Peruvian Air Force
Fuerza Aérea del Perú
Emblem of the Peruvian Air Force.svg
Badge of the Peruvian Air Force
Founded20 May 1929; 93 years ago (1929-05-20)
Country Peru
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
Part ofPeruvian Armed Forces
Nickname(s)FAP
MarchHimno de la Fuerza Aérea del Perú
Engagements
Websitewww.fap.mil.pe Edit this at Wikidata
Commanders
Commander-in-ChiefDante Antonio Arévalo Abate
Chief of StaffJulio Valdez Pomareda
Inspector GeneralJavier Ramírez Guillen
Insignia
Roundel
Roundel of Peru.svg
Roundel of Peru – Low Visibility.svg
Fin flash
Flag of Peru.svg
Aircraft flown
AttackSu-25, A-37B
FighterMiG-29, Mirage 2000
HelicopterMil Mi-24, Mi-17
PatrolC-26B
ReconnaissanceLearjet 36
TrainerMB-339, EMB-312, Zlin 242L
TransportAn-32B, C-130 Hercules, Y-12, Boeing 737, DHC-6, PC-6

The Peruvian Air Force (Spanish: Fuerza Aérea del Perú, FAP) is the branch of the Peruvian Armed Forces tasked with defending the nation and its interests through the use of air power. Additional missions include assistance in safeguarding internal security, conducting disaster relief operations and participating in international peacekeeping operations.

History

20th century

Peruvian Aeronautical Corps aircraft flying over a Peruvian ship during the 1941 war
Peruvian Aeronautical Corps aircraft flying over a Peruvian ship during the 1941 war

On May 20, 1929, the aviation divisions of the Peruvian Army and Navy were merged into the Cuerpo de Aviación del Perú (Peruvian Aviation Corps, abbreviated CAP). During the Colombia-Peru War of 1933, its Vought O2U Corsair and Curtiss F11C Hawk planes fought in the Amazon region. The CAP lost three aircraft to the Colombian Air Force. The corps was renamed Cuerpo Aeronáutico del Perú (Peruvian Aeronautical Corps, also abbreviated CAP) on March 12, 1936.

Ecuadorian–Peruvian War

In 1941, the CAP participated in the Ecuadorian–Peruvian War. At that time, the CAP were equipped with Caproni Ca.114 and North American NA.50 Torito fighters, Douglas DB-8A-3P attack aircraft, and Caproni Ca.135 Tipo Peru and Caproni Ca.310 Libeccio bombers,[1] among others.

The Peruvian Air Force had also established a paratroop unit during the war and used it to great effect by seizing the strategic Ecuadorian port city of Puerto Bolívar, on July 27, 1941, marking the first time in the Americas that airborne troops were used in combat.[2]


Lieutenant José Quiñones Gonzales was a Peruvian pilot during the war. On July 23, 1941, his plane, a North American NA-50 fighter, was hit while performing a low-level attack on an Ecuadorian border post on the banks of the Zarumilla river. According to traditional Peruvian accounts, Quiñones, upon being hit by ground fire, crashed his damaged aircraft deliberately into the Ecuadorian anti-aircraft position, destroying it. He was promoted posthumously to Captain, and is today considered a National Hero of Peru.[citation needed]

Cold War

During the 1950s presidency of General Manuel A. Odría, the Peruvian Air Force was reorganized and on July 18, 1950, had its name changed to the Fuerza Aérea del Perú (Air Force of Peru, or FAP). Peru was an ally of the United States during this period, and was predominantly equipped with aircraft built in the US and Great Britain. By the end of General Odria's presidency, the FAP ushered in the Jet Age with the introduction of English Electric Canberra bombers and Hawker Hunter, Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star and North American F-86 Sabre fighters.

However, on October 3, 1968, a military junta led by pro-Soviet Peruvian Army General Juan Velasco Alvarado organized a swift and bloodless coup d'état against president Fernando Belaúnde Terry. Velasco aligned Peru more closely with the Soviet Bloc and relations with the United States deteriorated. The US declared an arms embargo in 1969, making it difficult to obtain spare parts for Peru's American weaponry. In the 1970s and 1980s, Peru turned to the Soviet Union for its military hardware. During this time, the FAP acquired several Soviet-made aircraft, including Sukhoi Su-22 fighters, Antonov An-26 and An-32 transport aircraft, as well as Mil Mi-8, Mi-17, Mi-25 and Mi-26 helicopters. Soviet advisors were also dispatched to Peru.

Velasco was overthrown by other military officers in 1975 and Belaúnde returned to power as a civilian president in 1980. The FAP purchased the French-made Mirage 5P and 5DP and the Mirage 2000 in 1984. Relations improved with the United States and the FAP obtained American aircraft like the Cessna A-37B Dragonfly attack aircraft, as well as Lockheed Corporation C-130 and L-100-20 Hercules transport aircraft.

Stagnation

Peruvian Air Force cadets during their graduation ceremony
Peruvian Air Force cadets during their graduation ceremony

The stagnation of the Peruvian economy during the late 1980s and early 1990s forced cost reductions and the downsizing of the fleet size. Budget cuts in training meant Peruvian pilots had a low number of annual flying hours (AFH) per pilot if compared to the 1970s. The number of annual flying hours is of course very important in estimating the individual skill and experience of the pilots of an air force: more annual flying hours suggests better trained pilots and general readiness. There are also a number of possible explanations for FAP's low AFH: concern over the aging of equipment, scarcity of spare parts – especially for the older aircraft – difficulties with worn airframes and the scarcity of fuel are all contributing factors. It is very likely however that some 'elite' pilots and regiments such as those based in Talara AFB and La Joya AFB received considerably more flying hours. Especially since those regiments until today are equipped with modern aircraft and tasked with homeland defence.

Cenepa War

The Peruvian Air Force participated in the 1995 Cenepa War against Ecuador's Air Force in the Amazon Basin. It provided aerial support to the Peruvian army, carrying out bombings with Mi-25 helicopters, Canberra bombers, A-37 and Su-22. Due to a lack of reliable roads, troops were transported by Mi-17 helicopters, L-100 Hercules, An-28 and An-32. During the course of the war, at least two helicopters were shot down.[3]

Fujimori government

In 1997 and 1998 the FAP's outlook started to change for better. In order to achieve Fujimori's militarily bold plans, it meant that FAP required a much needed general overhaul and new purchases.[4]

In 1997 the FAP acquired from Belarus 21 MiG-29 fighters and 18 Su-25 attack fighters. In 1998 an additional 3 MiG-29 fighters were bought from Russia which along with the 12 Mirage 2000 fighters purchased from France's Dassault Aviation in 1984, made a total of 54 fighters in Peru's inventory.

These purchases were expensive and a number of observers questioned their usefulness against more pressing security concerns at the time such as the fanatical Marxist guerillas, the Sendero Luminoso group (translated as Shining Path). On the other hand, the FAP still remembered the 1995 Cenepa War with Ecuador, and stationed its MiG-29 close to the border at Chiclayo AFB and Talara AFB.

21st Century

Various armed personnel of the Peruvian Air Force
Various armed personnel of the Peruvian Air Force

Peru's Mirage 2000C/B and MiG-29S fighters form the backbone of its current multirole fighter fleet, alongside specialized Su-25 close air support jets. Its Mirage 2000Ps sit at La Joya AFB near the border with Bolivia and Chile; the 3 Andean countries have a minor 3-way maritime borders dispute, and residual tensions with historical foe Chile have been a long-running issue in Peru.

RAC MiG began the upgrade of FAP's MiG fleet to the MiG-29SMT external link standard in 2008. In 2009, Dassault began working with Peru on a comprehensive inspection of the Mirage fleet, coupled with some electronics modernization.

Since 2013 Peru is in talks with European suppliers as part of a long-term plan of replacing FAP's aging air force aircraft with second-hand Su-35s, Rafales or Eurofighters. Hitherto, FAP was exploring the possibility of buying as many as sixty Eurofighter Typhoon EF-2000 from Spain[5] and sixty Sukhoi Su-35 from Russia.[6] Cost was a major issue for Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, who was looking at competitively priced fighter jets that would fit the national budget. In 2014, Peru began to update the operations and mechanical equipment of its Cessna A-37 aircraft, replacing analog controls with new digital hardware.[7]

Following the unveiling of the KAI KF-21 Boramae in April 2021, The National Interest reported that Peru may be a potential customer for the 4.5 generation fighter.[8]

Organization

Peruvian Cessna A-37 Dragonfly in 2015
Peruvian Cessna A-37 Dragonfly in 2015

Air Wing Nº 1

Air Wing Nº 2

Air Wing Nº 3

Air Wing Nº 4

Personnel

SA-3 Pechora SAM on display at Las Palmas Airbase – 2006
SA-3 Pechora SAM on display at Las Palmas Airbase – 2006
Personnel (as of 2001)[9]
Commissioned Officers 1,909
Non-commissioned officers 7,559
Cadets 325
NCO in training 296
Enlisted 7,880
Civilians 8,708
Total 17,969
(excl. civilians)

Ranks

Main article: Military ranks of Peru

Commissioned officers
Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
 Peruvian Air Force[10]
Peru-AirForce-OF-9.svg
Peru-AirForce-OF-8.svg
Peru-AirForce-OF-7.svg
Peru-AirForce-OF-5.svg
Peru-AirForce-OF-4.svg
Peru-AirForce-OF-3.svg
Peru-AirForce-OF-2.svg
Peru-AirForce-OF-1b.svg
Peru-AirForce-OF-1a.svg
Blank.svg
General del aire Teniente general Mayor general Coronel Comandante Mayor Capitán Teniente Alférez Cadete F.A.P.
NCOs and enlisted
Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
 Peruvian Air Force[10]
Peru-Air Force-OR-9.svg
Peru-Air Force-OR-8.svg
Peru-Air Force-OR-7.svg
Peru-Air Force-OR-6.svg
Peru-Air Force-OR-4.svg
Peru-Air Force-OR-3.svg
Peru-Air Force-OR-1.svg
Suboficial primero Suboficial segundo Suboficial tercero Sargento primero Sargento segundo Cabo Avionero

Aircraft

Current inventory

An Air Force MiG-29 at Halcon-Condor 2010 festival
An Air Force MiG-29 at Halcon-Condor 2010 festival
A Boeing 737 sits on the tarmac at Jorge Chávez International Airport
A Boeing 737 sits on the tarmac at Jorge Chávez International Airport
A Mi-35 in flight
A Mi-35 in flight
An Aermacchi MB-339 on the taxi way
An Aermacchi MB-339 on the taxi way
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
MiG-29 Russia multirole 8[11] 2 provide conversion training
Sukhoi Su-25 Russia attack 8[11] 2 provide conversion training
Cessna A-37 United States attack 20[11]
Dassault Mirage 2000 France multirole 2000P 12[11] 2 2000DP’s provide conversion training
Reconnaissance
C-26 Metroliner United States surveillance / COMINT 3[11] donated by the U.S. for anti-drug operations[12]
Learjet 35 United States photomapping U-36 1[11]
Transport
Boeing 737 United States VIP 1[11]
Piper PA-34 United States utility 2[11]
C-27J Spartan Italy transport 4[11]
Antonov An-32 Ukraine transport 3[11]
DHC-6 Twin Otter Canada utility transport 14[11] STOL capable aircraft
Lockheed L-100 United States transport 3[11]
Pilatus PC-6 Switzerland utility / transport 1[11] STOL capable aircraft
Helicopters
Bell 412 United States utility 3[11]
Mil Mi-17 Russia utility Mi-17/171 9[11]
Mil Mi-24 Russia attack Mi-24/35 16[11]
MBB Bo 105 Germany utility 2[11]
Trainer Aircraft
Zlín Z 42 Czech Republic trainer Z 242 3[11]
CH2000 United States trainer 6 11 on order[11]
Piper PA-44 United States multi-engine trainer 1[11]
Sikorsky S-300 United States rotorcraft trainer 4[11]
Enstrom 280 United States rotorcraft trainer 2 2 on order[11]
KT-1 Woongbi Republic of Korea primary trainer KT-1P 20[11]
Aermacchi MB-339 Italy jet trainer 5[11]

Infantry weapons

The M4 carbine
The M4 carbine
Name Origin Type Variant Notes
Small arms
Vektor SP1[13] South Africa semi-auto pistol
AKM[13] Soviet Union assault rifle
M4 carbine[13] United States assault rifle M4A1
IMI Galil[13] Israel assault rifle
Milkor BXP[13] South Africa submachine gun
Uzi[13] Israel submachine gun
Air Defense
9K38 Igla[13] Russia MANPADS
Javelin[14] United Kingdom MANPADS
Armor
BTR-60[13] Soviet Union Armoured personnel carrier amphibious capable vehicle
BRDM-2[13] Soviet Union Armoured personnel carrier Malyutka amphibious capable vehicle

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Acig.org: The Most Powerful Air Force in Latin America
  2. ^ The paratroopers were dropped from Italian Caproni Ca.111 bomber-transports. Skydiving in Peru by General Alberto Thorndike Elmore
  3. ^ Long, William R. (February 8, 1995). "Peru, Ecuador Battle on Small but Deadly Scale : Latin America: As peace talks hit snag, platoon-size units continue war in Amazon rain forest". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 4, 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Diario La Republica http://www.ecuadorinmediato.com/Noticias/news_user_view/investigacion_peruana_corrupcion_impidio_bombardear_ecuador_2da_parte--11212
  5. ^ Missing2013-02-04t13:00:00+00:00, Name. "Spain offers Eurofighters to Peru". Flight Global. Retrieved June 30, 2022.
  6. ^ "Peru mulls replacing aged air force jets". UPI. Retrieved June 30, 2022.
  7. ^ "Peruvian Air Force Upgrades Fifth A-37B Aircraft". Dialogo Americas. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  8. ^ Roblin, Sebastien (April 13, 2021). "Korea's New KF-21 Jet Isn't A Stealth Fighter—But Could Evolve Into One". The National Interest. Retrieved April 21, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved September 27, 2007.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), based on Supreme Decree DS No. 69 DE/SG of 2001.
  10. ^ a b "Grados Militares". ccffaa.mil.pe (in Spanish). Joint Command of the Armed Forces of Peru. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "World Air Forces 2022". Flightglobal Insight. 2022. Retrieved May 6, 2022.
  12. ^ Administrator. "Demora en la entrega de dos aviones C-26 modificados para la Fuerza Aérea del Perú". Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i Montes, Julio A. (August 2011). "Peruvian Small Arms: Gunning for the Shining Path" (PDF). Small Arms Defense Journal: 25–29.
  14. ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) (2021). "The Military Balance 2021". The Military Balance.

Sources