Chilean Air Force
|Chilean Air Force|
Coat of arms of the Chilean Air Force
|Founded||March 21, 1930|
|Part of||Chilean Armed Forces|
|Motto(s)||"Quam celerrime ad astra"|
|Anniversaries||March 21 (Air Force Day)|
|Commander in chief of the Air Force||General del Aire (Air General) Jorge Robles Mella|
|Attack||Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon|
|707 Cóndor AEW&C|
|Fighter||Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon, Northrop F-5E Tiger III|
|Trainer||T-35 Pillán, Super Tucano, T-36 Halcón|
|Transport||UH-1H Huey, Bell 412EP, UH-60 Black Hawk, C-130 Hercules|
The first step towards the current FACh was taken by Teniente Coronel Pedro Pablo Dartnell, when he founded the Servicio de Aviación Militar de Chile (Military Aviation Service of Chile) on December 20, 1910, being trained as a pilot in France. Although a school was included, 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 that was officially instated 11 February 1913, and remained in command until 1915. The Escuela de Aviación Militar (Military Aviation School) 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 airline Línea Aérea Nacional (National Airline) 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 Subsecretaria de Aviación (Department of the Air Force) effectively creating the current independent Air Force. It was initially named Fuerza Aérea Nacional (National Air Force). 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 Grupo de Transporte No.1 (First Transport Group), later renumbered Grupo 10, with two C-45s and a single T-6 Texan at Los Cerrillos. Two years later the first Fuerza Aérea 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.
The Chilean air force hosted the joint exercise Salitre with other friendly nations. It also participated in several United Nations peacekeeping missions overseas in 5 occasions.
Order of Battle
Personnel = 10,600 (including 700 conscripts)
Combat Command of the Air Force
First Air Brigade with headquarters in Los Cóndores Air Base (Base Aérea Los Cóndores) in Iquique
- 1st Aviation Group
- 2nd Aviation Group
- 3rd Aviation Group
- 24th Air Defense Group
- 34th Electronic Detection Group
- 44th Aviation Infantry Group
Second Air Brigade with headquarters in Pudahuel Air Base (Base Aérea Pudahuel) in Santiago
- 9th Aviation Group
- 10th Aviation Group
- Air Defence Artillery and Special Forces Regiment (Regimiento de Artillería Antiaérea y FF.EE)
- Air Early Warning Squadron
- Halcones High Acrobatics Squad (Escuadrilla de Alta Acrobacia Halcones)
- 32nd Electronic Detection Group
Third Air Brigade with headquarters in El Tepual Air Base (Base Aérea El Tepual) in Puerto Montt
- 5th Aviation Group
- 25th Air Defense Group
- 35th Electronic Detection Group
Fourth Air Brigade with headquarters in Chabunco Air Base (Base Aérea Chabunco) in Punta Arenas
- 6th Aviation Group
- 12th Aviation Group
- 23rd Air Defense Group
- 33rd Electronic Detection Group
- 19th Antarctic Exploration Group
Fifth Air Brigade with headquarters in Cerro Moreno Air Base (Base Aérea Cerro Moreno) in Antofagasta
- 7th Aviation Group
- 8th Aviation Group
- 21st Air Defense Group
- 31st Electronic Detection Group
- 41th Aviation Infantry Group
- Aviation School "Captain Manuel Ávalos Prado"
- Air Specialties School "Flight Sergeant Adolfo Menadier Rojas"
- NCO Perfectioning School
- Air War Academy
- Aeronautical Polytechnical Academy
- Air Photographic Surveying Service
General Hospital of the Air Force
Air Force High Command Prefecture
|Sistema Mygale||France||SAM system||2|
|M163 VADS||United States||mobile anti-aircraft gun||44||weapon is a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun|
|M167 Vulcan||United States||towed anti-aircraft gun||66|
|Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon||Switzerland||towed anti-aircraft gun|
|AIM-120 C5/C7 AMRAAM||United States||beyond-visual-range missile||initial 100 missiles obtained|
|AIM-9 Sidewinder||United States||initial 200 missiles obtained (from 2010 to 2013)|
|RAFAEL Derby||Israel||beyond-visual-range missile|
|RAFAEL Python 4||Israel|
|AGM-65 Maverick||United States|
|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|
|AGM-84 Harpoon||United States|
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).
Ranks of the Chilean Air Force
Ranks and insignia, similar to the Royal Air Force but adapted to suit the origins of the Chilean Air Force, are worn on shoulder collars and cuffs. General officers have the Condor eagle in their shoulder collars while officer cadets have a unique symbol, that of the Aviation School "Captain Manuel Ávalos Prado", on their shoulder collars. On the NCOs and enlistees, only Subofficer Majors and Subofficers wear both shoulder and cuff insignia, while Graduate Soldiers wear a double capital letter E (for the Air Force Specialties School "First Sergeant Adolfo Menandier Rojas") on their shoulder collars alongside their unique cuff marking.
Officer Ranks (SS.OO.)
The officer ranking system and insignia are similar to the RAF pattern of ranks, save for the General officer ranks, modified to suit the British style ranks, and the Colonel rank. Other ranks with foreign influences are that of Air Brigade General, a general officer rank in the French Air Force, and Air General, a general officer rank in the Spanish Air Force and the Bolivian and Colombian air forces.
|Rank||General Officer||Superior Officer||Chief Officer||Junior Officer||Cadet Officer|
|Sleeve (service dress)|
|Sleeve (full dress)|
|Rank||General del 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|
|Translation||Air General||Aviation General||Air Brigade General||Commodore||Aviation Colonel||Group Commander||Squadron Commander||Flight Captain||Lieutenant||Sub-lieutenant||Ensign||Cadet Officer|
|Equivalent||Air Chief Marshal||Air Marshal||Air Vice-Marshal||Air Commodore|
(optional rank for senior Group Captains)
|Group Captain||Wing Commander||Squadron Leader||Flight Lieutenant||Flying Officer||Pilot Officer||Acting Pilot Officer||Officer Cadet|
|Rank||Subofficer Major||Subofficer||Class||Student||Conscripted Soldier|
|Rank||Suboficial Mayor||Suboficial||Sargento 1°||Sargento 2°||Cabo 1°||Cabo 2°||Cabo||Alumno||Soldado Conscripto|
|Translation||Sub-officer Major||Sub-officer||First Sergeant||Second Sergeant||First Corporal||Second Corporal||Corporal||Student||Conscript Soldier|
|Equivalent||Warrant Officer||Warrant Officer||Flight Sergeant||Sergeant||Corporal||Senior Aircraftman (Air Groups and Topography Service),|
Lance Corporal(Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment, Personnel Command and Logistics)
|Leading Aircraftman||Student NCO||Aircraftman|
Badges of the Chilean Air Force
|Arm of service||Aviation||Engineering||Air Defense||Telecommunications and Information Technology||Administration||Air Base|
|Specialty||Aviators (Fighter, Helicopter) and Air transport officers||Aviation engineers||Air defense||Information and telecommunications engineers||Engineers assigned to administrative duties||Logistics|
|Arm of service||Justice||Medical 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 airmen
Officers' cap badges
Chilean Air Force officers wear the following cap badges in their peaked caps.
|Rank cap badge||Air Generals and Air Commodores||Colonels and Group Commanders||Ensigns through Squadron Commanders|
|Rank||Air General||Aviation General||Air Brigade General||Air Commodore||Aviation Colonel||Group Commander||Squadron Commander||Flight Captain||Lieutenant||Sublieutenant||Ensign|
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- "How Embraer attracted a global audience to the KC-390". flightglobal.com. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
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