircraft and helicopters and became kown as the Fuerza Aérea Panameña (FAP) on January 17, 1969.

The FAP had no combat aircraft but about 30 transport and communication aircraft and helicopters and used two bases in Ciudad de Panamá. At the time of the United States invaion in 1989 the FAP consisted of 4 flying units with about 60 aircraft and helicopters. The Panamanian Air Force lost 37 aircraft during "Operation Just Cause" and was subsequently disbanded. Some of the surviving aircraft were transferred to civilian use.

Key Dates

1931    Guardia Nacional del Aire was formed.
1945 Fuerza Aérea de la Guardia Nacional was disbanded.
October 1964 Destacamento Aéreo No.1 was established.
17 January 1969 Fuerza Aérea Panameña was created as part of the Guardia Nacional.
December 1989 Invasion by the United States (Operation "Just Cause").
December 1989   FAP disbanded.

Current Status

The Air Force was disbanded in December 1989.

Future Plans

Not applicable.


National Insignia

National Markings

Aircraft Serial Numbers

First serials were allocated to aircraft in 1931. Serials began with number 1 and were used in chronological order as aircraft arrived in the Air Force with the prefix G.N. (Guardia Nacional).

FAP aircraft are allocated three-digit serial numbers, usually prefixed from 1969 until 1989 with ‘FAP’, within five blocks:


001 to 099 communication (incl. helicopters)

100 to 199 helicopters

200 to 299 twin-engined transports

300 to 399 single-engined transports

400 to 499 multi-engined transports


Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.


Aircraft Designations


Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used


Main Headquarters

Ciudad de Panamá

Organisational Structure

The Air Force is organised in three operational squadrons and one presidential flight.

Current Order of Battle

Not applicable.

Historical Orders of Battle

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1933)
Historical Order of Battle (as at 1967)
Historical Order of Battle (as at 1977)
Historical Order of Battle (as at 1989)

All-Time Flying Units List

(only units, which are not included in the Orders of Battle)
Guardia Nacional del Aire

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

Military Air Bases Listing

More Information




To be added.


To be added.

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