Mexican Air Force - Machtres Fighters

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Mexican Air Force

Planes > Air Forces

The Mexican Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Mexicana or FAM) is the aviation branch of the Mexican Army and depends on the National Defense Secretariat (SEDENA). Since 2008, its commander is Gen. Leonardo Gonzáles García.


World War II

The Escuadrón 201, a P-47D fighter squadron of the Fuerza Aérea Expedicionaria Mexicana (Mexican Expeditionary Air Force), served in the Pacific against Japan during World War II. The 201 Squadron completed 59 combat missions over the Philippines and Formosa, now called Taiwan. It is the only unit of the Mexican armed forces ever to see overseas combat.


A national commander under the orders of the Secretary of National Defense is in charge of the Mexican Air Force. The second-in-command is the Air Force Chief of Staff, who supervises a Deputy Chief of Operations and a Deputy Chief of Management. The Air Force divides the country's territory into four regions: Northwestern (Mexicali, Baja California), Northeastern (Chihuahua, Chihuahua), Central (Mexico City) and Southeastern (Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas); each region is commanded by a general. The regional headquarters are in charge of 18 air bases across the country:

1 Santa Lucía, Estado de Mexico
2 Ixtepec, Oaxaca
3 El Ciprés, Baja California
4 Cozumel, Quintana Roo
5 Zapopan, Jalisco
6 Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas
7 Pie de la Cuesta, Guerrero
8 Mérida, Yucatán
9 La Paz, Baja California Sur
10 Culiacán, Sinaloa
11 Santa Gertrudis, Chihuahua
12 Tijuana, Baja California
13 Chihuahua, Chihuahua
14 Escobedo, Nuevo León
15 San Juan Bautista la Raya, Oaxaca
16 Ciudad Pemex, Tabasco
17 Copalar, Chiapas
18 Hermosillo, Sonora

1st Military Air Station - Mexico City International Airport

General Coordination of the Presidential Air Transport Unit (CGTAP)
High Command Special Air Transport Unit (UETAAM) - operating UH-60 Black Hawk, SA 330J, JetStar, IAI 201, Beechcraft Super King Air, Boeing 737

1st Military Air Base - Santa Lucia, Hidalgo

1st Air Group
101 Air Squadron - operating Bell 412, UH-60, SA 330
112 Air Squadron - operating Bell 212, MD 530MG
401 Air Squadron - operating Northrop F-5

3rd Air Group
301 Air Squadron - operating An-32, IAI 101B/102/201, C-295 (Two C-295 are in active service.)
302 Air Squadron - operating C-130 Hercules, L100-30, Boeing 727
303 Air Squadron - operating Mi-8T/MTV-1
502 Air Squadron - operating Beech 90, Cessna 402, Cessna 182, Cessna 500, Cessna 206, Cessna 210, RC690/695
Aerial Surveillance Squadron - operating C-26 Metroliner, SA2-37B, R/P-99

2nd Military Air Base - Ixtepec, Oaxaca

1st Air Group
402 Air Squadron - operating T-33(recently retired)

3rd Military Air Base - El Cipres, Baja California

5th Air Group
106 Air Squadron - Cessna 182

4th Military Air Base - Cozumel, Quintana Roo

2nd Air Group
201 Air Squadron - Pilatus PC-7

5th Military Air Base - Zapopan, Jalisco

5th Air Group
105 Air Squadron - operating Cessna 182, Cessna 206
111 Air Squadron - operating Bell 206, Bell 212

Air College
Preparatory Squadron - operating Beech F33C
Primary Squadron - operating Aermacchi SF.260
Advanced Squadron - Pilatus PC-7

6th Military Air Base - Teran, Chiapas

2nd Air Group
202 Air Squadron - operating Pilatus PC-7, Pilatus PC-9M

7th Military Air Base - Pie de la Cuesta, Guerrero

5th Air Group
102 Air Squadron - operating Bell 206, Bell 212
2nd Air Group
204 Air Squadron - operating Pilatus PC-7

8th Military Air Base - Mérida, Yucatán

5th Air Group
104 Air Squadron - operating Bell 206, Bell 212, CH-53D Yas'ur, Cessna 210

9th Military Air Base - La Paz, Baja California Sur

2nd Air Group
203 Air Squadron - Pilatus PC-7

10th Military Air Base - Culiacán, Sinaloa

5th Air Group
109 Air Squadron - Cessna 182

11th Military Air Base - Santa Gertrudis, Chihuahua

Military School of Applied Airtactics of the Air Force (EMAATFA) - operating Pilatus PC-7

13th Military Air Base - Chihuahua, Chihuahua

5th Air Group
110 Air Squadron - operating Cessna 182

14th Military Air Base - Monterrey, Nuevo Leon

5th Air Group
108 Air Squadron - operating Cessna 182

15th Military Air Base - Oaxaca, Oaxaca

5th Air Group
103 Air Squadron - operating Bell 212

18th Military Air Base - Hermosillo, Sonora

5th Air Group
107 Air Squadron - operating Cessna 182, Pilatus PC-6

Pilot selection and training

College of the Air
Main facade of the Air Force AcademySince the National School of Aviation was opened in 1915, it took different names over the years until finally, in 1959 it joined the military school of meteorology, mechanics and aviation specialists, forming the leading campus in military aviation education: 'El Colegio del Aire' (College of the Air), which since September 9, 1959, has guided the formation of Air Force officers. The Air Force Academy is an all academic institution of the Mexican Air Force and comprises four schools: 'Military Aviation School', 'Maintenance and Supply Military School', 'Air Force Military Specialist School', and the 'Military Troops' Air Force Speciaslist School'.

Military Aviation School (EMA)

Admission to the Air Force is through the mechanism of military recruitment that takes place every year at The Ministry of Defense. The FAM currently offers tertiary level studies - highlighting that of Military Pilot, which spans 4 years at the facilities of the 'College of the Air' located on the Military Air Base No. 5.

The subjects taught in pilot training include: tactics of the branches of aviation, general aviation tactics, meteorology, air navigation, air traffic control, radio communications and culture in general, along with approximately 250 hours of flight. During the first year, the training is theoretical. During the second year, Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft are used for flight instruction. During the third the cadets are trained Aermacchi SF260EU for aerobatics, and later on Pilatus PC-7 for advanced flight tactics, including combat. Within each of these stages, the cadets are trained in aerial acrobatics, stage tactical instrument flight, visual flying rules (VFR), radio operations, among others, which increase in complexity as the cadets' training progresses. The first female aviator to graduate as a pilot in the history of FAM, Andrea Cruz, became a cadet at the Military Aviation School in 2007.

Military Air Force Specialist School (EMEFA);

Military School of Air Force Specialist offers a comprehensive scholarship lasting three years for officer training meteorologists and flight control, obtaining at the graduate level of lieutenant. His duties are to provide meteorological information and control of military or civil aircraft.

School of the Air Force Special Forces(EMTEFA)

Military School of special troops of the Air Force is a establishment of military education that has as its mission to train sergeants in seconds aviation maintenance, supply lines, electronic aviation and military aviation. The school is located in the St. Lucía military base.

Military School of Maintenance and Supply (EMMA)

In this school, officers are trained as aviation maintenance specialists, aviation electronics specialists, weapons and air supply lines.

To enter any of the campuses of the Air Force, SEDENA convenes a competitive entrance examination which is held each year. The requirements are:

Mexican citizenship and have no other nationality

Be the son of Mexican born parents

Minimum age of 15 years old at December 31 of the year in course

Maximum age of 20 years old at December 31 of the year in course

Have completed high school or equivalent

Minimum height of 1.65 m

In order to be admitted to any school of the Mexican Air Force Academy mentioned above, the applicant should also perform the following tests: physical, medical, cultural, and aviation psychology. In some cases, the examination and psychological Aeromedical 2nd level may also be required.

Class Aircraft Model In service
Combat & interception jets Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter F-5E
Close support airplanes Pilatus PC-7
Transport airplanes C-130 A/E/MK1/MK3/L382G
Boeing 727-200 3
Arava IAI-201 12
McDonnell Douglas DC-9 1
Reconnaissance airplanes Beechcraft C-90A King Air 4
Rockwell Sabreliner 75A 5
Embraer R-99
Fairchild C-26 Metroliner III 4
Schweizer SA2-37A 1
Cessna 182 Skylane 70
Maule Air M-7-235
Pilatus PC-6 4
Training airplanes Aermacchi SF-260 27
Beechcraft F-33C Bonanza 29
Combat helicopters Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk 6
MD Helicopters 530F 20
Transport helicopters Mil Mil Mi-2
Mil Mi-8
Mil Mi-17
Sikorsky CH-53D Yas'ur 4
Bell 412
Training helicopters 205
Reconnaissance helicopters 205
VIP airplanes Boeing 757-225
Cessna Citation 500 1
Lockheed Jetstar 1
Grumman G-2 1
Learjet 35A 1
Aero Commander 69-5A Turbo 1
VIP helicopters Eurocopter Puma
Super Puma
Aircraft recently retired Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star 15
Mil Mil Mi-26 1
Retired and still functional Stearman PT-17 Kaydet 3

Future acquisitions

In March 2009, Mexico placed an order with France to purchase six EC 725 Super Cougar helicopters at a cost of €168 million euros (around $212 million USD). Deliveries are expected at the end of 2011.

Class Aircraft Model On order
Transport helicopters Eurocopter EC-725 Cougar 12 in order
Transport Aircraft Bombardier Aerospace Bombardier Global Express 1
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