Colombian Air Force
Fuerza Aérea Colombiana
Escudo Fuerza Aerea Colombiana.svg
Emblem of the Colombian Air Force
Founded15 February 1921; 101 years ago (1921-02-15)
Country Colombia
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
Size
  • 25,000 active personnel
  • 270 aircraft [1]
Part ofColombian Armed Forces
Nickname(s)FAC
Motto(s)
MarchColombian Air Force Hymn
Mascot(s)Capitan Paz
Anniversaries8 November
Engagements
Websitewww.fac.mil.co Edit this at Wikidata
Commanders
Commander of the Air ForceMajor General Ramsés Rueda Rueda
Deputy Commander and Air Force Chief of StaffMajor General Jorge Tadeo Borbon
Inspector GeneralMajor General Rodrigo Valencia Guevara
Notable
commanders
Major General Alberto Alejandro Pauwels Rodriguez
Insignia
Roundel
Roundel of Colombia.svg
Roundel of Colombia – Low Visibility.svg
Fin flash
Flag of Colombia.svg
Flag
Flag of the Colombian Air Force.svg
Ensign
Ensign of the Colombian Air Force.svg
Aircraft flown
AttackA-29, A-37, AC-47T
FighterIAI Kfir
HelicopterUH-60, UH-1, Bell 212, AH-60
ReconnaissanceSA2-37A/B, Skymaster C-337H, Super King Air, SR-560, SR-26
TrainerT-34, T-41, T-27, T-90, Bell 206,
TransportC-130, C-295, C-212

The Colombian Air Force (FAC, Spanish: Fuerza Aérea Colombiana) is the air force of the Republic of Colombia. The Colombian Air Force is one of the three institutions of the Military Forces of Colombia charged, according to the 1991 Constitution, working to exercise and maintain control of Colombia's airspace and to defend its sovereignty, territorial integrity and constitutional order. It is one of the largest air forces in the Americas (after the United States, Brazil and Peru) and has increased its activity due to important roles in the fight against narco-terrorism. Its main force includes 21 IAI Kfirs as defense fighters and 14 Cessna A-37 Dragonfly plus 24 Embraer 314 Super Tucano for counterinsurgency.

The FAC has been used in observation and aerial combat missions since the Colombian-Peruvian war of 1932 and also operated during the Second World War in the islands of San Andrés.

History

Creation

Military aviation began in Colombia in 1919 with the creation of a military aviation school for the Colombian Army. Previously by Law 15 of 1916 of September 7 two commissions were sent overseas to study new technological advancements in aviation, infantry, cavalry, engineering and trains. Officers pertaining to the Colombian Army were also sent to take a course on flight training on techniques and tactics. The school was then created in Colombia along with the Colombian National Army Aviation as a fifth regiment by Law 126 of 1919 of December 31 authorized by President of Colombia, Marco Fidel Suárez. The unit was officially activated on February 15, 1921 in Flandes, Department of Tolima with the support of a French mission led by Lieutenant Colonel Rene Guichard. The Aviation School initially had 3 Caudron G.3 E-2, 3 Caudron G.4 A-2 and four Nieuport Delage 11 C-1. The school was closed due to financial hardships in 1922.

The School of Military Aviation was reopened on November 8, 1924 in Madrid, Department of Cundinamarca with the support of a Swiss mission headed by Captain Henry Pillichody. The aircraft used for training were 4 Wild WT and 8 Wild X performing the first air review on August 7, 1927. Then on December 28, 1928 the first combat aircraft was shown in Colombia, the Curtiss Falcon O-1.

War with Peru

See also: Colombia-Peru War

The Hawk II F11C-origin, helped in fighting Guepí in Peruvian garrison, which lasted eight hours
The Hawk II F11C-origin, helped in fighting Guepí in Peruvian garrison, which lasted eight hours

On September 1, 1932, Peruvian civilians crossed into Colombian territory and invaded the town of Leticia in the Colombian Amazon claiming that the town was Peruvian territory. The Colombian military aviation only had 11 instructors, four Curtiss-Wright CW-14R Osprey air combat support planes and one Curtiss Falcon O-1. The military aviation then received full financial support from the Congress of Colombia. Colombia bought aircraft from Germany and the United States, while others were activated from the airline operating in Colombia SCADTA (Sociedad Colombo-Alemana de Transporte Aéreo) and their pilots, which included some German citizens, one of these was Major Herbert Boy. The imported aircraft were 4 Junkers F.13, 4 Junkers W 34 and 3 Junkers K 43, 6 Junkers Ju 52, 2 Dornier Merkur II, 4 Dornier Wal, 20 Curtiss Falcon F-8F and 30 Curtiss Hawk II F-11C.

The contingent was then sent to southern Colombia to fight Peruvian forces with the main mission of delivering supplies to the front lines, aerial reconnaissance and air to land attacks. The fleet was divided into three squadrons with Puerto Boy as the main camp site. Support bases were in Caucaya airstrip (Puerto Leguízamo), El Encanto, Puerto Arica, La Pedrera and Tarapacá. The main combat operations started on February 14, 1933 in Tarapacá where the Peruvian garrison was bombed by seven Colombian aircraft and later assaulted by land forces. Later, on March 26, in the village of Guepi eleven Colombian planes and two cannon boats (MC Cartagena y MC Santa Marta) bombarded Peruvian positions and took over the town.

The last military actions of the conflict with Peru were on May 8, 1933 and in which there was an aerial engagement between the two forces. Peruvian planes were attacking the fluvial fleet of Colombia over the Algodón River and were surprised by the Colombian squadron. One of the Peruvian aircraft, a Douglas O-38P was gunned down and taken to Colombian territory. On May 24, 1933 a cease fire was declared after an agreement was reached with the intervention of the League of Nations. The town of Leticia was returned to Colombia. The captured plane was then returned to Peru. As a result of the war, four pilots died in four accidents during non-combat related actions. Among these was one of the German pilots. Four planes were lost in these accidents a Falcon O-1, an Osprey C-14, a Junker F-13 and a Curtiss F-11.

World War II

The AT-6 Texan served during World War II, defending the country's Caribbean coast
The AT-6 Texan served during World War II, defending the country's Caribbean coast

The diplomatic breach between Colombia and the Axis countries (Germany, Italy and Japan) was declared on December 18, 1941, when President Eduardo Santos took the decision following the Japanese attack on military bases, naval and U.S. carriers at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Thereafter, the Colombian government introduced special measures to limit and counter the Axis military action in areas of national jurisdiction. On June 23, 1942 a German submarine attacked and sank the Colombian schooner Resolute, 50 miles northwest of the island of San Andrés. The same schooner had rescued some Marine officers and 23 British Royal Navy survivors of a capsized ship, 200 miles north of Cartagena just five days before.

Following these events, the government decided to patrol and monitor the Pacific Coast and the Colombian Caribbean coast. The Palanquero Air Base commanders moved one fighter squadron and a Combat Reconnaissance Squadron, consisting of F-8 Falcon aircraft, to Barranquilla. In 1943, the Falcons were relieved of their mission and replaced by the AT-6 Texan. This squadron was active until 1945, when the AT-6 were transferred back to Palanquero Air Base.

Early 1930s to present

Organization

Combat Air Commands (Comando Aéreo de Combate or CACOM):

Transportation and Maintenance:

Air Groups:

Training:

Airline:

Personnel

As of 2010,[1] the Air Force fields approximately 13,500 personnel, including 2,171 officers, 3,304 Non-commissioned officers, 903 student officers, 4,673 soldiers, these usually allocated to base security, Military Police etc., and 2,382 civilians, the latter usually dedicated to specialized technical or professional activities, e.g. medical, communications, etc.

Ranks & Insignias

Further information: Military ranks of the Colombian Armed Forces

The tables below display the rank structures and rank insignias for the Colombian Air Force personnel.[30][n 1]

Officers

Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
 Colombian Air Force[31]
Colombia-AirForce-OF-9.svg
Colombia-AirForce-OF-7.svg
Colombia-AirForce-OF-6.svg
Colombia-AirForce-OF-5.svg
Colombia-AirForce-OF-4.svg
Colombia-AirForce-OF-3.svg
Colombia-AirForce-OF-2.svg
Colombia-AirForce-OF-1b.svg
Colombia-AirForce-OF-1a.svg
General del aire Mayor general del aire Brigadier general del aire Coronel Teniente coronel Mayor Capitán Teniente Subteniente
Abbr. - GR - MG BG CR TC MY CT TE ST
English - General of the Air - Major General of the Air Brigadier General of the Air Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second Lieutenant

Non-Commissioned Officers and Airmen

Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
 Colombian Air Force[31]
Técnico Jefe de Comando Conjunto.svg
Técnico Jefe de Comando FAC.svg
Técnico Jefe FAC.svg
Técnico Subjefe FAC.svg
Técnico Primero FAC.svg
Técnico Segundo FAC.svg
Técnico Tercero FAC.svg
Técnico Cuarto FAC.svg
Aerotécnico FAC.svg
Técnico jefe de comando conjunto Técnico jefe de comando Técnico jefe Técnico subjefe Técnico primero Técnico segundo Técnico tercero Técnico cuarto Aerotécnico
Abbr. TJCC TJC TJ TS TP T2 T3 T4 AT -
English Joint Command Chief Technician Command Chief Technician Senior Chief Technician Chief Technician Technician First Class Technician 2nd Class Technician 3rd Class Junior Technician Airman

Aircraft

Current inventory

An IAI Kfir on take off
An IAI Kfir on take off
Colombian KC-767 lifting off from Heathrow airport
Colombian KC-767 lifting off from Heathrow airport
A FAC Boeing 737 at Zürich Airport
A Bell 206 fly over during the Colombian Bicentennial
A Bell 206 fly over during the Colombian Bicentennial
A CASA CN-235 in Flight
A CASA CN-235 in Flight
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
IAI Kfir Israel multirole 19 2 aircraft provide training[32]
Basler BT-67 United States attack / reconnaissance AC-47T 6[32] modified DC-3 with turboprop engines, and mounted guns for CAS.
A-37 Dragonfly United States light attack / COIN 14[32]
EMB 314 Super Tucano Brazil light attack / COIN 24[32]
Reconnaissance Aircraft
Cessna 208 United States reconnaissance 6[32]
Cessna Citation V United States surveillance Ultra 5[32]
CASA CN-235 Spain reconnaissance 1[32]
Tanker
Boeing KC-767 United States aerial refueling / transport MMTT 1[32] tanker transport conversion by Israeli Aerospace Industries
Transport
Boeing 727 United States VIP transport 1[32]
Boeing 737 United States VIP transport 2[32]
C-130 Hercules United States transport C-130B/H 6[32]
IAI Arava Israel transport 1[32]
CASA C-212 Spain transport 4[32]
CASA C-295 Spain utility transport 7[32]
Cessna 208 United States utility transport 10[32]
Cessna 402 United States utility transport 1[32]
Embraer EMB 110 Brazil utility / transport 2[32]
Turbo Commander United States transport 2[32] one provides maritime patrol
Super King Air United States transport 90/350 11[32] 3 provided electronic warfare
Piper PA-34 United States light transport 1[32]
Piper PA-31T United States light transport 1[32]
Helicopters
Bell 212 United States utility 11[32]
Bell UH-1 United States utility 49[32] 2 are Bell 205’s
Sikorsky UH-60 United States SAR / COIN U/M/AH-60L 24[32]
MD 500 Defender United States light utility 530 4[32]
Trainer Aircraft
Bell 206 United States rotor-craft trainer 47[32]
Cessna T-37 United States jet trainer 17[32]
EMB 312 Tucano Brazil advanced trainer 14[32]
Beechcraft T-6 Texan II United States advanced trainer T-6C 2 6 on order[32]
UAV
Boeing Insitu ScanEagle United States surveillance 6[33][34]
Elbit Hermes 450 Israel surveillance 6[35]
Elbit Hermes 900 Israel surveillance 2[35]

Former aircraft

Previous aircraft operated by the Air Force consisted of the Gavilán G358, and the OV-10A Bronco[36]

Aircraft identification

Super Tucano to the Colombian Air Force. these aircraft were acquired in 2006
Super Tucano to the Colombian Air Force. these aircraft were acquired in 2006

The aircraft used by the Colombian Air Force are identified with the letters "FAC" followed by three or four numbers that are painted on the tail, nose and nose landing gear doors. The serial numbers are assigned according to the aircraft's primary role as follows:

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Colombia is not a member of NATO, so there is not an official equivalence between the Colombian military ranks and those defined by NATO. The displayed parallel is approximate and for illustration purposes only.

References

  1. ^ a b Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Colombia (November 2010). "Logros de la Política de Consolidación de la Seguridad Democrática, 2010" (PDF) (in Spanish). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-08-03. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  2. ^ (in Spanish)[1]
  3. ^ "Video Shows Shootdown of Hawker 800".
  4. ^ (in Spanish) CACOM 1 – Puerto Salgar (Cundinamarca) – Comando Aéreo de Combate No.1
  5. ^ (in Spanish) Capitán Germán Olano Moreno
  6. ^ (in Spanish) CACOM 2 – Apiay (Meta) – Comando Aéreo de Combate No.2
  7. ^ (in Spanish) Capitán Luis F. Gómez Niño
  8. ^ (in Spanish) CACOM 3 – Malambo (Atlántico) – Comando Aéreo de Combate No.3
  9. ^ (in Spanish) Mayor General Alberto Pauwels Rodríguez
  10. ^ (in Spanish) CACOM 4 – Melgar (Tolima) – Comando Aéreo de Combate No.4
  11. ^ (in Spanish) Teniente Coronel Luis Francisco Pinto Parra
  12. ^ (in Spanish) CACOM 5 – Rionegro (Antioquia) – Comando Aéreo de Combate No.5
  13. ^ (in Spanish) Coronel Fernando Arturo Lema Posada
  14. ^ (in Spanish) CACOM 6 – Tres Esquinas (Caquetá) – Comando Aéreo de Combate No.6
  15. ^ (in Spanish) Capitán Ernesto Esguerra Cubides Archived 2012-07-07 at archive.today
  16. ^ (in Spanish) CATAM – Aeropuerto El Dorado (Bogotá D.C) – Comando Aéreo de Transporte Militar
  17. ^ (in Spanish) Brigadier General (H) Camilo Daza Álvarez
  18. ^ (in Spanish) CAMAN – Madrid (Cundinamarca) – Comando Aéreo de Mantenimiento
  19. ^ (in Spanish) Mayor (H) Justino Mariño Cuesta
  20. ^ (in Spanish) GACAR – San Andrés Isla (San Andrés, Providencia y Santa Catalina) – Grupo Aéreo del Caribe
  21. ^ (in Spanish) Teniente Coronel Benjamín Méndez Rey
  22. ^ AirForces Monthly. Stamford, Lincolnshire, England: Key Publishing Ltd. January 2017. p. 21.
  23. ^ (in Spanish) GAORI – Marandúa (Vichada) – Grupo Aéreo del Oriente
  24. ^ (in Spanish) Coronel Luis Arturo Rodríguez Meneses
  25. ^ (in Spanish) EMAVI – Santiago de Cali (Valle) – Escuela Militar de Aviación
  26. ^ (in Spanish) Marco Fidel Suárez
  27. ^ (in Spanish) ESUFA – Madrid (Cundinamarca) – Escuela de Suboficiales FAC
  28. ^ (in Spanish) Captain Andres Maria Diaz Diaz
  29. ^ (in Spanish) IMA – Instituto Militar Aeronáutico Archived 2008-08-20 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Congreso de la República de Colombia (28 July 2010). "Ley 1405 de 2010 Nuevos Grados Militares" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  31. ^ a b "Grados Militares Fuerza Aérea Colombiana". fac.mil.co (in Spanish). Colombian Air Force. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac "World Air Forces 2022". Flightglobal. 2022. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  33. ^ "Fuerza Aérea Colombiana activa escuadrón de aeronaves remotamente tripuladas en el Departamento de Nariño". www.fac.mil.co (in Spanish). Colombian Air Force. 11 May 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  34. ^ "Colombian Air Force activates drone squadron". www.forecastinternational.com. Forecast International. 15 May 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  35. ^ a b Saumeth, Erich (12 February 2018). "Colombia y sus Elbit Hermes 900". www.infodefensa.com (in Spanish). IDS, S.L. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  36. ^ Sands, Glenn. "Colombian Air Force retires OV-10A Broncos". Air Forces Monthly (#325): 19.