Venezuelan Air Force
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.
|Bolivarian Venezuelan Military Aviation|
Venezuelan Air Force emblem
|Founded||June 22, 1946|
|Allegiance||President of Venezuela|
|Part of||Ministry of Defense|
|Patron||Our Lady of Loreto|
|Motto(s)||Spatium superanus palatinus (Latin: The paladin of the sovereign space)|
|March||Venezuelan Air Force Hymn (Himno de la Aviacion Militar Nacional)|
|Commanding General of the Venezuelan Air Force||Major General Edgar Valentín Cruz Arteaga|
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).
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.
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 Brigadier 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.
The AMV purchased 35 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. 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. It did not proceed further.
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