Chilean Air Force

Summary

The Chilean Air Force (Spanish: Fuerza Aérea de Chile (FACh) is the Air force of Chile and branch of the Chilean military.

Chilean Air Force
Fuerza Aérea de Chile
Coat of arms of the Chilean Air Force.svg
Coat of arms of the Chilean Air Force
Founded21 March 1930; 92 years ago (1930-03-21)
Country Chile
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
Part ofChilean Armed Forces
HeadquartersEdificio Delphos
Cerrillos, Santiago
Motto(s)Latin: Quam celerrime ad astra
"With full speed to the stars"
Colours  Indigo
  White
MarchAlte Kameraden
Anniversaries21 March (Air Force Day)
Equipment180 aircraft
Engagements
Websitewww.fach.cl Edit this at Wikidata
Commanders
Commander-in-Chief of the Air ForceGeneral del Aire Arturo Merino Núñez
Notable
commanders
Arturo Merino Benítez
Marmaduke Grove
Gustavo Leigh
Fernando Matthei
Insignia
RoundelRoundel of Chile.svg Roundel of Chile – Low Visibility – Type 1.svg
Fin flashFin Flash of Chile.svg
FlagFlag of the Chilean Air Force.svg
Aircraft flown
Electronic
warfare
707 Cóndor AEW&C
FighterF-16, F-5
TrainerT-35 Pillán, Super Tucano, T-36 Halcón
TransportC-130 Hercules, UH-1H Huey, Bell 412, UH-60 Black Hawk

HistoryEdit

The first step towards the current FACh is taken by Teniente Coronel training as a pilot[citation needed] in France. Although a local academy was created, the first officers were sent to France for their training as well. One of them, Captain Manuel Ávalos Prado, took command over the Chilean military aviation school, which was officially established in February 1913, and remained in command until 1915. The Military Aviation School (Escuela de Aviación Militar) was named in honor of him in 1944, and still carries that name today.

In those early years many aviation milestones were achieved; conquering the height of the Andes was one of the main targets as well as long distance flights. Typical aircraft of that era were Avro 504, Bleriot XI, Bristol M.1C, DH.9, and SE5a. In the following decade, the Airmail Line of Chile (Línea Aeropostal de Chile) was created on 5 March 1929 as a branch of the military aviation. This postal airline later developed into the National Airline (Línea Aérea Nacional) that is still the leading airline in Chile today. Shortly afterwards, on 21 March 1930, the existing aviation elements of the army and navy were amalgamated into a dedicated department: the Department of the Air Force (Subsecretaria de Aviación) effectively creating the current independent Air Force. It was initially named National Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Nacional). The international airport of Chile carries the name of Lan's founding father and first commander of the air force, Air Commodore Arturo Merino Benítez. Its baptism of fire was in the 1931 sailors' rebellion in Coquimbo, where Air Force attack aircraft and bombers and 2 transport planes converted into bombers contributed to its failure.

The first outlines of the organization of the current air force were visible in 1945 with the inception of Transport Group 1, later renumbered Group 10, with two C-45s and a single T-6 Texan at Los Cerrillos. Two years later the first FACh flight to Antarctica was performed. The fifties meant entry into the jet age for the FACh, and Grupo 7 was the first unit to receive them in 1954. Chile got its aircraft from both the United States and Europe. The American supply consisted of Lockheed F-80, Lockheed T-33, Beech T-34 Mentor, Cessna T-37, Cessna A-37 Dragonfly and Northrop F-5E/F for example, whereas the British supplied Hawker Hunters and the French delivered various helicopters and Dassault Mirage 50 aircraft.

During the military coup d'état on September 11, 1973, the Chilean Air Force conducted Operation Silence, Hunters from the 7th Aviation Squadron destroyed several transmission antennas belonging to pro-government radio stations. After accomplishing their mission, the aircraft performed attack runs on the presidential residence at Las Condes and the presidential palace, a pilot mistakenly opened fire on the Air Force Hospital when attacking the residence, no casualties were reported.

The Chilean air force hosted the joint exercise Salitre with other friendly nations in 2014.[1] It also participated in several United Nations peacekeeping missions overseas in 5 occasions.

The Chilean Air Force reported one of its C-130 Hercules transport aircraft carrying 38 people en route to Antarctica missing on December 9, 2019. The aircraft was on its way to Antarctica’s King George Island to provide logistic support to a military base when radio contact was lost.[2] On 11 December 2019, aircraft debris was located 18 miles South of where the plane last made contact and no survivors were found. The cause of the crash is unknown.[3]

Commanders-in-chiefEdit

Order of battleEdit

Personnel = 10,600 (including 700 conscripts)[citation needed]

Office of the Commander in Chief

Combat Command of the Air ForceEdit

 
The Delphos building, designed by the Division of Infrastructure of the Logistics Command

First Air Brigade with headquarters in Los Cóndores Air Base (Base Aérea Los Cóndores) in Iquique

  • 1st Aviation Squadron
  • 2nd Aviation Squadron
  • 3rd Aviation Squadron
  • 24th Air Defense Squadron
  • 34th Telecommunications Squadron
  • 44th Aviation Infantry Squadron

Second Air Brigade with headquarters in Pudahuel Air Base (Base Aérea Pudahuel) in Santiago

  • 9th Aviation Squadron
  • 10th Aviation Squadron
  • Air Defence and Special Forces Regiment (Regimiento de Artillería Antiaérea y FF.EE)
  • 32nd Telecommunications Squadron

Third Air Brigade with headquarters in El Tepual Air Base (Base Aérea El Tepual) in Puerto Montt

  • 5th Aviation Squadron
  • 25th Air Defense Squadron
  • 35th Telecommunications Squadron

Fourth Air Brigade with headquarters in Chabunco Air Base (Base Aérea Chabunco) in Punta Arenas

  • 6th Aviation Squadron
 
F-16D Block 50M of Chilean Air Force
  • 12th Aviation Squadron
  • 23rd Air Defense Squadron
  • 33rd Telecommunications Squadron
  • 19th Antarctic Exploration Squadron

Fifth Air Brigade with headquarters in Cerro Moreno Air Base (Base Aérea Cerro Moreno) in Antofagasta

  • 7th Aviation Squadron
  • 8th Aviation Squadron
  • 21st Air Defense Squadron
  • 31st Telecommunications Squadron
  • 41st Aviation Infantry Squadron

Personnel CommandEdit

Education Division

  • Air Force School "Captain Manuel Ávalos Prado"
  • Air Force NCO School "Flight Sergeant Adolfo Menadier Rojas"
  • Advanced NCO School
  • Air War Academy
  • Air Force Polytechnical Academy
  • Air Photographic Surveying Service

Health Division
General Hospital of the Air Force
Air Force High Command Prefecture

Logistics CommandEdit

Maintenance Division
Administration Division
Infrastructure Division

The Air Force also maintains the Air Force Special Forces (Comandos de Aviación), comparable to a United States Air Force Combat Control Team.[citation needed] They may be up to 350 strong, and their roles include assault, reconnaissance, Air Traffic Control, Fire Support, and Command, control, and communications.[citation needed]

EquipmentEdit

AircraftEdit

 
A Chilean Air Force F-5E in flight
 
The EB-707 Condor surveillance aircraft
 
A Bell 412 on lift off
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Northrop F-5 United States light fighter F-5E 10[4]
F-16 Fighting Falcon United States multirole F-16A/C 35[4] 36 F-16A MLUs were acquired from the RNLAF
AWACS
EB-707 Condor United States AEW&C 1[4] system developed by Israel Aerospace Industries
Boeing E-3 Sentry United States AEW&C E-3D 3[5] second hand aircraft from Royal Air Force
Tanker
KC-135 Stratotanker United States aerial refueling / transport KC-135E 3[4]
KC-130 Hercules United States aerial refueling / transport KC-130R 3[4]
Transport
Boeing 737 United States VIP transport 1[4]
Boeing 767 United States VIP transport / transport 300ER 1[6]
Cessna Citation United States VIP transport CJ1 4[4]
C-130 Hercules United States transport C-130B/H 4[4]
CASA C-212 Spain utility / transport 3[4]
DHC-6 Twin Otter Canada utility transport 11[4] STOL capable aircraft
Helicopters
Bell 412 United States utility 15[4]
Bell UH-1 United States utility UH-1H 10[4]
Sikorsky UH-60 United States utility S-70i 6[4]
Trainer Aircraft
Bell 206 United States rotorcraft trainer 5[4]
T-35 Pillán Chile trainer 31[4]
Cirrus SR22 United States trainer 8[4]
CASA C-101 Spain jet trainer 19[4]
Northrop F-5 United States conversion trainer F-5F 3[4]
Embraer EMB 314 Brazil advanced trainer 22[4]
F-16 Fighting Falcon United States conversion trainer F-16B/D 11[4]
UAV
Hermes 900 Israel surveillance 3[7]

Air defenseEdit

 
Chile acquired three NASAMS systems like this one.
Name Origin Type In service Notes
SAM
NASAMS Norway SAM system 3[8]
Sistema Mygale France SAM system 2 [8]
Anti-aircraft artillery
M163 VADS United States mobile anti-aircraft gun 44[8] weapon is a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun
M167 Vulcan United States towed anti-aircraft gun 66[8]
Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon Switzerland towed anti-aircraft gun

ArmamentEdit

 
Paveway III laser guided bomb
 
Mark 84 general purpose bomb
Name Origin Type Notes
Air-to-air missile
AIM-120 C5/C7 AMRAAM[8] United States beyond-visual-range missile initial 100 missiles obtained[8]
AIM-9 Sidewinder[8] United States initial 200 missiles obtained (from 2010 to 2013)[8]
RAFAEL Derby Israel beyond-visual-range missile
RAFAEL Python 4 Israel
Air-to-surface missile
AGM-65 Maverick[8] United States
General-purpose bomb
Mark 84 United States
Mark 82 United States
GBU-12 Paveway II United States laser-guided bomb
GBU-24 Paveway III United States laser-guided bomb
Anti-ship missile
AGM-84 Harpoon[8] United States

IndustryEdit

Chile also maintains its own aviation industry, ENAER. The design of the T-35 Pillán trainer, based on the Piper PA-28 Dakota, is the best known example, seeing some export success as well. Furthermore, the assembly of the A-36/T-36 Halcón (CASA C-101) was achieved as well. Performing maintenance on most types in the current inventory, such as minor modifications on F-5E aircraft for example, the industry is of significant importance to the air force. ENAER is reported to be in talks with Embraer of Brazil to codesign the first indigenous South American military transport plane. Also, under the Pacer Amstel programme, with initial Dutch support, and later locally ENAER upgraded an F-16 combat jet, which for the Chilean Air Force is an advance for their maintenance of the F-16 fleet (becoming the 5th country to modify their jets under authorization).

RanksEdit

Officers
Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
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  • t
  • e
  •                        
    General de aire General de aviación General de brigada aérea Comodoro Coronel de aviación Comandante de grupo Comandante de escuadrilla Capitán de bandada Teniente Subteniente Alférez Cadete
    Enlisted
    Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
      Chilean Air Force
                    No insignia
    Suboficial mayor Suboficial Sargento primero Sargento segundo Cabo primero Cabo segundo Cabo Alumno Soldado

    BadgesEdit

    OfficersEdit

    Officer[9] Line Corps
    Badge            
    Arm of service Aviation Engineering Air Defense Telecommunications and Information Technology Administration Air Base
    Abbreviation (A) (I) (DA) (TI) (AD) (BA)
    Specialty Aviators (Fighter, Helicopter) and Air transport officers Aviation engineers Air defense Information and telecommunications engineers Engineers assigned to administrative duties Logistics
    Officer[9] Services/Staff Corps
    Badge          
    Arm of service Justice Medical Corps
    Dental Corps
    Chaplainancy Bands Service General Services Corps
    Abbreviation (J) (S) y (SD) (SR) (B) (SG)
    Specialty Attorneys and Judges Doctors, Nurses and Dentists
    of various specialties
    Chaplains Musicians Professional workers and civilian employees

    Non-commissioned officers and airmenEdit

    NCOs and airmen of the[9] Line Corps Services Corps
    Badge   -
    Arm of service Weapons Technical support Administration Combat medicine and surgery
    Specially Air Defense
    Intelligence personnel
    Aircrews
    Maintenance and armaments
    Communications, information technology and electronics
    Air Operations Support
    Administrative staff Combat medics and surgeons

    Officers' cap badgesEdit

    Chilean Air Force officers wear the following cap badges in their peaked caps.

    Rank cap badge[10] Air Generals and Air Commodores Colonels and Group Commanders Ensigns through Squadron Commanders
    Full dress      
    Service dress      
    Rank Air General Aviation General Air Brigade General Air Commodore Aviation Colonel Group Commander Squadron Commander Flight Captain Lieutenant Sublieutenant Ensign

    NotesEdit

    1. ^ Salitre 2014 Exercise in Chile promotes cooperation among five air forces Archived 2019-03-06 at the Wayback Machine Dialogo Americas 2014
    2. ^ "Antarctica-bound plane missing with 38 on board". 2019-12-10. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
    3. ^ Staff; agencies (2019-12-11). "Chilean air force finds debris believed to be from missing plane with 38 people". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
    4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "World Air Forces 2022". Flightglobal. 2022. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
    5. ^ Rivas, Santiago (2022-01-19). "Chile buys three Boeing E-3D Sentry aircraft from UK". Jane's. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
    6. ^ Eberlein, Alfredo (2022-01-06). "La FACh despliega un Boeing 767 para un vuelo humanitario a la Isla de Pascua" (in Spanish). indodefensa. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
    7. ^ "Chilean Air Force Hermes 900 in service". Key Publishing. 2019-02-21. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
    8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Trade Registers. Armstrade.sipri.org. Retrieved on 2015-02-18.
    9. ^ a b c "Institución". Archived from the original on 2010-12-05. Retrieved 2010-10-22.
    10. ^ Grados Archived 2010-12-05 at the Wayback Machine

    BibliographyEdit

    • Hagedorn, Daniel P. (September–October 1996). "Talkback". Air Enthusiast (65): 80. ISSN 0143-5450.

    External linksEdit

    • Fuerza Aérea de Chile official website
    • Fuerza Aérea de Chile at Chilean Defense Ministry, official website
    • Fuerza Aérea de Chile website, old at Archive.org (in Spanish)
    • Ranks of Fuerza Aérea de Chile website (in Spanish)