Brazilian Air Force

From Roach Busters

Brazilian Air Force
Active 1941 -
Country Brazil
Branch Air Force
Size 73,500 active personnel
768 aircraft
Headquarters Brasília/DF
Patron Alberto Santos Dumont
Motto Wings of a sovereign people
March "Hino dos Aviadores"
Anniversaries May 22 (Anniversary)
April 22 (Fighter day)
Commander-in-Chief President João de Oliveira Mendonça
Commander Lieutenant-Brigadier Juniti Saito

The Brazilian Air Force (Portuguese: Força Aérea Brasileira, FAB) is the aerial warfare branch of the Brazilian armed forces and one of the three national uniformed services. The FAB was formed when the Army and Navy air branch were merged into a single military force initially called "National Air Forces". Both air branches transferred their equipments, installations and personnel to the new armed force.

The FAB is the second largest air force in Latin America, with about 700 manned aircraft in service, and as of July 8, 2005, had 66,020 personnel on active duty. An additional 7,500 civilian personnel are employed by the Air Force.


[edit] History

[edit] Creation

The establishment of the Royal Air Force in 1918 and the creation of the Italian Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) and the French Air Force during the twenties drove the first thoughts to unite the Brazilian air power under the same organization. Together with these events the Brazilian strategists were also influenced by the theoretical fundaments of Giulio Douhet, Billy Mitchell and Hugh Montague Trenchard.

The first public manifest to create an integrated military air service came up in 1928 when an army Major called Lysias Rodrigues wrote an article called “An urgent need: The Ministry of the Air” (Uma premente necessidade: o Ministério do Ar). Two years later the French Military Mission, working for the Brazilian Army, set the very first steps to organize a national air arm. The idea got more supporters when a group of Brazilian airmen came from Italy in 1934 and explained the advantages of having a military aviation unified. Also, the Spanish Revolution and the first movements of World War II at the end of the thirties showed the importance of Air power for military strategies.

One of the main supporters of the plan to create an independent air arm was the then-president Getúlio Vargas. He organized a study group early in 1940 and the whole structure of the Ministry of Aeronautics (Ministério da Aeronáutica) was established the end of that year. This new governmental agency was responsible for the all aspects of the civil and military aviation including infrastructure, regulation and organization.

Formally, the Ministry of Aeronautics was founded on January 20, 1941 and so its military branch called "National Air Forces", changed to “Brazilian Air Force” (Força Aérea Brasileira - FAB) on May 22. The Army (Aviação Militar) and Navy (Aviação Naval) air branches were extinguished and all personnel, aircraft, installations and other related equipments were transferred to FAB.

[edit] Cold War

During the Cold War, Brazil was aligned with the United States and NATO. This meant that the F-5 could be bought cheaply from the United States, who practically sponsored this jet as the "Freedom Fighter". Many other countries, such as Mexico, also benefited from this policy.

The now successful Embraer (Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica, Brazilian Aeronautic Co.) has its origins as an enterprise directly managed and sponsored by the FAB. Working with Italian corporations, it developed the new AMX attack aircraft (known locally as A-1) which currently makes up the backbone of the FAB's attack force. The successful Tucano T-27 trainer and the new light attack aircraft "A-29," are also Embraer aircraft used extensively by the FAB.

[edit] Present

FAB R-99/Embraer ERJ 145.

In the early 2000s, with renewed economic stability, the FAB underwent a slow, but extensive renewal of its inventory through several acquisition programs. The most ambitious of which was the acquisition of 36 new front-line interceptor aircraft to replace its aging Mirage III. Known as F-X Project the program was postponed once again in 2005 and the final decision now will be made around 2011. The former competitors were the General Dynamics F-16, the Dassault Rafale, the SAAB-BAE Gripen, the FMA F-90 Halcon [1], and the Sukhoi Su-35.

On July 15, 2005 one agreement was set with the French government for the transfer of twelve Dassault Mirage 2000s (ten "C" and two "B" versions) second-hand ex-Armee de L'Air. Known as F-2000s in Brazil, the first two aircraft arrived at Anapolis Air Base on September 4, 2006.

Other programs, however, were successfully completed and included the following (as of May 2007):

  • ALX (Light Attack Aircraft) Program - 99 Super Tucano aircraft. Currently being delivered.
  • F-5EM Program - Upgrade of Northrop F-5 to F-5EM standard. Include new radar, avionics and weapons systems. Currently being delivered.
  • CL-X (Medium Transport Aircraft) - Replacement of DHC-5 Buffalo aircraft. 12 CASA C-295 aircraft acquired. Currently being delivered.
  • P-X (Maritime Patrol) Program- Replacement of EMB-111A aircraft for modernized P-3 airframes with EADS avionics. Currently being implemented.
  • Interim Mirage 2000C purchase. Currently being delivered.
  • Acquisition of presidential transport aircraft, known as FAB 001. An Airbus ACJ was bought and delivered in 2005.

Pending Programs:

  • CT-X (Light Transport Aircraft) Program- To replace the C-95 Bandeirante. CASA C-212-400 Aviocar is the likely choice.

[edit] Command structure

The Brazilian Air Force is the aerospace branch of the Brazilian armed forces and is managed by the "Aeronautics Command" (Comando da Aeronáutica - COMAer). The COMAer was created in 1999 and replaced the Ministry of Aeronautics. Now, the COMAer is one of the three armed forces currently assigned to the Ministry of War (Ministério da Guerra).

The COMAer is lead by the "Aeronautics Commander" (Comandante da Aeronáutica). Unlike USAF, the Commander is a “Tenente-Brigadeiro-do-Ar” (the most senior rank currently used in the Air Force, which is essentially the same as a USAF four-star general). He is nominated by the President and reports directly to the Minister of War.

COMAer currently comprises six major components, four "General Commands" (Comandos-Gerais) and two "Departaments" (Departamentos). The "General Command of Air Operations" (Comando-Geral de Operações Aéreas - COMGAR), with headquarters in Brasilia, supervises most of the flying operations. As the main flying element, COMGAR administers several sub-formations in the form of four “Air Forces” (Forças Aéreas) and seven “Regional Air Commands” (Comandos Aéreos Regionais - COMAR). Besides COMGAR, other major parallel organizations, which also report directly to the COMAer, are the “General Command of Support” (Comando-Geral de Apoio - COMGAP), “General Command of Personnel” (Comando-Geral de Pessoal - COMGEP), “General Command of Aerospatial Technology” (Comando-Geral de Tecnologia Aeroespacial - DEPED), “Aeronautics Departament of Teaching” (Departamento de Ensino da Aeronáutica - DEPENS), “Departament of Civil Aviation” (Departamento de Aviação Civil - DAC) and “Departament of Airspace Control” (Departamento de Controle do Espaço Aéreo - DECEA).

[edit] Air units organization

At unit levels, "Groups" (Grupos) usually consist of one to sixteen consecutively-numbered "Squadrons" (Esquadrões), each with varying numbers of aircraft, usually from six to 12. Smaller formations are known as "flights" (Esquadrilhas). According to its tasks, a group has one of the following designations:

  • Air Defense Group: Grupo de Defesa Aérea (GDA): Air defense fighters
  • Transport Group: Grupo de Transporte (GT): Transport, flight refueling
  • Aviation Group: Grupo de Aviação (GAv): Fighter, attack, reconnaissance, SAR, rotary wing
  • Fighter Aviation Group: Grupo de Aviação de Caça (GAvCa); Fighter, attack planes
  • Troop Transport Group: Grupo de Transporte de Tropas (GTT): Transports, troop carrying, parachutist drop
  • Special Flight Inspection Group: Grupo Especial de Inspeção em Vôo (GEIV): Calibration
  • Special Test Flights Group: Grupo Especial de Ensaios de Vôo (GEEV): Test flights
  • Special Transport Group: Grupo de Transporte Especial (GTE): VIP transport

Commonly used designations for squadrons are:

  • Air Transport Squadron: Esquadrão de Transporte Aéreo (ETA)
  • Air Training Squadron: Esquadrão de Instrução Aérea (EIA)
  • Demonstration flying team: Esquadrão de Demonstração Aérea (EDA) (also called Esquadrilha da Fumaça)

The air units are organized as follows:

COMGAR sub-formation Air unit Aircraft type Air base
I FAe 1º/5º GAv C-95 Fortaleza
2º/5º GAv A-29A, A-29B Natal
1º/11º GAv UH-50 Natal
II FAe 1º/7º GAv P-95B Salvador
2º/7º GAv P-95B Florianópolis
3º/7º GAv P-95A Belém
4º/7º GAv P-95A Santa Cruz
1º/8º GAv UH-1H Belém
2º/8º GAv UH-50 Recife
3º/8º GAv CH-34 Campo dos Afonsos
5º/8º GAv UH-1H Santa Maria
7º/8º GAv UH-1H, H-60L Manaus
2º/10º GAv UH-1H, SC-95B Campo Grande
III FAe 1º GAvCa F-5E, F-5F, AT-27 Santa Cruz
1º GDA F-2000, AT-26, AT-27 Anápolis
1º/3º GAv AT-27 Boa Vista
2º/3º GAv AT-27, A-29A Porto Velho
3º/3º GAv AT-27, A-29A, A-29B Campo Grande
1º/4º GAv AT-26, AT-26A Natal
1º/6º GAv R-35A, R-95 Recife
2º/6º GAv R-99A/B, C-98 Anápolis
1º/10º GAv A-1, A-1B Santa Maria
3º/10º GAv RA-1, RA-1B Santa Maria
1º/14º GAv F-5EM, F-5FM, AT-27 Canoas
1º/16º GAv A-1, A-1B Santa Cruz
V FAe 1º GTT C-130E/H Campo dos Afonsos
1º/1º GT C-130H/KC-130H Galeão
1º/2º GAv C-99 Galeão
2º/2º GAv KC-137 Galeão
1º/9º GAv C-115, C-105 Manaus
1º/15º GAv C-95B Campo Grande
I COMAR 1º ETA C-95B, C-98 Belém
II COMAR 2º ETA C-95 Recife
III COMAR 3º ETA C-95B, C-97 Galeão
IV COMAR 4º ETA C-95A São Paulo
V COMAR 5º ETA C-95A Canoas
VI COMAR 6º ETA C-95c, VU-9, VC-97 Brasília
VII COMAR 7º ETA C-95B, C-97, C-98 Manaus

Other air units are:

Major component Air unit Aircraft type Air base
DECEA GEIV EC-95B/C, EU-93A Santos Dumont Airport
DEPED GEEV A-1, XU-93, T-27, CH-55 São José dos Campos
DEPENS 1º EIA T-27 Pirassununga
DEPENS 2º EIA T-25A/C Pirassununga
DEPENS Clube de Vôo a Vela U-19, Z-15, Z-16, TZ-13 Pirassununga
DEPENS Suport C-95A, UH-50, U-7 Pirassununga
Reporting direct to Air Force cabinet GTE VC-1A, VC-96, VC-99C, VH-34, VH-55 Brasília
Reporting direct to Air Force cabinet EDA T-27 Pirassununga

[edit] Operations

One of the most recent operations of the FAB was the bombing of illegal landing sites in the Amazon Forest, used by drug dealers to transport drugs into and out of Brazil (see SIVAM). The operation also had support from the Brazilian Army and Brazilian Federal Police with many drug dealers being arrested as a result. The AMX Bomber/Fighter was the primary plane used in this operation.

[edit] SIVAM

FAB is responsible for the aerospace vigilance and defense on program Sistema de Vigilância da Amazônia (Amazon Surveillance System).

[edit] Aircraft

  • Airbus A319
    • VC-1A VIP transport (1 in service)
  • AMX International AMX
    • A-1A attack/reconnaissance (42 in service) (Modernization to A1M standard started)
    • A-1B lead-in-trainer (11 in service)
  • Atlas Impala II MB326K
    • AT-26A attack/trainer (11 in service) (Being withdrawn until 2009)
  • Beechcraft King Air 90
    • Beech 90 staff transport (1 in service)
  • Bell UH-1 Iroquois
    • UH-1H utility helicopter (43 in service)
  • Bell 206 JetRanger
    • H-4B (206B) utility helicopter (3 in service)
  • Boeing KC-137 Stratoliner
    • KC-137 (707-320C) tanker/transport (4 in service)
  • Boeing 737
    • VC-96 (737-200) VIP transport (2 in service)
  • British Aerospace BAe 125-400
    • XU-93 flight test (1 in service) (The last VU-93 version was phased out in January 2007; only one (FAB 2123) still flying with GEEV)
  • Cessna 208 Caravan
    • C-98 (208A) utility (8 in service)
    • C-98B (208B) utility (10 in service)
  • Dassault Mirage 2000
    • F-2000C interceptor (10 in service)
    • F-2000B lead-in trainer (2 in service)
  • de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo
    • C-115 (DHC-5A) transport (9 in service) (being withdrawn)
  • EADS/CASA C-295
    • C-105A transport (8 in service) (12 to delivery)
  • Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante
    • C-95/A/B/EC-95/SC-95B utility transport (88 in service) (7º ETA retired C-95)
    • C-95C (EMB 110P1K) transport (59 in service)
    • RC-95 (EMB 110B) aerial survey (5 in service)
    • P-95A/B (EMB-111) maritime patrol (19 in service)
  • Embraer EMB 120 Brasília
    • C-97 (EMB 120) transport (9 in service)
    • VC-97 (EMB 120ER) VIP transport (3 in service)
    • VC-97 (EMB 120RT) VIP transport (5 in service)
  • Embraer EMB 121 Xingu
    • VU-9 VIP transport (8 in service)
  • Embraer ERJ 135BJ Legacy
    • VC-99C VIP transport (4 in service)
  • Embraer ERJ 145 family
    • C-99 (ERJ-145ER) transport/VIP transport (7 in service)
    • R-99A airborne early warning (5 in service)
    • R-99B remote sensing (3 in service)
  • Embraer EMB 210R Ipanema
    • U-19 utility (2 in service)
  • Embraer EMB 312 Tucano
    • AT/T-27 trainer/light attack (109 in service)
  • Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano
    • A-29A/B attack/advanced trainer (52 in service)
  • Embraer EMB 326GB Xavante
    • AT-26/A trainer/attack (20 in service) (Being withdrawn until 2009)
  • Embraer EMB 810 Seneca II/III
    • U-7/7A (EMB 810C) utility (9 in service)
  • Eurocopter AS-332 Cougar
    • CH-34 (AS-332M) transport helicopter (8 in service)
    • VH-34 VIP helicopter (2 in service)
  • Learjet 35
    • VC-35 VIP transport (9 in service)
    • R-35A special mission (3 in service)
  • Learjet 55
    • VU-55C VIP transport (1 in service)
  • Glasflügel H-201
    • Z-15 training glider (1 in service)
  • Helibras HB-350B
    • H-50 utility helicopter (25 in service)
  • Helibras HB-355
    • H-55 utility helicopter (3 in service)
  • IPAE Quero-Quero
    • Z-16 training glider (6 in service)
  • LET Blaník L-13/L-23/L-33 Blaník/Super Blaník/Solo
    • TZ-13 (L-13) training glider (3 in service)
    • TZ-13 (L-23) (4 in service)
    • TZ-13 (L-33) (2 in service)
  • Lockheed C-130 Hercules
    • C-130E/H tactical transport (21 in service)
    • KC-130H tanker (2 in service)
  • Lockheed P-3 Orion
    • P-3M/BR maritime patrol (1 in service) (7 more on order)
  • Neiva Regente
    • U-42 liaison (21 in service) (Being withdrawn)
  • Neiva T-25 Universal
    • T-25A/B/C basic trainer (68 in service)
  • Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II
    • F-5E fighter (51 in service) (Modernization to F-5EM standard in progress)
    • F-5F trainer (6 in service)
  • Piper Cherokee Six
    • PA-32 utility (1 in service)
  • Raytheon Hawker 800XP
    • EU-93A calibration (4 in service)
  • Schleicher ASW 20
    • Z-20 training glider (1 in service)
  • Sikorsky S-70
    • H-60L combat search and rescue helicopter (5 in service) (Total of 6 to be delivered)

Brazilian Armed Forces
Brazilian Army Brazilian Air Force Brazilian Navy
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