Salvadoran Air Force
Fuerza Aérea Salvadoreña
Emblem of the Salvadoran Air Force
Founded20 March 1923; 101 years ago (1923-03-20)
Country El Salvador
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
68 aircraft
Part ofArmed Forces of El Salvador

The Salvadoran Air Force (Spanish: Fuerza Aérea Salvadoreña, abbreviated FAS) is the air force branch of the Armed Forces of El Salvador.

Early history

The Salvadoran Army Air Force (Spanish: Fuerza Aérea de El Salvador, abbreviated FAS) was formed on 20 March 1923 during a period of heavy interest in aviation in El Salvador. In 1947, after signing the treaty of Rio (which was a mutual defense treaty among the states of America including the U.S.), El Salvador gained a new US air mission and the United States increased transfers of aircraft to the nation.[clarification needed]

Recent operations

IAI Arava 201 of the Salvadoran Air Force in 1975

The Salvadoran Air Force first saw action in the 1969 Football War against Honduras equipped with F4U Corsairs and P-51 Mustangs. From the late 1970s, isolated guerilla actions rapidly developed into a civil war. US aid to El Salvador in 1980 consisted of six UH-1Hs and four in 1981; they were used as gunships. Other deliveries brought that number of UH-1Hs in service up to 40. In February 1982 onwards the United States delivered eight A-37B Dragonflies, 12 UH-1Hs, four O-2As and three C-123Ks. On 6 May 2013, in celebration of the 189th anniversary of the Armed Forces of El Salvador, the Salvadoran Government announced the planned purchase of 10 A-37 aircraft from Chile.[2]

A four-engined Douglas DC-6B provided long-range logistical capability between 1975 and its retirement in 1998. It was used on supply flights to and from the United States.[3] In December 1984, two AC-47s were delivered to be in service with the other three C-47s in use. The civil war ended in mutual exhaustion in 1990 and the Air Force was geared for internal security.

In September 2016 it was reported that the Salvadoran Air Force in cooperation with the Colombian Air Force was finalizing negotiations on modernizing its Bell UH-1H helicopters to the Huey 2 standard.[4]


Current inventory

An FAS A-37 Dragonfly in flight over Mexico
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Cessna A-37 United States attack 13[5]
Cessna 208 Caravan United States transport B EX 1[6]
IAI Arava Israel transport 3[5]
Bell 412 United States utility 3[5]
Bell UH-1 United States utility UH-1H/M 6[5]
Hughes 269 United States light utility 4[5]
MD500 Defender United States light utility 500E/530F 10 4 on order – donated by the U.S.[7]
Trainer Aircraft
ENAER T-35 Pillán Chile trainer 2[5]

Retired aircraft

Some notable aircraft, previous operated by the Air Force were the Dassault Ouragan, CM.170 Magister, Cessna O-2 Skymaster, Douglas AC-47, SOCATA R235 Guerrier, and the Hughes 300C.[8]


  1. ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies (25 February 2021). The Military Balance 2021. London: Routledge. p. 413. ISBN 9781032012278.
  2. ^ ", La Fuerza Armada celebra hoy 189 a os". Archived from the original on 7 May 2013.
  3. ^ Eastwood, 2007, p. 298
  4. ^ Rivas, Santiago (12 September 2016). "El Salvador to modernise its UH-1Hs to Huey 2s". IHS Jane's 360. Buenos Aires. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "World Air Forces 2023". Flightglobal Insight. 2023. Retrieved 7 December 2022.
  6. ^ "First Cessna 208 for El Salvador". 17 November 2023. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  7. ^ "USA donates 12 MD530F helicopters to the Salvadoran Air Force".
  8. ^ "World Air Forces 1994 pg. 39". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2021.