Argentine Army Aviation

The Argentine Army Aviation (Spanish: Comando de Aviación de Ejército, AvEj) is the army aviation branch of the Argentine Army. Their members have the same rank insignia and titles as the rest of the Army.

Argentine Army Aviation
Comando de Aviación de Ejército
Argentine Army Aviation wings
Active1912 – 1945
1956 - present
Country Argentina
BranchArgentine Army
TypeArmy aviation
Part ofArmy
Ministry of Defense
EngagementsOperativo Independencia
Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas)
Chief of Staff of the ArmyGeneral
Chief of AvEjerColonel
RoundelRoundel of Argentina.svg

Along with its primary role of supporting Army operations, the Army Aviation is highly involved in humanitarian aid missions, emergency relief, medical evacuations and forest firefighting.[citation needed]


Military aviation in Argentina traces back to the Paraguayan War when, on 8 July 1867, Staff Sergeant Roberto A. Chodasiewicz used an observation balloon during the battle of Humaitá.[citation needed] Since then, the army was the main driving force behind national aeronautical development. The use of enthusiastic students who relied on the selfless support of civil institutions and air clubs, saw the creation of the Military Aviation School at El Palomar in 1912.[citation needed]

The establishment of the Army Aviation Service (in Spanish, Servicio de Aviación del Ejército) saw a great expansion of Argentine air power in the 1912–1945 period, and supported the development of civil aviation in Argentina.[1] The creation of the first aviation units and the foundation of the Fábrica Militar de Aviones in the 1920s were the beginning of a process that lead to the creation of the Argentine Air Force in 1945, to which the Army transferred its aircraft and related installations.[citation needed]


In 1956, Army Aviation was re-established within the Army and began a major expansion, incorporating new types of aircraft and opening new bases around the country. In 1965, using a Cessna U-17 they performed their first expedition to the South Pole.[citation needed]

During the 1970s the service consolidated itself as an important branch of the Army receiving aircraft such as the Aeritalia G.222 transport which caused friction with the Air Force. The expansion plans continued in the early 1980s with the incorporation of the Agusta A109 utility and the Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.[citation needed]

The dictatorship that took power in 1976 increased tensions with Chile which reached their highest point during the 1978 Operation Soberanía where the Army Aviation performed major deployments.[citation needed]

Falklands WarEdit

UH-1H Iroquois "Huey" helicopters, at Port Stanley Airport; after transport to the islands by C-130H "Hercules", had not had their rotors reattached yet

In 1982, the Military Junta invaded the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas) triggering a ten-week-long war against the United Kingdom. The Argentine Army Aviation deployed 2 CH-47 Chinooks, 3 Agusta A109, 6 SA330 Pumas and 9 UH-1Hs to the islands, where they performed 796 general support flights under harsh operating conditions. Their helicopters were also extensively used in Patagonia and the Army also took over the provincial police's MBB Bo 105s during the conflict.[2]

Six Army aviation members died in the war.[3] Two army helicopters were shot down, six destroyed on the ground, and ten were captured. Some of these captured were used by British Army and other used as targets for RAF ground attack training[citation needed].

Present DayEdit

UAV Lipan Indigenous design

After the war, the Aerospatiale Super Puma was incorporated, mainly for Antarctica support duties operating from Navy's icebreaker ARA Almirante Irizar.[citation needed] In 1998, Argentina was granted Major Non-NATO ally status by United States President Bill Clinton[4] and the Army Aviation began an expansive program that included the reception of OV-1 Mohawks and surplus UH-1H from the US Army. The US also authorized the delivery of 12 AH-1F Cobra gunships[5][6] but the operation was halted by the Argentine Government.

In the 1990s, the Aviation Army began its Unmanned aerial vehicle program, the Lipan series.picture In 2007, the Ministry of Defense evaluated the Chinese Changhe Z-11 (Argentine index AE-350)[7] and 40 are to be built.[8] Also in 2007, the Army unveiled the indigenous Cicaré CH-14 Aguilucho scout prototype video. A major update program is currently[when?] underway refitting the Hueys to the Huey II variant. In March 2010 it was announced the purchase of five Bell 206 for the Joint armed forces school.[9]

Bell UH-1H Huey during the Exhibition of the Argentine Army in May 2008

Army aircraft with tactical camouflage have adopted high-visibility yellow markings Ejército (Spanish for “Army”)[10][11] in order to encourage the national press to stop referring to them as belonging to the air force.[citation needed]

In the 2014 celebration of the Argentine Army Aviation day, the following actions to improve capabilities were confirmed:[12]

  • purchase of 1 Cessna Citation and 4 Grand Caravan aircraft
  • purchase of 2 Casa 212 aircraft
  • replacement of Mohawk by Diamond 42 aircraft
  • purchase of second hand Italian AB206 helicopters (agreement reached but never signed until new government took power in 2016)
  • upgrade of remaining UH-1 helicopters to Huey II standard (due to budget restrictions purchase of new helicopters was abandoned).
  • refurbishing of Super Puma helicopters.

Currently, Argentina has expressed interest in buying surplus US equipment and authorization granted by US government. This may involve Transport or Scout helicopters.


Units and basesEdit

Campo de Mayo airbase, the 3 Aeritalia G.222 can be seen in front of the hangars

The main airbase is located at Campo de Mayo where training and maintenance is done. The units based there are[when?] as follows:[citation needed]

The service has also permanent forward location bases assigned to both division and brigade HQ levels.

Pilot recruitment and trainingEdit

The Argentine Army gets its pilots from two main sources. One is the officers who graduate from the Military College and then volunteer for the Army Aviator Course. This course lasts one year and takes place at either the Air Force Academy, in Córdoba (for fixed wing aircraft), or the Army Aviation School (for helicopters), in Campo de Mayo, outside Buenos Aires. Since 2009, these two schools are the only training centers for pilots from the three armed services. The other source is civilian pilots who, after a ten-month course at the Military Academy, join the Army Aviation as 2nd lieutenants.

While College-graduated officers are called “Army Aviators” and those coming from civilian life are “Army Pilots”, there are no specific technical differences between them. However, “Army Pilots” can only reach the rank of colonel. Also, “Army Aviators” retain their original branch (i.e. Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, Engineers, Signals or Ordnance) and can be posted to their branch's units in case of need. “Army Pilots”, instead, can only serve in Army Aviation units or related positions, as they have no other capability.[13]

Aircraft inventoryEdit

Bell UH-1H Huey of the Argentine Army
An Argentine Army Cessna T-41D Mescalero AE-054, in 2009

The Argentine Army Aviation inventory includes the following aircraft.

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Bell UH-1 United States Utility helicopter UH-1H 49[14]
Aérospatiale SA315 France Liaison aircraft 2[14]
Eurocopter AS332B France Transport helicopters 3[14]
Agusta-Bell 206 Italy Utility helicopter AB-206B1[15] 20[16] currently under modernisation by FAdeA and Leonardo S.p.A.[17]
CASA C-212 Spain Transport aircraft / medevac 3[14]
Cessna 208 Caravan United States Transport aircraft 2[14]
DHC-6 Twin Otter Canada Utility transport 2[14] STOL capable aircraft
Swearingen Merlin United States Transport Merlin III / IV 4[14]
Cessna Citation II United States VIP Bravo 4[14]
Diamond DA42 Austria Surveillance 3[14]
Trainer Aircraft
Bell 206 United States Trainer 5[14]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Martín, Eloy (July 2013). "El rol de la Aviación de Ejército en el desarrollo de la Aviación Civil (Período 1919-1927)". Histarmar - Historia y Arqueología Marítima (in Spanish). Fundación Histarmar. Archived from the original on 4 October 2016.
  2. ^ "AE-710 LV-AND mbb bo105cbs C/N S-540". Archived from the original on 24 December 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  3. ^ Puma AE-505 shot down by SAM Sea Dart (crew Roberto Fiorito, Juan Buschiazo, Raul Dimotta) UH-1H AE-419 crash near Caleta Olivia, Santa Cruz (crew Marcos Fassio, Roberto Campos, Nestor Barros. Additional 7 infantry troops were killed in this accident) Archived 31 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Overview of U.S. Policy Toward South America and the President's Upcoming Trip to the Region". Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  5. ^ Pike, John. "Ejercito Argentino - Argentine Army". Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  6. ^ "El Ejército espera la llegada de ayuda militar norteamericana". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  7. ^ "Negocia la Argentina comprar helicópteros militares a China". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Photos: CASA C-212-200 Aviocar Aircraft Pictures -". Archived from the original on 24 December 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  11. ^ "Photos: Bell UH-1H Iroquois (205) Aircraft Pictures -". Archived from the original on 24 December 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  12. ^ Chiofalo, Mauricio; et al. (27 April 2015). "Conmemoración del Día de Aviación de Ejército Argentino 2014" (in Spanish). Gaceta Aeronautica. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 July 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "World Air Forces 2017". Flightglobal Insight. 2017. Archived from the original on 29 July 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  15. ^ "Industria nacional para la defensa – la participación de Redimec en la modernización de los AB-206B1 del Ejército Argentino". 15 April 2021.
  16. ^ "FAdeA – Progresa la puesta a punto y modernización de los AB-206B1". 15 April 2021.
  17. ^ "Industria nacional para la defensa – la participación de Redimec en la modernización de los AB-206B1 del Ejército Argentino". 15 April 2021.


Portions based on a translation from Spanish Wikipedia.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit