Venezuelan Air Force

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Bolivarian Venezuelan Military Aviation
Seal of the Venezuelan Air Force.svg
Venezuelan Air Force emblem
Founded June 22, 1946; 72 years ago (1946-06-22)
Country  Venezuela
Allegiance President of Venezuela
Type Air force
Size 749 aircraft
Part of Ministry of Defense
Patron Our Lady of Loreto
Motto(s) 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
Commanding General of the Venezuelan Air Force Major General Edgar Valentín Cruz Arteaga
Roundel Roundel of Venezuela.svg
Roundel of Venezuela - Low Visibility.svg
Flag of the Venezuelan Air Force.png
Aircraft flown

The Venezuelan Air Force, officially the Venezuelan National Bolivarian Military Aviation (Spanish: Aviación Militar Nacional Bolivariana de Venezuela) 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.


The organization is also known as the Bolivarian National Air Force of Venezuela. Its current official name has been in use since the end of 2008. It was previously called the Venezuelan Air Force (FAV; Spanish: Fuerza Aérea Venezolana).[1]


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 the Mirage IIIE and Mirage 5, VF-5A and D, T-2D, OV-10A and E, and 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 participants in the rebellion. FAV units at El Libertador Air Base under the command of Brig. General Visconti seized control of the airbase and then launched an attack on the capital. OV-10s, T-27s, and Mirage III fighters under Visconti's command bombarded targets in the capital and loyalist air bases, destroying five CF-5 fighters on the ground. Two loyalist pilots escaped with F-16 fighters and shot down two OV-10s and a 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, two Mirages, an OV-10, 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.

In October 2015, Venezuela announced the purchase of 12 more Su-30MK2 from Russia for $480 million.[8][9]

Combat organization

The current organization includes an Air Group 17 with Mil Mi-17[10]

Current inventory

A Venezuelan Air Force F-16
A C-130H Hercules on approach
A Sukhoi SU-30 lift off
A EMB-312 Tucano on display
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Sukhoi Su-30 Russia multirole Su-30MK2 23[11]
F-16 Fighting Falcon United States multirole F-16A 19[11]
Electronic Warfare
Falcon 20 France electronic-warfare 200 1[11]
Metroliner III United States EW / reconnaissance 1[11]
Boeing 707 United States aerial refueling 1[11]
Cessna Citation II United States VIP 1[11]
King Air United States utility 200/350 5[11]
Short 360 United Kingdom utility transport 2[11]
Cessna 208 United States light transport 4[11]
Shaanxi Y-8 People's Republic of China transport 8[11]
Metroliner IV United States light utility 1[11]
C-130 Hercules United States transport C-130H 5[11]
Dornier Do 228 Germany transport Do 228NG 3 7 on order[11]
Mil Mi-17 Russia utility Mi-8/17 10[11]
Eurocopter AS532 France transport 6[11]
Trainer Aircraft
Hongdu K-8 People's Republic of China jet trainer 24[11]
Diamond DA40 Canada Basic Trainer 24[11]
Diamond DA42 Canada Basic Trainer 6[11]
Embraer EMB 312 Brazil trainer 19[11]
F-16 Fighting Falcon United States conversion trainer F-16B 4[11]
SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 Italy basic trainer 12[11]
Enstrom 480 United States trainer 6 12 on order[11]
Ghods Mohajer Iran surveillance SANT Arpía 12[12]


  1. ^ "Sukhoi Su-30 story in colours. Sukhoi Su-30 fighter worldwide camouflage and painting schemes". Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  2. ^ "F-16s for Venezuela". Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Venezuelan F-16s". Archived from the original on 8 May 2004. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  4. ^ Cooper, Tom. "Venezuelan Coup Attempt, 1992". Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  5. ^ [1] Archived 14 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Venezuela Buying Su-30s, Helicopters, etc. From Russia". Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Venezuela buys Russian aircraft, tanks to boost power". UPI. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Venezuela allocates $480m to buy Sukhoi aircraft from Russia". Retrieved 2 November 2015. [unreliable source?]
  9. ^ "Pese a la crisis económica, Venezuela compra doce cazas rusos". Clarín. 29 October 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Aviación Militar Venezolana". Archived from the original on 13 October 2006. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "World Air Forces 2017". Flightglobal Insight. 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  12. ^ "La Fuerza Aérea Venezolana exhibe sus vehículos aéreos no tripulados ANT-1X". 25 November 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2014.

External links

  • (in 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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