Peruvian Air Force

Peruvian Air Force
Fuerza Aérea del Perú

Coat of arms of the Peruvian Air Force
Active 1929 (as Peruvian Aviation Corps)
Country  Peru
Part of Peruvian Ministry of Defense
Nickname(s) "FAP"
Engagements Colombia–Peru War 1932 – 1933
Ecuadorian-Peruvian war (1941)
Paquisha War 1981
Falklands War 1982
Cenepa War 1995
Internal conflict in Peru 1980– 2015
Commander-In-Chief Dante Antonio Arévalo Abate
Chief of Staff Julio Valdez Pomareda
Inspector General Javier Ramírez Guillen
Aircraft flown
Attack Su-25, A-37B
Fighter MiG-29, Mirage 2000
Attack helicopter Mi-25D, Mi-35P
Patrol C-26B
Reconnaissance Learjet 36
Trainer MB-339, EMB-312, Zlin 242L
Transport An-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.


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.

1941 Ecuadorian invasion of Peru

In 1941, the CAP participated in the Peruvian-Ecuadorian 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 use in combat.[2]

Lieutenant José A. Quiñones 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.

Cold War

Since its creation FAP was a close ally of the USAF. Thus the Foreign Military Sales programme of the US Government was lenient to FAP's desires and granted FAP main access to American / NATO military aviation technology and military hardware.

During the 1950s the presidency of pro-US General Manuel A. Odría had the Peruvian Air Force reorganized again and on July 18, 1950 had its name changed thus the Fuerza Aérea del Perú (Air Force of Peru, abbreviated FAP) was born.

At the end of General Odria's presidency the FAP was introduced into the jet age with the arrival of several English Electric Canberra bombers and Hawker Hunters, 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 then Peruvian president Fernando Belaunde.

Thus changing until today the doctrine, the strategic planning and the status-quo of the Peruvian military.

General Velasco was a socialist dictator, eagerly desirous of achieving or obtaining a swift Peruvian military success against Pinochet's Chile ending in the recovery of the lost Peruvian territories of Arica and Iquique lost to the Chileans in the late 19th century.

General Velasco's close ties with the Soviet Union and the socialist world had the side effect of a 1969 US arms embargo against the Peruvian Armed Forces.

Therefore, FAP and the Peruvian Armed Forces, due to the American military embargo could not get the spare parts it needed for its American/NATO aircraft, radars, submarines, tanks, APCs. navy ships, etc. acquired previously.

General Velasco's junta decided that it was in Peru's best interest to leave the western military doctrine and start a new military strategy with Soviet help.

From 1970 until 1990, the Soviets helped the Peruvians kickstart a massive Peruvian re-armament, via expensive purchases of Soviet/Eastern block military hardware.

Peru also adopted the Soviet Military Doctrine and severed all ties with the US/NATO armed forces even expelled US military attaches in Peru, while at the same time allowed the stationing of Soviet advisers in Peru. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s FAP's acquisitions saw the introduction of an important number of 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 the Mi-26 helicopters.

The French-made Mirage 5P and 5DP, and after 1984 the acquisition of the Mirage 2000 and the restart of purchase of U.S. made military aircraft such as the Cessna A-37B Dragonfly attack aircraft, the Lockheed C-130 and L-100-20 Hercules transport aircraft.


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

In 1995 the Peruvian Air Force fought the Cenepa War against Ecuador's FAE in the Amazonian skies ill equipped, having five fighter planes and three attack helicopters shot down by the Ecuadorians.


In 1997 and 1998 however things started to change for better in FAP's outlook. In order to achieve Fujimori's colossal military bold plans meant FAP getting a much needed general overhaul and new purchases.[3]

1997 and 1998 purchases

Therefore, it is correct to state that the FAP was revived after 1995.

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, makes a total of 54 fighters in Peru's inventory.

Peru's Mirage 2000C/B and MiG-29S fighters form the backbone of its current multi-role fighter fleet, alongside old SU-22 strike fighters and specialized SU-25 close air support jets.

The Mirages were bought from France in 1984, while the MiG-29s arrived via a disastrous 1995 deal with Belarus. Fortunately, Peru patched things up with Russia, and RAC MiG agreed to provide service and support.

These purchases have been expensive, and a number of observers have questioned their usefulness against more pressing security concerns, like Peru's fanatical Marxist Sendero Luminoso ("Shining Path") guerrillas. On the other hand, the FAP still remembers the 1995 Canepa War with Ecuador, and its Russian fighters are stationed very close to that border at Chiclayo AFB and Talara AFB.

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 theme in Peru.

In 2008, RAC MiG began the upgrade of FAP's MiG fleet to the MiG-29SMT external link standard.

In 2009, Dassault began working with Peru on a comprehensive inspection of the Mirage fleet, coupled with some electronics modernization.

Future purchases

Finally, 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-35, Rafale or Eurofighters.

Hitherto, FAP is currently exploring the possibility of buying as many as 60 Eurofighter Typhoon EF-2000 from Spain[4] and 60 Sukhoi 35 from Russia.[5]

Cost is a major issue for Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, who is looking at competitively priced fighter jets that will fit the national budget.


A-37Bs are based at Piura with the 7th Air Group
A Peruvian Sukhoi Su-25, the country's main attack aircraft.
Peruvian KAI KT-1P Woongbi have been attached to Escuadrón Aéreo 512, along with AT-27 Tucano, which they will eventually replace in the near future.
MB-339s are used for advanced training.

The current Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force of Peru is General Jaime Marin Figueroa Olivos. Aerial forces are subordinated to the Ministry of Defense and ultimately to the President as Commander-in-Chief of the Peruvian Armed Forces. Operational units are organized as follows:

Ala Aérea Nº 1

1st Air Wing, headquartered at Piura

Ala Aérea Nº 2

2nd Air Wing, headquartered at Callao

Ala Aérea Nº 3

3rd Air Wing, headquartered at Arequipa

Ala Aérea Nº 4

4th Air Wing, headquartered at Iquitos


SA-3 Pechora SAM on display at Las Palmas Airbase – 2006
Personnel (as of 2001)[6]
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)


Current inventory

An Air Force MiG-29 at Halcon-Condor 2010 festival
A Boeing 737 sits on the apron at Jorge Chávez International Airport
A Mi-35 in flight
An Aermacchi MB-339 on the taxi way
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
MiG-29 Russia multirole 19[7]
Sukhoi Su-25 Russia attack 18[7]
Cessna A-37 United States attack 24[7]
Dassault Mirage 2000 France multirole 2000P 7[7]
Metro 23 United States surveillance / COMINT 2[7] donated by the U.S. for anti-drug operations[8]
Learjet 35 United States photomapping U-36 1[7]
Boeing 737 United States VIP 1[7]
Learjet 35 United States VIP 1[7]
C-27J Italy transport 2 2 on order[7]
Antonov An-32 Ukraine transport 3[7]
DHC-6 Twin Otter Canada utility transport 15[7] STOL capable aircraft
Lockheed L-100 United States transport 2[7]
Metro 23 United States VIP / utility 1[7]
Pilatus PC-6 Switzerland utility / transport 1[7] STOL capable aircraft
Bell 412 United States utility 3 on order[9]
Bell 212 United States utility 3[7]
Mil Mi-17 Russia utility Mi-17/171 11[7]
Mil Mi-24 Russia attack Mi-24/35 16[7]
MBB Bo 105 Germany utility 2[7]
Trainer Aircraft
EMB 312 Tucano Brazil trainer/attack aircraft/COIN 17[7]
KAI KT-1 Woongbi Republic of Korea primary trainer 20[7]
Aermacchi MB-339 Italy jet trainer 5[7]
Dassault Mirage 2000 France conversion trainer 2000DP 2[7]
Sikorsky S-300 United States trainer 6[7]

See also



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