Peruvian Air Force

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Peruvian Air Force
Fuerza Aérea del Perú
Escudo de armas FAP.png
Coat of arms of the Peruvian Air Force
Active 1929 (as Peruvian Aviation Corps)
Country Peru
Part of Ministry of Defense
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
Roundel Roundel of the Peruvian Air Force.svg
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.

This article covers Peruvian Air Force history and its ongoing efforts to maintain and improve its core fighter fleet.


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 Peruvian Invasion of Ecuador

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, flew his aircraft directly toward an Ecuadorian anti-aircraft position and crashed against it. He was promoted posthumously to Captain, and is considered today a National Hero in Peru.[citation needed]

Cold War

Since it´s 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 it´s 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 3rd 1968 a military junta led by pro-Soviet Peruvian Army General Juan Velasco Alvarado organized a swift and bloodless coup d´etat 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 it´s American/NATO aircraft, radars, submarines, tanks, APCs. navy ships, etc adquired 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 adquisition of the Mirage 2000 and the re-start 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.

Falklands War

In 1982, during the Falklands War, re-elected Peruvian president Fernando Belaunde ordered the Peruvian Air Force to transfer ten of their Mirage M5-P to the Argentine Air Force fully equipped with AM39 Air Launched version Exocet missiles as a measure of solidarity.

The peruvian Exocet missiles became noted worldwide when the Argentine Navy Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard warplanes carrying the FAP´s AM39 Air Launched version caused irreparable damage which sank the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Sheffield on 4 May 1982. A further two peruvian Exocets then struck the 15,000 ton merchant ship Atlantic Conveyor on 25 May.


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

Thus, 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 3 attack helicopters shot down by the ecuadoreans .


In 1997 and 1998 however things started to change for better in FAP´s outlook.

Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori had masterminded a clever peruvian revenge. FAP was tasked with hitting Ecuador hard, with 24/7 heavily bombardments of major Ecuadorian cities, air force and military bases as well as key infraestructure such as the port of Guayaquil, Ecuador´s main naval port. FAP´s hitlist also included the bombing of ecuadorian biggest oil refineries and oil fields at Lago Agrio. Since oil is Ecuador´s main export and source of revenue, FAP´s task was therefore to stall the ecuadorian economy.

After this first phase was achieved, then the peruvian navy and army were to cross the border and fight an all out war ending in the total peruvian invasion of Ecuador by december 1998.

In order to achieve Fujimori´s colossal military bold plans meant FAP getting a much needed general overhaul and new purchases.[3]

1997 & 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 log-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

  • Grupo Aéreo Nº 6 (6th Air Group) based at Chiclayo
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 612 (Fighter Squadron 612 "Fighters Cocks") - operating MiG-29S/SE/SMP/UBP
  • Grupo Aéreo Nº 7 (7th Air Group) based at Piura
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 711 (Fighter Squadron 711 "Scorpions") - operating A-37B
  • Grupo Aéreo Nº 11 (11th Air Group) based at Talara
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 111 (Fighter Squadron 111) - Su-22M/UM (decommissioned in 2007)
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 112 (Fighter Squadron 112 "Tigers") - operating Su-25/UB

Ala Aérea Nº 2

2nd Air Wing, headquartered at Callao

  • Grupo Aéreo Nº 3 (3rd Air Group) based at Callao
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 315 (Light Helicopter Squadron 315) - operating BO-105
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 331 (Helicopter Training Squadron 331) - operating Schweizer 300 (based at Las Palmas)
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 332 (Medium-Airlift Helicopter Squadron 332) - operating Bell 212 and Bell 412
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 334 (Surveillance Squadron 334) - operating C-26B
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 342 (Heavy-Airlift Helicopter Squadron 342) - operating Mi-17
  • Grupo Aéreo Nº 8 (8th Air Group) based at Callao
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 841 (Transport Squadron 841) - operating B-737
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 842 (Transport Squadron 842) - operating L-100-20 Hercules
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 843 (Transport Squadron 843) - operating An-32
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 844 (Transport Squadron 844) - operating C-27J

Ala Aérea Nº 3

3rd Air Wing, headquartered at Arequipa

  • Grupo Aéreo Nº 2 (2nd Air Group) based at Vítor
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 211 (Attack Helicopter Squadron 211) - operating Mi-25D, Mi-35P
  • Grupo Aéreo Nº 4 (4th Air Group) based at La Joya
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 412 (Fighter Squadron 412 "Hawks") - operating Mirage 2000P/DP
  • Grupo Aéreo Nº 51 (51st Air Group) based at Pisco
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 511 (Basic Training Squadron 511) - operating Zlin 242L
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 512 (Intermediate Training Squadron 512) - operating AT-27 and KT-1P
    • Escuadrón Aéreo 513 (Advanced Training Squadron 513) - operating MB-339AP

Ala Aérea Nº 4

4th Air Wing, headquartered at Iquitos

  • Grupo Aéreo Nº 42 (42nd Air Group) based at Iquitos
    • Escuadron Aereo 421 (Transport Squadron 421) - operating PC-6, DHC-6 and Y-12


File:SA-3 EP 2006.JPG
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 tarmac 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
Cessna A-37 United States attack 10[7]
Mirage 2000 France multirole 2000P 7[8]
MiG-29 Russia multirole 19[7]
Su-25 Russia attack 18[7]
Metro 23 United States surveillance / COMINT 2[7] donated the U.S. for anti-drug operations[9]
Learjet 35 United States photomapping U-36 2[7]
Learjet 45 United States VIP / surveillance Learjet 45XR 1[10]
Boeing 737 United States VIP 1[7]
C-27J Italy transport 3 1 on order[11]
An-32 Ukraine transport 3[7]
DHC-6 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[12]
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]
Bo 105 Germany utility 2[7]
Trainer Aircraft
EMB-312 Brazil trainer 13[7]
KAI KT-1 Republic of Korea primary trainer 2[7] 18 on order
MB-339 Italy jet trainer 5[7]
Mirage 2000 France conversion trainer 2000DP 2[7]
Sikorsky S-300 United States trainer 6[7]

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., based on Supreme Decree DS No. 69 DE/SG of 2001.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 7.19 "World Air Forces 2015 pg. 26". Flightglobal Insight. 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "World Air Forces 2015 pg. 24". Flightglobal Insight. 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Administrator. "Demora en la entrega de dos aviones C-26 modificados para la Fuerza Aérea del Perú". Retrieved 24 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Peruvian Air Force received a Learjet 45".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Peruvian air force receives first C-27J Spartan". Retrieved 3 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Peru buys Dutch SAR Bell 412 fleet". Retrieved 3 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


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

External links