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Air Force



Current Title: Fuerza Aérea - Ejército de Nicaragua
Title in English: Nicaraguan Army Air Force
Abbreviation: FA


Narrative Summary:

Military aviation started in Nicaragua in 1920 with four Curtiss JN.2, which the newly formed Guardia Nacional (National Guard) received from the United States. During the next years only small quantities of aircraft were bought. On April 8, 1926 the Cuerpo Militar de Aviación was formed. In 1936 the Cuerpo de Aviación de la Guardia Nacional was formed. Only two years later, on 9 June 1938 the name was changed to Fuerza Aérea de la Guardia Nacional. From 1942 on Nicaragua received through the Lend-Lease programm small quantities of training aircraft. After signing the Rio Treaty of 1947 the  Fuerza Aérea Guardia de Nicaragua, as the air force was now known, got the first combat aircraft with twelve Republic P-47D Thunderbolt. At about 1950 the name of the air force was changed another time to Fuerza Aérea de Nicaragua (FAN). During the Bay of Bigs raid 1961 against Fidel Castro, which was partly mounted from Nicaraguan territory, some rebel B-26 aircraft landed in Nicaragua and were later pressed into FAN service.

From 1961 on there was a guerilla war against the FSLN, which led to the defeat of the Somoza regime and the disbandment of the Fuerza Aérea Guardia de Nicaragua in July 1979. A new air force was formed on the 8 September 1979 as Fuerza Aérea Sandinista (FAS). Only a small number of aircraft were serviceable after the civil war. Assistence for the FAS came from Cuba and the Sovietunion. A number of Mig-21 should be supplied to Nicaragua from Cuba, but this deal never materialized. During the 1980s large quantities of Mil Mi-8/-17/-24 helicopters were bought in the Sovietunion. Many of these helicopters were lost in combat operations against the Contras and most of the rest was later sold to Peru. In April 1990 the FAS was again renamed Fuerza Aérea Nicaragua and at about 1995/96 to Fuerza Aérea - Ejército de Nicaragua (FA). Today the  FA is organised in two operational squadrons and one flying school.


Key Dates:
1920    Military aviation started in Nicaragua.
8 April 1926   Cuerpo Militar de Aviación was formed.
1936 Cuerpo de Aviación de la Guardia Nacional was formed.
9 June 1938 Fuerza Aérea de la Guardia Nacional (GN) was established.
1947 Name changed to Fuerza Aérea Guardia de Nicaragua.
1950 Fuerza Aérea de Nicaragua (FAN) was formed.
1961-1979   Civil war against dictator Somoza.
8 September 1979   Fuerza Aérea Sandinista (FAS) was established.
1981-1990   Contras fight against the Sandinista regime.
April 1990   Name changed again to Fuerza Aérea Nicaragua (FAN).
1995/96   Fuerza Aérea - Ejército de Nicaragua (FA) was formed.

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

Future Plans:
No information available.


National Insignia:
Current --- Historical

Aircraft Serial Numbering System(s):
First serials were allocated to aircraft in 1936. Serials began with number 1 and were used in chronological order as aircraft arrive in the Air Force. The prefix GN was used until 1950. Later FAN was used. After the end of the civil war 1979 FAS was applied and from 1990 on FA is in use.



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


Aircraft Designation System(s):

Current Aircraft Inventory:
Table of Current Service Aircraft

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


Main Headquarters:
Quartel General Fuerza
Aérea, GN, Apartado 541, Managua DN

Current Organisational Structure:
The Air Force is organised in two 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 1934)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1940)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1950)

Historical Order of Battle (as at 1978)


All-Time Flying Units List:

Guardia Nacional

Fuerza Aérea de la Guardia Nacional de Nicaragua

Escuadrón de Combate

Escuadrón de Transporte

Escuadrón de Ala Rotatoria

Escuela de Aviación


Air Bases

Current Air Bases:
The Nicaraguan Air Force currently operates one mayor airbase and a number of secondary airfields.

Military Air Bases Listing

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

More Information







World Air Power Journal 32, p.154-155

Air Forces Monthy 6/1996 p. 23-27



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First Created: 1 June 2003 - Last Revised: 12 May 2006
Copyright © 2003 Erich Klaus.    e-mail: