Portuguese air force 1976-2006

After the April 1974 revolution, Portugal’s involvement in the wars in its African colonies finally came to an end. At the sametime, the UN arms embargo was lifted and the personnel of the Forga Aerea Portuguese (FAP) began to be demobilised for their return to the Portuguese mainland.

In the wake of the revolution, several aircraft types were either retired or donated to the new governments of the ex-colonies of Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique, and a very few were abandoned on their airfields in Africa.

With the FAP’s return to operations from mainland Portugal, the air force was subject to much-needed reorganisation. From 1975, the FAP’s impressive strength of 868 aircraft and some 22,000 personnel began to be reduced. A slow programme of fleet renewal was also taking place, and as a result the FAP acquired 24 CASA C-212 Aviocars in October 1974. The Aviocar replaced several types, including the obsolete Ju 52/3m, the few remaining C-47s, and the Noratlas, which was finally retired in 1977. Many of the FAP’s C-47s never returned from Africa, as the Portuguese government either donated or sold them to the air forces of the ex-


As early as 1973 the FAP had begun to look for a replacement for the war-weary Do 27, but the UN arms embargo made it impossible to find an available and suitable successor. Only in December 1974, with the embargo lifted, were the first three examples of the Reims-Cessna ITB-337G Milirole delivered, these being the first batch from a total order of 32.

Portugal was the last country to operate the F-84G, the final few operational Thunderjets being removed from active duty in 1974. As a replacement, additional Fiat G.91s were purchased to complement the existing G.91R/4. In 1976 the first G.91R/3 and two-seat T/3 variants were received from West Germany. The government of West Germany always enjoyed an excellent relationship with its Portuguese counterpart, an example being the use of

the Beja air base facilities by German forces. Furthermore, Germany sought to establish an F-104 assembly line in Portugal (this idea was never realised), and was willing to supply the FAP with Luftwaffe-surplus F-104Gs. However, the limited nature of the threat posed by its potential enemies saw the FAP turn down the Starfighter and retain the ‘Gina’, an aircraft whose performance had proved satisfactory during the African operations. 

In 1976 the FAP began to adjust its tactical airlift capabilities to conform to NATO structure, initiating a search for a suitable replacement for the DC-4, DC-6, Noratlas, C-47 and Boeing 707 (the last type having been sold to TAP). An order was duly placed for five Lockheed C-130Hs, the first two examples being delivered in September 1977. Some of the more experienced transport aircrew were transferred to Esquadra 501 ‘Bisontes’ (Bisons) to operate the new type, and in the 1986 Exercise Volant Rodeo at Pope AFB, the FAP contingent was voted best C-130 crew, best overall foreign crew and was judged to have made the best precision landing. In the 1993 Volant Rodeo, the Portuguese Hercules team was again recognised as the best foreign crew. In the years following the С-130’s arrival, and as a stop-gap due to the lack of specialised types available, the Hercules conducted two missions that are unusual for the type. The phasing out of the P2V-5 Neptune saw FAP C-130s take on the antisubmarine warfare role, with specialised equipment installed in the cargo hold. Subsequently, the ASW task was adopted by the better equipped Aviocar, this type eventually moving to the maritime patrol mission when the P-3P Orion was added to the FAP inventory in 1988.According to a Portuguese government ruling of the early 1980s, the forest fire-fighting mission was also given to Esquadra 501 ‘Bisontes’. Two special Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) kits were acquired to equip two C-130lls, this equipment being installed in the cargo bay. Such missions were frequently needed during the summer and were welcomed by the public. However, the missions came to an end in the 1990s, due to a lack of funding and misgivings on the part of the Portuguese Fire Department and the Civil Protection authority. Fire fighting was subsequently undertaken by civilian contractors. In 1991 a sixth C-130H was ordered, this being a C-130H-30 variant with stretched fuselage. The FAP subsequently had two of its earlier C-130Hs (FAP 6801 and 6802) similarly ‘stretched’ at OGMA’s facilities. In the late 1990s the C-130II fleet began to be equipped with ECM and RWR equipment to provide an improved level of self-protection, in keeping with the post-Cold War need to undertake humanitarian and peacekeeping missions in potentially unstable countries.

Portugal airforce

In 1977 six Northrop T-38A Talons entered FAP service. These were loaned by the LISAF to train pilots for the badly needed replacement for the ageing F-86F Sabre. At this time, it seemed likely that the Northrop F-5E Tiger II would be purchased for this requirement. In 1980 a further six T-38As were delivered and the loaned aircraft became part of the FAP inventory. The first six aircraft, which initially flew with FAP markings and USAF serials, were then allocated FAP serials.

Despite the various new types entering service, the FAP’s inventory was decreasing significantly, from 868 aircraft in 1975 to 256 aircraft in 1978.

the 1980s saw further new equipment arrive to replace some of the FAP’s more ageing types. The successor to the F-86F finally appeared in 1981, not in the form of the F-5E, but 20 Vought A-7P Corsair lis. While the V suffix stood for Portugal, these were in fact A-7A/B airframes that had been in storage in the AMARC facilities and were refurbished with A-7E avionics. Compared to the Tiger II, the A-7P was considered more suitable for the FAP’s new role within NATO: namely Tactical Air Support for Maritime Operations (TASMO), air defence and tactical air support. Beginning in 1984, 30 more A-7Ps were received, the aircraft being used by Esquadra 304 ‘Magmficos’ and Esquadra 302 ‘Falcoes’ (falcons) based at BA.6 Montijo. The arrival of the A-7P meant that for many years the FAP was in the unusual situation of having supersonic trainers and only subsonic combat aircraft. To better deal with potential air superiority and interceptor requirements, the FAP considered the use of a number of T-38As equipped with the F-86F’s AIM-9 Sidewinder rails and missiles, but this concept never materialised. The A-7P was finally retired from active duty on 10 July 1999, after 64,000 hours flown in FAP service.

Reims-Cessna FTB-337G Milirole FAP 13701 (c/n 0002) at Sintra in 2004. Known as ‘Push and Pull’ within the FAP, the Milirole’s missions include medevac, light support (carrying rocket launchers and machine-gun pods) and photo-reconnaissance (with oblique cameras). The type’s versatility has made it hard to find a suitable replacement. Note that FAP markings are only applied on the fuselage and fin. (Jose С. С. Silva)

FAP 1806, a weather-beaten Fiat G.91T/3 (c/n 91-2-0025, ex-Luftwaffe 34+23), is seen while at Bordeaux in 1980. The FAP fleet included 11 two-seat ‘Ginas’ that were used for conversion training. (Marcel Fluet via Jose С. С. Silva Collection)

Pictured seconds after take-off from BA.5 Monte Real, G.91R/3 FAP 5451 (c/n 91-1-0065, ex-Luftwaffe 30+11) displays the type’s camouflage scheme of RAL 6014 and RAL 7012 upper surfaces, with RAL 7032 undersides. (Esq 301 Jaguares Archive/FAP)

For the VIP transport role the FAP purchased three former FedEx Dassault-Breguet Falcon 20s in 1984, these being refurbished in the US prior to delivery to Esquadra 504 ‘Linces’ (lynxes). The

Above: Lockheed C-130H FAP 16804 (L-382C-73D, c/n 4777) of Esquadra 501 at its home base of Montijo in 1994. The spray-painted forward fuselage inscription reads ‘Rodeo 93 Best Foreign Team’. (Luc Hornstra via Jose С. C. Silva Collection)

Falcons also had a secondary medevac mission. Two Falcons were sold in 1993, and one (FAP 8103, later FAP 17103) was modified for flight instrumentation and radar calibration duties in 1985. This latter mission ended in 1994 with the introduction of new international calibration standards, the task being taken up by specialised civilian contractors. As a result, this Falcon was sold as well.

Glider fleet

In 1985 the FAP purchased four Fournier RF-lOs (FAP 1201 to 1204). These were attached to the Academia da Forqa Aerea (Air Force Academy) at Sintra, for flight screening and basic flight training. The subsequent closure of the Fournier manufacturing facility made it difficult to obtain spares for the type, and in 1994 the RF-10 was removed from active duty. In 1988, the FAP acquired four Schleicher ASK-21s (FAP 1001 to 1004, renumbered 10101 to 10104 in 1994) for use by the Academia da Forga Aerea and to compensate for the unavailability of the RF – 10s. In 1996, three Let L-23 Super Blaniks (FAP 10201 to 10203) were delivered to complement the ASK-21.

Left: Another Esquadra 501 ‘Bisontes’ C-130H, FAP 16802 (L-382C-73D, c/n 4753) was one of two examples to be converted to stretched-fuselage H-30 configuration by OGMA, and is seen here prior to takeoff from Beja in 2002. (Jose С. C. Silva)

Below left: This T-38A-40-N0 Talon (c/n N5281, ex-USAF 61-0915) from Esquadra 103 ‘Caracois’ at Monte Real is still displaying its USAF serial. Later, in 1980, the aircraft received the local serial FAP 2606. (via Jose С. C. Silva Collection)

The Lockheed P-3P Orion arrived in 1988 for anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol, equipping Esquadra 601 ‘Lobos’ (wolves) at BA.6 Montijo. The P-3Ps were ex-RAAF P-3Bs brought up to P-3C Update II standard, and fulfiled a requirement that had stood since the withdrawal of the Neptune in 1978. Alongside the C-130H, the P-3P has been one of the most active FAP types in recent years, taking part in international missions including the blockade of the former Yugoslavia. A few P-3Ps are now being removed from service due to having reached the limit of their airframe lives. In

2005 Portugal purchased five further Orions (two P-3C CUP and three P-3C-II.5 versions) from the Dutch navy, together with spares. Some of these ‘new’ aircraft are intended to be upgraded by OGMA, and will enter service in the next couple of years as the existing P-3P fleet reaches the end of its service life. In early

2006 the first two ex-Dutch Orions to be brought up to P-3C CUP standard in the US (Dutch serials 300 and 307), arrived at Montijo. These aircraft will be given the FAP serials 14807 and 14810 respectively and will be used to convert crews from the previous P-3P version. The remaining three P-3C-II.5 Orions (ex-Dutch navy 304, 306 and 310) will be delivered to the FAP in the near future.

The FAP began renewal of its training fleet in 1989 when the OGMA-assembled SOCATA TB30 Epsilon started to replace the veteran Chipmunk. A handful of the latter type was retained in active duty for flight screening and glider towing at the

Above: Vought A-7P FAP 15515 (c/n A-130, ex-US Navy 153221) was fully armed with three AIM-9P Sidewinders and two AGM-65 Mavericks for the 1996 NATO Tiger Meet. The aircraft was retired from active service the following year. FAP 15515 was attached to Esquadra 304 based at Monte Real, and was camouflaged in F. S.34079, F. S.34102 and F. S.30219. (Joao Calado)

Above left: This TA-7C (c/n B-004, ex-US Navy 154404) was leased to the FAP in 1982, in order to convert the first pilots onto the type prior to the arrival of the TA-7P Although it carried Portuguese markings, the aircraft belonged to the US Navy and was returned to its owner in 1985. (via Jose С. C. Silva Collection)

Left: Finally removed from active duty in 1999, TA-7P FAP 15546 (c/n A-105, ex-US Navy 153196) was another participant in the 1996 Tiger Meet, for which it was armed with rocket pods and four 500-lb (227-kg) bombs. Additional stores for the A-7P included the AN/ALQ-131 ECM pod. (via Jose С. С. Silva Collection)

Academia da Forga Aerea. In 1993, the Epsilons from Esquadra 101 ‘Roncos’ (Roars) based at BA. 1 Sintra were transferred south to BA. 11 Beja.

In 1989, two Dassault Falcon 50s were added to the FAP inventory, these being attached to Esquadra 504 ‘Linces’ to replace the Falcon 20 in the VIP transport role, and normally operate from Lisbon. A third Falcon 50 was acquired in 1991.

In August 1992 the FAP’s T-37Cs were officially removed from active duty. The fleet had been grounded for almost two years following a fatal accident at Sintra in December 1990, when the wing of T-37C FAP 2415 ripped off the fuselage while the aircraft flew inverted over the runway during a routine training mission. A careful inspection of the T-37C fleet revealed structural problems and material stress. Besides the loss of an important trainer, the grounding of the T-37C fleet left the ‘Asas de Portugal’ display team without a mount. The ‘Asas de Portugal’ was therefore disbanded after 15 years of performances. The team’s first display had

Below: Schleicher ASK-21 (c/n 21409) FAP 10103 at Sintra in 2004. Operated by the Academia da Forpa Aerea for flight instruction, the ASK-21s are towed by re-engined Chipmunks. The FAP acquired four ASK-21s in 1988 in order to replace the Fournier RF-10, one of them, FAP 1101, subsequently being lost in a crash. The gliders are painted in overall F. S.17875 white with high-conspicuity red areas, and with FAP markings on the fuselage and fin. The fuselage insignia have an F. S.86076 blue outline. (Photo: Jose С. C. Silva) taken place in May 1977 and the following June the ‘Asas’ were invited to the Jubilee International Air Tattoo at RAF Greenham Common, taking with them six T-37Cs (FAP 2406, 2414, 2415, 2420, 2423 and 2426).

Portuguese airforce

In early 1992, 50 Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets were added to the FAP inventory, these aircraft being provided by the German government as part of the payment for the usage of Beja. Of these aircraft, 25 entered FAP service in 1993 to replace three types that had been recently phased out: the T-33 and T-38 from Esquadra 103 ‘Caracois’ (Snails) at BA. 11 Beja and the last Fiat G.91R/3s from Esquadra 301 ‘Jaguares’ (Jaguars) at BA.6 Montijo. The remaining 25 Alpha Jets were kept in reserve and as a source of spares. With the retirement of the G.91 from Esquadra 301, the unit’s personnel were transferred to Beja for conversion to the Alpha Jet. Esquadras 103 and 301 were both equipped with the Alpha let but neither was assigned its own aircraft since they were pooled for both units as required.

In 1993 the FAP’s numbering system was altered from a four-digit to a five-digit serial. Under the new system the first numeral represents an active aircraft in the

Above: This Falcon 20 VIP transport of Esquadra 504 ‘Linces’ wears a temporary colour scheme and incomplete FAP markings. The Cruz de Cristo was later moved to the engine nacelle and the ‘For<ja Aerea Portuguese’ legend was added above the passenger windows. The aircraft was finally sold in 1993. Although officially based at Montijo, the FAP’s VIP fleet routinely operates from Lisbon-Portela. (via Jose С. C. Silva Collection)

Below right: The second glider type to be obtained as a replacement for the Fournier RF-10 was the popular Let L-23 Super Blanik, which complements the ASK-21 within the Academia da For9a Aerea. The FAP purchased three Super Blaniks in 1998, and these wear the same colour scheme and markings as the Schleicher gliders. (Jose С. C. Silva)

FAP inventory (1), or an inactive or historic aircraft (0). In practice, the ‘0’ numeral is never applied. The second digit represents the type of aircraft (see table below). The third digit identifies the manufacturer and model, while the last two digits are applied successively as the aircraft are put into active service. For example, FAP number 15108 (an F-16A) represents: 1 – active duty aircraft, 5 – fighter or fighter-bomber, 1 – Lockheed-Martin F-16, 08 – the eighth aircraft of its type to enter service. The first aircraft to use the new numbering system was the Alpha Jet. Other types simply received the numeral ‘1’ as the first digit; only the gliders were given new serials, in the 10XXX series, together with the last Falcon 20 (which changed missions from VIP transport to calibration), the serial of which changed from 81XX to 171XX.

Second digit Aircraft type
0 Gliders
1 Single-engined training aircraft or motor gliders
2 Multi-engined training aircraft
3 Liaison and observation aircraft
4 Maritime patrol aircraft and bombers
5 Fighters and fighter-bombers
6 Transport aircraft
7 Support and special aircraft
8 Reserved
9 Helicopters and others

The Lockheed-Martin F-16A Fighting Falcon entered active service in June 1994 for air defence. Following the withdrawal of the F-86F in 1980, Portugal was left without a true air defence/interceptor fighter. The first four of 20 F-16s to be delivered were two F-16As (FAP 5102 and 5103) and two F-16Bs (FAP 5119 and 5120). These were attached to Esquadra 201 ‘Falcoes’ at BA.5 Monte Real. In 2001 F-16 FAP 15111 was lost in a fatal accident; it remains the type’s only loss since entering FAP service. Esquadra 201 is part of NATO’s Immediate Reaction Forces, and as such has taken part in several training exercises, including Red Flag in 2000, and has been involved in NATO-lead international missions, including Allied Force in 1999. For the latter tasking, the FAP detached three F-16s to Aviano air base in Italy, their primary mission being combat air patrol. This deployment ended in July 1999 after some 281 sorties.

In 1996 the Chipmunk was subject to an unexpected revival in FAP service, when seven examples were fitted with 180-hp (134-kW) Lycoming engines and attached to Esquadra 802 ‘Aguias’ (Eagles). The Chipmunks then resumed active duty on behalf of the Academia da Forga Aerea, performing sailplane towing and flight screening duties. The type remains the only operational aircraft older than the FAP itself! The six remaining aircraft retain their original FAP numbers: 1306, 1315, 1316, 1319, 1335 and 1339, 1312 having been written off.

Despite constant cutbacks in the defence budget, the 21st century has brought further renewal to the FAP.

In December 2001 an agreement was signed covering the purchase of 12 EI 1101s: six for search and rescue (SAR), four for CSAR (combat SAR) and two for fisheries protection duties, part of the funding for the last two being provided by the ELI. The first two EH 101s (FAP 19602 and 19603) were delivered at Montijo on 11 February 2005, and the type is gradually replacing the ageing SA 330 Puma in the SAR and CSAR roles. Eight EH 101s are currently in service with Esquadra 751 ‘Pumas’, with the remaining four examples to be delivered soon. The few remaining SA 330s are in service with Esquadra 711 ‘Albatrozes’ (Albatrosses) at BA.4 Lajes in the Azores. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Pumas will be refurbished and de-militarised for eventual transfer to the Forest Fire Department.Under the Peace Atlantis II programme a second F-16 squadron is being formed, with 21 F-16As and four F-16Bs (five of which will be stored for spares). The aircraft are being updated to MLU standard by OGMA, the first example having been delivered on 26 June 2003. Recent reports state that the FAP’s MLU programme is behind schedule, and will now extend to 2010. To date, three F-16

Above: Seen in October 2003, SOCATA TB30 Epsilon FAP 11415 (c/n 172) is operated by Esquadra 101 ‘Roncos’ at Beja, in the south of the country. Locally assembled by OGMA, the Epsilon replaced the Chipmunk as the FAP’s primary trainer. (Jose С. C. Silva)

MLlIs are in use: FAP 15133, 15121 and 15339 (an F-16BM). The new aircraft will equip Esquadra 301 ‘Jaguares’, which transferred from Beja to Monte Real, giving up its Alpha Jets on 25 November 2005.

In 2003 the FAP cancelled its order for three Airbus A400Ms. Despite Portugal being a partner in the project, the Defence Office considered that the new airlifter would take too long to develop. With the FAP C-130H fleet due to be replaced in the next few years, Lockheed Martin has offered the FAP the C-130J.

Portuguese air

The Alouette III has proven a difficult helicopter to replace. A breach of contract lead to the cancellation of the EC635 for the Portuguese army in August 2002, and may also have ended prospects for the purchase of the type for the FAP. Recent rumours suggest that the FAP Alouette replacement might be the EC135, or even the EC635 under a new arrangement. The Alouette III has already amassed more than 300,000 hours in FAP service and has flown on three continents. In February 2000 four Alouette Ills from Esquadra 552 ‘Zangoes’ (Bumblebees) began a detachment in East Timor, having being flown in by a civilian An-124 from Beja. The Alouettes were based at Baucau as a PORAVN (Portuguese Aviation Force) detachment, fulfiling tasks assigned by the UN for its UNTAET (UN transitional Administration in East Timor) mission. Missions undertaken included VIP transport, tactical airlift, medevac, casevac, liaison and SAR. The detachment concluded on 31 July 2002 when the UNTAET mission ended. During more than 2,700 flying hours the East Timor Alouettes transported over 11,000 passengers, 83,334 lb (37800 kg) of cargo and conducted some 19 medevac sorties.

Left: An F-16B from Esquadra 201 ‘Falcoes’ awaits its next sortie at Beja in 2003. The FAP maintains three new-build F-16Bs from the initial Peace Atlantis I deliveries: FAP 15118, 151119 and 15120. These are to be joined by a further four surplus USAF F-16BM (MLU)s under Peace Atlantis II.

Below: Seen at the 2005 Portugal Air Show at Evora, FAP 19601, an EH101 Series 514 (c/n 50088/SAR01), was the first EH101 to be built for the FAP, but was included in the third batch to be delivered since it remained in Italy for further testing and development, (both Jose С. C. Silva)

Another aircraft that is due to be phased out of service is the C-212 Aviocar, with the EADS/CASA C-295 having been selected as its replacement in preference to the C-27J Spartan. On 17 February 2006 the FAP signed a deal for 12 C-295s: seven basic military transports and five maritime surveillance aircraft. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2007.

The year 2005 marked the rebirth of the FAP’s display teams, Esquadra 103 reforming the ‘Asas de Portugal’, while Esquadra 552 provided the ‘Rotores de Portugal’. In 2006 the teams will apply appropriate paint schemes to their Alpha Jets and Alouette Ills, respectively.

The FAP’s eventful history will be remembered with the recent project to build a long-awaited new Museu do Ar (air museum), which, according to recent reports, will be located at BA. l Sintra.

Below right: In early 1970, FAP 9509, an SA 330C (c/n 1046), wore camouflage colours not dissimilar to those of the RAF Puma. Cruz de Cristo markings appeared on both sides of the fuselage, and possibly on the underside of the fuselage. Soon after, FAP Pumas received an overall olive drab camouflage, (via Jose С. C. Silva Collection)

Below: Seen in 1984, FAP 9505 is an SA 330H Puma (c/n 1011) camouflaged in F. S.34079, F. S.34102 and F. S.30219 (upper surfaces) with F. S.36622 undersides. The Cruz de Cristo appeared in three positions. At the time, this aircraft was based at Montijo where it was on the strength of Esquadra 751 ‘Albatrozes’. Just visible in the background is a FAP Puma with overall olive drab camouflage. (Marcel Fluet via Jose С. C. Silva Collection)

Meanwhile, the integration of more capable equipment (namely the F-16 MLU and P-3C) and the acquisition of new types (EH101 and C-295) for the current fleet are due to be followed by a decision on replacements for the Epsilon, Alouette III and FTB-337. The Alouette replacement will need to support the humanitarian missions, including SAR and catastrophe relief, that have for a long time been a responsibility of the FAP.

More capable transport, maritime patrol and combat fleets will increase the opportunity for FAP involvement in support of NATO and UN actions. As such, Portugal can be expected to take a more active role in global political and humanitarian operations as the 21st century progresses. The Forga Aerea Portuguese’s 50th anniversary motto -‘Sobre a terra e sobre о mar’ (over land and over sea) – will continue to be upheld by its personnel.


With thanks to Joao F. A. Calado, Nuno Martins, Luis С. M. Dias, Rui Sousa, Jorge Ruivo, Antonio Pita, the Chamuanzas Collection (Jose Sousa), A. E.R., Esq. 301, and Esq. 552 (Maj. Azinheira).

This article is dedicated to my wife Cristina, for her understanding and support.

Aerospatiale SA 330C Puma FAP 9509, c/n 1046, Luanda, Angola, early 1970

This machine is shown in a camouflage similar to that of the ALAT Pumas, shortly before they were painted olive drab overall. Cruz de Cristo markings on both sides of the fuselage, but there is no evidence of national markings on the fuselage underside.

Aerospatiale SA 330H Puma FAP 19505, c/n 1011, Esquadra 751 ‘Albatrozes’ (Albatross), Montijo AB

Camouflaged in F. S.34079, F. S.34102 and F. S.30219 over F. S.36622, with the Cruz de Cristo in three positions on the fuselage sides and below the rear-view window. Note the squadron badge on the cockpit door.

Sikorsky UH-19 FAP 9101, air force museum, 2006

Aerospatiale SA 330H Puma FAP 9506, c/n 1019, 1979

This aircraft is shown after being updated by OGMA. It wears a SAR finish that lasted into the early 1980s, with dayglo around the cockpit area, sponsons, tail boom uppersurface, and tailplane.

AgustaWestland EH101 Mk 514 FAP 19603 (c/n SAR03), Esquadra 751, Montijo AB, February 2005

Camouflaged in F. S.34079, F. S.34102 and F. S.30219 over F. S.36622, with the Cruz de Cristo in three positions on the fuselage sides and aft of cargo door.

Vought A-7P Corsair II FAP 5503, ex-153272 (c/n A-181), Esquadra 304 ‘Magnificos’ (Magnificents), Monte Real AB

This aircraft was included in the first batch of A-7Ps in 1981. In 1996 it was sent to the air force museum. Camouflaged in F. S.34079, F. S.34102 and F. S.30219 over F. S.36622, with the Cruz de Cristo only on the fuselage sides.

Vought TA-7P Corsair II FAP 15546, ex-153196 (c/n A-105), Esquadra 304 ‘Magnificos’, Monte Real AB

This TA-7P was included in the second batch of A-7Ps, in 1985. It was retired in 1999. Camouflaged in F. S.34079, F. S.34102 and F. S.30219 wraparound, with the Cruz de Cristo only on the fuselage sides.

Vought A-7P Corsair II FAP 15521, ex-153134 (c/n A-043), Esquadra 304 ‘Magnificos’, Monte Real AB, 1999

This A-7P was painted for the type’s retirement and to celebrate the 64,000th hour flown on the A-7. On its port side the aircraft carried Esquadra 302 ‘Falcoes’ (Falcons) markings, with Esquadra 304 (Magnificos) marks to starboard. The Cruz de Cristo was applied only on the fuselage sides.

Lockheed Martin F-16A ADF Fighting Falcon FAP 15113, Esquadra 201 ‘Falcoes’ (Falcons), 1994

Lockheed Martin F-16B ADF Fighting Falcon FAP 15119, Esquadra 201 ‘Falcoes’

Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet A FAP 15221, ex-Luftwaffe 40+66 (c/n 0066), Esquadra 301, Beja AB, 1994

This aircraft has standard Luftwaffe camouflage of RAL6014, RAL7012 and RAL7001. National markings applied only to the fuselage sides.

Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet A FAP 15233, ex-Luftwaffe 41+10 (c/n 0110), Esquadra 301, Beja AB, 1994

Here Luftwaffe camouflage Norm 83 (RAL6003 and RAL7021) is worn. New paint below cockpit covers Luftwaffe identity.

Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet A FAP 15237, ex-Luftwaffe 40+91 (c/n 0091), Esquadra 301, 2005

Camouflaged in F. S.34079, F. S.34102 and F. S.30219 wraparound, with national markings applied only to the fuselage sides. This aircraft and FAP 15213 were flown by Esquadra 301 to celebrate 20,000 hours on type, as well as one of the unit’s final Alpha Jet sorties before converting to the F-16 MLU.

Lockheed P-3P Orion FAP 14805, ex-RAAF A9-297 (c/n 5407), Esquadra 601 ‘Lobos’ (wolfes), Montijo AB

Camouflaged in F. S.36320 and F. S.36173 with undersurfaces in F. S.36492. Toned-down national markings on fuselage, above port wing and below starboard wing between the engine nacelles. FAP serial number below port wing between engine nacelles and above starboard wing.

Lockheed P-3P Orion FAP 14806, ex-RAAF A9-295 (c/n 5405), Esquadra 601 ‘Lobos’, Montijo AB

Finished in White F. S.17875 and grey (F. S.16440), in a very similar pattern to that of the aircraft’s former operator, the RAAF. Blue outline (F. S.15102) national markings on fuselage, above port wing and below starboard wing, between the engine nacelles. Black (F. S.17038) FAP serial number below port wing, between engine nacelles, and above starboard wing.

Lockheed C-130H Hercules FAP 16805 (c/n 4778), Esquadra 501 ‘Bisontes’ (Bisons), Montijo AB

Camouflaged in F. S.34079, F. S.34102 and F. S.30219 over F. S.36622. National markings applied only to the fuselage sides.



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Aerospatiale SA 316 Alouette III Heller, Heller
Aerospatiale ТВ.30 Epsilon Dujin
Beech C-45 Expeditor PM Model, Battle Axe
Boeing 707-300 , Heller
Cessna T-37C Academy, Hasegawa
de Havilland Canada Chipmunk Airfix, Aeroclub, Occidental
Dornier Do 27 Huma
Douglas C-47 Skytrain Hasegawa, , Airfix, Italeri, Revell/Monogram
Douglas DC-6A , Heller
Fiat G.91R Airfix, Revell, Occidental
Lockheed C-130H Hercules Hasegawa,

, Airfix, Italeri/Testor

Lockheed Martin F-16A ADF Fighting Falcon Academy, Minicraft, Revell, Airfix, Hasegawa, Italeri, Revell, Hasegawa, Italeri, Revell, Hasegawa

Above: Fiat G.91R/4 (c/n 91-4-0135, ex-Luftwaffe BD+367) was one of 40 such aircraft delivered to Portugal in 1966, taking the serial FAP 5421. It is seen here at Montijo Air Base in early 1988. It is finished in camouflage scheme E, consisting of a disruptive pattern of green F. S.34079 and sand F. S.30219, over light grey F. S.36622. The R/4 had a fixed armament of four machine-guns. (Bernard Lestrade via Jose С. C. Silva Collection)

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Lockheed Martin F-16B ADF Fighting Falcon Airfix, Hasegawa, Hobbycraft, Italeri, Revell, SMER,

Hasegawa, Italeri

Lockheed P2V Neptune Hasegawa, Revell
Lockheed P-3 Orion , Hasegawa, Revell
Lockheed T-33A Heller, Hasegawa, Academy, Hasegawa, Italeri/Testor
Max Holste M. H.1521C Broussard Miku (resin)
Nord 2502 Noratlas Heller
North American Harvard Mk IA/Мк III , Airfix, Revell
North American T-6 Texan , Academy, Airfix, Pavla, Heller, Occidental
Northrop T-38A Talon Sword, Hasegawa, Sword, Minicraft
Piper PA-18 Super Cub Minicraft

The kits listed above provide the basic parts for a Portuguese air force aircraft type, but do not in all cases include Portuguese decals. Some conversion work may also be necessary. Readers are advised to check individual kit boxings before buying.

Left: Lockheed F-16A ADF FAP 15101, of Esquadra 201 ‘Falcoes’ is seen here on the Beja Air Base ramp, ready for another sortie in 2003.

Below: Sud Aviation’s SE 3160 became Aerospatiale’s SA 316 Alouette III. Construction number 1818, FAP 19376, was on the strength of the display team ‘Rotores de Portugal’. The team, part of Esquadra 552 ‘Zangoes’ (Bumblebees), performed its last show in October 1995, not displaying again until November 2004, when this photograph was taken. The team now plans to perform on a regular basis, (both Jose С. C. Silva)

Connected themes: scale model jets, remote controlled, airplane models kits, Portuguese air force 1976-2006, rc airplanes for beginners, scale model guide, rc model aircraft plans.

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