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Aviacion Cubana

The Cuban Air Force Today. General view

Ruben Urribarres


FAR DAAFAR chief: Brigade General Pedro J. Mendiondo Gómez (Died on august 26, 2013)
Strengh: Today 10,000 (in the eighties 20,000) 
Time of service: 3 year. 
Equipment. Have 226 combat aircrafts, 60 transports, 70 trainers and 70 helicopters. In total, with miscelaneus and reserves, are near 420 aircrafts, the 90% are soviet built. 

The Revolutionary Air Force (FAR) is part of the DAAFAR (Revolutionary Air Force and Air Defense Forces), one of the three components of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR). In this corp are included too surface to air missiles and anti/aircrafts artillery.
Jefe de la DAAFAR General de Brigada Pedro Mendiondo
Brigade General  Pedro J. Mendiondo Gómez

The commander of the Revolutionary Air Force and Air Defense Forces rank as a vice minister and reports directly to the chief of the General Staf. The Air Force commander rank as an equal with the comanders of the Revolutionary Army and Navy. The Air Force commander controls the General Staff of the Revolutionary Air Force and Air Defense Forces, and exercises authority over a subordinate command structure which is similar to that of the Army. The role of the Revolutionary Air Force and Air Defense Forces is to preserve the integrity of Cuban airspace, to give tactical and logistical support to the Revolutionary Army and Navy and to provide such aviation services for civilian agencies as may be required. By the quantity of combat aircraft, their quality and the combat experience of their men, the Revolutionary Air Force is the stronger Air Force of Latin America. Their pilots give a useful operational experience in military campaigns overseas, and in operations in national territory. Many pilots have hundreds combat sorties and thousands of flight hours. 


MiG-21MFThe Revolutionary Air Force is divided into three territorial commands, known as air zones, each containing an air brigade made up of a variable number of air regiments and independent squadrons. Each air regiment has had a minimum front line strenght of 30 aircraft, and the independent squadrons are of variable composition. The air force supposedly operating some 130 or more aircraft from the total of 230, by scarcity of fuel and replacement parts. In total are 9 regiments of combat aircrafts MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-29 (6 of interceptors and 3 of fighter-bombers), 3 transport regiment, 3 of helicopter, and 4 squadron in the Aviation School. The troops of the Air Defense Forces have 4 brigades of surface to air missiles with and 28 battalions. 

Organization at 1990  (currently, several units were dissolved and many aircraft placed in conservation)
Zona Aérea Occidental.  2° Brigada de la Guardia "Playa Girón"  ("Bay of Pigs" Guard Brigade)
21° Regimiento de Caza, San Antonio  (air defence role)
- 211° Escuadrón de Caza,  15 MiG-21bis/UM
- 212° Escuadrón de Caza,  15 MiG-21bis/UM
22° Regimiento de Caza, Baracoa  (air defence role)
- 221° Escuadrón de Caza,  15 MiG-21bis/UM
- 222° Escuadrón de Caza,  15 MiG-21bis/UM 
- 223° Escuadrón de Caza,  21 MiG-23MF y 1 MiG-23UB)
23° Regimiento de Caza, San Antonio y San Julian  (air defence role)
- 231° Escuadrón de Caza de San Antonio de los Baños,  12 MiG-29 y 2 MiG-20UB
- 232° Escuadrón de Caza de San Julian,  14 MiG-23ML y 1 MiG-23UB
24° Regimiento de Apoyo Táctico, Guines  (attack role)
- 241° Escuadrón de Caza,  13 MiG-23BN y 1 MiG-23UB
26º Regimiento de Helicópteros, Ciudad Libertad  (helicopters)
- 261º Escuadrón de Helicópteros de Propósitos Generales,  Mi-8, Mi-2
- 262º Escuadrón de Helicópteros de Propósitos Generales,  Mi-8, Mi-2
25º Regimiento de Transporte, San Antonio y José Martí  (transport)
- 251º Escuadrón de Transporte,  Aeropuerto Jose Martí,  2 Il 76, 2 An-32, 2 An 30, An 24, An 2 
- 252º Escuadrón de Transporte,  San Antonio de los Baños,  2 Yak-40, An-2, An-26
Escuela de Aviacion Militar "Comandante Che Guevara", de San Julian (aviation school)
Four squadrons of training aircraft,  20 Z-326, 25 L-39
Zona Aérea Central.   1° Brigada de la Guardia "Batalla de Santa Clara"  ("Battle of Santa Clara" Guard Brigade)
11° Regimiento de Caza, Santa Clara  (air defence role)
- 111° Escuadrón de Caza,  15 MiG-21bis/UM
- 112° Escuadrón de Caza,  15 MiG-21bis/UM
12° Regimiento de Caza,  Sancti Spiritus  (air defence role)
- 121° Escuadrón de Caza,  15 MiG-21MF/UM
- 122° Escuadrón de Caza,  15 MiG-21MF/UM
14° Regimiento de Apoyo Táctico, Santa Clara  (attack role)
- 141° Escuadrón de Caza,  13 MiG-23BN y 1 MiG-23UB
16º Regimiento de Helicópteros, Cienfuegos  (helicopters)
- 162º Escuadrón de Helicópteros,  Mi-17
- 163º Escuadrón de Helicópteros,  Mi-8
Marina de Guerra Revolucionaria, Cienfuegos  (Navy)
161º  Escuadrón de Helicópteros de Guerra Anti-Submarina,  Mi-14PL  (anti submarine warfare)
15º Regimiento de Transporte, Cienfuegos  (transport)
- 151º Escuadrón de Transporte,  An-2, An-26
Zona Aérea Oriental.   3° Brigada de la Guardia "Cuartel Moncada"  ("Moncada Barracks" Guard Brigade)
31° Regimiento de Caza, Camagüey  (air defence role)
- 311° Escuadrón de Caza,  15 MiG-21MF/UM
- 312° Escuadrón de Caza,  15 MiG-21MF/UM
34° Regimiento de Apoyo Táctico, Holguín  (attack role)
- 341° Escuadrón de Caza,  13 MiG-23BN y 1 MiG-23UB
36º Regimiento de Helicópteros, Santiago de Cuba  (helicopters)
- 361º Escuadrón de Helicópteros de Combate,  12 Mi-24D
- 362º Escuadrón de Helicópteros,  Mi-8
- 363º Escuadrón de Helicópteros,  Mi-8
35º Regimiento de Transporte, Santiago de Cuba  (transport)
- 351º Escuadrón de Transporte, 


Aero L-39C AlbatrosMost training is carried out at the Aviation Cadet School (Escuela Militar de Pilotos de Aviación -EMPA), at San Julián, which offers courses in sophisticated aircraft and missile operations, with specialist technical and flight training schools. The period of instruction for officers varies between four and five years according to specialisation. The Instituto Técnico Militar (ITM), at Havana, offers comprehensive specialist training in communications, avionics and aeronautical engineering, and training for anti -aircraft troops. All flying personnel formerly received part of their instruction in the Soviet Union, where combat aircrews also received additional advanced training. In the former USRR in more of 30 years were training a total of 3.380 Cuban military aviators (pilots and specialist). To compare the importance of the Cuban aviation program, here were too trained only 3,061 aviator from Iraq; 2,543 from Vietnam; 1,698 from East Germany; 1,632 from Ethiopie; 1,310 from Angola; 1,286 from Egypt; and 985 from North Corea (among others countries). They have intensified considerably the training in simulators. 

Officers also receive post -graduate training at specific points in their careers at the General M ?ximo Gomez Academy. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union all foreign training assistance was withdrawn. The previous dependence of the Revolutionary Air Force on foreign assistance is reflected in its small inventory of training aircraft relative to its overall size. Lack of fuel has all but put an end to flight training. Even without this handicap the available number of training aircraft would be inadequate to produce a sufficient output of qualified aircrews for the future. Today only part of the pilots already have the normal flight time, made in theirs MiG-29 between 100 and 200 hours annual. The pilots of others aircrafts have very limited flight time in fighters, and completed their flight time flying in transport aircrafts. 

II Part:

  Aviation of others corps  Civil Aviation  Air Bases  Missiles
  Air Defence  Perspectives  Equipment

  See also:
Cuban MiG-15
Cuban MiG-17
Cuban MiG-19
Cuban MiG-21
Cuban MiG-21 in action
Operación Pico: Cuban MiG-21 over Dominican Republic
Cuban MiG-17 and MiG-21 in the Ogaden War (Ethiopia)
Cuban MiG-23
Cuban MiG-23 in action (air-to-ground missions in Angola)
Cuban MiG-23 in action (air-to-air missions in Angola)
Cuban MiG-29

  External Links:
Cuban Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum
Cuban MiGs
Cuban Military Forum
The MiG-29 Fighter
Cuban MiG-23 over Venezuela
Cuba in Africa, The Angola War

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