Gando Air Base


The Gando Air Base (in Spanish, Base Aérea de Gando) is a base of the Spanish Air Force located in the Gran Canaria island, Spain, and next to the Gran Canaria Airport, eastward from its runways.

Beyond several hangars opposite to the passenger terminal, the Gando Air Base contains ten shelters situated on the southern end of the eastern runway. They harbor the 46 Wing (Ala 46) which operates F/A-18 Hornet and CASA 212 airplanes, and the SAR Eurocopter AS 532.[1] The 46 Wing is composed by the 462 and 802 fighter squadrons and it defends the Spanish airspace around the Canary Islands. The Gando Air Base is one of the biggest and most important air bases of the Spanish Air Force and it is unique because of the wide variety of aircraft which it operates.

Military activity was most intense during the mid-1970s, at the time of the crisis of decolonisation of Western Sahara and its occupation by Morocco. Military crises in Western Africa, like the 2013 Mali intervention by France, made Gando Air Base the main air platform for operations in Western Africa area by NATO. In 2006 Spain proposed Gando Air Base as headquarters for the newly created United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), but the AFRICOM HQ was ultimately based in Stuttgart, Germany.

The Canary Islands Air Command (Mando Aéreo de CanariasMACAN) is based in the city of Las Palmas. Canary Islands Air Command is the only territorial general Air Command Air Force in Spain; its mission is the maintenance, preparation and command of air units located in the Canary archipelago.[2][3] Any Spanish military airplane that lands in the Canary Islands is immediately put at the disposal of the Canary Islands Air Command, who can retain it and use it as long as necessary for missions within the islands. This happens sometimes with heavy military transport, antisubmarine warfare and early warning airplanes, since the islands do not have these on a permanent basis. Once the plane is released by the Canary Islands Air Command, it can leave the Canary Islands and it reverts to the Air Force Commands of mainland Spain.

The deployment base of Gando Air Base is the Lanzarote Military Airfield (Aeródromo Militar de Lanzarote). Lanzarote Military Airfield has its own permanent Air Force troops platoons and an air defence radar (the EVA 22, which covers the Eastern Canary Islands and the maritime area up to the Sahara), but it has no permanently based military planes, using the ones from Gando.

Space launch operations

In 1997, Gando Air Base was used to launch the Minisat 01 satellite and it was proposed as an alternative to El Hierro Launch Centre.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Yañez and Rodriguez 2008, p. 23.
  2. ^ Orden DEF/1575/2007, de 28 de mayo, por la que se establecen las Comandancias Militares Aéreas de Aeropuerto y se fijan sus dependencias.
  3. ^ *Página del Ejército del Aire de España Archived May 22, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Gutiérrez Espada, Cesáreo (1997). "Los grandes retos del derecho del espacio ultraterrestre (Aprovechando el lanzamiento del "Minisat 01")". Anuario de Derecho Internacional (in Spanish). Pamplona: Universidad de Navarra. XIII: 178. doi:10.15581/010.13.177-212 (inactive 31 October 2021). Retrieved 8 August 2020.CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of October 2021 (link)

External links

  • Gando Air Base official website

Coordinates: 27°56′10″N 15°22′44″W / 27.936°N 15.379°W / 27.936; -15.379