Portuguese Army Aviation
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Army Aviation

Current Title: Unidade de Aviação Ligeira do Exército
Title in English: Army Light Aviation Unit
Abbreviation: UALE


Narrative Summary:
A helicopter equipped force is in the process of being established. Initially called the Grupo de Aviacao Ligeira de Exercito (GALE), it was later renamed to its present title. The order for nine EC.635s to serve as initial equipment was cancelled after a contractual dispute.

Key Dates:
11 June 2001    Army aviation force formally established.
2008    First helicopters delivered - NH.90 transports.
2009?    First army aviation unit formally created.

Current Status:
Portuguese army helicopters will be used primarily for tactical transport, observation/liaison and close air support missions.

Future Plans:
The order for 9 armed Eurocopter EC.635s has been cancelled, but a new contract for an armed helicopter may be placed during 2005.


National Insignia:

          Main markingFin Flash
The main marking is displayed on the fuselage sides only on helicopters. The fin flash is displayed on the tailfin. Army types carry the service title EXERCITO on the fuselage sides.

Aircraft Serial Numbering System(s):
Portuguese army helicopters use the same serialling system as the air force - a unique five-figure number for each airframe.

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


Aircraft Designation System(s):
None - Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory:

Aircraft Type Total
Role Origin
NHI NH.90 TTH 10* 10* Transport International
* on order.

All-Time Aircraft Used List:
Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Retirement Origin
Eurocopter EC.635T1* 9 - - local
NHI NH.90TTH 10 2008 - International

Aircraft NOT Used:
*Nine Eurocopter EC.135T1 helicopters were being to be upgraded to EC.635T1 standard by OGMA in 2001, but due to a contractual dispute the order was cancelled.


Main Headquarters:
Avendia Leite Vasconcelos 27, Alfagide, P-2700 Amodora.

Current Organisational Structure:
The army aviation organisation is still being developed, although two helicopter squadrons are planned to be formed.

Current Order of Battle:
The planned army aviation organisation is as follows:
Squadron Type Base
Unidade de Aviação Ligeira do Exército
Equadrilha de Reconhecimento EC.635 Tancos
Equadrilha de Transporte NH.90TTH Tancos

Historical Orders of Battle:
Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List:
Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases:
All helicopters are to be operated from Tancos.

All-Time Air Bases Used List:
Not applicable.

More Information


To be added


To be added.


Official Portuguese Army webpage

wikipedia: UALE


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First Created: 11 November 1995 - Last Revised: 22 May 2008
Copyright © 1995 John Hayles.    e-mail: john@aeroflight.co.uk