Panama Air Force
Aeroflight Home Page
 World Air Forces
Back to Panama Index Page

Air Force



Current Title: Servicio Nacional Aeronaval
Title in English: National Navalaviation Service
Abbreviation: SNA


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 some of the survivors were transferred to civilian use. After the invasion another air force was formed as part of the Fuerza Publicas Panameña (Panamanian Public Forces), as Servicio Aérea Nacional (National Air Service) with 16 fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft organised in three operational squadrons and one presidential flight.

The Servicio Aérea Nacional was merged with the Servicio Maritimo Nacional on 21.11.2008 to form the Servicio Nacional Aeronaval (SNA).


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").
1990   Servicio Aérea Nacional was formed.
21 November 2008   Servicio Nacional Aeronaval was established.

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

Servicio Aérea Nacional aircraft are allocated three-digit serial numbers, usually prefixed from 1969 until 1989 FAP and since then SAN and from 2008 on SNA, 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 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:
Ciudad de Panamá

Current Organisational Structure:
The Air Force is organised in three operational squadrons and one presidential flight.

Current Order of Battle:
Table of Current Order of Battle



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:
The Panaman 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.156

Air Forces Monthy 11/2000 p. 46-47


Servicio Nacional Aeronaval

^ Top of Page  << Last Page   Index Page   Next Page >>  Site Search 
First Created: 5 September 2004 - Last Revised:  6 March 2009
Copyright © 2004 Erich Klaus.    e-mail: