Ecuadorian Air Force

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Ecuadorian Air Force
Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana
Seal of the Ecuadorian Air Force.svg
Badge of the Ecuadorian Air Force
Founded27 October 1920
Country Ecuador
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
Size6,389 [1]
72 aircraft
Part ofArmed Forces of Ecuador
HeadquartersMinistry of National Defence
Anniversaries27 October
Comandante GeneralBrigadier General Geovanny Espinel
RoundelRoundel of Ecuador.svg
Fin flashCivil Flag and Ensign of Ecuador.svg
Aircraft flown
FighterAtlas Cheetah
Utility helicopterBell 206, AW119, Eurocopter EC145
ReconnaissanceUAV-2 Hawk
TrainerEMB 314 Super Tucano, Grob G 120TP, Diamond DA20 Katana, Cessna T-41 Mescalero
TransportC-130, Boeing 737, Boeing 727, Embraer Legacy 600, Falcon 7X, Gulfstream II, CASA C-295, DHC-6 Twin Otter, Super King Air, Piper PA-34

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 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 moved 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.

3 Ecuadoran Air Force Aircraft in 1986

The FAE saw action on several occasions. A continuous border dispute with Peru flared up in 1981 and 1995.[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]

  • 21 Combat Wing (Ala de combate 21) - Taura Air Base
    • 2112 Combat Squadron "Cheetah" (Esc. de combate 2112 "Cheetah") - operating Atlas Cheetah[7]
  • 22 Combat Wing (Ala de combate 22) - Simon Bolivar Air Base
    • 2211 Combat Squadron (Esc. de combate 2211) - operating Cessna 206
    • 2212 Combat Squadron (Esc. de combate 2212) - operating TH-57
  • 23 Combat Wing (Ala de combate 23) - Eloy Alfaro Air Base
    • 2311 Combat Squadron "Dragons" (Esc. de combate 2311 "Dragones") - operating A-29 Super Tucano
  • 11 Transport Wing (Ala de transporte 11) - Cotopaxi Air Base (part of Latacunga International Airport)
    • 1111 Transport Squadron "Hercules" (Esc. de transporte 1111 "Hercules") - operating C-130H/L100-30
    • 1112 Transport Squadron "Avro" (Esc. de transporte 1112 "Avro") - operating CASA 295
    • 1113 Transport Squadron "Twin Otter" (Esc. de transporte 1113 "Twin Otter") - operating DHC-6 Twin Otter
    • 1114 Transport Squadron "Sabreliner" (Esc. de transporte 1114 "Sabreliner") - operating Sabreliner
  • Air Force Academy "Cosme Rennella" (Escuela Superior Militar de Aviacion "Cosme Rennella") - Salinas Air Base - operating Diamond DA20


Current inventory[edit]

An Ecuadoran Atlas Cheetah on takeoff during Exercise Blue Horizon '86
A Bell 206 Jet Ranger
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Atlas Cheetah South Africa fighter Cheetah C 9[8] upgraded variant of the Dassault Mirage III
Boeing 737 United States VIP transport 1[8]
Boeing 727 United States transport / VIP 1[8]
C-130 Hercules United States transport C-130E/H 3[8]
CASA C-295 Spain transport / SAR 3[8]
Piper PA-34 United States utility 1[8]
Gulfstream II United States VIP transport 1[8]
DHC-6 Twin Otter Canada utility / transport 3[8] STOL capable aircraft
Super King Air United States utility 350 1[8]
Military helicopter
Bell 206 United States utility / trainer 5[8]
Leonardo AW119 Italy utility Mk II[9] 4[8]
Eurocopter EC145 Germany utility 2 4 on order[8]
Trainer Aircraft
EMB 314 Super Tucano Brazil advanced trainer 17[8]
Grob G 120TP Germany Trainer 3 5 on order[8]
Diamond DA20 Katana Austria Trainer 6 6 on order[10]
UAV-2 Hawk Ecuador Surveillance Indigenously-developed unmanned aerial vehicle[11]


Previous aircraft flown by the Air Force included the Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama, Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma, Ansaldo SVA, BAC Strikemaster, Beechcraft T-34 Mentor, C-46 Commando, Cessna A-37 Dragonfly, Dassault Mirage 5, Dassault Mirage F1, DHC-5 Buffalo, English Electric Canberra, F27 Friendship, Fairchild PT-19, Gloster Meteor, H-13 Sioux, Hanriot HD.1, Hawker Siddeley HS 748, IAI Kfir, Junkers Ju 52, Lockheed L-100 Hercules, Lockheed T-33, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, Ryan PT-22 Recruit, SEPECAT Jaguar, Seversky P-35, T-28 Trojan, HAL Dhruv.

Air Defense[edit]

Name Origin Type In service Notes
Mobile surface-to-air missile system
9K33 Osa Soviet Union amphibious SAM system 2[12] obtained from Ukraine
9K38 Igla Russia MANPADS 222[12]
M167 VADS United States SPAAG 28[12]

See also[edit]


  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 [Aviation Manual] (in German) (3rd ed.). Munich and Berlin: J. F. Lehmanns Verlag. p. 64.
  4. ^ "Peru vs. Ecuador; Alto-Cenepa War, 1995". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  5. ^ "Ecuador Air Force". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  6. ^ Eric Katerberg & Anno Gravemaker, Force Report: Ecuador Air Force, Air Forces Monthly, July 2008 issue.
  7. ^ Leon Engelbrecht (2009-10-08). "Denel hopes Ecuador Cheetah buy will be complete by year-end". defenceWeb.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "World Air Forces 2021". Flightglobal Insight. 2021. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
  9. ^ "Ecuadorian AW119 delivered". AirForces Monthly. Key Publishing. May 2019. p. 22.
  10. ^ "Ecuador Air Force accepts delivery of Diamond DA20 fleet". Diamond Aircraft. 8 March 2012. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Ecuador; Air Force receives indigenously developed UAV". 16 January 2014. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  12. ^ a b c "Peace Research Institute". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2018.

External links[edit]