Bolivia Air Force / Fuerza Aérea Boliviana
The Bolivia Air Force [Fuerza Aérea Boliviana FAB] exercise the military elements of operating of Aeroespace Power. It organizes and develops the aerospace forces of the the nation, according to the Bolivia defence requirements to preserve and defend the country's independent, security, honor and national sovereignty, and conlribuir to the integral development of the country. FAB was under the Ministry of National Defense (it had been under the Ministry of Aeronautics from 1980 to the Paz Zamora administration).
In 1989 FAB encompassed about 4,000 personnel (including about 2,200 conscripts). Its equipment comprised forty-five combat aircraft, and ten armed helicopters. Although FAB's aircraft were mostly of West European, Brazilian, and United States manufacture, in late 1988 the government was considering the purchase of Soviet cargo aircraft and helicopters.
The air force as an integral part of the armed forces of the nation, is the permanent expression of the aerospace and meets the following specific missions:
- to ensure the sovereignty and defence of the national airspace.
- attain and maintain a position of supremacy in the aerospace field, allowing to exert a deterrent effect on any opponent.
- contribute to the structuring of the national territory by air transport services.
- conduct necessary and timely air transportation in support of all military operations for the defense of the nation.
- executing specific missions in support of the army or the Navy.
- participate actively in developing Integral of the nation, according to directives emanating from the command in Chief.
- to monitor on an ongoing basis and suppress piracy in a civil and military air navigation.
- protect and encourage the development of military, civil aviation, infrastructure, industry Aeronautics and aerospace scientific research of the nation institutes.
As of 1989 FAB was organized into four air brigades with thirteen subordinate air groups. Its nine air bases were located at La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Puerto Suárez, Tarija, Villamontes, Cobija, Riberalta, and Roboré. Major brigade commands included the First Air Brigade (La Paz), Second Air Brigade (Cochabamba), Third Air Brigade (Santa Cruz), and Fourth Air Brigade (also called the Amazonas Air Brigade), created in 1987 and headquartered in the Puerto Suárez area bordering Brazil. The First Air Brigade comprised the Air Fighters Group (Grupo Aéreo Cazador--GAC) 31, Air Transport Groups (Grupos Aéreos de Transporte) 71 and 72, and the National Service of Photogrammetry (Servicio Nacional de Aerofotogrametría--SNA). GAC-31 received the first six of eighteen T-33A fighter aircraft from the United States in 1985.
The Second Air Brigade included Cover Air Groups 41, 51, and 52. The Salvage and Rescue Air Group 51 (Grupo Aéreo de Salvataje y Rescate 51--GASR-51) was created in 1984, although predecessor units had operated since 1960. A similar unit, called the Search and Rescue Group 52 (Grupo Aéreo de Búsqueda y Rescate 52--GABR-52) was established in Cobija in 1987. The Third Air Brigade consisted of Hunter Air Groups 32, 33, and 34, and Training Air Groups (Grupos Aéreos de Entrenamiento--GAE) 21 and 22. GAE-21, which trained cadets of the Colmilav, acquired six T-23 Uirapuru trainer aircraft from Brazil and twelve Cessna A-152 Aerobat aircraft and three ATC-710 flight simulators from the United States in 1986.
FAB also had Tactical Air Groups (Grupos Aéreos Tácticos) 61 (in Roboré), 62, and 63 (in Villamontes); the Group of Security and Defense of Air Installations (Grupo de Seguridad y Defensa de Instalaciones Aéreas--GSDIA); and GADA-91, GADA-92, and GADA-93. In March 1989, FAB took a major step toward modernizing its force by inaugurating the General Command Systems Department in La Paz, equipped with sophisticated computers.
Currently, the FAB, besides fulfilling the duties that are assigned in the Constitution and State policy, also has the great mission of backbone of the country, linking the territory with the centers of production, consumption and demografic importance, through the Transport Areo Militar (TAM). This is a daunting task, considering that Bolivia is a country of capricious geographic extent and with a little developed road system.
Bolivia planned to use jet fighters to intercept drug trafficking across its borders. The Bolivian Defense Ministry received offers from Brazil, China, Russia and Argentina by early 2015. "We need two flotillas of 10 aircraft each. We are talking about 20 jet fighters. We have already received five offers from Brazil, France, Russia and Argentina. However, it does not mean we will choose among them," Defense Minister Reymi Ferreira said in April 2015.
Russia will deliver to Bolivia 20 new jet fighters if it is awarded with a contract from the Bolivian Defense Ministry, website Horas reported. The amount of the contract has not been reported. Bolivia plans to use jet fighters to intercept drug trafficking across the borders.
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