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Chilean Air Force
Coat of arms of the Chilean Air Force.svg
Coat of arms of the Chilean Air Force
Founded March 21, 1930
Country Chile
Part of Chilean Armed Forces
Motto(s) "Quam celerrime ad astra"
March Alte Kamaraden
Anniversaries March 21 (Air Force Day)
General del Aire (Air General) Jorge Rojas Ávila
Roundel Chilean Air Force roundel.svg Roundel of Chile low visibility.svg
Roundel 1918–1930 Roundel of Chile 1918.svg
Aircraft flown
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 Chilean Air Force (Spanish language: Fuerza Aérea de Chile, FACh ) is the air force of Chile, a branch of the Chilean military.


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)

Office of the Commander in Chief, Chilean Air Force

Combat Command of the Air Force

The Delphos building, designed by the Division of Infrastructure Logistics Command 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

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

F-16D Block 50M of Chilean Air Force

  • 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
  • Aviation Infantry Group

Personnel Command

Education Division

  • Aviation School "Captain Manuel Ávalos Prado"
  • Air Specialties School "Flight Sergeant Adolfo Menadier Rojas"
  • Sub-officers Perfection School
  • Air War Academy
  • Polytechnic Aeronautical Academy
  • Air Photographic Surveying Service

Health Division
General Hospital of the Air Force
Air Force High Command Prefecture

Logistics Command

Maintenance Division
Administration Division
Infrastructure Division

Current inventory


Numbers shown below are derived from open sources, they should be regarded as estimates due to lack of confirmation from official sources.

Aircraft Origin Type Service versions Total[1] Photos
Fighter Aircraft
General Dynamics /
Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon
United States
Multirole combat aircraft 28 F-16AM MLU
6 F-16BM MLU
6 F-16C Block 50M
4 F-16D Block 50M
F-16 AM Fighting Falcon.JPG
Northrop F-5E/F Tiger III United States Interceptor aircraft 11 F-5E Tiger III
2 F-5F Tiger III
Chile Air Force Northrop F-5E Tigre III Lofting-1.jpg
Boeing-IAI 707 Cóndor United States
Airborne early warning & control EB-707 Cóndor 1
EB-707 Condor, Chilean Air Force (FACh) v2.jpg
Transport and Aerial Refueling
Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker United States Aerial refueling
Strategic transport
KC-135E Stratotanker 3
KC-135E Stratotanker, Chilean Air Force (FACh).JPG
Boeing 767 United States Strategic transport Boeing 767-300ER 1
B-767-300 ER, Chilean Air Force (FACh).JPG
Boeing 737 United States Strategic transport 1 Boeing 737-500
1 Boeing 737-300
B-737-500, Chilean Air Force (FACh).jpg
Lockheed C-130 Hercules United States Tactical transport 2 C-130H Hercules
1 C-130B Hercules
C-130 H Hercules, Chilean Air Force (FACh).JPG
CASA C-212 Aviocar  Spain Tactical transport 2 C-212–200 Aviocar
1 C-212–300 Aviocar
C-212-300 Aviocar, Chilean Air Force (FACh).jpg
De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter  Canada Tactical transport 4 DHC-6-100 Twin Otter
9 DHC-6-300 Twin Otter
DHC-6-300 Twin Otter, Chilean Air Force (FACh).jpg
CASA/ENAER C-101CC Halcón  Spain
Advanced jet trainer A-36 Toqui 8
A-36 Toqui, Chilean Air Force (FACh).jpg
Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano  Brazil Advanced trainer A-29B Super Tucano 12
A-29B Super Tucano, Chilean Air Force (FACh).jpg
Cessna Citation 525 United States Flight instruments trainer CJ-1 Citation 4
CJ-1 Citation, Chilean Air Force (FACh).jpg
ENAER T-35 Pillán  Chile Basic trainer 18 T-35A1 Pillán
15 T-35B Pillán
T-35 B Pillan, Chilean Air Force (FACh).JPG
Cirrus SR-22 T United States Basic trainer
SR-22 T 2 CirrusDesignSR22C-FJSH02.JPG
Military Helicopter
Sikorsky S-70A Black Hawk United States Transport helicopter S-70A Black Hawk 1
S-70A Black Hawk, Chilean Air Force (FACh).jpg
Bell 412 United States Utility helicopter 5 Bell 412SP
12 Bell 412EP
Bell 412 Chilean Air Force (FACh).JPG
Bell UH-1 Iroquois United States Utility helicopter UH-1H Iroquois 15
UH-1 H Iroquois Chilean Air Force (FACh).JPG
Bell 206 United States Utility helicopter Bell 206B JetRanger III 5
Bell 206 B JetRanger, Chilean Air Force (FACh).JPG
Transport VIP/ Utility
Gulfstream IV United States VIP transport G-IV Gulfstream 1
G-IV Gulfstream, Chilean Air Force (FACh).jpg
Learjet 35 United States Reconnaissance aircraft LR-35A Learjet 2
LR-35A Learjet, Chilean Air Force (FACh).jpg
Piper PA-28 Cherokee United States Utility aircraft
PA-28-236 Dakota 7
Pa-28-236 Dakota, Chilean Air Force (FACh).JPG
Cessna O-2 Skymaster United States Aerial reconnaissance O-2A Skymaster 2
O-2 A Skymaster, Chilean Air Force (FACh).jpg
Cessna O-1 Bird Dog United States Glider towing O-1A Bird Dog 2
O-1A Bird Dog, Chilean Air Force (FACh).jpg
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Elbit Hermes 900  Israel Unmanned aerial vehicle Hermes 900 3
Elbit Hermes 900s.JPG
Extra EA-300L  Germany Aerobatics EA-300L 4
EA-300 L.JPG

Future Aircraft

A Chilean Boeing 707 with a Phalcon radar fitted to its nose and sides.

Elbit Hermes 900 UAV.

The first Chilean KC-135E at Santiago, in February 2010.

Hawks High Aerobatics Squad Halcones.

Aircraft Origin Type Versions Total Photo
Embraer KC-390  Brazil Military transport aircraft KC-390 6

Anti-aircraft warfare

Name Origin Type Photo
Surface-to-air missile
NASAMS  Norway Medium range air defense system
Sistema Mygale  France Short Range Anti-Aircraft System
Mistral Aspic p1040740.jpg
Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon
M163 VADS United States
Anti-aircraft warfare
Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon   Switzerland FlAK85.JPG
M167 VADS United States
20mmVADS 2.JPG


Name Origin Type Photo
Air-to-air missile
AIM-120 C5/C7 AMRAAM United States Beyond-visual-range missile
Aim 120 amraam missile 20040710 145603 1.4.jpg
AIM-9 Sidewinder United States
Sidewider missile 20040710 145400 1.4.jpg
RAFAEL Derby  Israel Beyond-visual-range missile
Derby missile.jpg
RAFAEL Python 4  Israel
Rafael Python 4.jpg
Air-to-surface missile
AGM-65 Maverick United States
AGM-65 Maverick MG 1382.jpg
Mark 84 United States
Mk-84 xxl.jpg
Mark 82 United States
Mk-82 xxl.jpg
GBU-12 Paveway II United States
GBU-12 xxl.jpg
GBU-24 Paveway III United States
GBU-24 xxl.jpg
Anti-ship missile
AGM-84 Harpoon United States
Harpoon asm bowfin museum.jpg


ENAER T-35 Pillán

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 under authorization their jets).

Future Programmes

In July 2011, Elbit Systems reported the first export sale of its Hermes 900 UAV to the Chilean Air Force.[2]

The Chilean Air Force seeks to acquire aircraft trainers to replace A-36 Halcón. Among the competitors highlights the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle, BAE Hawk and Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master. The service hopes to select a trainer platform and to sign a contract for a batch of 12 to 16 aircraft by 2013.[3]

By 2015, the Chilean Air Force must decommission the F-5 Tiger III, among the possible candidates to replace Tigers are the EF-2000, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet or F-16 Fighting Falcon.

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.[4] 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[5] General Officer Superior Officer Chief Officer Junior Officer Cadet Officer
Shoulder SS.OO.1.- GDA.svg SS.OO.2.- GAV.svg SS.OO.3.- GBA.svg SS.OO.4.- COM.svg SS.OO.5.- CDA.svg SS.OO.6.- CDG.svg Fach escu.gif SS.OO.8.- CDB.svg SS.OO.9.- TTE.svg SS.OO.10.- STE.svg SS.OO.11.- ALF.svg CADETE EAV.svg
Sleeve (service dress) SS.OO.1.B - GDA.svg SS.OO.2.B - GAV.svg SS.OO.3.B - GBA.svg SS.OO.4.B - COM.svg SS.OO.5.B - CDA.svg SS.OO.6.B - CDG.svg SS.OO.7.B - CDE.svg SS.OO.8.B - CDB.svg SS.OO.9.B - TTE.svg SS.OO.10.B - STE.svg SS.OO.11.B - ALF.svg
Sleeve (full dress) SS.OO.1.- GDA - GALA -.svg SS.OO.2.- GAV - GALA -.svg SS.OO.3.- GBA - GALA -.svg SS.OO.4.- COM - GALA -.svg SS.OO.5.- CDA - GALA -.svg SS.OO.6.- CDG - GALA -.svg SS.OO.7.- CDE - GALA -.svg SS.OO.8.- CDB - GALA -.svg SS.OO.9.- TTE - GALA -.svg SS.OO.10.- STE - GALA-.svg SS.OO.11.- ALF - GALA.svg
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
Abbreviation (C.J.) (G.D.A.) (G.B.A.) (-) (C.D.A.) (C.D.G.) (C.D.E.) (C.D.B.) (TTE.) (STE.) (ALF.) -
Translation Air General General of Aviation Air Brigade General Commodore Colonel of Aviation 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


Noncommissioned and Enlisted Ranks[7]

Rank Subofficer Major Subofficer Class Student Conscripted Soldier
Shoulder PCP.1 - H.SOM.svg PCP.2 - H.SOF.svg PCP.3 - H.SG1.svg FACH Alumno (hombro).png
Sleeve PCP.1 - B. SOM.svg PCP.2 - B.SOF.svg PCP.3 - B.SG1.svg PCP.4 - SG2.svg PCP.5 - CB1.svg PCP.6 - CB2.svg PCP.7 - CBO.svg FACh Alumno (brazo).png
Rank Suboficial Mayor Suboficial Sargento 1° Sargento 2° Cabo 1° Cabo 2° Cabo Alumno Soldado conscripto
Abbreviation (SOM) (SOF) (SG1) (SG2) (CBO1) (CBO2) (CBO) - -
Translation Sub-officer Major Sub-officer First Sergeant Second Sergeant First Corporal Second Corporal Corporal Student Conscripted Soldier
Equivalent Warrant Officer Class I Warrant Officer Class II 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


Officer[8] Line Corps
Badge Aire.svg FACh.Ingenieros.svg FACh.Defensa Antiaérea.svg FACh.Telecomunicaciones e Informática.svg FACh.Administración.svg FACh.Base Aérea.svg
Arm of service Aviation Engineering Air Defense Telecommunications and Information Technology Administration Air Base
Abbreviation (A) (I) (DA) (TI) (AD) (BA)
Specialty Aviators (Fighter, Helicopter) and Air transport officers Aviation engineers Air defense Information and telecommunications engineers Engineers assigned to administrative duties Logistics
Officer[9] Services/Staff Corps
Badge FACh.Justicia.svg FACh.Sanidad.svg FACh.Servicio Religioso.svg FACh.Bandas.svg FACh.Servicios Generales.svg
Arm of service Justice Medical Corps
Dental 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

NCOs and airmen of the[10] Line Corps Services Corps
Badge Suboficiales.png -
Arm of service Weapons Technical support Administration Combat medicine and surgery
Specially Air Defense
Intelligence personnel
Maintenance and armaments
Communications, information technology and electronics
Air Operations Support
Administrative staff Combat medics and surgeons

Officers' cap badges

Chilean Air Force officers wear the following cap badges in their peaked caps.

Rank cap badge[11] Air Marshals and Air Commodores Colonels and Group Commanders Ensigns through Squadron Commanders
Full dress Gorras FACh1- Oficial General Gala -.svg Gorras FACh2- Oficial CDA CDG Gala -.svg Gorras FACh3 - Oficial CDE a ALF Gala -.svg
Service dress Gorras FACh1- Oficial General Servicio -.svg Gorras FACh2- Oficial CDA CDG Servicio -.svg Gorras FACh3 - Oficial CDE a ALF Servicio -.svg
Grado Air Chief Marshal Air Marshal Air Vice Marshal Air Commodore Group Captain Wing Commander Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant Flying Officer Pilot Officer Acting Pilot Officer



External links

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