Ecuadorian Air Force

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Ecuadorian Air Force
Seal of the Ecuadorian Air Force.gif
Seal of the Ecuadorian Air Force
Active 1920
Country  Ecuador
Branch Air Force
Size 6,389[1]
72 aircraft
Part of Military of Ecuador
Engagements Paquisha War 1981
Cenepa War 1995
Brigadier General

Raúl Banderas Dueñas,

Comandante General de la Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana
Ecuadorian Air Force roundel.svg
Aircraft flown
Fighter Atlas Cheetah, IAI Kfir
Helicopter HAL Dhruv
Trainer EMB 314 Super Tucano
Transport Lockheed Martin C-130

The Ecuadorian Air Force (Spanish: Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana, FAE) is the Air arm of the Military of Ecuador and responsible for the protection of the Ecuadorian airspace.


To develop the military air wing, in order to execute institutional objectives which guarantee sovereignty and contribute towards the nation's security and development.


To be a dissuasive Air Force, respected and accepted by society, pioneering within the nation's "air-space" development.


The FAE was officially created on October 27, 1920. However, like in many other countries, military flying activity started before the formal date of birth of the Air Force. The history of Ecuador is marked by many skirmishes with its neighbour Peru. As a direct result of the 1910 Ecuador-Peru crisis the members of Club de Tiro Guayaquil decided to expand their sporting activities into aviation as well. Renamed Club de Tiro y Aviación, they started an aviation school.[citation needed] Cosme Rennella Barbatto, an Italian living in Guayaquil, was one of the very first members of Club de Tiro y Aviación. In 1912 Cosme Rennella was sent to his native Italy for training where he successfully graduated as a pilot. He later returned to Europe a second time in 1915, where he participated in World War I.[2] In 152 combat sorties he scored 18 victories, although only 7 were confirmed. When he returned to Ecuador, his experiences served as motivation for a reduced group of Ecuadorian pilots, who moves to the Aviation School in Turin, Italy, with the objective of graduating as the first Ecuadorian pilots of the nascent Ecuadorian Military Aviation.

By 1939 the Ecuadorian Air Force was still limited to about 30 aircraft and a staff of about 60, including 10 officers.[3] Military aviation did not start in earnest until the early forties when an Ecuadorian mission to the United States resulted in the delivery of an assortment of aircraft for the Aviation school at Salinas. Three Ryan PT-22 Recruits, six Curtiss-Wright CW-22 Falcons, six Fairchild PT-19A Cornells and three North American AT-6A Harvards arrived in March 1942, considerably boosting the capacity of the Escuela de Aviación at Salinas.

The 1950s and 1960s saw a further necessary buildup of the air force, gaining more units and aircraft. Meanwhile efforts were made in enhancing the facilities at various airbases. In May 1961 the "First Air Zone" with its subordinate unit Ala de Transportes No.11 was founded. The "Second Air Zone" controlled the units in the southern half of Ecuador, Ala de Combate No.21 at Taura, Ala de Rescate No.22' at Guayaquil and Ala de Combate No.23 at Manta as well as the Escuela Superior Militar de Aviación "Cosme Rennella B." (ESMA) at Salinas.

The Ala 11 has its own commercial branch, like in many other South-American countries, the Transporte Aérea Militar Ecuatoriana (TAME). Besides the military transport aircraft, it also uses commercial airliners. Flying to locations off the beaten track, TAME provides an additional service to the people of Ecuador.

The FAE saw action on several occasions. A continuous border dispute with Peru flared up in 1981 and 1995. The FAE managed to down several Peruvian aircraft during the latter conflict.[4][5] Today the FAE faces the war on drugs as well as many humanitarian and logistic missions into the Amazon-region of the country. Nevertheless, being a middle-income country and supporting a relatively large air force is a burden.


This is the current structure of the Ecuadorian Air Force:[6]

  • 23 Combat Wing (Ala de combate 23) - Manta Air Base (Eloy Alfaro Air Base)


Current inventory

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Atlas Cheetah South Africa fighter Cheetah C 10[8] upgraded variant of the Dassault Mirage III
IAI Kfir Israel multirole 8[8]
Boeing 737 USA VIP 1[8]
Boeing 727 USA transport / VIP 2[8]
C-130 USA transport C-130E/H/ 4[8]
CASA C-295 Spain transport / SAR 3[8]
DHC-6 Canada utility / transport 3[8] STOL capable aircraft
HS 748 UK transport 1[8]
HAL Dhruv India SAR / utility 3[8] 1 on order
Trainer Aircraft
Atlas Cheetah South Africa conversion trainer Cheetah D 2[8]
EMB 314 Brazil advanced trainer 17[8]
T-35 Chile trainer 13[8]
Diamond DA20 Canada basic trainer 7[8] 4 on order
Bell 206 USA trainer 8[8]
UAV-2 Hawk Ecuador surveillance Indigenously-developed unmanned aerial vehicle [9]
An Ecuadoran Kfir on takeoff during Exercise Blue Horizon '86
A Bell 206 Jet Ranger


Types previously operated include

See also

External links

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  1. A Comparative Atlas Of Defence In Latin America / 2014 Edition
  2. Franks, Norman; Guest, Russell; Alegi, Gregory. (1997) Above the War Fronts: The British Two-seater Bomber Pilot and Observer Aces, the British Two-seater Fighter Observer Aces, and the Belgian, Italian, Austro-Hungarian and Russian Fighter Aces, 1914–1918: Volume 4 of Fighting Airmen of WWI Series: Volume 4 of Air Aces of WWI. Oxford: Grub Street. pp. 155-156.
  3. Schnitzler, R.; Feuchter, G.W.; Schulz, R., eds. (1939). Handbuch der Luftwaffe (in German) (3rd ed.). Munich and Berlin: J. F. Lehmanns Verlag. p. 64. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Peru vs. Ecuador; Alto-Cenepa War, 1995". Retrieved 24 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Ecuador Air Force". Retrieved 24 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Eric Katerberg & Anno Gravemaker, Force Report: Ecuador Air Force, Air Forces Monthly, July 2008 issue.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 "World Air Forces 2015 pg. 15". Flightglobal Insight. 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Ecuador; Air Force receives indigenously developed UAV -, 16 January 2014