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Venezuelan Air Force

Bolivarian Venezuelan Military Aviation
Aviación Militar Bolivariana Venezolana (AMBV)[1]
Venezuelan Air Force emblem
Active 22 June 1946 - Present
Country  Venezuela
Allegiance President of Venezuela
Branch Air Force of Venezuela
Size 202 aircraft
Part of Ministry of the People's Power for Defense
Patron Our Lady of Loreto
Motto Spatium superanus palatinus (Latin: The paladin of the sovereign space)
Colors Bleu celeste     
March Venezuelan Air Force Hymn (Himno de la Aviacion Militar Nacional)
  • 10 December, Air Force Day
  • 27 November, anniversary of the 2nd 1992 coup attempt by members of the Air Force
Commanding General of the Venezuelan Air Force Major General Edgar Valentín Cruz Arteaga
Aircraft flown

The Bolivarian National Air Force of Venezuela/Venezuelan National Bolivarian Military Aviation, since the end of 2008: (Spanish) Aviación Militar Nacional Bolivariana de Venezuela (previously Fuerza Aérea Venezolana, FAV)[1] is a professional armed body designed to defend Venezuela's sovereignty and airspace. It is a service component of the National Armed Forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.


  • History 1
  • Modernization 2
  • Combat organization 3
    • List of Venezuelan Air Force bases 3.1
    • Major commands of the Venezuelan Air Force 3.2
  • Aircraft inventory 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Most of the airbases in Venezuela were built in the 1960s as part of a massive expansion program. The main fighter types in those years were Venom, Vampire, and F-86. Bomber squadrons typically operated B-25 Mitchell aircraft. The 1970s and 1980s saw a considerable increase in capacity, mainly because the rising oil prices enabled the FAV to re-equip most of its units. The mixture of various aircraft types was maintained and Mirage IIIE and V, VF-5A and D, T-2D, OV-10A and E, T-27 were introduced. Venezuela was one of the first export customers for the F-16 which arrived in 1983 to equip the newly formed Grupo Aéreo de Caza 16 at El Libertador Airbase.[2][3]

In the 1992 Venezuelan coup d'état attempts, elements of the Venezuelan Air Force were key instigators of the rebellion. FAV units concentrated at El Libertador Air Base under the command of Brig. General Visconti seized control of the airbase and then launched an attack on the capitol. OV-10s, AT-27 Tucanos, and Mirage III fighters under his command bombarded targets in the capitol and loyalist air bases, destroying 5 CF-5 fighters on the ground. Two loyalist pilots escaped with F-16 fighters and shot down 2 OV-10s and 1 Tucano, claiming air superiority for the government . Two more rebel OV-10s were lost to ground fire. As the tables turned on the coup attempt, General Visconti and his allies fled in two C-130s, 2 Mirages, 1 OV-10 Bronco, and several SA.330 helicopters.[4]


The AMV purchased 24 Sukhoi Su-30 planes from Russia in July 2006, as a result of the United States embargo on spare parts for their F-16 force.[5]

In 2008, Venezuela was reported for a potential acquisition of a number of Su-35 fighter aircraft and a second batch of aircraft 12-24 Sukhoi Su-30 from Russia.[6][7] It did not proceed further.

Combat organization

The current organization includes an Air Group 17 with Mil Mi-17[8]

List of Venezuelan Air Force bases

Major commands of the Venezuelan Air Force

The Venezuelan Air Force as a service branch of the National Armed Forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is composed of the following Major Commands, with their respective commanders and subordinate units as of 2015:

  • Air Force General Command
Commanding General, Venezuelan Air Force: Maj. Gen. Edgar Valentín Cruz Arteaga
  • Air Force General Staff
Chief of the Air Staff:
  • Air General Inspectorate
Inspector General of the Venezuelan Air Force: Div. Gen. José Manuel Duque Marín
  • Air Operations Command
Commanding General, Air Operations Command: Div. Gen. Ángel Andrade Barráez
  • Air Defense Forces Command
Commanding General, Air Defense Forces Command: Div. Gen. Franklin Rafael Gil Espinoza
  • Air Personnel Command
Commanding General, Air Personnel Command: Div. Gen. Eliezer Hernández Sánchez
    • Aviation Infantry Corps
    • Venezuelan Air Force Corps of Engineers
General Officer Commanding, VAF-CoE: Brigadier General José Gregorio Guédez
    • Air Force Police
  • Air Education and Training Command
Commanding General, AETC: Div. Gen. Mayra Oropeza de Cabriles
    • Venezuelan Air Force Academy, Maracay
Superintendent, Venezuelan Air Force Academy: Brig. Gen. Ángel Eduardo Armas Tagliaferro
Asisistant Superintendent, Venezuelan Air Force Academy: Col. Víctor Adrían Pérez Jauregui
    • Military Technical Academy - Air Branch, Maracay
    • Venezuelan Air Force NCO School
Commandant of the VAF-NCOS: Brig. Gen. Ángelo Bruno D’Onofrio
    • Venezuelan National Armed Forces Air Training Center
Director of the ATC: Brig. Gen. Enzo Puglisi De Nisco
    • Air Power College
    • Air Force Aerospace Medicine and Physical Training Center
    • Venezuelan Air Force High School
  • Air Mobility and Logistics Command, led by its Commanding General, Div. Gen. William Cestari Navarro

Aircraft inventory

As of December 2014, the Venezuelan Air Forces consists of the following aircraft models and numbers:[9]
Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[9] Notes
Fighter aircraft
Sukhoi Su-30MKV Flanker-G Russia multirole strike fighter SU-30 MK2 23 24 originally delivered. One crashed during an intercept mission of an unidentified intruding aircraft from Colombia on 17 September 2015.[10]
Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon USA fighter
F-16A/B Block 15OCU 12 10 F16 A and 2 F16B
Hongdu K-8VV Karakorum China light attack/trainer K-8VV 24 -One was lost in an accident of 2010, a second one on Nov 27th 2012 during a ceremony on national television, and a third was lost during a night exercise on July 26, 2013.[11]
Hongdu L-15 China light attack/trainer L-15 0 24 on order.
Trainer aircraft
Embraer EMB 312 T-27 Tucano Brazil trainer/light attack EMB 312 T-27 12
Aermacchi SF.260 Italy trainer SF-260EV 12
SKYLANECessna 182 USA trainer 182 SKYLANE 12
Diamond DA 40 Austria trainer DA 40 0 36 on order.
Quad City Challenger USA trainer Quad City Challenger 7
Transport and aerial refueling
Boeing 707 USA transport/fuel Tanker 1
Lockheed C-130 Hercules USA transport C-130H 4
Shaanxi Y-8 China transport Y-8F-200VV 8 Order completed Nov 2013.[12]
Short 360 UK transport 360-300 2
Dornier Do 228 GER logistical support 228 NG 10 in order.[13][14]
Utility transport and VIP transport
Airbus A-319CJ European Union transport A-319CJ 1 Presidential Aircraft (air force one)
Boeing 737 USA VIP transport 737-2N1 1
Cessna Citation X USA VIP transport Cessna Citation X 1
Dassault Falcon 50 France VIP Falcon-50EX 3
Dassault Falcon 900 France VIP Falcon 900 2
Cessna 208B Grand Caravan USA transport
air ambulance
208B 2
Cessna Citation II USA transport Citation II 1
Cessna T206H Stationair USA transport T206H Stationair 15
Beechcraft B200 Super King Air USA transport;air ambulance 4
Special operations
Dassault Falcon 20 France Electronic warfare
Falcon-20DC 1
Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner USA Electronic Warfare
C-26B 1
Eurocopter AS 332 Super Puma France transport helicopter 8
Eurocopter AS 532 Cougar France AS-532AC
Kazan Mi-17 Russia Transport helicopter Mi-17V-5
6 Mi-17V-5; 2 Mi-171VIP purchased. One lost to crash.
Enstrom 480B USA trainer helicopter Enstrom 480B 16 in order.
Ghods Mohajer/Saint Arpia Iran/ Venezuela observation UAV 12+[15] 12 drones bought directly from Iran. More to be produced locally in Venezuela.[16]
Cavim ANT-3X Venezolano Venezuela observation UAV 4


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ a b World Air Forces 2013 -, pg 30, December 11, 2012
  10. ^
  11. ^ Venezuelan K-8W light fighter trainer crashes -, 29 July 2013
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^

External links

  • (Spanish) Sitio oficial de la Aviación Militar de Venezuela
  • U.S. Arms Sales to Venezuela from the Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives

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