Spanish Air Force: Wikis

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Ejercito del Aire
Spanish Air Force
Seal of the Spanish air force

Founded 7 October 1939
Country Spain
Size 27,000 personnel
650 aircraft
Command HQ Cuartel General del Ejército del Aire (CGEA)
March Spanish Air Force Anthem
Engagements Rif War,
Spanish Civil War,
Ifni War ,
Yugoslav wars ,
Kosovo War
Commanders
General del Aire José Jiménez Ruiz
Insignia
Roundel Roundel of the Spanish Air Force.svg
High and Low visibility Fin flashes High-vis spanish air force fin.PNG Low-vis spanish air force fin.PNG
Aircraft flown
Attack Mirage F1, F/A-18
Fighter F/A-18, Eurofighter
Patrol P-3 Orion, Fokker F27
Reconnaissance Falcon 20
Trainer F-5, CASA C-101, Beechcraft Bonanza, King Air, Colibrí
Transport Hercules, CASA C-295, CASA CN-235, 707, A310, Cougar

The Spanish Air Force (Spanish: Ejército del Aire; literally, "Army of the Air") is the air force of Spain. It is one of the 3 branches of the Spanish Armed Forces and has the mission of defending the sovereignty and independence of Spain, its territorial integrity and constitutional freedoms, within airspace of Spain and its territories as well as to maintain the international security in operations of peace and humanitarian help.

Contents

History

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The beginnings

Although Spanish military aviation started with a balloon force in 1896, April 10, 1910 is the date when the Spanish military aviation was formally formed by means of a Royal Decree.

On November 5, 1913, during the war with Morocco, a Spanish expeditionary squadron became the first organized military air unit to see combat during the first organized bombing in history.

The Spanish Civil War

Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 with FIAT CR.32 of the Nationalist Air Force
Polikarpov I-16 - Republican Air Force

During the Spanish Civil War, Spanish military aviation was divided into the Spanish Republic Air Forces (Fuerzas Aéreas de la República Española-FARE), created by the republican government and the National Aviation (Aviación Nacional), created by the army in revolt.

At first, the republican air forces had the control of the majority of the territory using the Soviet Polikarpov I-16, but the help received by Francisco Franco from Nazi Germany (Condor Legion) and Fascist Italy (Aviazione Legionaria) changed this.

In July 1936, the first German Junkers Ju-52 and Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM-81 arrived. In August Fiat CR-32 and Heinkel He-51 fighters were also deployed. These planes helped the army in revolt to gain full control of the air.

Post-Civil War

EF-18A Hornet

The present Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire, or EdA) was not formed until October 7, 1939, at the end of the Spanish Civil War. The EdA was a successor to the Nationalist and Republican Air Forces. During World War II, one air section, the "Blue Squadron" (Escuadrilla Azul), operated alongside the Blue Division (Division Azul). The Blue Division was a Spanish volunteer group which fought alongside the Axis Powers on the Eastern Front.

On March 18, 1946, the first Spanish paratroop unit was created. It participated in the Ifni War during 1957 and 1958.

Links were established in the 1950s with the United States. Spain received its first jets, like the F-86 Sabre and Lockheed T-33 together with training and transport planes like the T-6 Texan, DC-3 and DC-4. This first age of jets was replaced in the 1960s by newer fighters like the F-104 Starfighter, F-4C Phantom and F-5 Freedom Fighter

The organization and equipment of the Spanish Air Force was again modernised in the 1970s to prepare for Spain's membership of NATO in 1982.

Planes like the Mirage III and Mirage F1 were bought from France and became the backbone of the Air Force during the 1970s and part of the 1980s until the arrival of the American F/A-18 which participated in the Bosnian War and the Kosovo War under NATO command, based in Aviano, Italy.

The Spanish Air Force is replacing older aircraft in the inventory with newer ones including the recently introduced Eurofighter Typhoon and the Airbus A400M airlifter, both manufactured with Spanish participation.

Its aerobatic display team is the Patrulla Aguila, which flies the CASA C-101 Aviojet. Its helicopter display team, Patrulla Aspa, flies the Eurocopter EC-120 Colibrí.

Air Bases

Order of battle

Frontal façade of the Spanish Air Force Headquarters (Madrid)

See Also Spanish Air Force Order of Battle

Functional structure

The basic organization of the Air Force is the following:

  • Air Force Headquarters (CGEA). Madrid.
  • Battle Air Command (MACOM). Headquarters in Torrejón Air Base, Madrid.
  • General Air Command (MAGEN). Headquarters in Madrid.
  • Canary Islands' Air Command (MACAN). Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
  • Personnel Command (MAPER). Madrid.
  • Logistics Support Command (MALOG). Madrid.

Operative structure

The usual operative unit is the ALA (wing), composed by two or three ESCUADRONES (squadrons), each one of which is integrated by 18 to 24 airplanes. Thus, Ala 15, with base in Zaragoza Air Base, is formed by two squadrons with 18 F-18s each.

Aircraft identification

The Spanish Air Force has its own alphanumeric system for identifying aircraft. This forms a prefix to the airframe serial number, usually marked on the tail. The letter or letters, correspond to the use given. Thus, C means cazabombardero (fighter bomber); A, ataque (attack); P, patrulla (patrol); T, transporte (transport); E, enseñanza (training); D, search and rescue; H, helicopter; K, tanker; V, Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL); and U, utility.

An example would be that the F-18 with "C.15-08" on the tail is the fifteenth type of fighter that arrived in the Spanish Air Force (the Eurofighter is the C.16) and is the eighth example of this type to enter the SAF. On the nose or fuselage the aircraft has a numeral specific to the unit in which it is based.

Variants of planes in service, for example two-seater versions or tanker versions of transports planes, add another letter to differentiate their function, and have their own sequence of serial numbers separate from the primary versions. Example: "CE.15-02" will be the second F-18 two-seater (Fighter Trainer) delivered to the SAF.

In addition, the aircraft used by the Spanish Air Force usually carry a code consisting of one or two digits followed by a dash and two numbers, painted on the nose or fuselage. The first number corresponds to the unit to which they belong, and the second the order in which they entered service. Example: the fourth F-18 arriving at Ala 12 will have on the nose the code "12-04". Those codes do change when the aircraft is re-allocated to a different unit.

Officer rank insignia

Pay grade OF-10¹ OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1
Insignia Cg-ea.svg Ga-ea.svg Tg-ea.svg Gd-ea.svg Gb-ea.svg Cor-ea.svg TCol-ea.svg Cte-ea.svg Cap-ea.svg Tte-ea.svg Alf-ea.svg
Title Capitán General General del aire Teniente General General de División General de Brigada Coronel Teniente Coronel Comandante Capitán Teniente Alferez
Equivalence GOAF Gen Lt Gen Maj Gen Brig Gen Col Lt Col Maj Capt 1st Lt 2nd Lt

No periods are used in actual grade abbreviation, only in press releases to conform with AP standards.

NATO Code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1
  • ¹ Military grade of HM King Juan Carlos.

Aircraft Inventory

Casa CN-235M-100 of the Spanish Air Force

The Spanish Air Force operates a wide-ranging fleet of aircraft, from fighters to transport aircraft and passenger transports to helicopters. It maintains some 650 aircraft.[1] Today, the Spanish Air Force is a force smaller (almost 50% less) than when the previous generation of aircraft was in service , with an operating fleet reduced to about 650 aircraft as published in the Budget for 2009 and 27,000 troops, including 10,000 panels, more than 11,000 professional military troops and civilian personnel. The transport force role is taken by planes such as the C-130 Hercules and the CASA C-295. The Spanish Air Force also includes helicopters like the Cougar and the Colibri. 180 fighter aircraft are incorporated into 9 alas (wings) charged with different missions. Finally, the Spanish Air Force has a fleet of aircraft, including the CASA C-101 (manufactured in Spain), Beechcraft Bonanza and Enaer T-35C, to meet training requirements.[2] These air assets are supported by ground units and a sophisticated infrastructure[3]

The "Future backbone" of the Spanish Air Force will be mainly composed of the new generation fighter, the Eurofighter Typhoon.[4]

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[5] Service entry[6] Units
Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma  France Search and rescue helicopter SA 330J
SA 330L
2
2
1974 801 Esc.
Airbus A310  European Union VIP transport A310-304 2 T.22 2003 45 Grupo
Beechcraft Bonanza  United States Trainer F33C 23 1974 42 Grupo
Academia General del Aire
Beechcraft C-90 King Air  United States Liaison transport C90 4 1990 42 Grupo
Boeing 707  United States Aerial refuelling and transport 707-300(KC) 3 1987 47 Grupo
IAI B-707  United States Israel Intelligence B707-351C Santiago 1 1997 408 Esc.
Canadair CL-215 Scooper  Canada Firefighting aircraft CL-215T 14 UD.13 1991 43 Grupo
Canadair CL-415 Superscooper  Canada Firefighting aircraft CL-415 3 (of 10) UD.14 2006 43 Grupo
CASA C-101 Aviojet  Spain Jet-powered trainer C-101EB-01 73 E.25 1980 Academia General del Aire
Grupo de Escuelas de Matacán
CASA 127  Spain Liaison C127 6 L.9 Ala 79
CASA C.212 Aviocar  Spain Tactical transport
Search and rescue
Training
Series 100
Series 200
Series 300
74 T.12
10 T.12B
6 SAR
1974 Academia General del Aire
Ala 37
801 Escuadrón
Base Aérea de Alcantarilla
Centro Cartográfico y Fotográfico (CECAF)
47 Grupo Mixto
Grupo de Escuelas de Matacán
Ala 48
721 Escuadrón
Base Aérea de Son San Juan
Centro Logístico de Armamento y Experimentación (CLAEX)
CASA CN-235  Spain  Indonesia Tactical transport
Maritime Surveillance
Training
Series 100
Series 200
Series 300
20 1988 Ala 35
CASA C-295  Spain Tactical transport C-295M 13 2000 Ala 35
Cessna Citation V  United States RECOA C560 2 1992 Centro Cartográfico y Fotográfico
Dassault Falcon 20  France NavAids Calibration 20D
20E
2
2
1970 47 Grupo
Dassault Falcon 900  France VIP transport 900
900B
2
3
1988 45 Grupo
Dassault Mirage F1  France Fighter/attack F1M
F1BM
36
3
1975 Ala 14
ENAER T-35C Pillán  Chile Trainer T-35C 37 1987 Academia General del Aire
Eurocopter EC 120 Colibri  European Union Light utility helicopter EC 120B 15 2000 Ala 78
Eurocopter AS 532 Cougar  European Union Medium utility helicopter AS 532UL 2 VIP 1982 Ala 46
Ala 48
Eurocopter Super Puma  European Union Medium utility helicopter AS332B
AS332B1
AS332M1
7
2
4
Ala 46 and 48
Eurofighter Typhoon  European Union Multirole fighter EF2000
EF2000(T)
36
14
2003 Ala 11
Fokker F27 Maritime  Netherlands Maritime reconnaissance F27 Maritime 3 1979 802 Escuadrón
LET L-13 Blaník  Czechoslovakia Training glider L-13 5 Ala 79
Lockheed C-130 Hercules  United States Tactical transport C-130H
C-130H-30
KC-130H
6
1
5
1973 Ala 31
Lockheed P-3 Orion  United States Maritime patrol aircraft P-3A
P-3B
P-3M
2
2
3
1973 Ala 11
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet  United States Multirole fighter F-18M
F-18A+
67
18
1986 Ala 12
Ala 15
Ala 46
Northrop F-5B  United States  Spain Trainer F-5BM 20 1970 Ala 23
PZL Bielsko SZD-30  Poland Training glider SZD-30 4 Ala 79
Schiebe SF 28  Germany Training glider SF-28A 1 Ala 79
Sikorsky S-76 Spirit  United States Mid size utility helicopter S-76C 8 1991 Ala 78

On order

Pilot of the Spanish Air Force leaving his aircraft in full gear (1940s)
Spanish Civil War - Nationalist side

Distinguished Spanish Air Aces

  • Luis Alcocer Moreno-Abellá
  • M. Joaquín García-Morato y Castano
  • Julio Salvador Diáz-Benjumea
  • Manuel Vázquez Sagastizábal
  • Miguel Guerrero García
  • Miguel García Pardo
  • Arístides García López
  • Carlos Bayo Alessandri
  • Abundio Cesteros García
  • Narciso Bermúdez de Castro
  • Vincente Aldecoa Lecanda
  • Antonio Alós Herrero
  • Mariano Cuadra Medina
  • Lucas Fernandez Peña
  • Gonzalo Hevia Alvarez-Quinones
  • Fernando Sanchez-Arjona Courtoy
  • José María Bravo Fernandez-Hermosa
  • Ramón Franco Bahamonde

See also

References

External links


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