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Peruvian Air Force

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Peruvian Air Force
Fuerza Aérea del Perú
Emblem of the Peruvian Air Force.svg
Badge of the Peruvian Air Force
Founded20 May 1929; 91 years ago (1929-05-20)
Country Peru
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
Part ofPeruvian Armed Forces
MarchHimno de la Fuerza Aérea del Perú
Engagements Edit this at Wikidata
Commander-in-ChiefDante Antonio Arévalo Abate
Chief of StaffJulio Valdez Pomareda
Inspector GeneralJavier Ramírez Guillen
Roundel of Peru.svg
Roundel of Peru – Low Visibility.svg
Fin flash
Flag of Peru.svg
Flag of the Peruvian Air Force.svg
Aircraft flown
AttackSu-25, A-37B
FighterMiG-29, Mirage 2000
Attack helicopterMi-25D, Mi-35P
Utility helicopterMi-17, Mi-171sh
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.


20th century

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]

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

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.

Peruvian Su-22 in 1982
Peruvian Su-22 in 1982

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.


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,It provided aerial support to the Peruvian army, carrying out bombings with Mi-25 helicopters, Canberra planes, A-37 and Su-22. Transportation of troops with Mi-17 helicopters, tactical transport aircraft Hercules L-100, An-28 and An32.

Fujimori government

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

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.[3]

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.

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

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[4] and sixty Sukhoi Su-35 from Russia.[5] 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.[6]


Air Wing Nº 1

A lineup of Peruvian Sukhoi Su-25s, the country's main attack aircraft.
A lineup of Peruvian Sukhoi Su-25s, the country's main attack aircraft.
  • Air Group Nº 6 – headquarters: Chiclayo
    • Air Squadron 612 ("Fighting Roosters" combat squadron operating MiG-29S | MiG-29SE | MiG-29SMP | MiG-29UBP)
  • Air Group Nº 7 – headquarters: Piura
  • Air Group Nº 11 – headquarters: Talara
    • Air Squadron 112 ("Tigers" combat squadron operating Su-25|Su-25UB)

Air Wing Nº 2

Air Wing Nº 3

  • Grupo Aéreo Nº 2 – headquarters: Vítor (Arequipa)
  • Grupo Aéreo Nº 4 – headquarters: La Joya (Arequipa)
  • Command School FAP – headquarters: La Joya (Arequipa)
  • Puerto Maldonado Air Base
  • Tacna Air Detachment

Air Wing Nº 4

  • Air Group Nº 42 – headquarters: Iquitos
    • Air Squadron 421 (operating DHC-6 and Y-12)
    • Air Squadron 422 (operating PC-6)
  • Santa Clara Air Base – headquarters: Iquitos


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)[7]
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)


Commissioned officers
NATO code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) and student officer
 Peruvian Air Force
No equivalent
No equivalent
General del Aire Teniente General Mayor General Coronel Comandante Mayor Capitán Teniente Alférez Cadete F.A.P.
NCOs and enlisted
NATO code
OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
 Peruvian Air Force
Peru-Air Force-OR-9.svg
Peru-Air Force-OR-8.svg
Peru-Air Force-OR-7.svg
Peru-Air Force-OR-6.svg
No equivalent
Peru-Air Force-OR-4.svg
Peru-Air Force-OR-3.svg
No equivalent
Peru-Air Force-OR-1.svg
Sergeant major
Suboficial Primero
Master sergeant
Suboficial Segundo
Sergeant first class
Suboficial Tercero
Sargento Primero
Sargento Segundo
Lance Corporal


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
Mikoyan MiG-29 Russia multirole 7[8] 18 operational and 0 in storage[9]
Dassault Mirage 2000 France multirole 2000P 10[8]
Sukhoi Su-25 Russia attack 2[8] 10 are being returned to service. Future of remaining 8 is unclear.[10]
Cessna A-37 United States attack 20[8]
Fairchild C-26 Metroliner United States surveillance / COMINT 3[8]
Learjet 35 United States photomapping U-36 1[8]
Boeing 737 United States VIP 1[8]
Lockheed L-100 United States transport 2[8]
C-27J Spartan Italy transport 4[8]
Antonov An-32 Ukraine transport 3[8]
DHC-6 Twin Otter Canada utility transport 15[8] STOL capable aircraft
Pilatus PC-6 Switzerland utility / transport 1[8] STOL capable aircraft
Piper PA-34 Seneca United States utility 2[8]
Bell 212, AB-412SP United States utility 3[8]
MBB Bo 105 Germany utility 2[8]
Mil Mi-17 Russia utility Mi-17/171 8[8] 8 on order[8]
Mil Mi-24 Russia attack Mi-24/35 16[8]
Trainer Aircraft
Mikoyan MiG-29 Russia conversion trainer MiG-29 UB 2[8]
Dassault Mirage 2000 France conversion trainer 2000DP 2[8]
Aermacchi MB-339 Italy jet trainer 5[8]
EMB 312 Tucano Brazil trainer 17[11]
KAI KT-1 Republic of Korea primary trainer KT-1P Torito 20[8]
CH2000 United States trainer 4 13 on order[8]
Zlín Z 42 Czech Republic trainer 3[8]
PA-44 United States trainer 1[8]
Enstrom 280 United States training helicopter - 4 on order[8]
Hughes 269 United States trainer 4[8]

Infantry weapons

The M4 carbine
The M4 carbine
A BRDM-2 armored vehicle
A BRDM-2 armored vehicle
Name Origin Type Variant Notes
Small arms
Vektor SP1[12] South Africa semi-auto pistol
AKM[12] Soviet Union assault rifle
M4 carbine[12] United States assault rifle M4A1
IMI Galil[12] Israel assault rifle
Milkor BXP[12] South Africa submachine gun
Uzi[12] Israel submachine gun
Air Defense
9K38 Igla[12] Russia MANPADS
BTR-60[12] Soviet Union APC amphibious capable vehicle
BRDM-2[12] Soviet Union APC Malyutka amphibious capable vehicle

See also


  1. ^ 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. ^ Diario La Republica
  4. ^ Flight Global
  5. ^ United Press International
  6. ^ "Peruvian Air Force Upgrades Fifth A-37B Aircraft". Dialogo Americas. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved September 27, 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), based on Supreme Decree DS No. 69 DE/SG of 2001.
  8. ^ 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 "World Air Forces 2021". FlightGlobal. December 4, 2020. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "World Air Forces 2020". Flightglobal Insight. 2020. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  12. ^ 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.


  • Cobas, Efraín, Las Fuerzas Armadas Peruanas en el Siglo XXI. CESLA, 2003.
  • Marchessini, Alejo, "La Fuerza Aérea del Perú"; Defensa 295: 30–42 (November 2002).
  • Marchessini, Alejo, "La aviación de combate de origen ruso de la FAP"; Defensa 342: 34–36 (October 2006).
  • Marchessini, Alejo, "El Servicio de Material de Guerra de la FAP"; Defensa 355: 48–50 (November 2007).

External links

This page was last edited on 23 February 2021, at 11:58
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