Tag Archives: Venezuelan Air Force

Russia: “Venezuela buys 12 Sukhoi Su-30 fighters”

Venezuela is buying 12 Sukhoi Su-30M2 multi-role fighters, Russian sources and Latin American media say.

As late as October this year the Venezuelan Air Force commander, Major-General Valentin Cruz Edgar Arteaga, met with representatives from the Russian state weapons export company Rosoboronexport to talk about the details. The Venezuelan government has allocated 480 million US dollars for the deal, which sounds like a bargain for these advanced jets.

Su-30 Venezuela crash

The Bolivarian National Air Force of Venezuela already operates almost two dozen Su-30MK2Vs. Of the 24 purchases in 2006 one crashed on 17 September 2015 while attempting to intercept an aircraft flying into Venezuela from Colombia. The Flankers make up the core of the combat fleet, which also includes 10 Lockheed Martin F-16A single-seaters and 2 F-16B two-seaters.

Sukhoi Airbases

Most Sukhois currently operate from Barcelona / Luis del Valle Garcia Airbase halfway the capital Caracas and Trinidad and Tobago. However, the dozen new Su-30s may be based at El Sombrero/Capitan Manuel Rios Guarico AB south of the capital, which is already the second Flanker base of the country.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A pair of Venezuelan Su-30s from the first batch (Image (CC) Big Bosstt)

Venezuela overhauls Special Forces Super Puma on its own

The Venezuelan Directorate of Maintenance and Aeronautical Development (La Dirección de Mantenimiento y Desarrollo Aeronáutico (DIMADEA)) overhauled one of the Special Forces Aérospatiale/Eurocopter (Airbus Helicopters) AS332 Super Puma on its own.

The medium-size tactical transport helicopter was put back into service with Aier Special Operations Group No. 10, or Grupo Aéreo de Operaciones Especiales Nº10, at El Libertador Airbase of Maracay-Palo Negro.

Although this check-up of the paint, the hydraulics and other systems is rather routine for many nations, we at Airheadsfly.com saw the official new release by the Venezuelan Air Force to be an excellent opportunity to share with you an official photo of the Super Puma in a livery one doesn’t see often outside Venezuela, where the chopper – according to the official statement – “will be entrusted with missions for the benefit of the homeland of Bolívar”.

Source: Aviación Militar Bolivariana de Venezuela (AMB)
Featured image: The AS332 Super Puma returns to GAOE 10 at El Libertador Airbase (Image © PTTE Alejandro Martinez / AMB)

Hongdu K-8 star of Venezuelan readiness exercise on Isla de Margarita

The Hongdu K-8VV (“Karakorum”) light attack and jet trainer aircraft was the star of a recent readiness exercise by the Venezuelan Air Force, officially called the Aviación Militar Nacional Bolivariana de Venezuela.

For the occasion at least three K-8VVs forward deployed to Luisa Cáceres de Arismendi Airbase on 21 March 2015. Part of Del Caribe Santiago Mariño International Airport the base is located on the popular tourism magnet of Isla de Margarita, part of the Nueva Esparta state. Located 195 miles (315 km) east of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, the airbase is a 170 miles (270 km) away from to Grenada – the biggest next main Caribbean island – and roughly the same flying distance to Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago.

Although no data was released on the number of flights, the military militia of three islands that make up the Venezuelan state of Nueva Esparta got a great change of refuelling and servicing the planes, and performing the airbase services needed to make an operational deployment of the light attack planes possible.

Two squadrons
The Venezuelan Air Force ordered 26 Hongdu K-8VV Karakorum, with reportedly at least 18 operational divided over the two squadrons of Grupo Aéreo de Caza 12 (12th Air Combat Group) at LT Vicente Landaeta Gil Airbase in Barquisimeto. The official main task is close-air support and counter-insurgency, but by forwarding them for the exercise to Isla de Margarita the Venezuelan leadership also promotes the jets as defensive asset to protect its interests.

Compared to the original JL-8, the Venezuelan versions of the Chinese made aircraft have improved improved cockpit avionics, a HUD and no US controlled parts. The first Hongdu KV-8VV arrived in March 2010. Since then not everything went as smoothly as wished for, with at least three aircraft lost so far.

The JL-8 was a joint effort by China and Pakistan. Starting in 1986 the aircraft had a lot of American made parts, including the Garrett TFE-731 engine and cockpit systems. After four prototypes the initial low-rate production resulted in 24 aircraft in 1992, with six for the Pakistan Air Force and 18 for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). During the last two decades more than 500 have been produced. Pakistan operates at least 60 of them, while China has orders for 400 aircraft. Version have been exported to Egypt (118 aircraft), Myanmar (60), North Sudan (17), Zambia (15), Namibia (12), Zimbabwe (11), Bangladesh (9), Sri Lanka (7), Bolivia (6) and Ghana (4).

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Venezuelan Hongdu K-8VVs forward deployed in March to Isla de Margarita (Image © AMB Milicia)

Venezuelan Air Force started flight training on Diamond DA-40

The air force part of the Venezuelan military, called Aviación Militar Nacional Bolivariana de Venezuela in Spanish, started flight training on their first new Western made aircraft since then president Hugo Chávez died in 2013.

On 6 February 2015 Grupo de Entrenamiento Aéreo No 18 (Air Training Group No. 18; GEA18) of the Centro de Entrenamiento Aéreo (Air Training Centre) began instructing student pilots on the Diamond DA-40NG, made in Austria. The training flights are being made from Escuela Mariscal Sucre Airbase in the Maracay in the Aragua region near the city of Valencia. Amongst the pilots female lieutenants Maria Hidalgo and Risbely Linares, the first women to fly the DA-40 in Venezuelan service.

The Venezuelan Air Force is aiming to train a hundred students per year on the new aircraft, with 116 officers and 83 technicians on staff with GEA18. On 10 February 2014 Caracas signed a deal for the delivery of up to 36 Diamon DA-40s and DA-42s. The National Guard of the country already operates six DA-42 Twin Stars in the surveillance role.

Source: Aviación Militar Nacional Bolivariana de Venezuela
Featured image: The Diamond DA-40NG in Venezuelan Air Force service (Image © Aviación Militar Nacional Bolivariana de Venezuela)

Female DA-40NG pilot Lt. Maria Hidalgo of the Venezuelan Air Force (Image © Aviación Militar Nacional Bolivariana de Venezuela)
Female DA-40NG pilot Lt. Maria Hidalgo of the Venezuelan Air Force (Image © Aviación Militar Nacional Bolivariana de Venezuela)

New Gen Do-228s are a Venezuelan promise

The Dornier 228 New Generation in flight through beautiful mountainous terrain (Image © RUAG)
The Dornier 228 New Generation in flight through beautiful mountainous terrain (Image © RUAG)

The Venezuelan Air Force (Aviación Militar Nacional Bolivariana de Venezuela) will operate ten new Dornier Do-228 liaison and utility aircraft before the end of 2014. The German-Swiss designed two-engine turboprop aircraft are an election promise by Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro.

The first of the ten aircraft, a second-hand Dornier 228-212 arrived at Maracay Airport in the Latin America country already at the end of January. The second machine is also a pre-owned aircraft. The remaining eight will be brand new Do-228 New Generation aircraft, produced by Swiss RUAG in Oberpfaffenhofen in Southern Germany.

During his election campaign Venezuelan head-of-state Maduro promised to improve travelling between remote areas and regional capitals and to bring villagers medical care and support. With some areas hard-to-reach the Dornier 228s name to be able to cope with adverse weather conditions and less than perfect landing strips the ten Do-228s will be tasked to reach those who are difficult to get to.

The Dorniers will keep a civil registry, but flown by the Venezuelan Air Force on behalf of the government in Caracas.

Building on the heritage of the company founded by Claus Dornier which lasted from 1914 to 1998, RUAG restarted the production of the Dornier 228 in 2009 together with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The Indian company has been producting the Do-228 under license since 1983 and manufactures the major parts of the aircraft. RUAG puts it all together at the old Dornier company location in Oberpfaffenhofen and adds additional equipment the customer wishes.

The RUAG New Generation version of the Do-228 has a new five-blade propeller, a so-called glass cockpit and improved performance such as a longer range. It has a large cargo door, making handling of cargo up to 4,410 lb (2,000 kg) easier. It’s normal take-off distance is only 2,600 feet (793 metres), but used with Short Take-Off and Landing procedures 1,690 feet (515 metres) will do.

The landing strip needs to be at least 1,480 feet (450 metres) long. The Dornier 228 NG has a maximum cruise speed of 234 knots (433 kmh) and a typical range (74% load or 14 passengers) of 690 nautical miles (1118 km). Although it can climb about 1,800 feet per minute, with one engine only the Do-228 NG is still able to do a nice 440 feet/min climb.

Source: RUAG with additional reporting by AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger

Related posts

Check out the Venezuelan Air Force Overview at Scramble.nl

"Glass cockpit" of the Dornier 228 New Generation (Image © RUAG)
“Glass cockpit” of the Dornier 228 New Generation (Image © RUAG)