The FAB is the largest air force in Latin America, with about 700 manned aircraft in service, and, as of August, 2008, 66,109 personnel on active duty. An additional 7,655 civilian personnel are employed .
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, made the first steps to organize a national air arm. The idea got more support 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 equipment were transferred to FAB.
After the war, the FAB began flying the British Gloster Meteor jet fighter. The jets were purchased from the British for 15,000 tons of crude cotton, as Brazil had no foreign currency reserves to spare. The jet was operated by the FAB until the mid-1960s, when it was replaced by the F-80C and TF-33A, which were later replaced by the F-5 and Mirage III jets.
The 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 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.
In the early 2000s, with renewed economic stability, the FAB underwent an 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, 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-Armée de L’Air. Known as F-2000s in Brazil, the first two aircraft arrived at Anápolis Air Base on September 4, 2006.
On November 4, 2007 the F-X Project underwent a small change. Now known as Project FX-2 and with a bigger budget, the competitors for acquisition are now the Eurofighter Typhoon, Sukhoi Su-35, Saab Gripen, Dassault Rafale, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and, although information on Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II was requested, Lockheed Martin presented an F-16 Fighting Falcon variant (designated F-16BR).
Other programs, however, were successfully completed and included the following (as of May 2007):
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 assigned to the Ministry of Defense (Ministério da Defesa).
The COMAer is led by the "Aeronautics Commander" (Comandante da Aeronáutica). Unlike USAF, the Commander is a “Tenente-Brigadeiro-do-Ar” (the most senior rank 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 Defense.
COMAer 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).
Common used designations for squadrons are:
The air units are organized as follows:
|COMGAR sub-formation||Air unit||Aircraft type||Air base|
|I FAe||1º/5º GAv||C-95||Fortaleza|
|II FAe||1º/7º GAv||P-95B||Salvador|
|4º/7º GAv||P-95A||Santa Cruz|
|3º/8º GAv||CH-34||Campo dos Afonsos|
|5º/8º GAv||UH-1H||Santa Maria|
|2º/10º GAv||UH-1H,SC-95B||Campo Grande|
|III FAe||1º/1º GAvCa||F-5EM,AT-27||Santa Cruz|
|2º/1º GAvCa||F-5EM,AT-27||Santa Cruz|
|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/10º GAv||A-1,A-1B||Santa Maria|
|3º/10º GAv||RA-1,RA-1B||Santa Maria|
|1º/16º GAv||A-1,A-1B||Santa Cruz|
|V FAe||1º GTT||C-130E/H||Campo dos Afonsos|
|1º/15º GAv||C-95B||Campo Grande|
|I COMAR||1º ETA||C-95B,C-98,C-97||Belém|
|II COMAR||2º ETA||C-95,C-97||Recife|
|III COMAR||3º ETA||C-95B,C-97||Galeão|
|IV COMAR||4º ETA||C-95A,C-97||São Paulo|
|V COMAR||5º ETA||C-95A,C-97||Canoas|
|VI COMAR||6º ETA||C-95c, VU-9,VC-97||Brasília|
|VII COMAR||7º ETA||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||Clube de Vôo a Vela||U-19,Z-15,Z-16,TZ-13||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|
The FAB is currently working on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) supporting the United Nations force (a joint Brazilian, Uruguayan ,Chilean and Argentine force) deployed there.
The FAB operates 729 aircraft, including 165 main combat aircraft and 91 helicopters. 479 of the force's aircraft, comprising nearly 66% of the total force, were manufactured or assembled in Brazil, including 107 combat aircraft (65%) and 35 helicopters (38%).
Brazil,Israel : Israel Aerospace Industries Was Selected by the Brazilian Air Force to Carry out a Large-Scale Air Refueling Project
Mar 18, 2013; Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) was selected by the Brazilian Air Force to execute a large-scale air refueling project for...