Country Listing

Uruguay Table of Contents


Creation of an Independent Air Force

Military aviation began in 1913 as the Military Aeronautics Branch of the army, and as early as 1916 a flight training school was established near Montevideo. By the 1930s, the service comprised one bomber and three reconnaissance flights. It operated out of bases at Paso de Mendoza near Montevideo, at Durazno, and at the Military Air School at Pando in Canelones Department. Beginning in the late 1940s, United States military assistance focused on military aviation, and the inventory of military aircraft increased in number and quality. The Air Force Academy was established at Pando in 1950, and aviation instruction formerly conducted at the Military Academy was discontinued. In late 1953, the Uruguayan Air Force, which had continued to function as an integral part of the army, was established as an autonomous organization, equal in status with the army and the navy.

During the 1950s, the air force inventory was relatively well developed. As equipment aged, however, economic constraints prevented replacement, and the inventory grew smaller. By 1990 the air force had shrunk to a very modest size (about 100 aircraft) and operated largely obsolete equipment. Given the nation's continued economic problems and the low-threat environment, the air force appeared likely to remain a welltrained , professional force but one that was poorly equipped.

Data as of December 1990