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El Salvador Air Force / Area Fuerza

The air force is a branch permanent armed forces which is a framework, preparation and employment, consisting of Headquarters, Air Bases and facilities with the resources and services necessary for the execution of missions of air character. The air force command is exercised by the Chief of the State more General force Air, who is a General or an official Superior diploma of staff, of weapons, of qualities remarkable control and recognized professional trajectory. The Organization and functions of the air force are regulated by an internal regulation. The Mission of the air force is exerted in the air space of the country.

The Salvadoran Air Force (FAS) officially provides close air, logistical, and operational support to other services as well as patrols borders and territorial waters. The primary mission is to maintain the sovereignty of El Salvadors airspace. Specific missions include close air support, troop transport, re-supply, disaster relief, and counter-drug operations. A lack of qualified personnel and poor aircraft maintenance reduces mission performance.

The air force commander exercises operational control over two air brigades and reports directly to the Chief of the Joint General Staff of the Armed Forces. The 1st Air Brigade is located at Ilopango Air Base, the main base, and the 2nd Air Brigade is located at Comalapa Air Base. Air force headquarters and the Flight Training (Basic and Advanced) School are located at Ilopango. There are airstrips at San Miguel, Ahuachapan, Sonsonate, Zacatecoluca, San Vicente, Chalatenango, and Usulutan.

In 1994, the FAS was reorganized and integrated by the First Air Brigade (Ilopango), the Second Air Brigade (Comalapa) and the Aeronautical Military Training Center (CIMA). The brigades were formed by groups, which in turn were integrated by squadrons. Also created the Headquarters of the General Staff of the FAS (JEMGFAS) instead of the Command of the FAS. In compliance with the modernization system, framed in the Plan Arce 2000 and for a better functioning, a new organization was established, which framed the creation, restructuring and activation of some units, sections and groups.

This organization was of an experimental nature during 1996 and 1997, that is how the Accident Prevention Unit, the Economic Self-Management Unit, the Institutional Planning Unit, the Public Relations unit, the Search and Rescue Section, of the System of Cooperation of the American Air Forces (SICOFA), the Headquarters Unit; the organization of the aerial brigades was made to three groups: Operations Group, Material Group and Administration Group; and the CIMA created the Academic Planning Unit. The Operations Group of the First Air Brigade was integrated by the Transport and Helicopter Squadrons. The Base Security Group was placed under the orders of JEMGFAS. The Operation Group of the Second Air Brigade was integrated by the Squadron Hunt and Bombardment.

The Air Force had approximately 1,100 personnel by 2015; they were forced to decrease personnel strength to comply with the Peace Accords. In response, the Air Force has streamlined its operations by consolidating assets at its two bases.

All training for FAS is carried out at Ilopango. Officers receive basic training at the Escuela Militar Capitan General Geraldo Barrios located in San Salvador. Pilots receive flying training at the Escuela de Avician Militar. Specialty training for officers and other ranks is provided by the Escuela de Armas y Servicos, located at San Salvador, or the Escuela de Especialization, located at Ilopango. Most officers receive additional training abroad.

The Air Force has difficulty fulfilling its mission because of a shortage of trained pilots and a lack of flight training time. Aircraft availability is reduced by a lack of spare parts and poor maintenance.

On June 1998, five aircraft ENAER T-35B Pillan, trainers to be used by the cadets of the Military Aviation School, were purchased from the Government of Chile. In October 2013, through budget funds designated for defense, 10 A-37B aircraft were purchased at a cost of $ 8 million dollars, purchased from the Air Force of Chile.

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