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Air Force - Fuerza Aerea Argentina

The intangibility of air space and the large dimensions of Argentine air spaces spreading over national jurisdiction land and sea areas are the main factors that determine the structure and deployment of the Air Force. The essential importance of the Service for efficient jointness also affects those aspects, while its mobility and redeployment capability make it a natural asset, contributing to the country's international project requirements.

The Argentine Air Force is the nations primary aerospace service, its mission statement commanding it to organize national aviation assets in order to protect Argentine airspace. In addition to its primary military mission, the service has administrative jurisdiction over the countrys civil aviation sector (not including commercial air transport routes and tariffs) as well as operational responsibility over the nations airport, navaids and air traffic infrastructure. Additionally, the Air Force can also be called on to provide logistic support (air transport, electronic intelligence, SAR, medevac, etc.) for law and order forces dealing with internal security threats such as riots, drug trafficking, terrorism, etc. Like all other major military services, FAA is subordinated to the nations President and Commander-in-Chief through the Ministry of Defence.

The Fuerza Area Argentina (FAA) -- Argentina's Air Force -- is a military institution of essentially civilian origins. The inception of the Escuela Militar de Aviacin (Air Military School), which took place on 10 August 1912, was mainly the result of steps taken by a group of Argentine gentlemen who were fond of traveling by air. At that time, military aviation became a part of the Ejrcito Argentino (Argentine Army) as one of its organic elements and remained so until 4 January 1945, when a presidential order (during the administration of General Edelmiro J. Farrell, whose Minister of Defense was General Juan D. Pern) instituted the FAA as an autonomous armed service like the Army and the Navy.

Up to 1 May 1982, the FAA had carried out nothing but routine activities. It had never participated in any war against any foreign country. However, the FAA began on that memorable date its baptism of fire in defending the interests of Argentina. On 2 April 1982, Malvinas Islands were occupied by units from the three armed services of Argentina through an operation that was bloodless for the British side.

The aerial forces of the Argentinean Air Force and Navy found themselves in a complex, unenviable position during the 1982 conflict with Great Britain for possession of the Falkland Islands / Islas Malvinas. Despite Argentinean numerical superiority, the modern weaponry and tactical proficiency of the United Kingdoms armed forces were a formidable threat. The Argentineans found themselves in a disadvantaged yactical situation due to a lack of preparation to include planning, intelligence, training, and resources necessary to counter a sophisticated military threat. To lessen their disadvantage, the Argentineans reorganized their Air Force; leveraged the tactical skill, innovation, and determination of their pilots; and employed their newly acquired air-launched Exocet anti-ship missile.

There were several contributing factors to air-to-surface employment. The first factor was scarce intelligence. Inaccurate, outdated intelligence was a trend through out the war. In fact, many sorties never found targets and were wasted due to lack of accurate information. As a result, pilots simply flew to the target area and bombed whichever ship they saw. Lack of sufficient aerial refueling assets was the second contributing factor. Due to the distance required to fly to the islands, tactical aircraft rarely had enough fuel in target area. Two minutes was the average time attack aircraft had available in the target area.

After the war came to an end on 14 June 1982, a thorough analysis of the air units' performance was made. Some of the lost aircraft were replaced, and an initial internal rearrangement was carried out in order to achieve as much advantage as possible from the remaining aeronautical assets.

In 1983 the Argentine Air Force was reportedly composed of some 17,000 regular professional troops and another 10,000 conscripts completing their 12 months of obligatory military service. By 1985, although it was believed that the number of professional personnel remained largely un-changed, the number of conscripts serving with the air force nearly dropped by half to 5,500 young men.

The commanding headquarters of the Argentine Air Force was located at the Condor Building in northeastern Buenos Aires. In 1985 the service's operations were divided among at least five commands. The most important of these was the air operations command, which was responsible for the force's regional commands and various air bases as well as all flight operations emanating from them. The four other commands included those for personnel, logistics, air force instruction, and materiel. In 1985 these commands were held by colonels and brigadier generals.

The country's principal military air facility was El Palomar Air Base in western Buenos Aires, which also served as the headquarters of the first air brigade. Some aircraft belonging to the Argentine president's air fleet were hangared at El Palomar, as were transports belonging to the government-controlled Airlines of the State. The presidential jet, the Tango 1, was kept at the civilian Jorge Newbery Metropolitan Airport.

The regional organization of the air force was divided among nine air brigades in the mid-1980s. A tenth brigade, first reported under formation in 1983, had not been established by mid-1985. Apart from El Palomar, other principal air force bases throughout the nation include facilities at Tandil and MorOn in Buenos Aires Province; Paran in Entre RIos; Reconquista in Santa Fe Province; Mendoza in Mendoza Province; Villa Reynolds in San Luis; and Comodoro Rivadavia in Chubut. The headquarters of the Argentine Air Force's first Antarctic squadron and the possible site of the tenth brigade was at RIo Gallegos in Santa Cruz.

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Page last modified: 09-06-2016 19:05:34 ZULU